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11 Frozen Hashbrown Brands Ranked, Worst To Best

frozen hash browns
frozen hash browns - Static Media / Getty

Whether featured as a breakfast favorite, heated up for a dinner dish, or used as a base in a savory bake, frozen hash browns are supremely versatile and helpful to have on hand. When creating even an easy hash brown recipe from scratch means taking on more work than you're willing to put in, having a bag of frozen potatoes that are already shredded or diced and ready to go can save your meal. And though you may hold the opinion that hash browns taste better in restaurants, cooking up frozen hash browns at home is often far easier than heading out to a nearby eatery, especially when time is tight and hunger is high.

Luckily for shoppers with cravings and a tender spot in their hearts for hash browns, there are plenty of freezer-friendly packages that put the magic of cook-and-eat goodness at their frosty fingertips. But it's unlikely they'll find the same quality across the spectrum. Consider the fact that there are pricier name brands like Ore-Ida and McCain vying with house labels like Great Value and Kroger for the lion's share of the cold storage aisle.

To help make the experience more satisfying, we tested and ranked a variety of store-bought frozen hash browns, gauging them by shape and form while testing for cookability, taste, texture, and overall enjoyment. Pull up a seat and see what our sizzling hash brown hullabaloo reveals about the best and worst takes on these tempting taters.

Read more: Ranking Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens From Worst To Best

11. Kroger Seasoned Hash Brown Patties

Kroger hash brown patties
Kroger hash brown patties - Steven Luna/Mashed

Who needs to hit a McDonald's drive-through when Kroger Seasoned Hash Brown Patties let you heat up potato cakes in the comfort of your kitchen? Sure, you could make your own copycat McDonald's hash browns recipe, but these 10 patties will run you just under $4.00, depending on your particular Kroger location, though it's worth noting that they often drop to a sale-friendly $3.00, making them a tempting possibility to stretch food funding pennies even further. Can you depend on Kroger to bring your hungry crew hash brown patties that turn breakfast into a bold revelation or transform dinner into a cheer-worthy treat? The suspense was so thick, we could almost taste it.

You know what else was so thick we could taste it? The oil. These disappointing patties only crisped up slightly, with far less texture than the other entries on the list. Meanwhile, the centers were left feeling more like mashed potato than hashed potato. When fast food frying is a more enjoyable cooking process for hash browns than simple pan cooking, your product might contain a bit too much oil. The resulting patty left a greasy film behind in our mouths while negatively impacting the flavor, giving us no choice but to rank these haggard hash browns squarely at the bottom of the list.

10. Great Value Southern Style Hash Browns

Great Value cubed hash browns
Great Value cubed hash browns - Steven Luna/Mashed

Anyone thinking there's only one acceptable way to slice potatoes into hash browns should keep an open mind about cubed potatoes like the Great Value Southern Style Hash Browns that Walmart keeps on hand. We found a two-pound bag for less than $4.00 in our area, though prices may vary by locale. Though cubed potatoes feel more like a distant cousin of real hash browns, the name on the bag said that these were hash browns, indeed. Far be it from us to decide otherwise. So we brought them onboard for a taste and a chance to see what they had to offer.

What a misstep on our part. These diced taters are tiny and super pale out of the bag, and they didn't achieve the golden glow as shown in the photo on the package, even after time in the oven. So much for truth in advertising. There's an underlying sweetness in these diced potatoes that made us uncomfortable, too. Granted, different potatoes produce different flavors, even in the world of frozen hash browns. But our version of proper hash browns is earthy and subtle, without the dubious distinction of the sugary aftertaste that Great Value's potatoes had. We put these very low on the list because we expect better from our hash brown experiences. Plus, now we have a space-hogging bag of sadness in our freezer that isn't going to eat itself.

9. Great Value Southern Style O'Brien Hash Browns With Onions & Peppers

Great Value hash browns O'Brien style
Great Value hash browns O'Brien style - Steven Luna/Mashed

If the basic hash brown flavor profile just isn't enough to turn your taste buds on, maybe the Great Value Southern Style O'Brien Hash Browns with Onions & Peppers can do the trick. At just under $4.00 for a 28-ounce bag in our local Walmart, this tater sack is a bonafide bargain that can get a family fed without adding to financial woes (though the price may be slightly different in other stores). But these hash browns are so similar to our last-place option ... is it possible for them to rise above the poor performance that the other sorry bag showed?

Nah. The potatoes are the same unsuccessful size and shape that we found in the non-O'Brien style Great Value hash browns, as they're basically home fries with onion and pepper added in. Having the onions and peppers in the mix does help to cancel out the weird sweetness and lifts the otherwise ordinary potato cubes into a more flavorful realm. But the cubes are so minute that it's difficult to see these as authentic hash browns. Walmart would be well-advised to cut them into slightly larger cubes to give more cooking surface area. Maybe if you add them to eggs as they cook you can come up with a workable dish that makes these browns worth enjoying. Still, we think you're better off going with one of the more favorable brands in the round-up.

8. Kroger Southern Style Diced Hash Browns

Kroger diced hash browns
Kroger diced hash browns - Steven Luna/Mashed

The visual impact of Kroger Southern Style Diced Hash Browns gives a more homemade image to these time-tested tubers, coming across as something that was prepared with more care than potatoes simply pushed through a grater en masse and dropped into a frying pan. A two-pound bag for the solid price of $4.00 (a price that is possibly different in your location) makes a premium purchase that lets you feed a crowd all at once or dole out a few hash browns here and there over a few weeks. So are they worth the expense, even at the stellar price point?

If there's a more culinary-specific description possible than "nothing special," we'd love to know what it is. It would help us better qualify these utterly bland hash browns. They lacked personality from the time they left the bag, gaining nothing from being cooked. The surface is too small to pick up proper crisping without getting burned, for one. If you're cautious enough to prevent turning them to ash, all you get is a forkful of soft squares staring back at you. We swear we could hear the pan yawn out of boredom. Since we consider those to be bad signs in the world of frozen hash browns, that put Kroger Southern Style pretty far south on the list.

7. Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Browns

Ore-Ida shredded hash browns
Ore-Ida shredded hash browns - Steven Luna/Mashed

One of the biggest names in frozen vegetables, Ore-Ida has been showering home eaters with various forms of potatoes for years, including a straightforward take on shredded hash browns. Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Browns were $5.50 for a 30-ounce bag, which isn't the best price in our market. We knew they'd be costlier than other varieties, considering the name brand recognition and the national spread that Ore-Ida commands. But does paying more mean enjoying what's in the bag more, too?

It does not. If mashed browns are your preference, then Ore-Ida in shredded form is the brand for you. We were a bit surprised that the texture was so soft. This meant that getting the potatoes to cook evenly was a challenge, even knowing that proper hash browns can be light on the inside and crunch on the outside. Without frying them until super-greasy, there's no getting the textural balance right. To say we were surprised at how poorly these hash browns performed would be an understatement. All things considered, they were still superior to several brands, though the mushy center doesn't even get them to the middle of the list.

6. McCain Quick Cook Hashbrowns Patties

McCain hash brown patties
McCain hash brown patties - Steven Luna/Mashed

McCain is a bulk food provider that offers smaller quantities of its hash brown patties in grocery stores for potato fans to sink their teeth into. The company offers McCain Quick Cook Hashbrowns Patties in a 12-patty bag, sold at Albertsons for about $5.00. We suspect we've eaten McCain hash browns at restaurants, many of which likely carry this brand without calling out the name on the menu. Maybe that familiarity is a good thing.

Then again, maybe not. While McCain didn't dazzle us with its hash browns, we still found these patties relatively enjoyable. The bag boasts that these patties cook up in nine quick minutes and don't require flipping, making it even easier to get them heated and served when your schedule is nipping at your heels. But the taste and texture remind us of tater tots, and not exactly in a good way: a little greasy, a bit mushy. This may make them a great option for younger eaters with palates that aren't as discerning. The quick-cook and non-flip convenience helps this hash brown levitate to the center point of our round-up, but you may still be disappointed by the taste and texture.

5. Signature Select Country Style Shredded Hash Browns

Signature Select country hash browns
Signature Select country hash browns - Steven Luna/Mashed

Albertson's (or, depending on your region, Safeway) tries to ice out the competition with Signature Select Country Style Shredded Hash Browns, which in this case means you'll be dining on diced rather than shredded potatoes. A 30-ounce bag rings up at just about $4.00. The description "Country Style" is used in so many different ways around the hash brown circuit that it's difficult to know what companies are trying to communicate with that description. We presumed Signature Select uses it to mean that the grated shape equates to a hometown diner-style experience. There are worse leaps of logic to make.

Whatever style these hash browns are, they're our kind of eating. There's enough looseness among the shreds to let you scatter them across the pan and stack them up in shapes that accommodate whatever invention you have in mind. The individual pieces can turn crisp or stay soft, depending on where you place them. And what comes out of the pan is a pretty close recreation of a chain restaurant hash brown order. If there's one drawback that puts Signature Select only at the edge of the top five, it would be the less-than-stellar potato flavor, a downfall that could easily be remedied with a little extra sizzling.

4. Glacier Gold Hash Brown Patties

Glacier Gold hash brown patties
Glacier Gold hash brown patties - Steven Luna/Mashed

A lesser-known brand that showed up next to the bigger names in the freezer case, Glacier Gold Hash Brown Patties was a hash brown revelation we weren't expecting. This 10-count pack hadn't been on our original shopping list, but once we found these patties in the Albertsons frozen potato section, we knew we had to find out what they were all about. The unassuming box was hiding behind bigger bags like a wallflower. Perhaps this was unintentional, and the heavier options ended up sliding the smaller fries to the back of the case. Even in the world of frozen hash browns, it could be that survival is achieved by the pushiest of specimens.

When we tasted what was waiting in the package, however, we were glad we spotted this unassuming spud. There's a richness in Glacier Gold patties that we didn't find in the others, a more restaurant-ready element that nudged them higher on the list. The texture was delicate and even, something that could be tested if we were willing to fry them longer to achieve a bolder shell. But we loved what this patty offered, and though it isn't the best of the bunch, it's such a pleasant surprise that we had to give it a prominent place in the top four. Take that, Albertson's freezer case.

3. Great Value Seasoned Hash Brown Patties

Great Value hash brown patties
Great Value hash brown patties - Steven Luna/Mashed

If you're running out the door or building an on-the-go breakfast sandwich, you're going to want hash browns that hold together better than the haystack form that's typically offered by traditional shredded potatoes. Thank goodness Great Value Shredded Seasoned Hash Brown Patties take up space in the case. Sold in a handy 10-patty box for less than $4.00, depending on location, hungry hash brown fans can grab a bunch of browns to incorporate into a week's worth of meal prep in a single purchase. If the quality holds up, this pack of potato patties could be a favorable solution that lets hash brown fans gobble up a truly great value.

Good news: These patties pass the test! The unheated hash browns are a bit golden even in frozen form, which only deepens as they cook. The crispness is audible, and the tenderness within is reminiscent of the fluffiest fast food hash browns on the block. The seasoning is light enough not to overwhelm, but discernable enough to give the potatoes a decent flavor kick. We'd have no trouble putting these patties in our home cooking rotation, for meals or even snacks that can be sizzled up quickly in a toaster oven. Even if there are better patties, this one is a top-three contender, assuming you're on board with its fast food patty style.

2. Great Value Shredded Hash Browns

Great Value shredded hash browns
Great Value shredded hash browns - Steven Luna/Mashed

You can always count on Walmart to wedge its way into the premade food section with its own Great Value versions of better-known brands. And so it is with Great Value Shredded Hash Browns, the sensible shopper's affordable option for including proper potato hash in their quest for frugal home dining possibilities. While there are definitely some Great Value items you should avoid, shredded hash browns are one option you can happily add to your shopping list. But does this 26-ounce bag hold its own against other brands you could pick up instead? Does Great Value defy its price hovering just below $4.00 to prove itself a quality player in the freezer-friendly potato game?

This bag is one of the best hash brown choices you can make  way to go, Great Value! The super-shredded pieces cook up loose, which lets more of the shreds become crispy, almost like shoestring potatoes. Pressed together in the pan, they also clung to one another in semi-patty form, which means you can easily customize your finished browns. We were happy to have a bit of both crisp and tender so we could confirm that Great Value gets it darn near perfect. It's just that one bag was able to do it a little bit better.

1. Kroger Country Style Shredded Hash Browns

Kroger shredded hash browns
Kroger shredded hash browns - Steven Luna/Mashed

Grated potatoes are the hallmark of standard hash browns; restaurants may serve them in a pristine round form, but home cooks know that the good spuds come shaking out of the bag and allows chefs to make their own design on the griddle. This sort of rustic aesthetic lets Kroger Country Style Shredded Hash Browns get away with a free-form spectacle from pan to plate. The shaggy spread on a skillet is what we picture authentic hash browns to look like, even with patties and cubes being part of the showcase. We love nothing more than seeing a nest-like creation heading to the table, golden brown and piping hot. Could we count on Kroger to come through with such an iteration?

High fives all around the table for the Kroger team that came up with this hash brown heaven! These potato pieces exceeded our expectations, especially for a store-brand bag. The shreds were separated enough to give the crispy-shell-with-a-soft-heart perfection we were hoping for in every bag, with a mellow potato flavor that let us enjoy the fun fried taste and crisp exterior without distraction. Without a question, Kroger Country Style Shredded will become our go-to frozen hash browns from here on. We'd be surprised if we were alone in that stance.

Methodology

various hash brown brands
various hash brown brands - Steven Luna/Mashed

We started with the bigger names in the hash brown game, favorites like Ore-Ida and McCain, then sought out store label options from grocery biggies Walmart, Kroger, and Albertsons. Some brands offer only shredded, while others provide patties, cubes, and O'Brien style, cubes with a blend of onions and peppers added for flavor. Once we had our picks, we noted which cooked quickest and best before sampling each package for taste, texture, and overall enjoyment using factors like how well the hash held up under heat and whether patty, shredded, or cubed form fared better than others.

Read the original article on Mashed.