Weeknight Cooking

How to Make Breakfast Hash Without a Recipe

December 15, 2014

Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Everyone loves a good breakfast hash -- here's how we like to use what's on hand to create an impressive (and quick) meal.

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I always have big plans for weekend mornings. I’ll spend the better part of the week tagging recipes for what I imagine will be two days of perfectly unharried breakfasts at home. There are dreams of sweet, spicy cinnamon rolls or maybe the flakiest biscuits imaginable alongside perfectly poached eggs. Or I’ll promise myself to finally attempt to make bagels from scratch, seeing as approaching weekends often have the ability to feel limitless.

That is until they actually arrive. Come Saturday morning I find myself, more often than not, struggling to get out of bed and letting my lofty intentions fall by the wayside. Instead, I stay in bed a bit longer, roll into the kitchen, and make breakfast hash. Uncomplicated and unfussy, hash is my weekend standby when I forgot to let the cinnamon roll dough rise overnight or buy heavy cream. Toss whatever you find in your fridge into a skillet, add a few eggs, and you’ve got hash. It’s reliable and just the right amount of lazy, which is really what weekends should be.

Here's how to throw together a breakfast hash, with whatever you've got:

1. Gather your ingredients.

  • You'll want an onion: white or red, it’s your preference.
  • Choose your starch. White potatoes are standard but any starchy vegetable works well: sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, yucca, or yellow plantains.
  • Make it meaty with sausage, pancetta, or prosciutto.
  • Add whatever seasonal vegetables you have around: brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, greens like spinach and chard, tomatoes, corn, or zucchini.
  • Grab some fresh herbs or spices: chopped rosemary, thyme, ground cumin, za’atar, etc.
  • Cheese! Try crumbly options like feta or goat, or melty options like shredded Gruyère or cheddar.

More: Get our favorite pan for hashes -- and just about everything else -- on Provisions.


2. After peeling your starch (if you want), chop everything evenly into bite-sized pieces -- we went for 1/2 inch.


3. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil in an oven-proof, heavy skillet (cast iron or forged iron is best) and heat to medium-high on the stove. If using meat, toss it into the skillet. Once it's browned, remove it with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel.


4. Next, cook the vegetables. Toss in the diced onion and starch first. Sauté until just softened, and then add your other vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, and any other fresh herbs or spices you like. Turn down the heat to medium and sizzle until everything is cooked through and caramelized. Add the cooked meat back in if using, then check for seasoning.


5. Make indentations in the hash for your eggs. Crack an egg into each hole and place the skillet into a hot oven to cook the eggs until just set (or cooked through, if you prefer). Alternately, you can keep the pan on the stovetop, covered with a lid to set the eggs.


6. Once the hash is out of the oven, finish it with cheese, if you like -- it will melt from the heat. Other final touches: more fresh herbs (like parsley, chives, or basil), diced avocado, salsa or pesto, or chopped scallions. To serve, scoop out an egg or two with some of the hash. (Or, instead of baking the eggs in the hash, you can poach or fry the eggs separately, plate your hash, and place the egg on top -- but isn't it nice to have just one pan to clean?)

We're looking for contributors! Email [email protected] and tell us the dish you could make in your sleep, without a recipe. Check out what we've already covered.

Photos by Bobbi Lin

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Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.


marmar November 17, 2016
I love making this but I always end up over-cooking the eggs. Any advice?
Jeff P. November 19, 2016
Hi Marmar, next time you make it, use a timer for how long you cook the eggs—I would guess 12-15 minutes initially (but haven't checked it!). Based on how the eggs come out, make a note on how long you'd cook them the next time, shaving a few minutes off if still over-cooked, and then "trust the timer" on pulling them out. The eggs will continue to cook a little bit after you take the pan off-heat or out of the oven.
HDeffenbaugh March 28, 2016
I love the simplicity. Mu got to has always been a scramble with whatever I can find In the fridge. This is a great elevated alternative to the scramble. As you said, my weekend breakfast ideas never become what I conjure up in my head...they instead become the same old thing. This will help me take the go-to staple and try it a little differently.
Daniel H. September 6, 2015
Just when breakfast was getting to be a chore, thanks, mix it up and make it look irresistibly sexy. Great photography, I could almost smell bacon from just reading this article. That's Home Cooking!
AlexisMW December 24, 2014
On-the-fly hashes are not just for breakfast - I make a hash nearly every other week for a quick dinner!
SJ December 18, 2014
For a long time I would do all kinds of variations of egg in a hole/ egg pockets, whatever you call them. But lately, I've been doing savory french toast, eggs, milk/cream/half or half, salt, pepper, garlic chili puree I add to everything, nutmeg, grated cheese and chopped herbs. Whatever bread you want, pan fried in a bit of oil. Delicious! I'm going to try the hash tomorrow with sweet potatoes and kale;).
John December 16, 2014
I know what I'm having for breakfast this weekend...
Justin December 16, 2014
This looks awesome with the bacon. I love recipes that don't need a recipe. :)

I just posted a similar breakfast sweet potato hash on my blog - http://saltpepperskillet.com/recipes/breakfast-sweet-potato-hash-recipe/