Find out what hash browns are made of and if they’re safe for a gluten-free diet. Plus find out which fast food hash browns are gluten-free.
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If you enjoy big breakfasts on the weekend or special occasions, you may be no stranger to hash browns. Hash browns are a popular breakfast food that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
They make a great breakfast side dish alongside eggs, bacon, or any of your other favorite breakfast foods.
If you follow a gluten-free diet or are just getting started with one, you may wonder what hash browns are made of and if they’re good for you while avoiding gluten.
In this post, we’re going to answer a few popular questions about hash browns as they relate to folks on a gluten-free diet.
We’ll talk about what hash browns are, what they’re made of, and find out if they’re generally gluten-free. We’ll also discuss the scenarios you’ll want to be aware of gluten in hash browns and what to look for.
Later on in the post, we’ll go over a few brands of frozen hash brown potatoes you can look for at the store to help you make hash browns quickly and easily at home without having to lift a finger.
If you’re like me and love homemade hash browns, I’ll share with you my own method for crispy delicious gluten-free hash browns.
Finally, I’m going to answer some questions about hash browns you can find at fast food restaurants.
With so many places offering quick breakfast options at drive-thrus, I thought this would be a good place to answer questions about specific restaurants and whether or not they offer gluten-free hash browns.
What are hash browns?
Hash browns are a breakfast food that are traditionally served at big breakfasts and restaurants. This type of breakfast food is made on a skillet or griddle with oil and shredded potatoes are fried into a crispy, brown, flat pancake-thin food.
Hash browns can be made at home from scratch, served at restaurants, or bought at the grocery store either pre-cooked or potatoes that are shredded and ready to cook.
Some people even use hash browns as crusts for their quiche and egg dishes. The crispiness of a hash brown crust can provide some delicious crunch to play off creamy eggs in a breakfast casserole.
Read on: 25 Gluten and dairy-free brunch recipes
What are hash browns made of?
A basic hash brown recipe is made with shredded potatoes and oil. Seasonings like herbs, salt, and pepper can be added to the shredded potatoes before frying or after cooking. Hash browns made at home are simple and easy to prepare.
Restaurant hash browns are made with these same ingredients, but could potentially have added flour or starch added to the recipe to create a more crispy hash brown.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, yet many people have a hard time digesting it as well as having immune responses to it when it enters their system. Many people who experience side effects from eating gluten have either celiac disease or a food intolerance, and choose to avoid gluten entirely in their diets.
Are potatoes gluten-free?
Potatoes are naturally gluten-free and don’t contain gluten, as they are not a grain.
Better yet, potatoes are grown underground, making any possibility of cross contamination in the field practically impossible.
Read on: Are potatoes gluten-free?
Are hash browns gluten-free?
Hash browns may or may not be gluten-free. Hash browns made at home with only potatoes, oil, and seasonings are almost always going to be gluten-free, assuming the seasonings you use contain no gluten ingredients.
Hash browns from restaurants may not be gluten-free due to added flour or starch to create a crispy crust on them. This truly depends on the restaurant and how they prepare their hash browns.
One place to keep your eye out for gluten in hash browns at restaurants is in the form of cross contamination. If you are Celiac or extremely sensitive to gluten, you may want to steer clear of any foods that are cooked on a griddle that is shared with other gluten-containing foods.
In particular, griddles are made for not only hash browns, but French toast and pancakes, making the possibility of cross contamination with gluten high in most breakfast restaurants. Keep this in mind when considering ordering hash browns from a restaurant.
Finally, hash brown products you buy at the store may or may not be gluten-free. Again, added starch or flour could make this product not safe for a gluten-free diet. If you buy shredded potatoes or pre-cooked hash browns from the store, be sure to review ingredients lists and check for a gluten-free label before purchasing.
A gluten-free label will tell you if that product has less than 20ppm of gluten, a number that’s a required threshold by the FDA to label any food as “gluten-free.”
Read on: Are French fries gluten-free?
Read on: Are tater tots gluten-free?
Read on: The Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Breakfast Guide
Gluten-free hash brown brands
If you want to make hash browns at home but want some help from the store, you may want to shop for some of these brands. I’ve rounded up brands that have gluten-free labels on their products to help you make an easy decision when shopping.
Like most packaged foods, it’s always a good idea to review ingredients lists and package labels before purchasing. Ore-Ida has gluten-free labels on their hash browns, but they also note on their website that this can change from time to time, so stay diligent about checking packages before you buy.
- Dr Prager’s Gluten-free Four Potato Hash Browns
- Dr Prager’s Gluten-free Southwest Hash Brown Patties
- Dr Prager’s Gluten-free Sweet Potato Hash Browns
- Ore-Ida Diced Hash Brown Potatoes
- Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes
- Ore-Ida Potatoes O’Brien
- Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes
- Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
- Simply Potatoes Garlic and Herb Hash Browns
- Simply Potatoes O’Brien Hash Browns
- Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hash Browns
How to make gluten-free hash browns at home
Making hash browns at home is simple and easy. All you need is a few russet potatoes that have been peeled, a box grater, a skillet, and some vegetable oil.
Simply grate the peeled potatoes into shreds. Then preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and preheat.
Next, add the shredded potatoes to the hot skillet in either small circles or ovals, making sure its a flat surface. You can do one at a time or multiple, depending on the size of your skillet.
Cover the hash browns with a piece of aluminum foil and press down. You’re essentially helping to cook both sides of the hash browns as the side touching the pan gets brown and crispy.
Check the hash browns after about 3 minutes to see if the edges are brown, your level of doneness will depend on how you like your hash browns. If the color is to your liking, use a spatula to flip the hash browns over and continue cooking on the other side. Replace with the foil until the hash browns look brown on the second side.
Transfer to a plate, top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and serve with your favorite breakfast foods.
Are fast food hash browns gluten-free?
Many fast food restaurants offer hash browns on their breakfast menus. While many options from fast food restaurants contain gluten, sometimes hash browns do not have wheat ingredients.
Let’s talk through a few popular options here and help you decide for yourself if you’ll want to be eating hash browns from these specific fast food restaurants.
Are McDonald’s hash browns gluten-free?
The McDonald’s website makes it clear that their hash browns are not gluten-free. When listing out their ingredients, there is an asterisk for their “natural beef flavor” ingredient. This asterisk says their natural beef flavor “contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.”
There is also a “contains: wheat, milk” note in the allergen information section, letting us know that wheat and gluten are present in this food.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, McDonald’s hash browns are a food you’ll want to skip.
Read on: Are McDonald’s hash browns gluten-free?
Are Burger King Hash Browns gluten-free?
Burger King does not list their hash browns as a food without wheat ingredients. In fact, they call out on their website that they are made in a shared fryer as other fried foods that contain gluten.
Here are the quotes from their website:
“Please note that normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas and utensils, and the possibility exists that your food items may come in contact with other food products, including other allergens.”
“Products fried in a shared fryer include but may not be limited to: Fish Filet, Pork Sausage, Ch’King Chicken Filet, Chicken Nuggets, Original Chicken Patty, Hash Browns, French Toast Sticks and Onion Rings.”
Burger King notes that they “encourage anyone with food sensitivities, allergies, or special dietary needs to check www.bk.com on a regular basis to obtain the most up-to-date ingredient information before ordering.
Read on: Burger King Gluten-free Menu Items
Are Dunkin’ Donuts hash browns gluten-free?
While Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t specifically call out any of the items on their menu as gluten-free, their hash browns are listed as a food that does not contain wheat ingredients. That said, it is quite likely that this food is cooked in a shared fryer with gluten ingredients as this restaurant is full of donuts with wheat ingredients.
Use your best judgment about what you know about yourself and your own level of gluten sensitivity to decide if this is a food you feel comfortable ordering on a gluten-free diet.
Read on: Dunkin Donuts Gluten-free Menu Items
Are Chick-Fil-A hash browns gluten-free?
Chick-Fil-A doesn’t note any menu items as gluten-free. However, this food is noted as having no wheat ingredients. I’d caution you that their hash browns are very likely cooked in the same fryer with oil that is used to cook their crispy chicken menu items, all which contain gluten.
If you are sensitive to gluten and cross contamination is a real concern for you, I’d avoid this menu item.
Read on: Gluten-free Chick-Fil-A Menu Items
Are Dairy Queen hash browns gluten-free?
Dairy Queen’s hash browns are listed on their website as not containing any wheat ingredients. Like other fast food restaurants, they are not listed as gluten-free, because they are cooked in a shared fryer with other gluten-containing ingredients, like crispy chicken.
Depending on your level of sensitivity to gluten, you may want to avoid this menu item.
Read on: Gluten-free Dairy Queen Menu Items
If you have been wondering if hash browns are a food you can keep enjoying while sticking with a gluten-free diet, I hope this post gave you the information you’ve been looking for. Hash browns you make from scratch are gluten-free.
Hash browns you get from restaurants or in frozen packages from the grocery store will need to be looked at with a closer eye to where they were made and if there is any chance of cross contamination with gluten.
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