Everything Hannah Brown Cooks In a Day [Exclusive]

published Mar 7, 2024
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Graphic collage of Hannah Brown surrounded by breakfast tacos, a teapot, a turkey sandwich, and a small dish of Creole seasoning
Credit: Photos: (headshot) Danielle Del Valle Photography, Shutterstock, Joe Lingeman, Alex Lepe

Hannah Brown can do it all. The former Alabama pageant queen has made quite the name for herself since being a contestant on The Bachelor, becoming the Bachelorette, and winning season 28 of Dancing with the Stars. She also has a podcast, New York Times-bestselling memoir God Bless This Mess, and upcoming fiction book titled Mistakes We Never Made.

“It was honestly an actual dream that I’ve had,” Brown tells The Kitchn. “I feel like I’ve had a lot of dream-come-true moments, but it wasn’t even anything I could have dreamt of. This is always something that has been one of those far-fetched dreams that I’ve had. I remember having a conversation with my mom about writing a novel when I was a teenager in early high school.”

Writing a romantic-comedy novel makes sense for Brown since fans have been following her love life since she first appeared on The Bachelor in 2019. “There’s definitely some Easter eggs of my own life,” she adds. “But it was also a way to really dive into that creative part of my life and into my brain and create some really awesome characters that definitely are inspired by different feelings and things that I’ve had, but create a whole new world for people to enjoy.”

Brown is also partnering with McAlister’s Deli in honor of their Book Club-approved menu for National Reading Month in March. “I am an avid reader, always have been, but I have a very busy schedule,” she explains. “So sometimes I am reading while I’m eating. The amount of probable smears on some of my favorite books of food is quite disturbing. But sometimes I can’t put the book down and I’ve got to eat.”

For this edition of Cooking Diary, Hannah Brown walks us through her favorite meals to make, the seasoning she always keeps in her pantry, and what contestants really eat in the Bachelor mansion.

It’s a Monday morning and you wake up. What’s on the menu for breakfast?

What’s on the menu for breakfast is whatever my fiancé is making. [Laughs.] If I’m lucky, he always makes us these scrambled egg, bacon, cheese, little tortilla tacos in the morning. If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably be eating some type of a bar and some tea. We are thankful for Adam [Woolard] and those breakfast tacos. 

Are you more of a tea person versus being a coffee person?

I am a tea person. If you would’ve asked me four years ago, I would’ve been like, I’m drinking four cups of coffee. I’m obsessed with it, but I laugh because I go to London once and I’m like, oh, this is who I am now. I’m drinking milk in my tea and putting my pinky up and having a scone. That’s kind of what happened. I took it all on… full force. I actually just realized that coffee was starting to make my anxiety a little bit worse. Tea is more of a soothing experience. So, now I’m an avid tea drinker. 

What about lunch? Do you eat lunch or do you skip it?

I feel like by the time I wake up and go work out and have my breakfast, it’s kind of like an early lunch, but it depends. I sometimes will have a later lunch. I do meal delivery services, so that’s normally what I’ll have for lunch. If I’m going to eat at home, it’ll be something that I can heat up quickly. Either that or I’m going out to eat to be able to meet with people during the day. That’s probably one of my favorite things to do, to be able to go to lunch with some girlfriends somewhere like McAlister Deli where there’s something for everyone because I am not really great at planning what I want to eat.

Do you have a favorite meal from ordering delivery services that you’ve had so far? 

Oh, I’m a sandwich girl. I love a good turkey sandwich; warm sandwiches. If there’s anything you can guess that I’m going to want, a sandwich is a good bet. It’s just comforting and cozy. 

What about dinner? Do you cook or does your fiancé cook? 

We will cook together. I only cook about three times a week. One of my favorite things is to be able to order something from some place that I trust and love that has options, and be able to plate it and make it beautiful, and maybe add some of my own sauces or dips that I have. But if I am cooking, I usually will do something where all the ingredients are delivered to me at my door. It is fun because me and my fiancé will take that time to be able to cook together, but it’s not like we’re having to really think of what we’re doing. We have a recipe card and it’s great. That is what I need. Sometimes the kitchen can stress me out a little bit, but it is important for me to be able to create nutritious good food. It’s been a good way for me to make sure that we’re in the kitchen together, but it’s low stress. 

What’s a dish that you guys like to cook together? 

There’s this caper-mayo salmon. It’s mayo-caper dip on top of some salmon and then some chopped up potatoes that are baked in the oven. And then maybe some green green beans with some tomatoes that we kind of sauté on top. That’s a go-to dish that we’ll make quite a bit. 

Credit: Photos: (headshot) Danielle Del Valle Photography, Joe Lingeman

What about when it comes to seasoning? Do you have a special ingredient that you like to use?

The Tony’s Original Creole Seasoning. My mom used that for everything… on every chicken meal that we had growing up. So I always have that Creole seasoning. Usually the one that’s the lower sodium or no MSG in it. But that’s something that if I don’t know what to put on something, I’m like, this is what I remember my mom putting on everything and it always tasted good. 

You were on The Bachelor and later became the Bachelorette. What did you eat when you were in the Bachelor mansion? 

So even cooking in the kitchen sometimes three times a week is new and during that time when you’re in the Bachelor mansion, you do have to cook for yourself. So I was in some trouble. [Laughs.] But sometimes the girls would cook for everyone. That was about the only time I was eating actual sustenance. If not, I was snacking on all the different snacks. Fruit was available and then we would sometimes have food catered in if we were going on a group date or something. But when you’re not on dates and you’re at the mansion, you have to kind of fend for yourself and make sure you’re cooking up things. But most of the girls were really great about it. There were some people who just loved being in the kitchen and they were good for everyone. I’m very thankful for those people. 

When you were on your dates, you didn’t eat, right?

You don’t eat the food. It was such a weird thing to do, but when I was Bachelorette, the food would always look gorgeous, but it was always cold. I would always be like, how cold is this? I had to touch it. You don’t ever eat the food that’s actually plated. You usually eat before because you don’t want to be talking to somebody and dumping your trauma and there’d be a big piece of spinach in your tooth. So I get why they do it, but it is kind of funny that, yeah, none of the food that’s plated is ever really edible. 

You’ve been on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Dancing with the Stars, and have written books. What’s next for you?

Oh my gosh. Well, right now I’m really just trying to be really present and excited about Mistakes We Never Made and really wanting to guide my audience into this new opportunity and path. I would love to continue on this path of creating great books for people to read, to really enjoy and then expand on different opportunities that kind of go with the book. I mean the dream would be to see Mistakes We Never Made hit the big screen as a TV series or a movie. That would be the goal — that people just get so invested in these stories that they want to see more of it. That is something that I would love the opportunity to see happen and just create more opportunities for people to get lost in the stories of these characters. 

Is there an actor or actress that you’d love to play one of the characters? 

Yeah, I see Emma, the main character, as someone like a Sadie Sink would be goals. But yeah, somebody that is young, fresh, but also can play a really dynamic character and is ready to get into that rom-com space because I feel like it’s coming back with Anyone But You doing so well. I feel like this is a great time and people are really loving and wanting to get back to those early 2000s times when we had the best rom-coms available. We need more of that and hopefully Mistakes We Never Made could be a part of that.