Kitchn Love Letters

This Frozen Breakfast Item from Trader Joe’s Tastes Just Like My Favorite Drive-Thru Breakfast Treat

updated May 4, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Masur

During pretty much every single road trip I’ve ever been on, I’ve ended up at a McDonald’s drive-thru at some point. It doesn’t matter whether I’m on the road for hours or days, it’s not a road trip without stopping for my favorite on-the-go breakfast: A bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with a round egg, and always, always, always a coffee, and a hash brown.

With road trips off the table this past year due to travel restrictions, I luckily found a way to fill the void at home in the form of Trader Joe’s frozen hash browns (the ones in patty form). While I consider them to be one of Trader Joe’s more under-appreciated items, I think it’s high time they finally get the respect they deserve.

Credit: Julian Montijo

These ovular-yet-also-rectangular potato patties taste just like the pièce de résistance in any McDonald’s breakfast combo. And I’m not alone in this opinion: Kitchn Food Editor Meghan Splawn has also attested that these are pretty much a drive-thru dupe. And at just $1.99 for a pack of 10, I find that it’s worth it to always have these in my freezer. 

All these perfect hash browns demand of you is a toaster oven, 20 minutes of your time, and (for me, personally) a pinch of salt. And before you balk that 20 minutes is too long to wait, please hear me out: A microwave simply will not do when preparing these patties. I learned this the hard way, when my impatient self had to eat floppy, soggy potato patties. Take it from me and give these hash browns the time they deserve to get golden-brown and crispy. The wait is worth it, I assure you.

Credit: Julian Montijo

Trader Joe’s frozen hash brown patties are perfect on their own, but I also like to enjoy them as little individual vehicles for fried eggs and avocado. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll “deconstruct them”(read: tear them to bits) and toss the crispy potato crumbles with jalapeños, cheese, beans, and pico de gallo. 

Until I can hit the road again, these will most certainly do.

What’s your favorite breakfast item at Trader Joe’s?