I Compared 3 Hash Browns From Canadian Fast Food Chains & I Have A New Fav Breakfast Treat

Fried potatoes first thing in the morning? Yes, please!

A hand holding a brown paper bag with a hash brown peeking out of the top. A red and white paper bag with a golden yellow hash brown peeking out of the top. A hand holding a brown paper bag soaked with grease and a golden yellow hash brown peaking out of the top.

A hash brown from A&W. Middle: A hash brown from McDonald's. Right: A hash brown from Tim Hortons.

Hash browns are a delightful breakfast treat, and I love picking one up whenever I grab a breakfast sandwich or a breakfast wrap from fast food chains because whoever decided fried potatoes are what we need in the morning was a genius.

Other than McDonald's, I couldn't actually name any other fast food restaurants that made hash browns, so after doing some research I was very surprised to learn that Tim Hortons and A&W also offer the breakfast item.

With that in mind, I set out to the three restaurants to try each of their offerings to see which hash brown reigns supreme, and to be honest, they're all pretty good (fried potato is hard to get wrong, in my opinion), but one takes the win for sure.

Tim Hortons' hash brown

A hash brown from Tim Hortons that costs $2.09.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

As you can see in the picture, the Tim Hortons hash brown is a bit of a greasy beast as it soaked through quite a bit of the wrapper, which I'll admit wasn't the most visually appealing thing I've ever seen and had me worried that it would just taste of oil.

Despite its appearance (or perhaps because of it?) it actually tastes pretty good and I found it to be satisfying, but it does have a bit of a rubbery, crumbly texture and there was grease all over my fingers after I broke it apart (my lips actually felt like I'd put on Vaseline after taking a bite from it). If I were to order one of these again, I think I'd pat it down with a napkin to absorb any of the excess oil before eating it.

If I was hungover, this is exactly what I'd want to soak up the booze in my system alongside a giant Diet Coke.

"Made with real, seasoned diced potato, cooked to golden brown crispy perfection - you’ll be back for more," says Tims of this item, and they're right — I'd order this again to go with an everything bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese, which is the perfect Timmies bagel order, in my opinion.

The fairly good taste of the hash brown outweighs how greasy it is, so for that reason, I'm giving it a passing grade!

Rating: 3/5

Price: $2.09

McDonald's hash brown

A hash brown from Tim Hortons that costs $2.51.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

I was pleased to see that the McDonald's hash brown was nowhere near as greasy as the Tim Hortons offering and when I picked it up, it also didn't leave excess oil on my fingers.

I found this item to have a really nice crunch that was super satisfying while the inside had more of a fluffy texture, which made for a pleasant contrast.

This hash brown definitely benefits from the addition of ketchup as it's a bit on the bland side, but I kind of like that about it in the same way that McDonald's french fries are good on their own, but they're great with ketchup.

If these were available all day I genuinely think I'd order them instead of fries as I really enjoyed the crunch-to-fluff ratio!

Imagine a Big Mac Meal with a hash brown or two instead of fries (or putting a hash brown inside a Big Mac)? It could be seriously epic. The ball's in your court, McDonald's!

Rating: 4/5

Price: $2.51


A hand holding a brown paper bag with a hash brown peeking out of the top.

A hash brown from A&W that costs $2.61.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

"Our golden-brown hash browns are made from the finest potatoes and cooked just the way you like them – fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside," says A&W of their product, which I found to be entirely truthful.

Like the McDonald's hash brown, A&W's product has a really nice bite, a pleasing crispy-crunchy exterior and a soft interior that's quite satisfying.

Where it beats out McDonald's is in the flavour; A&W's hash brown is really nicely seasoned and has a very savoury taste that had me going back for more nibbles.

I enjoyed it on its own as well as with ketchup and I think it might just be the perfect hash brown.

As well, this hash brown is available all day, so if you do have a craving, you don't have to wait until breakfast hours the next morning to pick one up.

Rating: 5/5

Price: $2.61

So while I absolutely would eat all three of these again, I'd have to say my favourite out of the group is definitely A&W and I'm sad I didn't know that they made hash browns before this taste test.

That being said, the McDonald's hash brown is the one I'm most likely to purchase again since I absolutely love their breakfast burritos and coffee; rounding that order out with some delicious fried potatoes and ketchup just makes sense!

When I recently tested out breakfast wraps from fast food chains in Canada, A&W's offering unfortunately fell a bit short of what I expected, but it did look very pretty. I found it to have a very sweet flavour from the ketchup they used that overpowered the egg, cheese and bacon. So, while I did enjoy their hash brown the most, I'm not sure it's where I'd be naturally stopping to pick up food, hence why I'm not as likely to buy it again.

As for Tims, I rated their breakfast wrap higher than A&W's as it's a beast of a meal that'll definitely fill you up (it has sausage, egg, cheese and a hash brown in it), but the texture in it is a little strange as it all of the components sort of meld together. After trying the hash brown on its own, it definitely tastes better outside of the wrap than in it.

After completing this taste test, I'm a firm believer that hash browns should be on all breakfast menus (and should be offered all day, if possible) because fried potato that's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside is a delightful addition to one's morning meal and, dare I say it, superior to french fries.