Hash Browns Vs Tater Tots [Are They Any Different]

Hash Browns Vs Tater Tots [Are They Any Different]

Potatoes are a versatile vegetable to work with. And from potatoes emerge two very tasty recipes, tater tots and hash browns. But are they just the same?

Hash browns vs tater tots.

The main difference between hash browns vs tater tos is that hash browns and tater tots are quite different in recipe but similar in taste. Here the hash brown tastes spicy and the same goes for tater tots. But the main difference comes in origin and appearance. Hash browns are flat cake-like shapes, on the other hand, tater tots are round and smaller.

There you go! A short answer to your question. But if you want to know more, just follow along with the article.

Let’s dive right in!

Hash Browns Vs Tater Tots – Brief Comparison 

Hash browns and tater tots, both are some of the finest and tastiest snacks ever made. They are a great way to start the day.

They are both made from potatoes. And their recipe is astonishingly similar. But even then there are differences between them.

Are the differences really that significant? Or are they just two very similar dishes that look a bit different? 

Here we shall talk about how the tater tots and hash browns differ from each other.

Let’s see a quick comparison table to see the main differences:

AttributeHash BrownsTater Tots
Discovery Year18901953
AppearanceFlat, cake-like shape. Small and round
Commercial StateHash brown is a general name. Has no commercial attachmentA proprietary name owned by inventor company Ore-Ida

This table shows you at a quick glance what the main differences are. But if we dig into this there is a lot more to know.

And I’m sure that you’re interested to know more as well. Let us discuss this further in detail about this topic.

Hash Browns Vs Tater Tots – Detailed Comparison 

From the table above we can see that the differences between the two aren’t as subtle.

Tater tots and hash browns have very similar recipes but different tastes. But the origin, intentions were very different.

Both are amazing breakfast items. Most places sell them in frozen packets that you can fry at home anytime. Just be careful not to burn the bottom of your food.

But what are the differences? Here we will try to see and analyze the factors behind them.

1. Origin And Invention

Hash browns are a very popular breakfast food in the United States. But its origin isn’t very clear.

Hash brown can be made from discarded potatoes that didn’t make it into the french fry cuts. That’s why it is assumed that it must come after the french fry was popular.

Hash browns were served in the finest hotels as breakfast from the 1890s. They were a very popular breakfast and they still are very popular.

The term hash brown or hashed browns was first used by food author Maria Parloa in 1888. There were also citations of using hashed brown potatoes and other iterations during that time.

The earliest notes found on processed hash browns date back to 1956.

In the case of tater tots, it was a much more recent discovery with respect to hash browns. 

Tater tots were invented in 1953, by the American food company Ore-Ida. 

The founders of Ore-Ida F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg were trying to find ways of using the leftover potatoes from french fries.

Thinking about that, they decided to cut up the potatoes and add seasoning to them. And they send them through holes. And slices of pieces of that mixture. 

This is how tater tots were born. The name tater tots are trademarked by Ore-Ida who is a subsidiary of Heinz.

2. Appearance 

The most visible difference between the two is in their appearance. And the difference in appearance also makes a difference in preparing them too.

Both of them are made from grated potatoes. Here are some of our favorite choices in graters:


If you set out to make some tater tots or hash browns for yourself, you can choose graters from one of these options. That’ll make the whole experience a lot easier.

Hash browns generally are flat and in cake shapes. They can be round, or square. 

Nowadays hash browns are used as patties in breakfast burgers. They consist of hash browns and eggs. 

Their flat cake shape allows them to be seared in a pan. The pan might slide off the stove, so keep an eye on that.

From the pan-searing, they get their golden color. That’s one reason they are called hash browns.

Tater tots are visually round. Although sometimes they can be cylindrical in shape too.

They are mainly mashed and then the seasoning is added. Then fried in rolled shapes. 

They are small and circular, which makes them easier to deep fry.

3. Commercial Factors 

Hash browns and tater tots are both very famous. They are consumed by millions of people all over the world.

But hash brown is a very general term. This recipe isn’t acquired by anyone. So the name doesn’t necessarily refer to a single company.

Hash brown recipe has been reinvented, modified, and sold by many companies over the years.

As for tater tots, they are totally owned by Ore-Ida. The term tater tots have become a general term to refer to this dish. But it is patented by the company.

There might be other companies making tater tots varieties, but they have to name it differently. 

There are also tater tots variants made of vegetables. Such as versatile cauliflower, which can be used to make cauliflower rice, and now vegetable tots.

And all the business that is done under the tater tot name goes to one single company.

Our Verdict

Tater tots and hash brown are unmistakably some of the most loved dishes of all time. 

They are both great foods. But the tater tot has a bit better originality than hash browns. 

Hash browns are now prepared and served by many fast-food chains. They all have their different ways to prepare and make them. 

That results in similar but hash browns with slight differences. And everyone has their own favorite version of it.

On the other hand, tater riots belong to Ore-Ida. There are also lots of varieties made by other companies. But it is easily distinguishable.

As for usage, hash browns are used with more versatility than tater tots.

The shape of hash browns allows it to be used in a different style. Also, the portion of a hash brown is also more presentable than tater tots.

These two variations of the potato are not very different from each other taste-wise.

So, if you want to go for a light snack, it will be easier for you to get a bag of tater tots, and fry them. 

And if you want to make a breakfast burger, you should grab a pan and sear some hash browns to yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are tater tots called different in the UK than in the USA?

Yes, tater tots like most other food items have a  different name in the Uk. Tater tots are called Potato Croquettes in the Uk.

What kind of potatoes are best for hash browns?

Russet potatoes are the best choice for making browns. Mainly starchy potatoes are great for hash browns. Red new potatoes have a higher moisture level. That makes them hold their shape better. And they don’t develop the crispy and crusty edges of the hash brown.

What is the origin of the name Hash Brown?

The word ‘Hash’ is derived from the french word hacker. Which means to hack or to chop. And the brown is attributed to its golden brown color after searing. So, hash browns literally mean chopped and fried potatoes.


We have reached the end of our discussion. Hopefully, you understood how to choose between hash browns vs tater tots.

Both are equally enjoyable food and hopefully, you can come up with a new idea to make them even better.

Until then, best of luck!

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