We salute whoever first had the idea to stuff all of breakfast into a single, large flour tortilla (credit, in case you’re curious, seems to go to New Mexico’s Tia Sophia’s restaurant, which put a “breakfast burrito” on their menu in the 1970s). With that one creative innovation, an entire morning meal can be eaten using just one hand, potentially on the go—though let’s be honest, a good one is likely to create enough of a mess to make it less portable than your average breakfast sandwich.
What makes a good breakfast burrito? The answer isn’t any specific set of ingredients, since a breakfast burrito is (and should be!) endlessly variable. Eggs are common, usually scrambled, and most of us would expect some kind of starch, melted cheese, a bit of meat, and a generous range of condiments; some nod towards Mexican or Tex-Mex ingredients and flavors is typical, but not absolutely required. Ultimately, though, any of these components could be altered or omitted.
Making a good breakfast burrito involves assembling some combination of these ingredients in a way that delivers a bit of each in almost every bite, while maximizing moisture but avoiding wateriness, which would make the burrito unpleasantly soggy.
In the case of this recipe, we achieve that by layering sour cream, guacamole, potato hash, bacon, and scrambled eggs with melted cheddar in such a way that the burrito will contain a bit of each along its entire length. It’s a pretty classic breakfast in burrito form, with the condiments adding a Southwestern vibe.
There are a few key techniques used here, aside from the specific way of layering the components. First, we pre-salt the eggs, which we’ve demonstrated before leads to more tender results. They sit while the potatoes cook, which is just long enough for the salt to work its magic on the egg proteins.
For the potatoes, meanwhile, we break with our standard hash method, which calls for par-cooking the potatoes in acidulated water. Adding vinegar to cooking water when simmering spuds helps firm up the potato cubes, maximizing crispiness and ensuring they remain in distinct pieces when they’re crisped in a skillet later on. That’s great when the hash is being served on a plate alongside other breakfast items, but it’s less desirable in burrito form, where we actually want some softening—instead of a lumpy filling of ultra-crisp individual potato chunks, we get golden and crispy hash that melts into the rest of the ingredients.
Lastly, for the bacon, we cook it until crisp, which makes it easier to break into pieces. Those pieces are important because they prevent the dreaded “pull” from happening, where you bite into a burrito or sandwich and accidentally pull out its filling along with a stubborn strip of meat.