In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, 1/2 cup cheese, and salt + pepper. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide the hashbrown mixture evenly the muffin cups. Use your fingers to pack them tightly and shape them into nests or press down with a small measuring cup.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges have browned. Remove nests from oven and reduce temperature to 350F
Crack a small egg into each nest. At this point, add in any additional mix-ins (such as onion, pepper, mushroom, or spinach, optional). Top with a sprinkle of cheese and diced bacon. Bake at 350F until the egg whites set, about, about 12-15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.