Potato Skins: Classic, or with Shiitake Bacon Bits
Potato skins are such classic game day food that they hardly need an introduction. They’re inexpensive to make, hearty, and great for a crowd. And just like jalapeño poppers, the baked version is truly at least as good as the fried version, and makes so much more sense both nutritionally and logistically. If you bake the potatoes and cook the bacon (or shiitake bacon) ahead of time, perfect potato skins can be ready in scarcely more than 30 minutes.
Potato skins ingredients
Potato skins are easy to make, and they use just a few common ingredients. Depending on whether you want to make them classic or vegetarian, you’ll either use bacon or our shiitake bacon (or omit bacon altogether). You will need:
- Small russet or Idaho potatoes
- A shallot
- Extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- Bacon or shiitake bacon
- Sour cream
- Cholula or another favorite hot sauce
How to make potato skins
We love baked potato skins even more than their restaurant-fried counterpart. They’re better for you, and taste fresher while still feeling totally comforting and indulgent. The great news is, they’re much easier to make, too. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Choose six small russet or Idaho potatoes with nice, flat sides and bake them according to our perfect baked potatoes recipe.
- Cut each potato in half such that the flatter sides can become the bottoms of the potato skins.
- Scoop out most of the flesh and save it for another use.
- Brush the potato skins with butter and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake them skin-side up on a baking rack set over a baking sheet.
- Then, flip them over, sprinkle with minced shallots and shredded cheese, and bake until melty and delicious.
- Top with sour cream, bacon or shiitake bacon, hot sauce, and flaky salt.
Potato skins recipe protips
- Use small russet potatoes (also called Idaho potatoes) for their crispy skins, tender, fluffy flesh, and great shape for filling. Start with our perfect baked potatoes.
- Use really good butter. We love Kerrygold salted butter for its combination of great taste (it’s cultured and made with milk from grass-fed cows) and reasonable price.
- The wire rack really makes a difference in helping to crisp the potatoes, and it’s a great investment for lots of other crispy baked recipes and for cooling baked goods, too.
- Get creative with toppings if you like! Right off the top of our heads, we’re thinking French onion soup potato skins with caramelized onions and Gruyère cheese and nacho potato skins with pepper jack cheese, guac, sour cream, and sliced black olives. Go classic, go nuts, or go home.
- 6 small to medium baked potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good salted butter, melted
- Fine sea salt
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled OR
- 1 cup shiitake bacon bits
- 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
- Cholula or another favorite hot sauce
- Flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450°F with a rack in the center. Place a baking rack on a rimmed half-sheet pan.
- Cut each baked potato in half lengthwise. If there's a side that's flatter (which is often true for russet potatoes), cut so that the flatter sides will be on the bottom and the cut potatoes will be wide, shallow, and stable.
- From each potato half, scoop out some of the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh attached to the skins. (Reserve extra flesh for another use, such as Colcannon Cheddar Skillet Cakes or simply mashing up with a little milk and butter.)
- Brush tops and bottoms of potato halves with melted butter and sprinkle with fine sea salt. Place potato halves skin-side up on baking rack.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Skins will be crisp and lightly browned and flesh will be very tender on the inside.
- Flip potato halves right-side up and sprinkle some minced shallot into each. Top with cheddar. Return potatoes to oven for 5 minutes or so, until cheese is melted.
- Top each potato skin with a dollop of sour cream, about a tablespoon of crumbled bacon OR shiitake bacon bits, some minced chives, a shot of hot sauce, and a bit of flaky sea salt.
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