Loaded Potato Skins

March 30, 2020 by Nicole Collins

Isn’t it funny how some things will always taste better when you eat them at a restaurant than they do at home?

I’m not talking about the uber fancy menu items like a wagyu steak or anything here, folks.

I’m talking about the simple things…like mayonnaise.

I’ve had this conversation twice in the past week, but there is something about deli and restaurant mayo that’s different than what you get in the store. Now, I love mayonnaise. Probably a lot more than any person that wants to keep their arteries clean should. And trust me, I’ve tried all of the brands. But restaurant mayo is different!

I think ranch dressing falls on this list too. Again, I’ve tried all of the brands and consumer ranch dressing just tastes different than even what you’d get from a salad bar at the grocery store.

Probably because the mayo is different…

Moving outside of the realm of condiments, there are some basic menu items that always taste different coming from a professional kitchen…grilled cheese, burgers, and potato skins all fall on that list for me.

I don’t think I’ll ever solve the mayo mystery, but I think I’ve cracked the code on another one of these restaurant glory dishes.

So today, we’re making Loaded Potato Skins!

This is such a simple and basic recipe, but it might just be one of my favorites. I LOVE potato skins!

I think what makes restaurant skins so incredible is the sheer crispiness of them. The crunch from the skin, the fluffy potato, the cheese, bacon, and sour cream…that’s what heaven looks like to me. But, I’m pretty sure they’re deep fried in restaurants, and that’s just too much for me to want to get into when the craving strikes at home.

So, here’s how we’re going to make our potatoes nice and crispy at with a heck of a lot less effort!

First, we need to prep our russet potatoes. Now, you guys know I’m “Team Yukon Potato” all day long, but it’s not a potato skin without the thick skin and starchy potato of a russet. We’re going to take a shortcut, though. Traditionally, you bake potatoes in the oven before you skin them, but we’re going to let the microwave do the job in a quarter of the time.

Next, we have to cut our potatoes in half, and scoop out some of the flesh. We need to be gentle on this part, because we don’t want to go too far and puncture the skin. But, we need enough of a well to fill up with cheese. A ¼ inch border is what we’re going for.

After our potatoes are scooped and ready, we’re going to butter them up. Some melted butter gets brushed on the skins and the flesh, and this is what helps to facilitate that crisping of the skin. A pinch of salt on the skin and some seasoning salt on the flesh are all that’s needed to perfectly season these hefty potatoes.

The real workhorse of this dish, though, is the broiler. The high heat of the broiler combined with the glistening, buttery potato are the exact forces we need for ultimate crispiness of our potato skins. We’re going to let the shells crisp up on their own for a few minutes, then we’re going to stuff them with lots of cheese and cooked bacon.

To serve, we need green onions and sour cream. It’s truly not a potato skin without the sour cream in my book. And, both items bring a temperature component with the coolness against a piping hot potato. Soooo good!

There’s nothing like an oven hot potato skin, but leftovers reheat surprisingly well in the oven. So, if you’re making these as an anytime snack for yourself (like me) as opposed to a feeding a crowd of family and friends, you don’t have to devour all of the potatoes all at once!

Though, I’d accept that challenge.

Ok, everyone. I’d love to hear if you agree with me about this mayonnaise scandal. I need validation!

Otherwise, let’s eat!

Loaded Potato Skins

Serves: 8 skins Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 small to medium russet potatoes (about 2 lbs)

  • ½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp seasoned salt

  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 green onion, sliced (green and light green parts only)

  • sour cream, for serving

Directions:

  1. Prepare the potatoes: Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave potatoes for 12-14 minutes until tender. When cool enough to handle, slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out of each half of potato, leaving a ¼ inch border.

  2. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place potatoes cut side down on the baking tray. Brush the potato skins with melted butter, and season the skins with salt. Flip over the potatoes so they're cut side up, and brush the insides of the potato with melted butter. Dust the insides with seasoned salt.

  3. Position oven rack to 6 inches from the heating element. Place potatoes under broiler for 4 minutes with cut side up first. Flip potatoes over, and broil for 4 more minutes. Flip back over to cut side up, and broil for 4 minutes. Divide cheese and bacon evenly between potatoes, filling the center of each potato skin. Broil for 4 more minutes until the cheese has melted. Garnish with green onions and sour cream, if desired. Serve!

Recipe notes:

*Positioning the oven rack closer to the heating element helps the potato skins get nice and crispy.

*I recommend shredding your own cheese instead of buying prepackaged shredded cheese for these. Freshly shredded cheese melts so much better than the pre-bagged stuff.

*You could cut these in half to stretch them as an appetizer. Everyone loves small bites!

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