Kitchen Hacks

When Baked Potatoes Meet Nachos, Everyone Wins

January 12, 2018

Sometimes the simplest ingredients yield the most fantastic results. That's why we've partnered with Potatoes USA—to celebrate the humble potato, and all its possibilities. Here, learn how to turn a baked potato into a sharable vehicle for whatever cheesy toppings strike your fancy.

Sometimes the memory of a certain cheesy bread—crosshatched to create a loaf of perfect, pull-apart bites—crawls into my dreams. It probably has something to do with the twinkly glee of seeing such a craggy, melty, toasty delight come out of the oven. And the animalistic tearing and ripping to angle your perfect piece. It makes nachos seem tame.

If I squint a certain way, or maybe it only happens in my dreams, you know what the loaf kind of looks like? A baked potato—which set my alarm bells to ringing. Ding ding ding! Why hasn't anyone given a baked potato the same treatment? Crosshatched it, stuffed it with cheese and other good stuff, and set it out to share? Well guess what—we just did.

You're probably already familiar with the benefits of hasselbacking a potato (and lots of other ingredients)—very impressive, lots of caramelized edges, crevices for fillings. But when you cut your potato with fewer slices and then also cut it the other way, you’ve got all the benefits of a hasselback in addition to one very important, new one: That potato just became finger food.

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A Pull-Apart Cheesy Baked Potato is like a baked potato crossed with a French fry. Scratch that, cheese fries. Add more toppings and it edges into nacho or poutine territory. Now that we've finally thought of this, it begs another question: Why didn’t we think of this sooner? (And did you just wander over to preheat your oven?)

Photo by Rocky Luten

The fillings in your pull-apart baked potatoes could resemble what you'd find on your cheese fries or your traditional baked potato bar. Or, you could start with your favorite melty cheese (cheddar, Gruyère, mozzarella, blue cheese, jack) and dream up some friends to go with it (bacon, herbs, chopped nuts, peppers, scallions—you’re learning a lot about my dreams).

Whatever you choose, you’ll want your ingredients pre-cooked and chopped finely, as they won’t cook much once they're nestled in your potato. Cheese should be grated or cut up in little bits.

Here are just some a few of the combos we really like. Paired with a beer, they’re getting the party started. With a side salad, they’re dinner. (Need more balance, you say? Heck, you could purée some cooked broccoli and layer it in there with some grated cheddar.)

  • Mozzarella + lemon zest + rosemary
  • Toasted hazelnuts + blue cheese
  • Cheddar + chopped kimchi
  • Scallions + jalapeno + pepper jack
  • Bacon lardons + Gruyère + curry powder

Okay, one more thing we should’ve mentioned earlier: These potatoes come together in fewer than 30 minutes. Starting the potato in the microwave is a big timesaver, followed by a spell in the oven that's just long enough to cook the potato to creamy completion and to melt that cheese. To keep your fillings from burning, you’ll want to stick those into the potato first, and then top with your cheese.

We've partnered with Potatoes USA to celebrate the humble potato, and all its culinary possibilities. Whether you're starting with Russets or Reds, Fingerlings or Yellow potatoes, you're bound to end up with something comforting and delicious.

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.