3 Ideas to Heat Up Your Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are a time-honored and reliable side dish, adding warm and starchy satisfaction to a traditional steak or chicken dinner. However, they can easily get a little boring if you’re always just topping them off with butter and chives. Still, you’ll find that with some creativity and care, you can make this longtime supporting player a dish that’s worthy of online culinary arts school training. Here are some ideas for bringing bold flavors to your next baked potato:

1. Get the seasoning just right
Just because you’re striving to make your baked potatoes taste better doesn’t mean you have to do anything complicated. A tasty combination of starch and seasoning can make all the difference.

First, make sure you choose a large russet potato in order to achieve the proper creaminess when it’s baked. Before it goes into the oven, Bon Appetit advised making small pricks around the skin with a fork, rubbing on olive oil and adding salt and pepper. After an hour to 75 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, the interior should be soft and the outside crispy.

Slice the potato open, and throw on some more salt and pepper. From there, you can choose your own favorite spices. A touch of cumin or paprika will set your baked potato apart, especially when paired with your favorite cheese.

Closeup of a hot baked potato topped with sour cream, bacon, green onions and cheddar cheese.

2. Try unconventional toppings
If you want to make your baked potatoes genuinely exciting, you’ll have to be adventurous with the toppings. For instance, Serious Eats recommended using a vegan nacho cheese sauce made from almond milk, onions, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, paprika, garlic powder and chipotle. With some color and crunch from broccoli, you’ll have a truly memorable dish.

Delish offered a recipe for potatoes topped by a wild mushroom ragu, suggesting a combination of chanterelle, shiitake, button and oyster. The sauce, made using beef stock, onion, garlic, white wine, tarragon and thyme, will add plenty of flavor and texture.

3. Bake it twice
Twice-baked potatoes are a classic comfort food. Once you master a recipe for this widely loved dish, you’ll have a go-to option for turning a simple potato into a fantastic meal. According to The Kitchn, you should prepare fillings like bacon, vegetables, seitan or beans while the potatoes bake.

After the potatoes cool, cut them in half and remove the insides. Mash the potatoes, mixing in sour cream or Greek yogurt and shredded cheese. Throw in the fillings, and then return the resulting mixture to the skins. Sprinkle on some more cheese before placing the potatoes back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.

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