With New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this week and some sport (football, I think?) on the next many weekends, I figured now is the time to share some appetizer recipes. I know we often have snacks and appetizers for our New Year’s Eve meal here. I doubt we are the only ones.
I originally made these a few years back at my friend’s request because potato skins are a favorite of her husband’s. They were a huge hit from the very first baking. They are fresh and crisp and oh so flavorful.
My kids say they hate potatoes and were very skeptical when I first made these, but they gave them a try and are totally hooked. I got “Yays” all around when they saw I was making these for this post. They have appeared on our Meal Wish List, and my son even requested these as part of his birthday meal last year.
Baking and scooping out the potatoes is the most time-consuming part, but the recipe itself is very easy and has some room for adapting to your personal taste. These would be a big hit for a New Year’s party at home or at someone else’s house if you have access to the oven to finish preparing them. They are the very best fresh and crisp from the oven, so I do not recommend baking them ahead of time and then reheating them later.
Serve these as a side dish with chicken or steak, as an appetizer, or as a snack.
Baked Potato Skins
For the potatoes:
- 4-6 whole russet potatoes, depending on size and amount desired (I made 8 small potatoes with 1 and 1/2 batches of the seasoned oil) If you have a choice, I prefer smaller rather than larger potatoes. They seem to get a little crispier and they are easier for my kids to manage.
- optional: canola oil and kosher salt for rubbing on outside of potato before baking
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (If you bake the potatoes with salt, you may want to reduce or eliminate the salt here)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
For the toppings:
- (optional) cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheese (I have only tried sharp cheddar), sour cream, sliced green onions, ranch dressing, taco meat, etc.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Scrub potatoes with water and a vegetable brush. Pat dry with paper towels and then use a fork to pierce the potato several times.
- Use your hands or a pastry brush to lightly coat the potato in vegetable oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt or roll in salt.
- You can either place the potatoes directly on the middle oven rack with a pan on the rack below to catch possible drippings or you can place the potatoes on a baking sheet to bake. I use a rack on top of a baking sheet for potato baking. Baking time will vary with size and quantity of potatoes. (8 small potatoes were done in 45 minutes for me.) Tip: If you want to speed up this process, you can cook the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes and then finish them in the oven to get a crispier skin. I recommend using the oven for at least part of the time. Potatoes are done when you can poke them with a fork and the potato feels soft inside.
- While potatoes are baking, make the oil and seasoning mixture. Combine the oil, cheese, and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When potatoes are done, let them cool briefly and then cut them in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the potato insides, leaving 1/4 inch or so of potato and skin. Reserve the potato insides for another use or discard.
- Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees. Place potato shells back onto a baking pan (again, I use a rack). Use a brush to coat the entire potato shell with the oil and seasoning mixture, inside and outside.
- Bake seasoned shells open side up for 8 minutes and then turn over so the open side is facing down. Bake another 8 minutes or until crisp.
- Turn potatoes open side up and, if desired, sprinkle with cheese, bacon, and onions. Bake two more minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Cool momentarily and then serve with sour cream or ranch dressing if desired.
*These are best eaten right away, but you can reheat leftovers in the microwave or in an oven. Potatoes will lose crispy texture in the microwave.
*If it works better for the time you have, you can bake the potatoes ahead of time and do the rest of the process later. You could also prepare the potatoes and rub them in the oil seasoning ahead of time and then finish baking and topping later.