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Posted on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 7 a.m.

Loaded potato crisps: the best bar food is homemade

By Jessica Webster


These loaded potato crisps offer the best of what potato skins have to offer, without the mushy mess.

Jessica Webster |

We’ve all done it. You go to one of those chains with table service. T.G.I. Chili's. Max & Apple's. Your eye is drawn to the enticing picture on the appetizer menu.

“Potato skins. I haven’t had those in a while. How do you mess up potato skins? I’ll try that.”

And then you find out how you mess up potato skins. Half of each piece is mushy; the other half is dried out. The whole thing has very little flavor. Well, except for salt. It tastes like a greasy, salty, mushy, dried out mess.

And who wants that?

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make my own at home, but when I saw Deb Perelman’s recipe for Loaded Potato Crisps in the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook I knew I had to try them.

It’s brilliant. They’re not technically potato skins. No, they’re far cooler than that. First, you actually use the entire potato. More importantly, slicing a raw potato into discs is far easier than scooping potato flesh out of a steaming hot spud. Right?

But the most important thing is that you are completely in control of the flavor. Choose a nice sharp cheddar or another flavorful cheese that melts well. Use your favorite seasonings to enhance the taste. I sprinkled just a little smoked paprika on the crisps when I put them back in the oven to broil the cheese, and the smokey flavor was a nice enhancement.

This recipe makes about 45 baked potato crisps … which is a lot. But since most of the ingredient list is just toppings, it’s pretty simple to reduce it to whatever your needs are. I just used one potato and reduced everything else by a third.

If you’re making these for a party, you can bake the potato slices, cook and crumble the bacon, shred the cheese, and mince the chives in advance. Then all you have to do is broil the cheese and top the chips right before the guests arrive.


If you don’t eat bacon, try replacing it with slivers of shallots, fried in a small saucepan with about 1/2-inch of hot oil, drained well and immediately salted. The salty crunch you get will nearly equal that of bacon crumbles.

We live in a town where you can buy delicious Zingerman’s pimento cheese every day of the week, and I have a hard time resisting it. It turns out it’s not just good on top of burgers, served with celery or mixed into scrambled eggs. It also makes a pretty delicious topping for this recipe. I used about a teaspoon per potato round.

Baked Potato Crisps with the Works adapted slightly from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 russet (baking) potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled and cut into 1/3-inch slices (I would choose organic potatoes for any recipe that calls for leaving the peel on.)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • smoked paprika to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (approximately 2 ounces) grated cheddar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4-5 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and grease each sheet with butter. Arrange the potato slices on the sheets and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the bottom starts to brown. Flip them over and roast for 10 more minutes.

If you’re not serving these immediately, this is when you let them cool and then pack them off to the fridge — in some Tupperware or covered with plastic wrap — until it’s time for their moment in the sun. When you’re ready to serve them, bring them up to room temperature and proceed with the steps below.

Sprinkle each slice with about a teaspoon or so of cheese and a shake of smoked paprika (or just some pimento cheese) and bake for 5 more minutes.

Top each potato slice with a small dollop of sour cream, bacon crumbles and chives. Serve immediately.

Then the trick is to keep from eating them all yourself. I warn you now: this will be a challenge.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 2:50 a.m.

We made these, and they were incredibly good. They were easy to put together, and the kids customized their own. Thanks for the fun recipe.

Jessica Webster

Mon, Feb 18, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

Yay! I am so glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for checking in and letting me know.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

These look awesome. I'm going to have to use these during my next family get together.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Ok Jess, I know I'm late to the party on this, but I want to make these. Why did you say to use organic potatoes when you leave the skin on? Also, what are "baking" potatoes? (You know you have to teach me about the little things when it comes to cooking)

Jessica Webster

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Lizzy - a baking potato is also called a russet potato. They're the big, brown oblong potatoes often sold individually in the grocery store. I've also seen them labeled as "Idaho" potatoes. And Sarah is right - that's exactly why I recommend using organic potatoes if you're going to leave the skin on.

Sarah Rigg

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

Lizzy: I imagine Jessica recommended organic because conventionally-grown potatoes are treated with a TON of pesticide. You can lessen that effect by peeling, but if you want the peel on...

Sarah Rigg

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

I used to dream about the Bennigan's potato skins but could never replicate them at home, so I am definitely going to try this (vegetarian style)!


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

"T.G.I. Chilis. Max & Apples." You misspelled all four restaurants in the second sentence. T.G.I. Friday's Chili's Max and Erma's Applebee's Restaurants get an apostrophe because it's short for (someone)'s restaurant, and so it's possesive.

Ryan J. Stanton

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

I got the joke and laughed, so don't worry -- your humor was not lost!

Jessica Webster

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Ha. Well, actually, I was combining the names of the chains for comic effect, but I suppose you have a point about maintaining the possessive apostrophe, even if I've altered the names. I'll make that change. Thanks!