Why this Recipe?
This recipe for loaded potatoes is perfect for many different occasions: inexpensive dinners, game day snacks, or even as an elevated BBQ side dish. The simple formula of potatoes, bacon, cheese, sour cream, jalapeno peppers, green onions, and of course ranch never seems to disappoint. Commonly you might see a loaded potatoes dish presented as a baked or mashed potato, but using roasted potatoes combines some of the top potato attributes all in one dish. You get the crispiness of French fries combined with the fluffy center of a baked potatoes. Not to mention the crunchy bits that are just an absolute treat. Sure if you are looking to make the ultimate Fully Loaded Potatoes, there is going to be a little work. But like anything, going the extra step is definitely worth it.Jump to Recipe
Watch How to Make Loaded Potatoes
Before You Start Cooking
Here are a few helpful tips for making loaded potatoes.
- The process for cooking potatoes will take about an hour. You don’t need to be standing over the stove the entire time, but setting timers will make things a lot easier for you.
- Cooking your bacon in the oven while you simmer the potatoes is a good time to get that step completed so you do not burn it in the 425 F oven.
- Always wash your hands and cutting board well after handling Jalapeno Peppers. Some people are sensitive to the oils. Wearing gloves, like these, is always a safe way to go.
- You could skip the step of simmering the potato in water with salt and baking soda, but you will not get as crispy of a potato.
What kind of Potato should I use for Fully Loaded Potatoes?
Really any kind of potato will work for loaded potatoes: Fingerling, Yukon Gold, Red, Russet.
Yes, you will get slightly different results based on variety, but this method works well for all of them. When it comes down to it, there are really two different main types of potato, starchy and waxy.
Starchy Potatoes include varieties such as Russet or Kennebec potatoes. When making loaded potatoes with these types you can expect a crispy exterior and fluffy interior.
Starchy potatoes take a a little more work to prep than Waxy Potatoes. You will want to peel starchy Potatoes. Cutting these potatoes takes a little longer and requires a touch more skill. And some pieces will ultimately break into smaller pieces during the cooking process. Most likely you will end up with a more rustic appearance using a starchy potato when making this recipe. But, these potatoes are typically inexpensive and if you are after a crispy exterior, Starchy potatoes are what you will want to use.
Waxy potatoes include varieties such as Fingerling, Yukon Gold, Red, and even Purple Peruvian. Really many of your more exotic or seemingly Gourmet potato varieties will fall under this category. When making loaded potatoes with these types you can expect a creamer center and a more upscale look.
Waxy potato varieties will typically take less work to prep. You will want to wash these potatoes well, but you do not need to peel them. Depending on size, you may need to simply cut them in half or quarter them. Larger Yukon Golds may need to be cut into 6 or 8 pieces. Waxy Potato varieties will usually be more expensive than starchy types, but if your goal is to use something a little more exotic and be visually appealing then these are for you.
Selecting ingredients for Fully Loaded Potatoes
Most bacons will work well for loaded potatoes. But, I actually prefer a standard sliced bacon in this type of application. There is no need to get crazy about the details, at least this time. This is because we are turning the bacon into bacon bits. The thinner strips bake evenly and get crispy throughout. Thick cut bacon always has those few areas that seem to resist browning.
When making loaded potatoes using cheeses that are in the Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack family are the kind you will want to use. I would stay clear of and fresh or creamy cheeses. Typically I would suggest picking quality cheeses and shredding them yourself, but this is a recipe that using a purchased shredded cheese works just fine.
I recommend ranch seasoning for these loaded potatoes. For two pounds of potatoes you only need one teaspoon, but it does make a big difference. It is important to use it as a finishing seasoning, and not prior to baking to avoid a burnt flavor. There are a few different brands out there, but Hidden Valley Ranch is my go to.
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper are the other two seasonings used to make these fully loaded potatoes. If you are using iodized table salt in your home cooking, a simple upgrade you can make is switching to Kosher Salt. It just works better.
When it comes to pepper for Fully Loaded Potatoes, using freshly cracked black pepper is the best option. It may seem convenient to buy ground pepper, but the taste that you get from freshly cracked pepper is stronger and well, more peppery. Also, black pepper is a better choice than white or mixed peppercorns for this recipe.
Items you will need to make Fully Loaded Potatoes
These are items that I personally use, any items purchased through these affiliate links support this website.
- Roasting Pan or Sheet Tray
- Mixing Bowl
- Stock Pot
- Cutting Board
- Measure Spoons
- Metal Spatula
- Pepper Corer
- 2 pounds Potatoes
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda
- 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 Tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheese
- 1 each Jalapeno Pepper Sliced
- 2 Tbsp. Green Onion Chopped Chopped
- 4 Tbsp. Bacon Cooked and Chopped
- 4 Tbsp. Sour Cream
- 1 Tsp. Ranch Seasoning
- Prep Potatoes. Wash and cut potatoes into even size pieces, approximately 1.5 inches / 3-4 cm in length by 1 inch / 2-3 cm in width. Potato variety may dictate shape. If using a starchy potato, make sure to peel them. Preheat your oven to 425 F / 220 C. In a stock pot with cover potatoes with water and add 1 tsp of baking soda and 2 tbsp of salt, bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or until a pairing knife easily punctures a potato. Strain water and leave potatoes in the strainer to rest for a few minutes.
- Cook Bacon. While your potatoes are simmering, lay your bacon out on a parchment lined sheet tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Rotate halfway though to ensure even cooking. Then remove from oven and place on a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Once cooled, roughly chop.
- Roast Potatoes. Lightly coat your sheet tray or roasting pan with olive oil. In a large bowl add your potatoes and 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper. Gently toss your potatoes and spread evenly on your oiled sheet tray or roasting pan, do not to crowd. Place in 425 F / 220 C oven. Roast for at least 20 minutes before using a metal spatula to flip the potatoes. Place back in oven for another 15 minutes and repeat this step until potatoes are brown and crispy, total bake time should be around 1 hour. If it is taking longer, your pan may be over crowded. Having additional items in the oven can also introduce humidity and effect cooking times.
- Prep Toppings. Thinly chop Green Onions. Shred Cheese. Slice Jalapenos.
- Season Potatoes. Once Potatoes are out of the oven, transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with 1 Tsp of Ranch Seasoning.
- Assemble Fully Loaded Potatoes. Place Potatoes on a serving dish. Top with Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Jalapeno slices, Green onion, and Chopped Bacon. Serve Immediately.
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