Fifteen Ways to Turn Your Baked Potato Into an Amazing Complete Meal


------ How to Bake a Potato ------

  • Adjust the rack in your oven to the middle position; preheat to 450 degrees F.

  • Rinse and scrub each potato under COLD running water, using a stiff brush. Remember, most of the nutrients of the potato are directly under that yummy crisp and salty skin (which you will be eating). You’ll want those guys to be clean.

  • Prick each potato 3 or 4 times on top and bottom—this keeps them from exploding in the oven! Place directly on the oven rack
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Brush with olive oil (not butter) and bake 10 minutes more. The internal temperature of the potatoes should be 205 degrees F. (Bonus--if you use an instant-read thermometer, not only are you getting an accurate reading of the temperature of the potato, you are also able to tell if the potato is "done" by how easily the probe slides into the potato.
  • Don't forget to protect your fingers with a potholder--those are HOT potatoes!

It's Almost Perfect!

Could the baked potato be the world’s most perfect food?

Think about it--one large potato costs less than a dollar. It's an inexpensive, filling, nutritious and easy-to-make food in the college dorm*, a handy dinner for one, or even comfort food for an upset tummy. (Bet you didn't know that).

But that's not all. Multiply the number of potatoes, add a few simple toppings, and you have an easy weeknight dinner for your family. Here are fifteen ideas to inspire you.

*NOTE: Yes I know that dorm potatoes are microwaved, not baked. However, even though a microwaved potato is not perfect, it is better for you than a bag of popcorn.

And Two Very Important Rules

  • NEVER EVER wrap your potatoes in foil. If you do you will have steamed, not baked, potatoes.

  • AND, always used russet potatoes; Yukon golds, reds, and other "new" potatoes are waxy, not starchy and so will never produce a potato with a crisp outer skin and fluffy interior.



(2) The Nacho

  • salsa
  • shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • sour cream
  • diced avocado

(4) The Julia Child

  • one beautiful poached egg
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Fifteen Baked Potato Meal Ideas


(1) The Greek

  • diced tomato
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • minced Kalamata olives

(3) The George W. Bush Special

  • steamed broccoli florets
  • low-fat Cheddar cheese sauce from Cooking Light Magazine (see below):

The Meaty Ones

(5) NFL Special

  • grated Cheddar Cheese
  • chili (canned or Carb Diva Un-Meaty Vegetarian Chili, see insert to the right))

sloppy joe mix
sloppy joe mix

(6) Messy Potato (topped with Easy Sloppy Joe Mix)

  • 1 pound ground turkey (93 percent lean)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook turkey in large saute pan over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

* What is Poutine?

Poutine is a French-Canadian classic that is served across Canada--a hearty dish of french fries, fresh cheese curds, and brown gravy.

(7) Lazy Poutine*

  • jar or leftover beef gravy
  • cheese curds

(8) The Gobbler

  • leftover turkey, chopped
  • leftover turkey gravy

burger with onions, cheese, pickle
burger with onions, cheese, pickle | Source

(9) The Burger Lover's Potato

  • broiled hamburger patty, crumbled
  • minced onion
  • grated Cheddar cheese
  • diced dill pickle

(10) Summer Fun

  • BBQ pulled pork
  • cole slaw

Recipe for pulled pork and slaw are to the right.

(11) New York City
(amount needed for 1 potato)

  • 1/2 cup diced cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie is GREAT for this!)
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) buffalo hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled bleu cheese

Heat chicken in microwave. Toss with melted butter and buffalo hot sauce. Spoon on top of potato and garnish with crumbled bleu cheese.

cooked shrimp
cooked shrimp
baked salmon
baked salmon
smoked salmon
smoked salmon | Source

Catch of the Day

(12) Dinner in Tuscany

  • cooked shrimp
  • jarred, homemade, or deli alfredo sauce
  • grated Parmesan cheese

(13) The French Café

  • Baked or poached salmon
  • sour cream
  • minced chives

(14) The Deli Special

  • smoked salmon
  • capers, rinsed and drained
  • sour cream

(15) The Tuna Melt

  • Two 6 ounce cans water-packed tuna, drained and broken up with a fork
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain (not yellow or Dijon) mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven broiler and set the oven rack to 5 inches from the heat source. Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Evenly distribute over 4 baked and split potatoes. Top each with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Watch carefully so that it does not burn.

So, There You Have It

Fifteen ideas for topping a hot baked potato to turn a simple side dish into a hearty meal. Do any of these sound interesting?

It's Your Turn to Vote

Which of these ideas might you try?

See results without voting

© 2016 Linda Lum

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Comments 14 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 7 months ago from Central Florida

Recipes 1, 2, 3, 7 and 12 appeal to me.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 7 months ago from Washington State, USA Author

bravewarrior - I am glad that you found this hub and that it has given you some ideas for cooking for 1 or 2.

I have no problem with red skinned potatoes. They cook up sweet and creamy. Not the texture that I typically crave when having a baked potato, but if you like them, go for it! Which topping(s) might you choose?

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 7 months ago from Central Florida

What a wonderful idea! This is perfect for me. I don't cook much anymore because it's just me and my son, who's not home much. So when I cook I end up eating leftovers for a week!

I do, however, use red potatoes. I poke holes in them but don't put any oil on them. The skins come out crispy and the centers tender. As I've mentioned before, I just don't care for the grainy texture of russet or Idaho potatoes.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 8 months ago from Washington State, USA Author

Hi Flourish - I see that you have also created a new hub. I'm totally brain numb right now (drove across State and back in two days), and so am saving it for my morning coffee tomorrow. I always love your tunes hubs.

As for the baked potato--I'm on your side (of course. I wrote an entire hub on potatoes!). I must confess that I have not tried all of the options I presented above. But I know enough about cooking to know what ingredients and flavors work well together, and what proportions are needed.

Thanks for stopping by.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 8 months ago from USA

I love this! I've never met a baked potato I didn't like. Very creative dress up ideas.

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RenWrites 8 months ago from Caribbean

@carb diva good morning to you too. Yes I'm new and I must say I like it here. Thanks. I was doing a piece on jerked chicken last night, fell asleep and the entire thing got deleted. Will definitely do it over.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 8 months ago from Washington State, USA Author

RenWrites - Good morning and welcome to Hub pages. I see that you are new. I hope that you enjoy what you find here. Looking forward to seeing something from you. Thank you for your comments.

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RenWrites 8 months ago from Caribbean

This sounds really delicious and I looooove potato so I will have to try. Thanks.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 8 months ago from Washington State, USA Author

Eric, I do hope that you find the time to try one of these recipes for your family. The chili or sloppy joe version seems to always be a hit with kids.

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 8 months ago from Washington State, USA Author

Bill, I agree. A baked potato is pure comfort food.

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Wonderful ideas and delicious sounding recipes. I love a good potato perhaps I will treat my family to a couple of these.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

I am such a simple man. Give me a baked potato with butter and color me content. You know the way to this man's heart. :)

Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 8 months ago from Washington State, USA Author

Audrey - Thank you. I knew we were kindred spirits. I LOVE baked potatoes. We had then shrimp/alfredo version tonight. Thanks for stopping by.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 8 months ago from California

This is one of my absolute favorite foods on earth--and I learned something new--I had always used foil, but what you say makes real sense!

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