Potatoes are everyone’s favorite side dish for a reason: Comforting, delicious, cheap, and versatile, that this starchy root veggie is a beloved pantry staple is a real no-brainer.
Of course, given potatoes’ popularity, you may think you’ve already discovered every way there is to cook them. Mashed, baked, roasted, fried — it seems difficult to come up with a novel approach to the tater. But given its mild flavor and texture that can range from creamy to crispy, potatoes have a few secrets in store for us yet. They can be sliced into new shapes, cooked in different ways, and even flavored with toppings you might never have thought of.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into discovering a new side to the potato, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the most surprising, exciting, and enticing ways to give potatoes a long-awaited — and much-deserved — kitchen makeover.
Hasselback potatoes are as delicious as they are beautiful
These accordion-shaped potatoes originally hail from Sweden, and the idea is pretty genius. By slicing a potato into thin slices almost-but-not-quite through to the base, you can make hasselback potatoes that take on all of the best textural elements of both a baked potato and a potato chip. With crispy edges and a tender center, they’re a delightful addition to any meal. Serve them as in this recipe, with a sage-infused butter, or top with your favorite baked potato toppings like bacon, cheese, scallions, and sour cream.
Poutine is French Canadian for jazzed up French fries
One of Canada’s most famous exports (aside from Justin Beiber and Drake) is poutine: a delightful combo of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. In this recipe, the far easier-to-find substitute of shredded mozzarella joins the rich gravy to give classic French fries a whole new look. This recipe makes your life easier by relying on a packaged gravy mix, but you can also make these fries with leftover gravy the next time you cook up a beef roast or roast chicken. The result will have even richer flavor.
Homestyle home fries for a potato lover’s breakfast
You’ve probably enjoyed home fries at your favorite diner, but given their name, it’s perhaps no surprise that home fries are delicious homemade. In this recipe, they get jazzed up with a special, super-flavorful topping: Finely minced parsley and garlic are combined and dotted over the top of the fried potatoes, adding a bright, rich flavor.
These potatoes are delicious on their own, but they’re even tastier topped with a soft-cooked fried egg. When the rich yolk mixes with that bright topping, it’s brunch nirvana.
Oh-so-creamy potatoes au gratin
Potatoes and cheese are a match made in heaven, as this casserole will soon show you. Au gratin is a French expression referring to the browned top of this casserole; this layer covers and protects the creamy sliced potatoes beneath, tossed with not one but two types of gooey cheese. It’s a delightful holiday side dish, but it also makes a wonderful vegetarian dinner, served with a simple side salad dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette.
Scalloped potatoes with bacon and leeks
Scalloped potatoes are somewhat similar to a potato gratin, but in this recipe, they’re paired not with cheese but with smoky bacon and sweet, buttery leeks. Seasoned with fresh herbs, the potatoes are baked until crispy on top and creamy within. The resulting casserole is moreish and decadent — a truly special occasion approach to the humble tater that’s nevertheless easy enough to throw together for a weeknight dinner.
Twice-baked potatoes are a retro side that deserve a comeback
Twice-baked potatoes are a classic steakhouse side, and while they’re not as popular as they once were, we think it’s high time for an encore. To make these twice-baked taters, first bake the potatoes whole, then scoop out the cooked potato inside and mix with sour cream, cheese, and scallions. Piled back inside the hollow potato skins and baked once more, this jazzed up mash is a delicious treat.
The easiest mashed potatoes ever
Mashed potatoes may not be anything new, but this recipe certainly is. The potatoes cook for four hours on the low setting of a slow cooker before emerging tender and perfect for easy mashing. And best of all, once they’ve been enriched with butter, half and half, and sour cream, they can stay warm in the slow cooker until ready to serve, so you’ll never have to worry about gluey and cooled mashed potatoes on your holiday buffet table ever again.
Easy homemade potato gnocchi
Gnocchi are an Italian pasta made with mashed potato, and while they’re somewhat famously finicky, this recipe will clue you in on all of the secrets to perfecting them at home. Cold cooked potatoes are married with flour and egg to make a soft, tender dough that cooks up in minutes, and tossed with butter, parsley, and cheese, the resulting dish is a comforting new approach to both pasta and potatoes. Once you’ve mastered gnocchi, feel free to play with the flavors: browned butter, walnut, and sage; blue cheese and caramelized onion. The world is your oyster!
Copycat Taco Bell fiesta potatoes
When Taco Bell did away with potatoes on its menus, fan favorite Fiesta Potatoes took their final bow. But with this copycat recipe, you can make these spiced roasted potatoes at home — and even do a better job than the chain!
Par-boiling the potatoes is the secret to having cubes that are coated with starch that becomes delightfully crispy when tossed with spices and roasted. Topped with a luscious cheese sauce, these potatoes are a comforting side the whole family will love.
Mayo-free potato salad
If mayonnaise is your nemesis, this is the potato salad for you. This German potato salad is tossed not with a creamy, mayo-based dressing, but rather with a horseradish-spiked, slightly sweet, garlic-scented Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Crispy bacon and tender caramelized onions finish off this rich salad, which is best served warm but just as tasty cold or at room temperature. Either way, you won’t have to worry about it sitting out on your picnic table for too long.
Make TGI Friday’s potato skins at home with just 5 ingredients
Whether you’ve made mashed potatoes or gnocchi, the question remains: what to do with all those skins? This recipe is the solution. These copycat TGI Friday’s potato skins are baked until crispy and topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and scallions. It’s hard to think of a tastier way to use up kitchen scraps — pretty soon, you’ll be making mash just to have the leftover skins to make this delightful appetizer.