loaded potato skins with a variety of toppings

Crispy potato skins packed with a naughty cheesy filling are a comfort classic, super-easy to prepare and can be scaled up or down depending on who you’re feeding.

Whether you’ve got a load of mates coming over to watch the game, or you’re after a warming dinner for one, here are a bunch of ideas to make them that little bit more special.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6, then prick your potatoes with a fork. Large baking potatoes work well, or if you’re after a canapé-style mix, use small floury potatoes instead. Rub all over with olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, then whack in the oven for around 1 hour, or until cooked through and crisp. Leave until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the filling and combine with one of the following options.


This is a delicious pimped version of the classic. Add a good grating of mature cheese, some chopped quality ham or shredded leftover ham hock and a little dollop of mustard (either English or Dijon mustard will work) to your potato filling and mix well to combine. Finely slice and mix in some spring onions, reserving a little for sprinkling over the top to serve. Comforting and just the right amount of indulgent.


Loaded potato skins don’t have to be packed with cheese – if you fancy a healthier version, leave it out and swap in sweet potatoes instead of white ones. Mix the flesh with this pepper and bean chilli (omit the sweet potato from the original if you like), scoop the mixture back into the potato skins, then serve with chunky guacamole, a fresh tomato salsa, sliced fresh chilli and lime wedges for squeezing over.


This is basically pizza in a potato. Make up a batch of quick tomato sauce – it’s a great thing to make in bulk and freeze, ready to toss through pasta, spread over homemade pizza or, in this case, load up potato skins. Grate over some cheese, then place under a hot grill until melted. Tear over fresh basil leaves and you’ve got an oozy filling to die for.


Super fresh, this loaded potato tastes of spring. Smash up peas with grated Parmesan, fresh mint and natural yoghurt to make a smooth purée, mash it into the potato, then top with waves of smoked salmon. Serve with cracked black pepper, mint leaves and lemon wedges. Delicious!

You don’t need to stop there. Experiment and find clever ways to use up leftovers – yesterday’s beef chilli, that last bit of bacon, smoked fish or whatever odds and ends of cheese. The possibilities are endless!