Mashed's Exclusive Survey Uncovered Reader's Favorite Baked Potato Topping

Humans have been eating potatoes for thousands of years — and somehow we aren't sick of them yet. Potatoes are mashed, boiled, fried, and double-fried. And then there's the simplest method of all: chucked whole into the oven and baked until tender. Baked potatoes are a favorite restaurant side with steak, roast meats, or as a meal all on their own. And then there are the glorious toppings.

Mashed decided to get answers to the question top of mind for baked potato lovers: What's the baked potato topping you can't go without? A whopping 25,000 people eagerly weighed in on the survey. Of the five choices presented, at the bottom of the list were chives-slash-scallions, getting just 3% of the votes. Interestingly, it seems like photographers often include those bright-green, oniony bits in their shots of baked potatoes, but it appears they're not all that popular in real life.

Another topping that surprisingly ended up near the bottom of the survey is bacon. BACON?! Even though it's a crucial component of any loaded baked potato, only 7% of respondents chose bacon as a favorite add-on. Is everything we believed about baked potatoes just a lie? Maybe, but one outcome that rings true is that butter came out on top.

It doesn't get better than butter for some people

Of the folks who responded to the survey 55% chose butter as their number one baked potato topping. Not only did it get the top honor, but respondents drove that point home in the comments too, calling for "lots of butter" or "half a stick of butter." One fan summed it up by saying, "Butter is the foundation of everything the US holds dear!" Other toppings in the survey might not be as dearly loved, but they certainly had their share of fans.

What's a baked potato without sour cream? Perhaps not worth eating for the 25% of the survey respondents who say this cool, creamy topping is a must for their baked spuds. It's also the topping commonly found on baked potatoes served at steakhouses, family restaurants, and even at Wendy's restaurants.

Coming in third place in the Mashed survey is shredded cheese, with 10% of respondents choosing it as their favorite potato topping. There's no word on which type of cheese is preferred, so shredded Cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, and taco-spiced cheese shreds are all on the table, perhaps next to half a stick of butter for folks to like both.