13 Things You Should Be Putting On Your Baked Potato, But Aren't

Potatoes are magical vegetables that can double as healthy shape-shifters. Packed full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, per WebMD, spuds can be portable, dip-able, or simply eaten with a fork and knife as part of a meal. Even though french fries are probably your preferred way of eating this starch, customizable baked potatoes should be on your radar. 

In the new age of Pinterest recipes and viral Tik Tok food hacks, boring baked potatoes are a thing of the past. With improved kitchen appliances and a general decrease in patience come more inventive ways to cook the perfect baked potato using Instant Pots and air fryers (or if you're Martha Stewart, beating it on the counter to achieve pillow-like fluffiness). 

Of course, a baked potato with salt, pepper, butter, and sour cream elicits nostalgia of neighborhood cookouts, steak dinners at Applebee's, and late-night trips through Wendy's drive-thrus. However, with adventurous toppings, a plain potato can make any last-minute meal feel like a Michelin star masterpiece. Don't even get us started about creamy decadent sweet potatoes! A general rule of thumb: If it tastes good by itself, it will probably taste better on a baked potato.

1. Guacamole

Sure, guacamole is great at your local Tex-Mex hangout with a side of tortilla chips and queso. That being said, guacamole on a baked potato transforms it into the ultimate edible burrito bowl. It doesn't matter if you cook the potato on the grill or in the microwave, or grab a fresh container of guacamole or choose to make your own. Simply layer your potato like you would your favorite Chipotle burrito bowl with additional toppings like pickled red onions, pico de gallo, sour cream, or salsa.

To make a burrito bowl baked potato, the ratio of toppings to potato should be so extreme that you can no longer see the base. The Loaded Potato Bar in Atlanta, Georgia, does just that with its selection of overflowing toppings. The Jay-Z with vegan beef, vegan cheese, jalapeños, black beans, and red onions could undoubtedly be elevated with a dollop of guacamole. Another option for your guac and potato collaboration is turning it into a big enchilada as Brixton's in Utah does. With corn, bell peppers, cilantro, salsa verde, and melted cheese, a scoop of guacamole would seal the deal. It's time to get experimental.

2. Marshmallows

Marshmallows and sweet potatoes go together like turkey and cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes and gravy. The concept of this unlikely food pairing wasn't a case of experimental munchie cooking but actually, a marshmallow company's marketing campaign aimed at home cooks (via Library of Congress). The first marshmallow and sweet potato recipe dates back over 100 years ago as a way to introduce a seemingly forgotten pantry item into everyday cooking.

It's time to move past the Thanksgiving staple and create a personal dessert potato. To whip up your own fully loaded baked sweet potato, slice a cooked potato in half and top it with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and marshmallows and broil it until golden. Not loaded enough to conquer your sweet tooth? This twice-baked sweet potato recipe on Tik Tok will do the trick –– simply remove the cooked potato insides and sprinkle them with (insert gasp here) Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust seasoning, then return the mixture to the potato and bake it again. Finally, drizzle a marshmallow butter mixture over top and torch it for a crispy crust. Are you salivating yet?

3. Nut Butter

A savory breakfast consisting of eggs, hash browns, or a chicken biscuit is a quintessential morning ritual. However, opting for a sweet potato breakfast can mix up the mundane world of waffles and gooey oatmeal. Eating potatoes for breakfast — especially the sweet kind — helps maintain healthy blood pressure, improve digestion, and enhance your overall immune system health (via Medical News Today).

Add more nutrition to your morning peanut butter toast by swapping it out with a baked sweet potato drizzled with your choice of nut or sun butter and other sweet toppings like chopped bananas, coconut flakes, pecans, and melted chocolate. Drizzling the cooked potatoes with honey and cinnamon would undoubtedly give it a creamy and sweet dessert-for-breakfast vibe. You can also turn this sweet potato breakfast bowl recipe into a twice-baked breakfast sweet potato by combining Nutella, nut butter, maple syrup, and milk topped with fresh fruit and granola. It's the perfect excuse to have more than just coffee for breakfast.

4. Ranch

Ranch dressing is man-made nectar of the Earth and it makes virtually anything (within reason) taste magically more delicious. From forgotten pizza crust to mushy fries and crunchy carrots, it's crazy to think that putting ranch on a baked potato hasn't been as instinctual as reaching for butter or sour cream. The possibilities when combining ranch with baked potatoes are endless, but there are two basic ways to easily incorporate the sauce into your daily potato ingestion. 

You can go to town and drizzle ranch dressing all over a baked potato and top it with bacon and tomato to add some BLT action to the all-beige background. The better option, however, would be to make a twice-baked potato and mix a Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet into the potato mash for a subtler and drier texture. The crazy topping train doesn't have to stop there –– one Reddit user recommends adding Buffalo chicken or pork with ranch dressing for a personal buffalo chicken dip in an edible potato bowl. 

5. Feta

Feta cheese can be divisive, and people generally either love or hate it. Made from a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk, feta is beautifully tangy and unique and adds a fresh amount of funkiness to whatever is graced with its presence. Cheese on baked potatoes is not new and your past experiences with the cheesy dish probably consisted of layers of American or cheddar cheese. Surprisingly, adding crumbled feta to your baked potato transforms it into an elegant Mediterranean meal packed with flavor.

Simply crumble large pieces of fresh feta over a russet or sweet potato and top it with black olives, arugula, and sun-dried tomatoes for a light yet filling dinner. Alternatively, load it up with feta, hummus, celery, tomato, and hot sauce to make every bite as crispy as a fresh Mediterranean salad. If you want to go big or go home for your next steak dinner party, follow the Barefoot Contessa's whipped feta version, perfectly plop-able on any potato.

6. Chili

One of those classic comfort foods built for cool weather and outdoor sporting events, chili is so versatile that it can be enjoyed by virtually everyone. Great chili comes in many forms, from multiple-colored vegetarian recipes to those made with the finest game meat or grocery store delicacies. The only thing better than warm chili is encasing it in a baked potato to soak up all the extra flavor and liquid, contrasting with the crunchy salty skin.

This is not an uncommon topping in the creative world of baked potatoes. Restaurants like SpudULike by James Martin in Great Britain serve potatoes topped with homemade slow-cooked beef chili with turtle beans, guacamole, salsa, creme fraiche, and cilantro among various potato-based menu offerings. One Houston food truck loads it up old school with cheese, sour cream, chili, and jalapeños. Meanwhile, sprinkling Tajin seasoning and broiled cheese on a chili baked potato create a satisfyingly gooey crust.

7. Pesto

Many dips and sauces are magical but homemade pesto is on another level. It's what you might imagine spring to taste like –– fresh, clean, probably organic, and hopefully lower in pollen. Plus, it can be made with assorted herbs and vegetables like broccoli and spinach to sneak healthy food into everyday meals without making them taste too much like plants. Plus, adding a dollop to a baked potato gives you the perfect pop of freshness and nutrients needed to get you through the day.

Pesto is only the beginning of any baked potato's flavor adventure –– add it along with tomato, fresh mozzarella, cooked spinach, and a balsamic vinegar glaze and you will blow any Caprese open-faced sandwich out of the water. Making a pesto pizza-style baked potato with fresh herbs, cheese, tomato sauce, and pepperoni makes for a kid-friendly dinner full of hidden veggies, while this baked sweet potato with broccoli pesto, spiced chickpeas, and red cabbage is a new and flavorful way to taste the rainbow.

8. Shrimp

Shrimp is that special ingredient that makes Southern dishes like grits worth every delicious and savory bite. Thus, having shrimp laid perfectly on a bed of baked potato is the Southern mashup needed at your next cookout. Sure, you could garnish a baked potato with a cold shrimp cocktail, but where's the fun in that? The right combination of shrimp and secondary ingredients on a baked potato can truly unlock a flavor rave in your mouth. 

Restaurants in the Southern half of the country love to incorporate seafood with this classic American comfort food. Atlanta restaurant It's Baked Baby supplements its massive baked potatoes with fried jumbo shrimp, bechamel, bacon, broccoli, and spicy BBQ sauce to fulfill all your fried seafood fantasies. Meanwhile, Nashville's One Spunky Spud is a dream food court feast that takes a saucier approach to a shrimp baked potato, drizzling it with homemade Alfredo sauce to create a beautiful ocean of cheese. You can also double down on the meat and seafood and craft a seafood boil version, like Mr. Potato Spread's signature crab pot potato with shrimp, crab, sausage, corn, Old Bay, and homemade garlic butter.

9. Eggs

Eggs and potatoes go together like pancakes and syrup and are easily the perfect duo for savory breakfast lovers. It's hard not to love a potato breakfast skillet that's drowning in cheese and fresh herbs, a breakfast frittata with spiced potatoes and ham, or a Bob Evans scrambled eggs and home fries situation for a quick greasy breakfast. Having long since indulged the two side by side, it's shocking that breakfast baked potatoes topped with eggs and other morning favorites aren't more common.

Of course, the easiest way to enjoy this new-wave breakfast trend would be to top your pre-cooked baked potato from last night's cookout with some scrambled or over-medium eggs, crumbled bacon, chives, diced peppers, onions, your favorite hot sauce, or even pesto. If you want to be extra (we certainly condone bringing out that wacky side), then try these Tik Tok lava baked potatoes rolled in bacon, filled with an egg, covered in cheese, and baked like a breakfast casserole. 

10. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are delicious legumes loaded with fiber and protein that can help control blood pressure and blood sugar while assisting with digestion, according to WebMD. While a bean a day keeps you healthy, adding chickpeas to your baked potato is an inventive riff on classic curry dishes without the need for an extra bowl.

Upping your baked potato game with chickpeas can be as simple as spooning leftover homemade curry on top. One Reddit user pointed out that if you typically put potatoes in your curry, why not do the reverse and add the spiced stew over a baked potato instead? SpudULike by James Martin adds chickpea daal to its baked potato, as well as crispy onion bhajis (fritters) and a tamarind sauce. If you don't feel like getting lost in the sauce, top your potato with crispy spiced chickpeas or Buffalo roasted chickpeas for a deliciously starchy take.

11. BBQ

It's hard to find a reason not to put barbecued meat on a baked potato — aside from the fact that its deliciousness might cause you to eat it every day until you start to feel nauseated by the sight of it. Barbecue options are endless and any type of smoked meat or even jackfruit results in dozens of flavorful bites. There are no wrong answers to what smoked meats you can or cannot pair with a baked potato.

There are traditional barbecue combinations to try like Texas-based The Spud Truck's baked potato with shredded pork, cheese, and bbq sauce, or an option with pulled barbecue chicken, scallions, and crispy onion straws. Meanwhile, Mrs. Potato restaurant featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" offers a Brazilian-style baked potato with seasoned pulled chicken and catupiry cheese. One Tik Toker even cooked a mouth-watering oxtail for their baked potato and smothered it in a homemade spicy barbecue sauce. Over in California, food truck Smoke and Fire creates a banging potato with cheese sauce, barbecue brisket, onion straws, and all the sauce imaginable. Time for a road trip.

12. Mac & cheese

Nothing can go wrong when pairing two comfort foods like mac and cheese and baked potatoes. The bonus about this all-star topping is that you can use any brand of mac and cheese, like Annie's, Kraft, Panera Bread, or Bob Evans –– or you can even whip up a batch of homemade mac and cheese if you are feeling bougie. Even if it's vegan, made with cauliflower or protein pasta, smothered in Buffalo sauce, or made with bacon and broccoli, it's going to be delicious. Try to mess it up, we dare you.

Mixing in meat or seafood can add even more substance to this already borderline-overwhelming baked potato creation. If you want an extra sweet touch, try a baked sweet potato stuffed with mac and cheese like this Tik Tok recipe that calls for extra brown sugar and cinnamon for a perfectly paired marriage of sweet and savory.

13. Shepherds pie filling

Shepherd's pie was born to live in a baked potato –– in fact, it's basically an upside-down loaded baked potato minus the skin. With disputed origin stories from Scotland and the United Kingdom (per Britannica), as well as Ireland (via Greatist), shepherd's pie is a hearty traditional pub food that warms you up from the inside. Historically, it's made from ground lamb or mutton, vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, gravy, and topped with broiled mashed potatoes to create a fluffy, yet crispy top. It's sensational, which is why there needs to be a petition to make shepherd's pie-stuffed baked potatoes the official food of St. Paddy's Day.

Constructing the baked potato is simpler than it seems and requires only a couple of extra steps. Start by removing the cooked insides of the potato like you would do with a twice-baked potato, fill it with your shepherd's pie meat and vegetable combo, and top it with the mashed potato you removed. The filing has room for experimentation, like our twist on Gordon Ramsey's shepherd's pie recipe with venison. There's even vegan shepherd's pie made with lentils that won't make anyone hungry with meat envy.