The Best Type Of Potatoes For Structurally Sound Loaded Potato Skins

Potatoes are a versatile, easy-to-prepare side dish that goes perfectly with meat and veggies. How about making a delightful and hearty appetizer or mid-afternoon snack with your potatoes? Loaded potato skins fit the bill perfectly. Restaurants and home chefs have been experimenting with loaded potato skins since the early 1970s, according to Eater, and three sources claim to own the inventions of potato skins, including R.J. Grunts founder Richard Melman, who said he heard a story from his brother about sailors eating potato skins for nutrition before he created the specialty; TGI Fridays also claims to have invented loaded potato skins in 1974, while Prime Rib Restaurant in our nation's capital says they got the recipe from a home-based innovator who learned from chef James Beard.

What started as a salad bar food turned into a game-time party appetizer at other restaurant chains later in the 1970s and then into the 1980s. Traditional ingredients include bacon and cheddar cheese topped with green onions or even chili, notes Eater.

Loaded potato skins are everywhere. But not every potato is right for making the best loaded potato skins — one kind of potato reigns supreme.

Use russets for perfect loaded potato skins

Russets are your best choice for loaded potato skins, according to Kate Shungu. Whether you bake or fry your loaded potato skins, the tough, thick skin of russets can handle loads of toppings and the cooking method without falling apart.

Simply Recipes says russets are larger than other potato varieties, meaning they'll hold more and offer heartier portions for the small army you feed at home. Russet potatoes contain more starch compared to other varieties, notes Foodie With Family, which allows for more consistent cooking times without burning, scorching, or overly drying your loaded potato skins. Need a scientific reason? Potato Grower notes that Russet Burbank varieties of potatoes set their skin very quickly, allowing them to develop more thickness before harvesting compared to other types. Once harvested, potatoes develop even thicker skins after storage, says Idaho Potatoes.

Have you ordered loaded potato skins at your favorite restaurant lately? Chances are good they'll be made from brown, earthy russets. Why not Yukon gold or red potatoes? While their flavors are delicious, their skins are not ideal, according to Simply Recipes. Thin potato skins can tear when you first cut them in half and when you remove the potato innards with a spoon. 

No matter how delicately you try or how skilled you are, anything other than a russet potato might not do so well with your hearty, crowd-pleasing snack.