Why It Works
- A moderate oven produces a creamy, fluffy potato interior.
- Oiling the skin makes it crisp and flavorful, not thick and leathery.
- Scooping out the flesh and mashing it with butter, then refilling the skin, guarantees that every bite is delicious.
Reinvent the meaning of "loaded baked potatoes" with this nacho-style version, which includes sour cream, refried beans, seasonings, pico de gallo, avocado, and an easy, creamy cheese sauce, all using Daniel Gritzer's ultimate baked potato technique.
- 4 (12-ounce; 340g) potatoes, preferably russets
- Canola, vegetable, or olive oil, for rubbing
- 1/3 cup sour cream (80ml), plus more for topping, if desired
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup refried beans
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups cheese sauce
- 1 cup pico de gallo
- 1/2 ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, flesh scooped from skin, and cubed
If Using Only the Oven (see note): Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Using a fork or paring knife, puncture potatoes in several spots. Rub each potato with a light coating of oil. Arrange on a rack set on a baking sheet, or directly on an oven rack, and bake until a fork can easily be inserted into the center of each potato, about 1 hour. If setting potatoes directly on oven rack, set a sheet of foil on the rack below to catch any oil drips.
If Using the Microwave and Oven (see note): Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Using a fork or paring knife, puncture potatoes in several spots. Microwave potatoes for 5 minutes. Rub each potato with a light coat of oil. Arrange on a rack set on a baking sheet, or directly on an oven rack, and bake until a fork can easily be inserted into the center of each potato, about 20 minutes. If setting potatoes directly on oven rack, set a sheet of foil on the rack below to catch any oil drips.
Let potatoes rest 5 minutes. Slice each open lengthwise and carefully scoop flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the potato flesh with the sour cream, cumin, and chili powder. Gently stir in the refried beans until well-combined.
Scoop mashed potatoes back into skins. (You can refill each skin, making 4 smaller potatoes, or use all the mashed potato to refill only half the skins, making 2 overstuffed potatoes.) Using your hands, reshape each stuffed potato back into a classic baked-potato shape. Pour over the cheese sauce, then top with pico de gallo, avocado, and sour cream, as desired. Serve immediately.
Baking sheet, baking rack
Baking the potatoes in the oven produces only marginally better results, but takes longer. The microwave speeds things up.