7 Comforting Potato Recipes Perfect for Chilly Weeknight Dinners

Few foods have worldwide devotion quite like the potato. This humble vegetable stars in so many of our favorite comfort foods, it’s worth highlighting some of the best. No matter what type of food you’re in the mood to eat, there’s a potato dish that will meet your needs. Find your next snack or dinner side-kick among these seven recipes.

1. Crispy, Crunchy, Golden Shredded Hash Browns

close-up of hash browns cooking in a cast-iron skillet

Hash browns | iStock.com

Many of the best dishes require good technique rather than loads of ingredients. A mound of crispy hash browns is the perfect example. Made from nothing more than potatoes, salt, pepper, and oil, the taste and texture all come from proper cooking. Serious Eats uses a multi-step process for their basic hash browns and the resulting spuds taste fantastic. It might seem unnecessary to squeeze the potatoes in cheesecloth before cooking, but getting rid of the extra moisture will give you the crispiest results.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Shred potatoes on the largest holes of the box grater. Using several layers of cheesecloth, wring out as much liquid from potatoes as possible.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once shimming, add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to press potatoes into an even layer. Cook, without stirring, until bottom is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Flip potatoes over and continue to cook until second side is brown and crisp, about 2 minutes longer. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly. Serve.

2. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes | iStock.com

There are garlic mashed potatoes and then there are roasted garlic mashed potatoes. If you’ve never tried your hand at the latter, you’ll be blow away by the flavor of these creamy spuds from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. It takes a full hour to roast the garlic into the tender, sweet cloves you need for this recipe, but it’s so worth the extra time. You can even roast a bunch of garlic in advance, then store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Any extra garlic tastes great mixed into mayo for a sandwich spread or stirred into your favorite soups.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut off top quarter of garlic heads and discard. Drizzle garlic with oil and wrap in foil. Bake until garlic is tender, about 1 hour. Squeeze garlic from skins and discard skins.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to same pan. Set pot over medium heat and stir until a thin film covers the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, add half-and-half, butter, and garlic. Mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

3. Potato Gratin with Gruyère, Bacon, and Leeks

Scalloped Potatoes, Gratin, Casserole

Potato gratin | iStock.com

The only way a cheesy potato gratin can get better is by adding a little bit of bacon to the mix. Thankfully, Fine Cooking did just that with this creamy potato casserole. It combines earthy potatoes with nutty cheese and salty bacon for a dish you’ll want to add to your regular rotation. If you don’t have leeks on hand, substitute sliced onion.

This gratin is also really easy to adapt with different meats and cheeses. Try ham and cheddar or smoked turkey and Gouda. Just be sure to grate the cheese yourself because it melts much better than the pre-shredded stuff.

Ingredients:

  • 2½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into ⅛-inch-thick rounds
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces bacon
  • 3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces grated Gruyère cheese
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions: Position oven rack in the center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 3-quart gratin dish and set aside.

Combine potatoes, cream, ½ teaspoon salt, and some black pepper in a 12-inch skillet. Simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and gently with a rubber spatula, until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, 8 to 12 minutes.

In a medium skillet, cook bacon. Set aside to cool, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Heat reserved fat over medium-high heat and cook leeks until tender and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon into small pieces.

With a slotted spoon, transfer half of potatoes to prepared gratin dish, spreading into an even layer. Layer on leeks, bacon, Gruyère, thyme, and nutmeg. Top with remaining potatoes, spreading evenly. Pour any additional cream over top.

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and butter. Scatter over casserole and bake until bubbling, top is golden, and potatoes are completely tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit for 10 to 30 minutes before serving.

4. Hungarian Potato Dumplings

bowl of potato dumplings with parsley and a side of braised red cabbage

Potato dumplings | iStock.com

Anyone who’s ever made potato gnocchi knows they can be tricky. It’s easy to overwork the dough, leaving you with dumplings that are tough instead of tender. Food & Wine’s Hungarian Potato Dumplings hit all the same flavor notes, but they’re easier thanks to a larger size and less shaping. Serve them alongside any of your favorite meat stews.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (10-ounce) baking potatoes
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped parsley
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prick potatoes all over with the tines of a fork, wrap in foil, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.

Peel warm potatoes, then pass through a ricer into a large bowl. Use your hands to gently mix in the yolks. Sprinkle in the flour, cheese, and salt. Gently combine with your hands. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth.

Carefully roll dough into 1½-inch balls and transfer to a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Cook dumplings in a large saucepan of salted, simmering water. Simmer until fully cooked, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer dumplings to a shallow bowl, and drizzle with oil. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Sprinkle dumplings with parsley and flaky sea salt. Serve.

5. Bacon-Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes

two twice baked potatoes with bacon and cheddar cheese

Twice-baked potatoes | iStock.com

Everyone loves a loaded baked potato, until all the toppings are gone. A plain, unseasoned potato just doesn’t quite compare to something smothered in cheese and bacon. To ensure every bite has plenty of flavor, opt for twice-baked potatoes instead. We like the Kitchn’s stuffed spuds because it doesn’t require too many ingredients and the method is simple. Best of all, you can make these in advance for the busy week ahead. Just pop the prepared potatoes into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 10 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil. Scrub potatoes clean, dry, then rub with olive oil. Season with salt and prick a few times with the tines of a fork. Arrange potatoes on prepared baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork and skins are dry.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until fat has rendered and bacon is crisped. Remove bacon pieces from pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 teaspoon bacon fat. Cook onions in bacon grease with ½ teaspoon salt until onions are golden and caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice each in half. Scoop out the insides, leaving about ¼-inch flesh along the inside of skins. Mash potatoes with onion mixture, bacon, sour cream, and ¾ cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture evenly among potato halves and sprinkle tops with remaining cheese. Either proceed or refrigerate for later.

Bake potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese has melted and filling is completely hot. Serve.

6. Barbecue Potato Chips

Homemade barbecue potato chips

Potato chips | iStock.com

If you’re the type who likes snacks to be salty and crunchy, Taste of Home’s barbecue chips are a must. The recipe is also pretty simple. Just slice the potatoes, soak in water, then dry before frying. Once cooked, sprinkle on a simple seasoning blend. You’ll be in snack heaven after one bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, peeled
  • 4 cups ice water
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions: Using a vegetable peeler of a mandoline, cut potato into very thin slices. Add to ice water and let soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile combine all spices in a small bowl, mixing thoroughly.

Drain potatoes, transfer to paper towels, and pat dry. Heat 1½ inches oil in a deep skillet or pot to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Working in batches, fry potatoes until golden and crispy, turning to cook evenly. Remove to a paper towel-lined baking tray using a slotted spoon or spider. Immediately season with some of seasoning blend. Repeat with remaining potatoes and seasoning. Serve.

7. Herbed French Fries

close up of french fries with salt and rosemary on a parchment sheet

Herbed French fries | iStock.com

Upgrade your favorite fast-food snack by making Saveur’s fries tossed with Parmesan and herbs. You only need seven ingredients and a little bit of patience. This recipe uses a technique where the fries are cooked twice to ensure extra crispy results. It’ll be hard to go back to the drive-through after making these fried potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil
  • 4 large russet potatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped rosemary leaves
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped sage leaves
  • ⅔ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Pour oil into a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot to reach 2 inches up the sides. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add half of the potatoes and cook turning occasionally and adjusting heat to maintain a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit, until pale and tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove potatoes to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Transfer to fridge and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Increase oil temperature to 385 degrees Fahrenheit. Working in small batches, cook potatoes in oil until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Add rosemary and sage to oil and fry just until crisp, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Toss fries in a large bowl with herbs and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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