The Best Appetizer You Will Ever Eat

Yes, I said it. The Potatoskinadilla is the best appetizer you will ever eat. Bold words, I know. But I swear to you, after you eat the cheesy, bacony, crisp tortilla-y goodness of a Potatoskinadilla, all other appetizers will pale in comparison.

My husband and I discovered this incredible concoction -- all the goodness of a potato skin in a quesadilla -- at our favorite local bar, Dogwood Tavern in Falls Church. We were instant uber-fans of the treat, talking it up to friends, bringing out of town guests to try it, rushing to the bar for a late-night fix before closing time. Something about the combination of creamy mashed potato, earthy potato skin, melted cheese and crisp bacon all wrapped up in a toasted tortilla had us hooked. And we weren't the only ones who thought it was great: our brother-in-law, a restaurateur from Chicago, took the idea back to one of his bars!

So imagine our despair that one late night when we showed up and realized that our beloved Potatoskinadilla was nowhere to be found on the new menus. Noooooooo!!!! While the cook is happy to make it for us whenever they have mashed potatoes on the menu, I decided that I should no longer depend on my local tavern to supply my favorite fix. 

A "comfort food" dinner party that I hosted for friends this weekend (check out my blog, "How to Throw a Comfort Food Dinner Party" on Friday) inspired me to figure out the recipe for the perfect Potatoskinadilla. What could be more comforting than mashed potatoes, cheese and bacon in a convenient little pocket? And by George, I think I got it.


Serving: 1 potatoskinadilla, serves 3-4 people


  • 1 baked potato, medium
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • Salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • 3 pieces thick-cut bacon
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tsp chopped chives
  • 1 tortilla, burrito-sized
  • guacamole, salsa and sour cream on side

Scrub potato, poke several times with a fork, then bake it in the microwave until tender, 5-7 minutes, turning once. Let potato cool until can handle easily. Cut in half. Scoop out insides leaving 1/4 potato in ONE of the shells. Other shell can be scooped clean and discarded.

Melt butter in microwave. Brush butter on inside and outside of remaining potato skin. Season inside with with salt and smoked paprika. Cook under broiler, skin side up, for about 4 minutes, until skin is crisp. Dice into small pieces.

Add 1 Tbl melted butter to potatoes. Season with salt. Mash with fork.

Cook bacon in microwave one-and-a-half minutes until cooked but not crisp. Dice into small pieces. Finish cooking in small pan until crisp.

Lay out tortilla for assembly. Use a butter knife to spread a thin layer of mashed potato on one half of the tortilla. Do not overdue it! You want the flavor of the mashed potato without the quesadilla becoming too goopy. 

Then add cheese, bacon, potato skin pieces and chives.

Fold tortilla. Brush outside of Potatoskinadilla with remaining melted butter. Place in a pan on medium heat. Cook until bottom is a crisp brown. Flip and continue to cook until inside is melted and bottom is brown.

Slice Potatoskinadilla into thin strips. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. To serve a crowd, triple this recipe and assemble three Potatoskinadillias on a sheet pan. Cook under the broiler.

In-Between Tip: All my thanks and appreciation go to my favorite local bar, Dogwood Tavern, for inventing this deliciousness. While they may not always have the Potatoskinadilla on the menu, they have incredible Honey Siriacha Wings, phenomenal burgers, and killer Mac & Cheese Fritters to keep me happy. Read all about this great bar in my blog: "Dogwood Tavern: Where Everyone Knows Your Name," and check them out at 132 West Broad St., Falls Church, VA, 22046