Cheesy Bacon Smashed Red Potatoes

I’ve laughed out loud three times in the last week reading a few posts online that have declared food staples in my life (cupcakes, for one, the horror) “old-fashioned!” and “snooze-worthy!” And it’s made me realize, as if I didn’t know it before, that food does not have to be flashy and trendy and all the rage to win me over or keep me loyal. Maybe they aren’t the most exciting things swirling around the food world, but give me cupcakes and slow cooker oatmeal and baked pasta any day over a recipe with 12 ingredients I can’t pronounce (or afford) or a recipe that started out promising but had to get over-accessorized. While I can totally swoon at and appreciate over-the-top recipes and dream of someone someday making me a gourmet, 7-course meal with the extra time I can’t seem to find (namely to wash all the pots and pans), I’m kind of at the point in my life where I want pretty solid standards. Classics that I’ll still want to make in ten years.

Basically, what I’m saying is: cupcakes forever.

And. Smashed potatoes forever. I know these are, like, so last summer, but these babies are incredibly delicious and they aren’t going anywhere – not in my world. The process couldn’t be simpler. Steam those red potatoes until tender and then smash them on a baking sheet and broil with several non-negotiables. Bacon and cheese, of course. Oh, and garlic butter.

Cheesy Bacon Smashed Red Potatoes

These smashed red potatoes have been my go-to side dish for three or four meals in the last couple weeks (served them with this chili-rubbed apricot glazed pork tenderloin subbing peach jam for the apricot – so amazingly yummy, and if I remember right, they also made an appearance with grilled hamburgers and then again with my one, true love: this sweet baked ham).

I heart them big time. They are versatile (see the notes in the recipe), simple and amazingly tasty. While others valiantly strive to take good ol’ spaghetti to a new level with jellyfish tentacles + burnt butter fig streusel + kale (of course), I’ll tuck this smashed red potatoes recipe away in my neon pink trapper-keeper to make for the rest of forever.

Speaking of classics, I’ve updated my favorite green chile chicken enchiladas with new pictures and a few extra notes. Yum!

One Year Ago: Homemade Nutter Butter Cookies {Simple Halloween Mummy Variation}
Two Years Ago: Whole Grain Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Three Years Ago: Chicken and Butternut Squash Quinoa Stew

Cheesy Bacon and Garlic Butter Smashed Red Potatoes

Yield: Serves 6-8

Cheesy Bacon and Garlic Butter Smashed Red Potatoes

This recipe is so adaptable - if your potatoes are really large, you may want to increase quantities overall (decrease for really small potatoes). You can add more or less of what you like and even change it up with a little blue cheese (yum) or other different cheeses and toppings.


  • 6-8 medium red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 slices turkey or regular bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Chopped green onions or chives for sprinkling


  1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water by about an inch. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain well.
  2. Preheat the oven broiler.
  3. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Carefully place the drained, hot potatoes on the baking sheet, spacing them a couple inches apart. Using a potato masher (or the bottom of a small, heavy pot or something similar), smash the potatoes until flattened to about 1/2-inch or so (it's really up to you how much to smash them).
  4. Melt the butter and stir in the garlic powder. Drizzle over the potatoes.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon. Broil for a couple minutes until the cheese is sizzling.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the green onions or chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed (I give a light sprinkle of both). Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (after my friends Hollie and Makita brought smashed red potatoes to a lunch we were serving and I couldn’t stop thinking about them after they told me how simple they were)

36 Responses to Cheesy Bacon and Garlic Butter Smashed Red Potatoes

  1. Sheila C says:

    I’m not sure I understand ‘boiling’ the potatoes to fork tender, as opposed to roasting in the same pan in which you’re going to ‘smash’ and finish them.
    Potatoes seem less flavorful, to me, when boiled.

  2. Stacy says:

    Wondering if you have any tips for making these ahead so I can just pop them in the oven when entertaining? Could I assemble them and refrigerate and then broil or do they need to be hot first?

  3. danielle says:

    I’m a die hard fan of your recipes. You always make me look good. Thanks for teaching me how to cook and feeding my family for years now. Many of your staples are now ours too. I am so thankful! Can’t wait to try these potatoes!

  4. Loretta says:

    I made this tonight, and we all loved it. I love recipes that have a big “WOW!” factor in taste and looks. This had both, and was easy to make, to boot. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks for another great recipe.

  5. Ellen says:

    Mel, I too read the post about cupcakes being “uncool” even for first graders, apparently. Not to be a total nerd but it made me really thankful that I don’t live in NYC where first graders seem to care about such things. Your site is a blessing to so many, who, like me, are struggling to creatively and affordably feed a large family three meals a day! Thanks for not being trendy but just being amazing!

  6. angie says:

    Even yummier the next morning with scramble eggs.

  7. Susan Leverenz says:

    I have stopped subscriptions to several cooking magazines because the recipes we either too complicated, took too long, or had too many expensive/unusual ingredients. Kudos to your website for offering those meals that the home cook/busy mom can actually use. Many of your recipes have made it from my “try” category to my regular rotation. Thank you.

  8. Jill says:

    Keep doing you girl because we all love it! Easy, fresh, homemade food that my family will eat wins over fancy and over involved E.V.E.R.Y. time.

  9. Andie Kjar says:

    WHO REJECTS CUPCAKES!!!??!!?!?!?

    I’m Andie. I’m 10 and I LOVE using your recipies. Can’t wait to try this one! 🙂
    I love potatoes.
    like, LOVE them.

  10. Pat says:

    You create some really amazing regular food that is delicious. Keep it up–leave the
    gourmet stuff to the food snobs and keep cooking for us ordinary people. Reading your blog makes me smile.

  11. Louise E. says:

    This recipe looks and sounds so good. Even though the ingrdients are simple, I’m sure this would be a much-requested sidedish. Potatoes, bacon, cheese, garlic butter and chives… how could that not be super yummy?! I’ll definitely add to my list of must-try recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I have been sooo in the mood for baked potatoes recently and these look absolutely amazing. Pinned and trying 🙂

  13. Diane says:

    Maybe I am the only one that was confused, but in the intro you said the potatoes are steamed, then in the recipe it sounds like I’m supposed to cover them with water and boil. Is that what you meant?

    • Mel says:

      Sorry for the confusion, Diane – in the intro, I basically meant the potatoes are cooked. I usually boil them per the recipe but occasionally I’ve steamed them, too (in one of those steamer baskets). As long as they are cooked and tender, they’ll work in the recipe.

  14. Sarita says:

    Trapper Keepers!! Bahahahahaha! You are my favorite.

  15. Jen says:

    Thanks for keeping it real! I love your recipes and even snuck-made myself the 60 second mug chocolate chip cookie last night after the kids were in bed!

  16. Becky says:

    Give me simple recipes or give me death! LOL Cupcakes forever, indeed! Keep the great work, Mel!

  17. Ruth says:

    Mel, this looks so good! It looks like a perfect meal to me. About those potatoes, something that I learned to do if using the very small red potatoes is put them in the pot, cover them with water, season VERY WELL with salt, and bring to a good boil. Then, turn the heat off once a boil is reached. Allow the potatoes to set in the water until room temp. They can sit in the water for hours without a problem. ( If the potatoes are larger, you may need to boil them for several minutes before turning the heat off.) Now you have potatoes ready to smash, whenever you are ready.b

    Extra cooked potatoes keep very well in the refrigerator for a number of days and can be used in salads and other side dishes, as needed. They are delicious even served plain.

    With your busy lifestyle with those precious children, this method may come in handy. I just have my husband at home now, but

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the tip, Ruth!

    • Liz says:

      What a great idea, Ruth!

      I often keep cut up raw potatoes, in water, in the frig – seems to help them crisp better for baked fries or lemon-roasted dices… but hadn’t thought to keep cooked as well. Some lightly mashed-smashed with some toppings makes a great lunch or dinner for me – thanks!

      And Mel – I’m with the others: “tried and true” … and the rest of your tag line. Flavorful recipes from good basic stuff!

  18. amy says:

    I love you, Mel. You are SO funny and SO real and your recipes are SO divine. You are the only food blog I need.

  19. Paige says:

    These potatoes look absolutely amazing! My husband’s birthday is tomorrow and I think he would love these as a side for his birthday dinner!


  20. Katrina says:

    Oh Mel, you make me laugh, because I am SO with you! Trapper-Keepers 4-Ever! (See what I did there?)
    I make a similar recipe (PW’s crash hot potatoes) and I’m excited to make this variation for dinner. I’m thinking with mini meat loaves!

  21. Tiffany says:

    Should I line my pan with parchment paper? I see you did in the photos.

    • Mel says:

      Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t – the parchment definitely helps with cleanup, though. I’ll add a note to the recipe in case others are interested in using it.

  22. Becki says:

    I’m with you on the good solid classics. That is what I look for in most of the recipes I make. These potatoes sound awesome. I love smashed potatoes, but I really like that you amped them up wtih the cheese, bacon and garlic – yum!

  23. Kathi says:

    To make this even easier, I poke a few holes in the potatoes and cook them in the microwave. About 5 – 7 minutes per pound works for me. Your pictures always make everything look so good.

  24. Kathleen says:

    No wonder I love your blog! I completely agree – gilding the lily is (often) just to prove we can – it doesn’t make the meal any more enjoyable (and is oftentimes exhausting!) Your food is my kind of food. 🙂 Which is probably why so many of our meals and desserts originate from your blog! These potatoes look great – can’t wait to try them!

  25. Nicole Hunn says:

    Amen to all that, Mel! I’m not interested in molecular gastronomy. I’m interested in homestyle favorites. And even my bizarre eldest child, who doesn’t care for potatoes in almost any form, loves smashed potatoes. Tried and true indeed.

  26. Laurel says:

    Cheesy. Bacon. Garlic Butter. Umm… You had me at hello! Making right now with fried eggs. I need these in my mouth asap!

  27. Agreed! It took me a long time to learn that there’s no correlation between fancy-level/number of ingredients or techniques and plain old deliciousness. For example, the best blondie recipe ever is so simple I accidentally memorized it.

    Those potatoes look amazing.

  28. Kim in MD says:

    Yum! I could eat potatoes every day. These look delicious, Mel!

  29. heather says:

    We don’t need fancy, 20-ingredient, break-the-bank, get this specific utensil for this specific recipe dishes. There are websites for that, complete with product shops to sell XYZ. All we need? Good food, simple food, prepared WELL, awesome recipes that use what is in the cubboard = a happy family!

    Thanks for your website Mel!

  30. Sheila says:

    Because of my sweet tooth, cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts too — you can pile gobs of icing on each cupcake. 🙂 Maybe because your family is larger but when I make this it will be a main course (meat and potatoes) without any other sides but your delicious sour cream muffins. Thanks for another “ordinary” family recipe. that I know my family will love. I make Rachel Ray’s smashed potatoes but never thought about adding meat like this one making it a full course and “much easier to prep” meal.

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