I am a fairly seasoned and adventurous cook. So, why have I shied away from the very popular Hasselback potato all these years? These potatoes look elegant and taste of sophisticated simplicity. That might be an oxymoron, but it is true. When I finally challenged myself to make these yummy baked potatoes, I realized that the ingredients are so basic and the cooking method is beyond easy. The results are impressive.
Before taking the plunge to cook Hasselback potatoes, I researched them ad-nauseum, thinking there was some deep culinary secret to their perfection. The only thing I came up with was that you do need a bit of confidence with your knife skills. And yes, you need a very sharp knife. A foody friend turned me onto a tip that will make this step of the recipe easier. I will share that.
I set up my air fryer to “bake” the potatoes, just like you would in an oven. It takes less time, the skin gets super crispy, the excess fat drips away, and you can’t beat the speed at which these potatoes cook to perfection.
What does Hasselback Mean?
The Hasselback potato was invented by a Swedish eatery named Restaurant Hasselback. This is a whole potato that is thinly sliced 3/4s of the way through the center. The slicing results in a potato that resembles an accordion when gently pulled apart. The potatoes are generally baked with some form of fat drizzled between the slices. The finished product is a very attractive baked potato with a crispy outer skin and creamy interior flesh.
This side dish embodies all that we like about well cooked potatoes. They are baked, crispy, and have a mashed potato-like texture inside. Classic Hasselbacks are topped with salt, pepper, fresh herbs, and perhaps a bit of parmesan cheese. However, you can go all out and top these with sour cream, bacon bits, chives, melted cheese, or whatever you might top a baked potato with. Just be sure to allow the delicate slices of the potato to be visible when you serve it.
Best Potatoes for Hasselbacks
I think pretty much any sturdy potato will work for this Hasselback recipe. Most recipes I researched called for Russet or Idaho potatoes. I actually found that Yukon Gold or large Red Bliss potatoes provide a really creamy interior flesh. The thinner skin also crisps up nicely and doesn’t give too much of a tough outer shell or a big contrast in textures. Medium Yukon Golds would be my choice for making these again, especially in an air fryer.
Because Hasselback refers more to a technique than a recipe, feel free to try this with yams or Japanese sweet potatoes. I have also seen this technique used successfully with a peeled and seeded butternut squash, or delicata squash halves with edible skin left intact.
How to Slice Hasselback Potatoes
The trick to the perfect Hasselback potato is in the precision of the slicing. You want to make thin slices through the center of the shorter diameter of the potato. These should be between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch in thickness. It is very important to use a sharp chef’s knife so that you aren’t sawing through the potato. One cut per slice should do it.
However, you don’t want to slice all the way through the potato. There are a few ways to prevent slicing all the way through the bottom of the potato. There are Hasselback potato racks or holders that are specifically designed for this slicing technique. If you don’t want another kitchen gadget that might take up space in the utensil drawer, you can place the potato on a large wooden serving spoon or ladle where the raised edges of the spoon will interrupt the knife blade.
I think an easier method is to use 2 wooden chopsticks, or even pencils, placed on either side of the potato to break the knife cut about 1/4-inch above the base. This can be tricky with a round object that wants to roll and sticks that want to shift. I am a fan of the belief that duct tape (also referred to as Duck Tape) can remedy anything. Just tape down the ends of the chopsticks to the cutting board so that the potato sits on the board with the sticks nestled on either side. Be mindful that you may have to adjust for different widths of potato. This is a little MacGyverish, but it works.
The idea is to make sure the potato remains whole and will fan out slightly when baking. It also ensures that all those great flavors get into the flesh of the potatoes. That is what makes the Hasselback the ultimate baked potato.
Hasselback Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Thyme (Vegetarian and Gluten-Free)
- 4 to 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, skins intact
- 1-1/2 TBS butter (use all olive oil if vegan)
- 1-1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsps dried thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 3 TBS finely grated parmesan cheese, divided (use nutritional yeast if vegan)
Total time:25 min – Prep time:5 min – Cook time:20 min – Serves:4 people
1. Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350°F.
2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
3. Cut the potatoes into 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices through the center, being sure to only slice 3/4 of the way through (see description above).
4. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper to the melted butter and warm through until the thyme starts to become fragrant, approximately 30 seconds. Stir in the olive oil.
5. Spoon or brush the butter and oil mixture over the potatoes. Try to get some in between the slices. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese over the top of each potato.
6. Place the potatoes on the crisper plate, or in the basket, of the preheated air fryer. Close the drawer or bucket and cook for 15 to 18 minutes.
7. Open the air fryer and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the potatoes. Continue to cook until the cheese melts, approximately 2 minutes.
8. Serve the potatoes while hot, right out of the air fryer.