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Baked Potato Halves with Garlic Butter

Renée Robinson

The Title of This Recipe Kind of Says It All!

While I love a good baked potato, I frequently find that I don’t want to eat an entire big potato, unless I’m serving it as a main course. After making my Sweet Potatoes with Lime Chipotle Butter, in which I slice the potatoes in half before baking, I decided to try out the same technique for baking russet potatoes, except I saw no need to initially cover the potatoes with foil. Russets bake quicker than sweet potatoes and don’t need to be covered. 

It’s so easy, it’s hardly even a recipe. Just slice the potatoes in half, lengthwise, roll them in olive oil and salt, and bake them at 425°, cut side down, for 40 minutes. I think it’s almost miraculous that so little effort delivers such a thing of beauty. The potatoes are browned and crusty, while the insides are fluffy. 

While the potatoes were baking, I melted a couple tablespoons of butter and finely grated garlic in the microwave. I find that if you give it a full minute in the microwave, the garlic cooks and you end up with perfectly flavored garlic butter. So, when the potatoes came out of the oven, I scored the tops and spooned on the garlic butter, along with a little salt, Aleppo pepper ,* nigella seeds ,* and sliced scallions.

Each topping serves a specific purpose. The Aleppo pepper * only gives it a mild touch of heat because Aleppo pepper * doesn’t contain the seeds of the chili. It is only the skin, so you get plenty of chili flavor without overpowering heat. Nigella seeds * are one of my favorite spices. Besides adding a crunchy texture, their almost onion-like flavor is a very welcome addition to so many foods. They’re wonderful baked into breads, added to olive oil dips, sprinkled on salads, etc. I thought they were a perfect match for the flavors of these potatoes. Then sliced scallions simply make sense. They’re fresh, add texture, and are just all around called for here. 

Of course, there is no reason you can’t switch out any of these toppings for other things you may have in your pantry. If you don’t have Aleppo pepper ,* good old black pepper would be just fine. But other interesting peppers would also be good. I’m thinking Urfa Biber * or even a light sprinkling of Kashmiri chili powder * would be delicious. If you don’t have nigella seeds ,* try some sesame seeds, or how about poppy seeds or toasted cumin seeds? Needless to say, snipped chives would be delicious instead of the scallions. There is practically an endless variety of toppings for the potatoes.

But I wouldn’t pass on the garlic butter. I took it easy on the amount of garlic because I didn’t want these to be totally overpowered with garlic. If you’d like more, go for it. I didn’t use any sour cream or other dairy product on top because I wanted the browned crusty tops of the potatoes to shine through. There’s a lot of flavor and texture going on there and I didn’t want them to get soggy from a creamy topping.

Well, I’m now sold on this method for baking potatoes. As to only eating half a potato? Well, there were members of my family who chose to eat 2 halves. No surprise there. As my son said, he’d be happy eating these as his main course, along with a green salad and I wholeheartedly agree. And the leftovers heated up really well in my counter top oven. So, if you’ve got a toaster oven, that’s the way to go for reheating the leftovers. They get all nice and crusty again. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did. I’ve made them a few times now and we can’t get enough of them.,

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, may pay me a small commission and help support the costs of this website. Read full privacy policy here.

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Baked Potato Halves with Garlic Butter

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Slice big russet potatoes in half and roast them, cut side down, with olive oil and salt until they're nicely browned. Top them with garlic butter, Aleppo pepper, nigella seeds, and sliced scallion. That's all there is to it and they are simply superb!

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  • 3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced in half lengthwise

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated

  • Aleppo pepper *

  • Nigella seeds *

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • Preheat the oven to 425° with a rack in the center. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Pour the olive oil onto the parchment and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place the potatoes, cut side down, in the pan and coat the outside of each potato with the olive oil in the pan. Sprinkle the outsides of the potatoes with more kosher salt. Bake for 40 minutes until the potatoes are fully cooked and the cut sides are nicely browned.
  • In the meantime, put the butter and grated garlic in a small bowl or measuring cup, cover and microwave for 1 minute. Set aside. When the potatoes are done, score the cut sides a few times with a paring knife. Spoon the garlic butter over the potatoes, sprinkle on a little more salt, Aleppo pepper ,* and nigella seeds .* Scatter the sliced scallions on top, serve, and Enjoy!

6 Responses

  1. I am going to try your method of slice and bake very soon. I always eat the skin—of even our microwaved potatoes—and this sounds like such a treat: the best parts and only the best parts.

    Also, I am a recent convert to grating my garlic! Wowzers.

    So it occurs to me that in a relatively sparse active cooking environment, Everything Bagel Seasoning could be a reasonable topping in lieu of the Aleppo pepper and nigella seeds. Let’s say one has a slightly limp scallion, a lump of butter, and a clove or so of garlic hanging about? I really do think EBtBS could work.

    Someday I will have those nigella seeds!

    1. You could use whatever seasoning you’d like. There are tons of ways you can go with these. And I’m with you on always eating the skins. But they are particularly good when prepared this way. Hope you like them!!

  2. We’ve got a load of potatoes from our winter farm share that we still need to use up. This will be a PERFECT use for some of them. And yay for nigella seeds (I know them as Black Caraway, or Charnushka). Also intrigued to try Urfa Biber on them. I think I have some in the pantry that I bought (just because) and haven’t really figured out how to use.

    1. Hi there! Cynthia, Urfa Biber is one of my favorites. It has a sweet smokiness in its flavor that I love and would also be delicious on these potatoes. I use both Aleppo and Urfa regularly. But I go through nigella seeds really quickly because I use them so often. Aren’t they the best??? I hope you enjoy the potatoes!!

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