Recipe Review

I Tried the Famous “Star-Crossed” Cheesy Baked Potatoes and I’ll Never Cook a Potato Another Way

published Mar 8, 2024
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Baked potato.
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

You could say that baked potatoes are having a moment right now. Back in January, I tried a viral roast potato recipe that had 10 million views on TikTok. The final product was so impressive that I had a hard time imagining making a baked potato any other way moving forward. Before that, I tried a loaded baked potato grilled cheese. Of course it was only a matter of time before I came across the amazing Poppy O’Toole and her famous “Star Crossed” Garlic Baked Potatoes.

Poppy’s method uses a star-shaped slicing technique to cut open an already baked potato. She then fills the crevices with a delicious-looking garlic butter cheese sauce and finishes off the baking process with another 10 minutes in the oven. The result is a perfectly crisp baked potato with the most appetizing display of bubbling cheese mixture you’ve ever seen. I couldn’t wait to make it myself, so I was off to the grocery store for supplies.  

Get the recipe: “Star-Crossed” Garlic Baked Potatoes

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

How to Make the Viral “Star-Crossed” Garlic Baked Potato

To start, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 400°F and prep a baking sheet for the potatoes. Use a knife to poke a few quick holes in the surface of each potato, then cover each one in a bit of olive oil and salt before placing in the oven. Cook on the center rack for about 45 minutes, or until a knife or fork can pierce the center easily with no resistance. 

While the potatoes bake, blitz 3 cloves of garlic with feta cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper — making sure to use enough oil to bind into a thick cream cheese-like consistency. On the side, melt butter in a bowl, and mix in chopped parsley and garlic. At this point the potatoes should be finished baking and ready for dressing. 

Cut a star-crossed pattern into the potato, making sure to slice down about halfway into the potato. Fill the slits with the previously prepared cheese mixture, then douse the potato in garlic butter and parsley. Lastly, season with salt and place the potatoes back in the oven for an extra 10 minutes to get nice and crispy. 

My Honest Opinion of the Viral “Star-Crossed” Garlic Baked Potato

First of all, I love this recipe because O’Toole employs a method that can be used on pretty much any potato, no matter the size. Cutting the potato with a six-star pattern allows the cheese and butter to coat the insides of the potato during the last 10 minutes of baking, a process that takes this recipe up to a whole new level.

In addition to the buttery cheesy goodness, I’m a big fan of the simple seasoning of salt and pepper as well as the addition of garlic and parsley. I love a short ingredients list and am always impressed by how true the statement “a little goes a long way” really is. This baked potato is not much different than others I’ve had, and certainly is not reinventing the wheel. What it does is utilize a few tried and tested ingredients, a creative approach, and the familiar tool for getting it all done: an oven. 

I did learn a few things along the way that will definitely come in handy next time. I could have cut the potatoes deeper and I wish I had made double the cheese sauce (or more, because that sauce is so delicious). After officially cutting in for my first bite, I realized that I also could have left the potatoes in the oven for another 10 minutes, at least. Even in my shortcomings, I still enjoyed each bite, so we’ll call it a success.  

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

Tips for Making the Viral “Star-Crossed” Garlic Baked Potato

  1. Know when the potato is cooked. A good trick for determining if your potato is ready to come out of the oven is to puncture it with a knife. If the skin is dry and the knife slides in and out smoothly, it’s ready. 
  2. Slice about 3/4 of the way down. Avoid slicing all the way down to the bottom of the potato while making the six-star pattern cut. You also don’t want to cut too little as it won’t allow the potato to fully open up while pouring in the cheese sauce. 
  3. More cheese never hurt anybody. In my attempt, I wish I had made a bit more of the cheese mixture. In the end it bubbled up out of the crevices and tasted amazing, but I found myself wishing the inside of the potato was as cheesy and gooey as the examples in O’Toole’s video.
  4. Use the six-star pattern. Other cuts will work okay, but O’Toole credits the six-star cut for being the optimal way to fill each and every crevice. The sauce gets in between each slice and covers much more surface area within the potato as compared to doing simply one or two cuts.