Ranch Mashed Potato Cups have creamy ranch mashed potatoes and bacon in crescent cups for a fun and tasty party food. This recipe is an easy version of Uno’s pizza skins appetizer to make at home and a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Make these potato cups for a kid’s party, sleepover, game watching, or family movie night munchie.
Why this recipe works
These little potato cups were inspired by the Pizza Skins appetizer at Uno’s restaurant, which I regularly get a craving for. Think of a very small, deep dish pizza filled with mashed potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Those are pizza skins.
I am always amazed by what kinds of nibbles can result when I am just trying to use stuff up, rather than have it go bad and have to be tossed, and I was able to pull this recipe off in just such a fashion.
I was not about to use actual pizza dough, however, and looking in my fridge I spotted the tube of crescent dough. My mind went “Bing!”, and so here we are.
This potato cups recipe for pizza skins-inspired, creamy ranch mashed potatoes in toasty crescent cups works. The dreamy ranch mashed potatoes are divine on their own. Then we add bacon and top with cheese in cute little crescent dough cups.
Fun and delicious crowd-winner, and kid approved for all the gatherings.
Ingredients for the ranch mashed potatoes
- Red potatoes. No peeling of the skins required which keeps preparation super easy. Just chop into large chucks for boiling.
- Unsalted butter. Just one pat.
- Hidden Valley Ranch powder. In the section with the salad dressings (in the US), there are packets of HVR salad dressing powder. We just need 2 tablespoons.
- Kosher salt.
Remaining ingredients for potato cups
- Sharp cheddar cheese.
- Pillsbury crescent dough. Crescent dough is usually in the dairy aisle and is available in triangles (to make crescent rolls) or as a single sheet. Either work, but the sheet is easier.
- Cooking spray.
- Garnish: green onion or chives.
In the recipe card, I call for a bit of onion – chives or green onion – to give that fresh bite of flavor. However, you may notice in my photos that I topped with parsley, not chives or green onion. This is because when I made these again to update the this original 2013 post to 2021, I had neither green onion nor chives on hand.
So, do as I say and not as I do. And get your self some green onion or chives.
More party bites
How to make potato cups
Making the ranch mashed potatoes
First, we boil/simmer the potatoes until fork tender. This takes just about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pot and amount of water added.
Drain the potatoes and mash them up with the rest of the ingredients: butter, half-and-half, Ranch powder, and salt. The bacon is stirred in last.
Add some more half-and-half to your desired level of mashed potato creaminess and taste for seasoning.
Making the potato cups
Heat up the oven while the potatoes are simmering. Also spray the muffin tin with cooking spray.
Roll out the crescent dough on a clean surface. If using the perforated dough for crescent rolls, then use your fingers to seal the perforations.
Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into 24 squares, then use each square to line a muffin tin.
Fill the tins with ranch mashed potatoes, top with cheese and bake. Garnish and serve.
Wait 5-10 minute before serving because the centers of the potato cups will be HOT.
I prefer to add most, but not all, of the half-and-half at first to the potatoes. After mashing, then adjust to a lovely creamy consistency by adding more half-and-half. I do it this way rather than dumping it all in at once and risking adding too much.
I use a pizza cutter to roll across and quickly cut the dough.
Use a butter knife to gently lift the cooked potato cups from the muffin tins.
If using premade, leftover, or purchased mashed potatoes, bring them to at least room temperature (such as in a microwave) prior to adding to the crescent cups. The cook time is short enough that, if cold, the potato may not heat completely through if cold to start.
Heat up the oven while the potatoes are cooking to save time.
When I make this recipe, I do end up with about 1/2-3/4 cup leftover mashed potatoes. It is what it is, and I would rather not run out of potato. No worries though, the leftover taters are never around long.
The ranch mashed potatoes can be made a day in advance. Crescent dough though, once cooked, does not have much staying power so I do not recommend baking these in advance. Store mashed potatoes in the refrigerator, and warm in a microwave before adding to the crescent cups. This is a great recipe to use leftover mashed potatoes too.
If you want to shortcut and not have to make the potatoes (even though it only takes 15 minutes), no worries. Purchase premade mashed potatoes from the grocery store and stir in the ranch powder and bacon. Done. Another reason why leftover mashed potatoes work well here too.
Absolutely. Crescent dough is vegan to start with. Otherwise, use vegan creamer, butter, and cheese. Also, tempeh bacon or bacon bits can be substituted for the regular bacon.
I do not see any reason why large crescent cups could not be made in a regular muffin tin; however, I have not done this myself. I use my 24-count mini muffin tin regularly, so I consider it a good ~$15 investment in my kitchen.
Yes. If red potatoes are not available, I would recommend using buttery golden Yukon potatoes. After that, Russets would work too. If either of those are used, I recommend peeling the potatoes since their skins are tough. Also, if using Russet potatoes, I would add another tablespoon of butter to the mix.
Ranch Mashed Potato Cups
- 1 ½ lb red potatoes
- ¾ cup half-and-half
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing powder from a packet
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 (8 oz) tube Pillsbury crescent dough sheet or 8-ct Pillsbury dough for crescent rolls
- cooking spray
- garnish: fresh snipped chives or chopped green onion
For the ranch mashed potatoes
- Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender (~10 minutes). Drain and return the potatoes to the pot.
- To the potatoes, add ½ cup half-and-half, the butter, Ranch powder, and salt, and mash with a potato masher. Add up to an additional ¼ cup half-and-half to adjust to a nice, creamy consistency.
- Stir in bacon, taste for seasoning, and set aside.
For the potato cups
- While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 400°F.
- Open the tube of crescent dough. Seal the perforated seams if using crescent triangles. Cut the dough into 24 squares.
- Spray mini muffin tins lightly with cooking spray. Line each muffin tin with dough. Fill each dough cup with 1-2 Tablespoons mashed potatoes. Top each with cheese.
- Bake until crescent dough is browned and cups are puffed and toasty. (~12 minutes). Top with garnish and serve.
Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.