Are U.S. Baked And British Jacket Potatoes Really That Different?

If you're a food enthusiast who's at least read up on British cuisine a little bit, it's likely you've heard of a dish called jacket potatoes. If you haven't heard of them before, I hate to be the bearer of bad news — they aren't potatoes wearing funny little outfits (I know, when I first found that out, I was disappointed too). They are, rather, a food you're probably familiar with: skin-on baked potatoes. The word "jacket" in the name simply refers to the fact that the skin on the potato is left unpeeled. 

@brittanyhmiller ♬ original sound – Brittany

Jacket potatoes gained some serious momentum after British TikTok lifestyle influencer @brittanyhmiller posted a video about a version she made at home for dinner, topped with loads of butter, mozzarella, Red Leicester (a cheese similar to cheddar), chili, red onions, and sour cream. She's since posted about other variations, including ones with cheesy cauliflower on top. 

TikTok users in the U.S. started making their own and posting reaction videos online as well, enthusiastically declaring their love for jacket potatoes and racking up millions of views in the process. This begs the question of whether or not jacket potatoes are any different from American baked potatoes. 

The answer is yes, but it's subtle. British jacket potatoes are baked for a long time, sometimes well over an hour, to achieve a crispy skin and a fluffy interior. British preferences for toppings are a little different too. May I interest you in a jacket potato with canned fish on top?


Jacket potatoes tend to be pretty hearty

Other than roasting the potato for a long period of time, there are a few things that make British jacket potatoes a little different from their American counterparts. One of them involves the quantity and heartiness of their toppings, which frequently makes them the centerpiece of a meal, though they can be served as a side dish as well.


This brings us to another differentiator — the toppings themselves. Preferred British potato topping combinations can be decidedly different than the sour cream, bacon, or chili we're used to in America. One standard jacket potato topping combination is a vegetarian one: butter, cheddar cheese, and a boatload of Heinz brand baked beans, which unlike their American counterparts are savory rather than sweet. 

A combination of tuna mixed with mayonnaise (so basically, tuna salad) is another common British topping you likely wouldn't see here. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to jacket potato toppings. A ladleful of bolognese sauce and plenty of parmesan? No problem. Ham, cheese, and eggs? Why not? 


As long as the potato's roasted long enough to the point where the skin is crisp, and the interior is fluffy, the potato's your canvas. Top that thing with enough stuff to consider it a meal, and you've got your own version of a jacket potato. If you're ever in doubt, you can always post the result on TikTok and ask the Brits to see how you did.