Potato nests with tasty toppings

Tasty appetizer shells versatile and fun!

These delicious potato nests have a surprisingly delicate texture. They can be used as a base for innumerable toppings, including smoked salmon or cheese curds and gravy. The nests can be made ahead of time and frozen; you can heat them straight from the freezer but they made need a bit more time back in the oven to crisp up.


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each salt and pepper
  • canola oil (for greasing muffin tins)

Smoked Salmon Topping

Combine the following and refrigerate:

  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) chopped smoked salmon
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream

Use slivered green onion tops for garnish.

Poutine Topping

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cheese curds, in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) of hot gravy or purchased poutine sauce

Other topping suggestions

Pulled pork, cranberry and brie, cream cheese and hot red pepper jelly, diced, roasted root vegetables and balsamic vinegar…use your imagination!


When shaping your nests in the muffin tins, be sure to use enough potato that there are no holes in the structure.
When shaping your nests in the muffin tins, be sure to use enough potato that there are no holes in the structure.
  • Put potatoes and just enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Cover the pot.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat so that the potatoes boil gently until just tender, about 15 minutes. They should yield to the pressure of a sharp knife tip but not be falling apart.
  • Drain the potatoes; let them cool out of the pot (just put them on the counter) for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until cold (at least 1 hour).
  • When potatoes are cold, grate them with the large holes of a box grater.
  • Toss the grated potato with the salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Lightly grease 24 cups of a mini-muffin tin with canola or other vegetable oil. This is easiest done with a silicone basting brush, but you can even use a piece of paper towel.
  • Take heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture in your hand and press into each indentation of the muffin tin. Press the potato against the bottom and up the sides; it should extend a bit above the top of each muffin cup. Use a few more slivers of potato as needed to patch any holes; you want to be sure your potato nests are solid, to hold their fillings.
  • When nests have been formed, bake them until the edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Carefully remove nests from pans and place on a wire rack to cool thoroughly. Use within 6 hours, or put in an airtight container to freeze for use within two weeks.
  • When ready to fill and serve the nests, preheat oven to 375F.
  • Put nests on a large baking sheet and bake until crisp and heated all the way through (about 6 – 8 minutes).
  • Transfer heated nests to a serving plate and add toppings (cheese curd bits and about a teaspoon of hot gravy or 2 teaspoons of smoked salmon mixture, etc.). Garnish with chopped green onions or parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

Makes 24 nests. Can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled!

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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