Sometimes the right side dish can make the meal. These cheesy bacon ranch dutch oven red potatoes are one of those side dishes. There are only 4 ingredients and it goes together quickly. Besides, what could be bad about potatoes, cheese, bacon, and ranch? That’s right — nothing! It’s also very easy so scale this recipe up or down depending on the size of the crowd you’re feeding.
- 4lbs red potatoes, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2lb bacon, diced
- 1 cup ranch salad dressing
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese
- 6 quart dutch oven
- large mixing bowl
Start by browning the bacon pieces. This can be done in the dutch oven just as easily as in another pan. It just means you’ll need to be ready for a coal change before you start cooking the whole dish.
The bacon is done when it’s brown and crispy. Take your time on this step. The bacon won’t crisp up any more once it’s mixed in so this is your chance.
In a large mixing bowl, add the diced red potatoes, ranch dressing, shredded cheese (reserving 1/2 cup), and bacon pieces (reserving 1/4 cup). Mix until the potatoes are thoroughly coated. If you need to add a bit more dressing, go ahead. I suppose this is as good a time as any to say you want to use waxy potatoes like reds or Yukon golds. Avoid the temptation to use russets — they’ll just turn to mush.
Pour the mixture into your dutch oven. You want to concentrate most of the heat on top to keep the bottom from scorching. I used about 10 coals on the bottom and 22 on the top for my 12-inch, 6-quart dutch oven. The temperature inside the oven should be between 375 and 400 degrees F.
Let the potatoes bake for 55-60 minutes, giving the lid a quarter turn to the right and the bottom a quarter turn to the left every 20 minutes or so.
When the potatoes are cooked through, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and the bacon pieces. Put the lid on for a couple more minutes to melt the cheese. Serve right out of the oven.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda’s:
- Try using Yukon golds or another waxy potato (or even a combination to give it some more color)
- I should have added a little bit more ranch dressing to mine.
- If you are a black pepper-lover, add a bunch before mixing the ingredients together.