Tuna Salad On A Baked Potato Is The Delicious Topping The US Misses Out On

When you imagine a fluffy baked potato loaded with toppings, you might imagine butter, cheddar cheese, chives, sour cream, or crispy bacon. And while there are many unique toppings to make a meal out of baked potatoes, there's one in particular that's very popular in Great Britain but doesn't seem to have made it across the pond: tuna salad.

Known as a 'tuna mayo jacket potato' or just 'tuna jacket potato' in the UK, in its most basic form, it consists of simply stuffing a hot baked potato (or a 'jacket potato' as you might have already guessed the Brits call it) with canned tuna mixed with mayo. It's found on pub, cafe, and chain restaurant menus across the country, as well as being a popular lunch dish to make at home. As well as tuna, you'll also frequently see baked beans in tomato sauce as an alternative favorite baked potato filling in Great Britain — perhaps not surprising for a country that came up with beans on toast as a meal idea. 

There's something about the soft, cool, and creamy tuna and mayo combo that works especially well juxtaposed with the hot, buttery potato and its salted crispy skin (as a Brit myself, I can confirm it is genuinely delicious even if it may sound odd to the uninitiated). And there are all sorts of spins you can put on it.

Brits elevate a tuna baked potato with extra ingredients

While tuna salad — or tuna mayo, in UK parlance — contains pretty much just two ingredients, plus salt and pepper, it's very easy to level it up by adding a few more. Mixing cooked sweetcorn into the tuna salad is a particular favorite potato topping in Britain, or you might find chopped scallions (called 'spring onions' over there) adding a little crunch and bite.

As with so many dishes, if you really want to level it up, you just add cheese, and the tuna salad baked potato is no exception. A tuna melt jacket, as it's known in the UK, is usually made by scooping out some of the soft cooked potato flesh into a bowl and mashing it up with tuna, mayonnaise, and shredded cheddar. The filling is then spooned back into the skins before being topped with more cheese and then baked again until melted. Think twice-baked potato here.

You could substitute the mayo in your tuna salad baked potato filling with alternatives, such as Greek yogurt, if you want a lighter, tangier option, or add cottage cheese and diced red chili to the tuna for a creamy yet spicy mix. Stir through sour cream and chives for a burst of flavor and flecks of pretty green color. Or combine sun-dried tomatoes, salty capers, and fresh lemon juice with the fish for a brighter, more Mediterranean feel.

More fishy fillings to try in baked potatoes

While tuna is a commonly seen topping in the UK, there are other ways to incorporate fish into a baked potato that are just as tasty. Leftover cooked salmon is an easy substitute for tuna; simply mix the flaked fish with sour cream, perhaps adding a little sweet chili sauce if you want to spice it up. Dill and fresh lemon juice also work well with a salmon filling — or try using smoked salmon or lox mixed with capers and sour cream for a richer taste.

Other types of smoky fish, such as smoked haddock, also work well stuffed into baked potatoes. Try mixing the cooked fish with crème fraîche, lemon, mustard, and herbs for a flavorful combo. Or go for a classic British fish pie feel by mashing up the baked potato flesh with cooked white fish, mayo, and peas before stuffing it back into the skins, topping with cheese, and baking again.

Alternatively, use seafood such as shrimp in a filling. Cooked shrimp can simply be mixed with mayo, or give it a bloody mary vibe by adding seasoned cocktail sauce, tomatoes, and hot sauce such as Tabasco. For an especially elegant spud, try mixing cooked flaked crab with crème fraîche and topping it with rich Gruyere cheese before broiling it to melt.