This Turkish kumpir recipe is a must-try! Kumpir is a popular street food made with creamy baked potatoes topped with a variety of delicious toppings. This recipe is a close replica of what you can find in the streets of Istanbul and you can enjoy it at home using my easy instructions.
I look back on the time I spent living in Istanbul as some of the best days of my life. Not only I had a wonderful time living in such a beautiful city, but I had the chance to learn Turkish recipes from the best. Turkey has some of the best street foods, from lahmacun and doner to gozleme and simple simit, there is always something on the streets of Istanbul to try and enjoy! Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite street foods with you: kumpir! These Turkish stuffed baked potatoes are so delicious and very easy to make at home!
Table Of Contents:
What is kumpir?
A popular Turkish street food, kumpir is stuffed baked potatoes that you can find in every corner of Istanbul and honestly, there is nothing like it out there.
Large potatoes are baked, cut in half and mixed with cheese and butter. Then, there is a variety of toppings to choose from. In some restaurants you can find up to 20 toppings and many of them are vegetarian. Kumpir is then topped with your choice of sauce; common options include ketchup and mayonnaise.
There is a neighborhood in Istanbul, Ortaköy, which is by the waterfront and is popular for its kumpir shops. There are several of them next to each other and they sell the best Turkish stuffed baked potatoes you'll ever try. This recipe is a very close replica of the ones I used to get in Turkey almost every weekend.
- Potatoes: When it comes to making kumpir, it's best to use large and nice russet potatoes so you can fill them with all kinds of toppings. If possible, make sure the potatoes are the same size so they bake evenly.
- Butter: You need about a tablespoon of butter for each potato.
- Cheese: In Turkey they use Kaşar cheese to make kumpir, however, since that's not available everywhere, you can use shredded mozzarella.
- Toppings: When it comes to kumpir toppings, there are so many to choose from. Some of our favorites are corn, seared hotdogs, Turkish bulgur salad (kisir), ezme, Russian salad (Amerikan salatası), chopped olives, pickled red cabbage and dill pickles.
How to make kumpir
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry the potatoes thoroughly. Poke a few holes in each potato using a fork and wrap them in aluminum foil. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 1 hour until they're fully cooked. You know the potatoes are fully baked when you can easily insert a knife in them.
- While the potatoes are baking, prepare the toppings in bowls and plates and have them ready on the table. You can make kisir, ezme, pickled cabbage and Russian salad in advance.
- Once the potatoes are ready, let them cool for 5 minutes so you're able to handle them. Unwrap the potatoes and split them in half, leaving one side intact. Fluff the potato using a fork and add the butter and cheese with a pinch of salt. Fluff again so the potato is smooth.
- Stuff the potatoes with your favorite toppings and serve immediately.
How do you eat kumpir?
After adding all the toppings you desire, top the kumpir with mayonnaise and ketchup (if you like) and then dig in with a spoon or fork. With each bite, try to pair a bit of the fluffy potato with some of the toppings and enjoy!
- Make sure you choose big potatoes for this recipe so you can fit more toppings!
- Get creative with the toppings! Use the ones you like and leave out the ones you don't find interesting.
- Turn it into a stuffed baked potato bar! If you're having people over, prepare the toppings in advance and set the table, bake the potatoes, and once they're ready, split them and bring them to the table so everyone makes their own kumpir!
- Don't let the potatoes cool too much before mixing in the cheese and butter. You need the potatoes hot so the cheese and butter can melt and make it smooth and creamy.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Use vegan butter and cheese, make the Russian salad with vegan mayonnaise and yogurt. and leave out any non-vegan topping including the hotdog.
Insert a knife into the potato. If it goes in easily, the potato is completely cooked. You can also use an instant thermometer and check the internal temperature. The potato is ready once the internal temperature is at 210 degrees F.
You can prepare the toppings in advance. Some of the toppings such as pickled cabbage, ezme and kisir can be made up to 3 days in advance. However, it's best to bake the potatoes right before serving so they're hot and steamy.
Kumpir is meant to be enjoyed immediately, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. You can have them at room temperature or microwave them.
Technically, you can use the microwave to bake potatoes if you're in a pinch. However, if you have the time, use the oven because the results are so much better.
When you wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil, you create an environment for steaming, which will make the potatoes more tender and fluffier.
More Turkish Recipes
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Kumpir (Turkish Stuffed Baked Potatoes)
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil optional
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry the potatoes, poke them a few times with a fork and rub with some olive oil (is using) and salt.
- Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil and bake them for 45 minutes to 1 hour until their internal temperature registers at 210 degrees. The potatoes are ready when you can easily insert a knife in them.
- Let the potatoes cool for 5 minutes, then unwrap them and slice them open using a knife. Make sure they are intact on one side. Fluff them a bit using a fork.
- Divide the butter and cheese between the potatoes and fluff againa until smooth and creamy.
- Top with your favorite topping and finish with ketchup and mayonnaise if desired.
- The cheese used to make kumpir is Kaşar, however, since that's not available easily, we are using mozarrella cheese.
- You can leave out any toppings you're not interested in.
- Make sure the potatoes are large and almost the same size so they bake evenly.
- It's important that the potatoes are hot when you cut the open so the cheese and butter melt and make the potatoes creamy and smooth as you fluff them.
- For a vegan version use vegan butter and cheese with the potatoes.