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Homemade loaded baked Potato Skins are an all-time favorite appetizer recipe! Potato skins are deliciously crispy baked potatoes with a garlicky seasoned outside, loaded with melted cheese and crunchy bacon, and then topped with sour cream and green onions! Bite-sized perfection!

Serve these delicious appetizers at any party paired alongside Spinach Artichoke Dip, Southern Pimento Cheese, or Slow Cooker Strawberry Jalapeño BBQ Meatballs.

A plate full of loaded potato skins with sour cream for dipping.

I honestly think potatoes are one of the most glorious foods on this planet! From classic mashed potatoes to loading up french fries with Roast Beef Debris Gravy and lets talk about these loaded potato skins!

It’s one of those appetizers that I love to get when eating out. But why not make them at home!! A few simple ingredients and you can bake them up nice a crispy right in your own oven.

They are the perfect game day appetizer when routing on your favorite team! Or any party for that matter! I won’t judge if you want them just because either!

I mean who doesn’t love crispy potatoes loaded with cheese and bacon! And they are so easy to make at home to boot!

Ingredient Notes

  • Russet Potatoes: You can adapt the size of the potato depending on how large you want your serving. I usually go with a medium-sized potato, but you can use smaller potatoes and get about 12 servings rather than 8.
  • Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Pre-shredded cheddar cheese doesn’t melt as well as if you shred it yourself. A sharp cheddar gives a nice tangy bite.
  • Oil & Salt: Don’t skip this for baking the potatoes! It helps it with that crispy factor. You can use canola, vegetable, or olive oil. Even avocado oil will work.
  • Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper add the perfect flavor combination.
A labeled image including all the ingredients needed to make loaded baked potato skins.

Variations and Substitutions

The original version is a classic! But if you are looking to change it up or make a hearty meal out of potato skins (I know I can), the possibilities are endless.

  • Taco: Substitute ground taco meat instead of bacon or use black beans or refried beans. Garnish with diced tomatoes, black olives, cilantro, and crema.
  • Fajita: Use slice steak or chicken and red or green bell pepper and onions. Top with guacamole!
  • Veggies: Use broccoli and cheese for my favorite combo or add in carrots, bell peppers, or even some roasted Brussels sprouts.
  • Southern Style: Add some collard greens, kale, or turnip greens with some diced ham.
  • Philly Cheesesteak: Use diced or leftover steak or chicken, with bell peppers and provolone cheese in place of the bacon on cheddar.
  • Meat lovers: Add in any type of meat just like you would a pizza like crumbled sausage, pepperoni, dice ham, and bacon or Canadian bacon.
  • BBQ: Use leftover pulled pork and top with shredded cheese! I won’t just if you add a little Mac and Cheese for good measure!
  • Sloppy Joe or Chili: If you have leftovers these are both delicious versions. I love mine with a little pepper jack cheese.
  • Cheeses: You don’t have to stick to sharp cheddar. Feel free to add any variety of cheese or combinations you love. And who’s to say how much goes on the potato skins? Add as much as you like!

How To Make Loaded Baked Potato Skins

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Prep, Bake, and Cool Potatoes

Collage image showing russet potatoes after coated with olive oil and salt and then after being baked.

Preheat the oven. Wash the potatoes under running water; pat dry with paper towels and place on a baking sheet. Using a fork, poke each potato several times all over. Lightly rub oil on the potatoes and sprinkle with some salt. Place on a baking sheet. 

Bake until they’re easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven; let cool. 

Step 2 | Halve Lengthwise & Scoop Out Potatoes

Collage images showing baked potatoes being halved and then scooped out with a spoon.

When potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut potatoes in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the insides with a large spoon, leaving about 1/2 inch of flesh (or skin). You want to leave enough for the potato to hold up.

Step 3 | Mix Seasoning and Bake Potato Skins

Bowls of olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder on a marble table.

In a small bowl combine the following ingredients: oil, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika; mix well.

Image collage showing applying seasoned oil mixture to top and bottom of halved potato skins

Brush the oil mixture over both sides of the potato skin, evenly. Place skins on the same baking sheet, scooped side up; Bake until crispy. Turn over (brown skins up) halfway through the cooking process. 

Step 4 | Load them Up: Add Cheddar Cheese & Crumbled Bacon and Bake

Collage image showing adding cheese to potato skins and then bacon being added before going into the oven.

Remove from oven and sprinkle the cheese and bacon pieces on top of the crispy potato skins. Place back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted around 2-3 minutes. 

Serve hot, topped with sour cream and green onions, or your favorite toppings.

Tips

  • Don’t skip piercing the potato with a fork. If you don’t the result may be an exploded potato. 
  • If possible, let the potatoes cool before you handle them, they will be very hot straight out of the oven. If you just can’t wait before cutting them open, use caution and wear silicone kitchen mittens or hold them with an oven mitt to protect your hands. You can also hold the hot potatoes with a pair of kitchen tongs. 
  • If you accidentally remove too much potato when hollowing them out, just add some back into the skin and evenly press it back into place.
  • Use the scooped-out potato insides to make baked potato soup, fry it up in a skillet with a little oil or butter, or make loaded mashed potato casserole with it. 
An up-close image of a baked potato skin layered with melted cheese, crispy bacon, sour cream, and sliced green onions.

Recipe FAQ’s

What are the best potatoes for potato skins?

Russet potatoes are best for this recipe as they result in the crispiest skin! When choosing your potatoes, you will want to use medium to small potatoes because they are easiest to serve as an appetizer and hold their shape better than a large potato. This is handheld perfect snack food material.

How do you bake a potato?

To bake a potato- wash, dry, and poke the potato with a fork. Place it in a preheated 400°F – 425°F oven for about an hour or until tender when tested by poking a fork into the center of the potato. Baking time may vary depending on the size and variety of the potato you are baking.

Are potato skins gluten-free?

When baking potato skins at home the are naturally gluten-free. Just check any added ingredients to be sure they don’t contain any possible gluten cross contamination or in the case of using pre-shredded cheese.

Are potato skins healthy?

The skin of the potato is actually healthy and contains vitamins and nutrients. Add all the cheese, bacon, and other toppings and the dish isn’t all that healthy. To make this a little more healthy you could use a reduced fat cheese, sour cream, and go for a turkey bacon. And by baking instead of deep frying them like many restaurants do, that makes them to be less unhealthy.

Make Ahead and Storage

For Make Ahead (Freezer): Simply bake the potatoes and scoop out the centers. Then freeze the empty shells on a baking pan. Once frozen stack them in a freezer bag and add then proceed with the recipe.

You can also cook up to the part where you add the cheese and bacon. Let cool and freeze. These can go straight from the freezer (no need to defrost them) to the oven when ready to bake and serve.

Storage: Cover with foil or plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Reheating: You can use the microwave to reheat an individual or a couple of potato skins. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, adding 30-second intervals until desired temperature is reached.

To reheat a larger batch or if you prefer the crispy results of the oven, place a parchment or foil-line baking sheet in a preheated 325°F oven and bake for 15 minutes or until warmed through.

A white serving tray filled with potato skins on a marbled table with a gray and white tea towel to the side.

Other Delicious Appetizer Recipes

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A plate filled with potato skins topped with melted cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, a dollop of sour cream and green onions.
Recipe
4.91 from 20 votes

(click stars to rate)

Loaded Baked Potato Skins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 potato skins
Author: Nikki Lee
Homemade loaded baked Potato Skins are an all-time favorite appetizer recipe! Potato skins are deliciously crispy baked potatoes with a garlicky seasoned outside, loaded with melted cheese and crunchy bacon, and then topped with sour cream and green onions! Bite-sized perfection!
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Ingredients 

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, (or 6 small- will make 12)
  • salt for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 green onions, diced, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425° F. Wash the potatoes under running water; pat dry with paper towels and place on a baking sheet. Using a fork, poke each potato 4 or 5 times all over. Then lightly rub oil on the potatoes and sprinkle with some salt (to taste). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until they’re easily fork tender. Remove from oven; let cool to touch. 
  • When potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut potatoes in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the insides with a large spoon, leaving about 1/2 inch the flesh or insides of the potato. 
  • In a small bowl combine the oil, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika; mix until well combined. Brush the seasoned oil mixture over both sides of the potato skin, evenly. Place potato skins on the same baking sheet scooped side up; Bake for 8-10 minutes, until crisp (turning over so that brown skins face up) halfway through the cooking process. 
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle the cheese and bacon pieces on top of the skins. Place back in the oven and bake for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Serve hot, topped with sour cream and green onions, or desired toppings. 

Video

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1each Calories: 269kcal (13%) Carbohydrates: 34g (11%) Protein: 7g (14%) Fat: 12g (18%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 15mg (5%) Sodium: 248mg (11%) Potassium: 785mg (22%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 174IU (3%) Vitamin C: 11mg (13%) Calcium: 125mg (13%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These loaded potato skins were spot-on delicious, easy to make, and the best side for so many different meals!! Loved the step by step instructions, they were so easy to follow. Will definitely make these again!

  2. 5 stars
    These were so delicious – for me the hint of onion and garlic powder made a massive difference in flavor! Love it!

  3. 5 stars
    Your potato skins recipe is my go-to for football parties! They are always devoured and everyone always ask me to bring them again the next time.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh heavens this was an amazing treat while watching our favorite football team last weekend. I actually had a few leftovers and they made a delicious lunch the next day.