If you’re hosting a party this weekend, this Loaded Potato Skins recipe is the perfect appetizer! These potato skins are baked, not fried. So they’re easy to make with minimal mess and clean-up. And when you’re planning a party it’s super convenient to bake the potato skins and cook the bacon the evening before. Just before serving, load them up and pop them under the broiler.
This restaurant recipe for loaded potato skins is amazing. It’s filled with hearty goodness: a crispy potato shell filled with delicious Tillamook cheddar cheese and generous sprinkles of smoked bacon. Below is a quick look at all the ingredients you’ll need to make loaded potato skins. If possible, try to select potatoes of similar size so they will all be finished baking at the same time. If you wish, you can also add ranch dressing to the ingredients list to give your guests an additional option. Which is your favorite garnish for potato skins?
Here’s how to make loaded potato skins from scratch. To prepare the baked potato skins, remove one oven rack and put it aside. Adjust the remaining oven rack so it’s positioned in the center of the oven. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes under running water then dry them off with a clean kitchen towel. With a fork, pierce each potato 3-4 times on each side. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and brush all sides with olive oil. Bake the potatoes for about 50 minutes or until a thin knife can be inserted all the way through the potatos without much resistance.
Allow the baked potatoes to cool for about 10 minutes or until they’re cool enough to handle. In the meantime, pull out a second baking tray. On a cutting board, slice each potato length-wise. Using a small cookie scoop, remove a portion of the interior from each potato half. I like leaving about 1/4 inch of the interior intact so my loaded potato skins will be nice and hearty, but you can scoop out a bit more of the inner flesh if you’d like.
Place the potato skins on the two baking trays. Brush each of the skins with olive oil, both the inside and backs of the potato skins. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the interior and exterior of the potato skins. Return the first oven rack back into the oven sliding it into the top setting. Turn on the broiler. Broil the potato skins for about 2-3 minutes or until lightly crisp, then flip the potato skins over and broil another 2-3 minutes. Take the two trays out of the oven and generously sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese and bacon pieces within each potato skin.
Put the trays back under the broiler just until the cheese is melted and the bacon starts to sizzle. Remove the loaded potato skins from the oven. Immediately garnish with sliced green onions. Serve hot alongside a small condiment bowl of sour cream and/or ranch dressing. Loaded potato skins are ideal for any occasion! You can make a few batches in advance and freeze them in Ziplocks. Just be sure to freeze the potato skins in flat rows with enough space in between so they don’t freeze together.
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Loaded Potato Skins
- 5 lbs Russet potatoes, small or medium sized
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
- 5 cups shredded Tillamook medium cheddar cheese
- 15 slices bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 3/4 cup sour cream and/or ranch dressing
- Remove one oven rack. Position other rack in the middle of the oven. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Scrub the potatoes clean under running water. Dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Pierce each potato 3-4 times on top and bottom sides. Place on a baking tray and brush with olive oil. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the middle of the potatoes runs through without resistance. Remove baking tray from oven. Allow potatoes to cool for 10 minutes or until they can be handled comfortably.
- Take out a second baking tray. On a cutting board, slice each potato length-wise. With a small cookie scoop, spoon out the middles of the potato skins leaving 1/4 inch of flesh on all sides.* Place the potato skin halves on the two baking trays. Brush the interior and exterior of each potato skin with olive oil. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over all sides of the potato skins.
- Replace the first oven rack - slide it back into the oven at the top position. Switch the oven to broil. Put the two trays of potato skins under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until lightly crisp. Keep a close eye on the potato skins during this broiling process. Flip the potato skins over and broil again for 2-3 minutes. Remove both trays from the oven.
- Generously sprinkle cheddar cheese and bacon pieces within each potato skin. Briefly return the trays to the broiler. Once the cheese has melted and the bacon sizzles remove from the oven. This is a quick process so keep an eye on your loaded potato skins.
- Immediately garnish with sliced green onion. Serve hot alongside a condiment bowl filled with sour cream or ranch dressing. Enjoy!
- For lighter, thinner, crispier potato skins - scoop out more flesh.
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