Baked Potato Bar

Next to taco Tuesday, Baked Potato Bar night is a family favorite and one where no complaints arise. My best tips for making your own potato bar are below whether you’re planning an easy weeknight dinner or a spread for guests.

Baked potato bar with a loaded potato in the center on a blue and white plate.

Despite my best efforts, my children can often be very picky when it comes to dinner. Sometimes I never know what to prepare so someone isn’t complaining. There are a few dinners such as Bow Tie Pasta, Southern Baled Mac and Cheese, and baked potatoes where all are happy.

This easy-to-make meal is great for a fun family dinner or even better for entertaining a crowd. Whether you’re prepping for game day parties or the Super Bowl, a backyard barbecue, or any other entertaining a loaded potato bar is a great option.

Why This Recipe Works

  • One of the easiest dinners ever. Outside of laying out your toppings and baking the potatoes, there’s nothing else you need to do for this dinner. That’s it! It’s that simple. Let the work go to your family or guests who can pile on all their favorite toppings.
  • Can be made in advance. If you’re planning for a party or just like to get ahead most of the prep can be done before you plan on serving. Toppings can be chopped, diced, or just placed into their chosen bowls and covered. The only thing you want to make just before serving it is the baked potatoes themselves.
  • A great meal for using up leftovers. Often I find I have tons of Pulled Pork leftover or have a handful of toppings such as 1 tomato, a little bit of sour cream in the bottom of the container, or less than 1/2 a cup of shredded cheese. Alone those things won’t get me a meal, but if making a baked potato bar they’re the perfect toppings.

Ingredients Needed

Baked potato bar ingredients.

Ingredient Notes

  • Potatoes – For a basic loaded potato bar you’ll want to use Russet potatoes or you can use sweet potatoes. I prefer to bake mine in the oven, which I’ve included in the instructions, but you can use your favorite method from grilling to the slow cooker.
  • Olive Oil – Coating the skin of the baked potatoes adds flavor because it soaks into the skin as it cooks. If you like potato skins then you’ll love the way your potato cooks with olive oil coated on the outside.
  • Salt – This is key for sprinkling on the outside of the potato before baking or cooking it too because it adds flavor to the skin of the potatoes.

Baked Potato Bar Toppings

Many people like to start by seasoning the actual baked potato with salt and pepper as well as using butter. For this reason, I like to keep these condiments at the very beginning of the spread. Below are some of my favorite baked potato toppings, but by no means a full list.

Baked potato bar toppings in various bowls.
  • Cheeses – shredded cheddar cheese, mozzarella, Mexican blend, grated parmesan, provolone, goat cheese, pepper jack cheese, and crumbled blue cheese.
  • Meat – crumbled bacon, taco meat, shredded chicken, pulled pork, diced pancetta, pepperoni, or even some chili.
  • Fruits – diced avocado, chopped tomatoes, sundried tomatoes,
  • Vegetables – green onions, chives, corn, broccoli, red onion, olives, roasted red peppers, pickles, and scallions.
  • Sauces – Sour cream, sriracha, barbecue sauce, salsa, pesto, taco sauce, marinara sauce, gravy
  • Herbs and Spices – Salt, pepper, cumin, taco seasoning, and ranch seasoning.
  • Unique Toppings – Kimchi, baked beans or black beans, pickled vegetables such as pickled red onions, or pickled jalapenos and carrots.

Baked Potato Bar Ideas

Sometimes I like to provide my guest with some ideas because all the toppings laid out can sometimes be overwhelming. To do this I’ll choose 2 or 3 of the flavor combination below and group those toppings together with a label suggesting what goes on top.

  • Mexican Baked Potatoes – Pepper Jack cheese, pickled jalapeños, diced tomato, avocado, and salsa.
  • Broccoli Cheddar – Steamed broccoli, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon
  • Chili Spud – Chili, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced red onions, pickled jalapenos (this is my all-time favorite baked potato topping).
  • Southwest – Pepper Jack cheese, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, roasted red peppers, and pickled jalapeno.
  • Barbecue – Pulled pork, barbecue sauce, red onions, and jalapenos.
  • Pesto Potato – Sundried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, diced pancetta, and pesto sauce.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Loaded potato bar process steps 1 and 2.
  1. Prep the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 450º F. Wash the potatoes and scrub them to remove any dirt or sediment from the skin and then dry them. Using a fork or sharp-tipped knife, pierce the skin randomly all around the potato.
  2. Season the potatoes. Brush or rub the potatoes with olive oil making sure to cover the skin completely in a light coat of oil. Then sprinkle them with sea salt.
Loaded potato bar process steps 3 and 4.
  1. Wrap and bake the potatoes. Cover each potato individually in aluminum foil and place them directly on the oven rack seam side up to bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (if your potatoes are very large you may need to add up to 15 more minutes of baking time).
  2. Arrange the toppings. While the potatoes are baking arrange your toppings by chopping, dicing, or prepping them and placing them into individual bowls.
Baked potato bar ideas for toppings in different bowls with mini serving spoons.

Other Baked Potato Cooking Methods

  • Instant Pot Baked Potatoes – Put the trivet at the bottom of a 6-quart Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of water. Wash the potatoes and pierce the skin all over using a fork or the tip of a knife. Set the potatoes on top of the trivet and place the lid on the Instant Pot with the vent set to “sealing”. Place the settings on “manual” for 16 minutes. Once the cooking time has finished, switch the valve to the venting position to release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid.
  • Microwave Baked Potatoes – Wash and dry the potatoes and pierce the skin all over using a fork or the tip of a knife. Set the potato on top of a microwave-safe place and set the cooking time for 7 minutes. Test for doneness to see if it’s fork-tender and if not, flip the potato to the other side and cook for an additional 1 minute (adding additional minutes if needed) and then let rest for 2 minutes before slicing open.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • When arranging your toppings place the larger toppings such as the pulled pork or broccoli florets at the front of the assembly line so those items can be added first. Smaller items such as seasonings and also sauces should be at the end because those go on the very top of the potatoes.
  • Don’t forget to set out salt, pepper, and butter. They’re simple but many people like to start their potatoes off with these condiments so place them at the beginning of your spread.
  • Use a variety of serving bowls to display your toppings. Included tongs and serving spoons or forks in each topping to make it easy for guests.
  • To keep your potatoes warm before you plan on serving them wrap each potato individually in foil and place them in the oven heated to 200º F, use a warming drawer, or place them in your slow cooker set on low.

FAQS

What to serve with a baked potato bar?

A baked potato is filling enough with all the toppings so this meal can be served on it’s own, but if you’d like any additional sides a garden salad or a fluff salad such as Pistachio Pudding Salad are great options.

What makes a good potato bar?

It comes down to having fork-tender baked potatoes and a wide variety of toppings to choose from. Making it easy for guests by either grouping ingredients based on theme such as “Mexican” or “Southwest also helps. Lastly, arranging the potato bar properly by setting the larger toppings at the beginning and smaller ones like green onions and chives at the end make the bar flow easily. Don’t forget to use serving spoons and forks for each topping too.

If you enjoyed these Baked Potato Bar ideas, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a photo and tag me on Instagram using @AimeeMarsLiving and #AimeeMars.

Potato bar potato loaded with chili, cheese, and sour cream on a plate.

Baked Potato Bar

Next to taco Tuesday, Baked Potato Bar night is a family favorite and one where no complaints arise. My best tips for making your own potato bar are below whether you’re planning an easy weeknight dinner or a spread for guests.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 353kcal
Author: Aimee Mars

Equipment

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Small Serving Bowls
  • Appetizer Forks and Spoons

Ingredients

Baked Potatoes

  • 4 large Russet Potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Coarse Sea Salt

Toppings

  • Chili
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Crumbled Bacon
  • Pickled Jalapeños
  • Green Onions diced
  • Chives chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450º F. Wash the potatoes and scrub them to remove any dirt or sediment from the skin and then dry them. Using a fork or sharp-tipped knife, pierce the skin randomly all around the potato.
  • Brush or rub the potatoes with olive oil making sure to cover the skin completely in a light coat of oil. Then sprinkle them with sea salt.
  • Cover each potato individually in aluminum foil and place them directly on the oven rack seam side up to bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes (if your potatoes are very large you may need to add up to 15 more minutes of baking time).
  • While the potatoes are baking arrange your toppings by chopping, dicing, or prepping them and placing them into individual bowls.

Notes

  • When arranging your toppings place the larger toppings such as the pulled pork or broccoli florets at the front of the assembly line so those items can be added first. Smaller items such as seasonings and also sauces should be at the end because those go on the very top of the potatoes.
  • Don’t forget to set out salt, pepper, and butter. They’re simple but many people like to start their potatoes off with these condiments so place them at the beginning of your spread.
  • Use a variety of serving bowls to display your toppings. Included tongs and serving spoons or forks in each topping to make it easy for guests.
  • To keep your potatoes warm before you plan on serving them wrap each potato individually in foil and place them in the oven heated to 200º F, use a warming drawer, or place them in your slow cooker set on low.
 

Other Baked Potato Cooking Methods

  • Instant Pot Baked Potatoes – Put the trivet at the bottom of a 6-quart Instant Pot and pour in 1 cup of water. Wash the potatoes and pierce the skin all over using a fork or the tip of a knife. Set the potatoes on top of the trivet and place the lid on the Instant Pot with the vent set to “sealing”. Place the settings on “manual” for 16 minutes. Once the cooking time has finished, switch the valve to the venting position to release the pressure. Carefully remove the lid.
  • Microwave Baked Potatoes – Wash and dry the potatoes and pierce the skin all over using a fork or the tip of a knife. Set the potato on top of a microwave-safe place and set the cooking time for 7 minutes. Test for doneness to see if it’s fork-tender and if not, flip the potato to the other side and cook for an additional 1 minute (adding additional minutes if needed) and then let rest for 2 minutes before slicing open.

Nutrition

Serving: 1potato | Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 1181mg | Potassium: 1539mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 3mg
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About The Author

Aimee

I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by my space here and love to connect with new friends through food. I’ve always felt sharing meals brings people together, which is one of the many reasons I began this site.

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One thought on “Baked Potato Bar

  1. When preparing for a crowd and a potato bar is the main item, how many ounces of butter, sour cream and grated cheese should be planned for each guest?

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