Food

Baked Potato Bar (with Topping Ideas!)

at a glance
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings

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If you’re looking for an easy, fun, and affordable option for your next party or family dinner, this baked potato bar is it! Your family will love getting to stuff their own potatoes with their favorite toppings.

the makings of a baked potato bar - a plate of baked potatoes and small bowls filled with baked potato bar toppings like cheese, sour cream, bacon, onions, sauerkraut, cilantro, and jalapenos

Is there anything better than a stuffed potato? I’m going to say no. Stuffed potatoes (of both the white and sweet variety) have long been one of my favorite comfort foods. From the uber-popular sausage and kale stuffed sweet potatoes from my first book, to this BBQ bacon burger stuffed potato, or even my go-to lunch order of a brisket stuffed potato from our local BBQ place, one of my favorite things about baked potatoes is all the ways you can dress it up! That’s why I love the concept of this baked potato bar: everyone can dress up their potatoes however they like, and they get the opportunity to try out a few new topping possibilities they may not have thought of before.

How to Set Up a Potato Bar

To make a baked potato bar, all you’ll need to do is bake up some potatoes and set out your favorite toppings. If you’re setting up a baked potato bar for a party, you can keep the potatoes warm by placing them in a slow cooker on the warm setting, so that everyone can grab a potato whenever they’re ready. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your own baked potato bar:

  • Plan for 1 potato for most, and 2 potatoes for more hearty eaters. 
  • Pick at least 6 toppings – having a wide variety of toppings is super important! In addition to the protein of your choice (if this is going to be the main meal), you’ll also want things like cheese, butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and garnishes like bacon and chives.
  • Prepare your potatoes and toppings in advance.
  • Lay everything out so everyone can build their own baked potato.
the makings of a baked potato bar - a plate of baked potatoes and small bowls filled with baked potato bar toppings like cheese, sour cream, bacon, onions, sauerkraut, cilantro, and jalapenos

What goes on a baked potato bar?

You’ll need baked potatoes (of course!), a variety of toppings, and a couple of garnishes. How wide of a variety of toppings and garnishes is totally up to you, and will likely depend on how large your gathering is!

What kind of potatoes should I use?

We typically stick to russet potatoes when it comes to a baked potato bar because they are larger than the other varieties and get a lovely crisp skin, but you can totally use sweet potatoes if you’d like!

Potato Bar Topping Ideas

This is the really fun part! Feel free to stick to really classic baked potato toppings (think: butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon, chives, etc.) or get really creative with your topping selection! Here is a list of toppings that we think would be *really* tasty:

Proteins:

Dairy:

  • Butter
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheese – go with classic cheddar or pick a variety of your favorite cheeses for extra flavor!

Veggies:

  • Roasted/steamed vegetables – broccoli is a personal favorite of mine here!
  • Sauteed greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Sauteed bell peppers

Other garnishes:

  • Chives
  • Green onions
  • Diced red onion
  • Pickled red onions
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced jalapenos, fresh or pickled
  • Chili
  • Chopped avocado
  • Salsa

There are several different methods you can use to make your potatoes! Below, you’ll find instructions for cooking your potatoes 5 different ways.

  • Oven – rub potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F for 50-60 minutes. *(this is our favorite method – potatoes cooked in the oven tend to be soft on the inside with perfectly crisp skin!)
  • Slow Cooker – rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Instant Pot – add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot, then add the steamer trivet to the Instant Pot. Place the potatoes on top and cook for 15 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally.
  • Air Fryer – if you’re only looking to feed 3 or 4, this method gets oven results in less time! Simply rub the potatoes with olive oil and salt and place in an air fryer basket at 400°F for 30-40 minutes.
  • Microwave – use a fork to poke holes in each potato, then wrap each potato in a damp paper towel. Place the paper towel-wrapped potatoes in the microwave and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Use an oven mitt to squeeze the potatoes for doneness. If the potato gives, it’s done. If it doesn’t, microwave in 2-minute increments until soft.

You’ll know your baked potatoes are done when a fork can easily poke through the skin toward the middle of the potato. 

If you’re making your potatoes ahead of time (which is what we recommend!), you’ll want to keep them warm until they’re ready to be enjoyed. Our favorite way to do this is to place the already-cooked potatoes into a slow cooker set on the “warm” setting. Regardless of which method you used to cook your potatoes in the first place, this is a fail-proof way to keep them warm!

the makings of a baked potato bar - a plate of baked potatoes and small bowls filled with baked potato bar toppings like cheese, sour cream, bacon, onions, and jalapenos

Favorite Toppings for Baked Potatoes

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the ingredients you can load potatoes with! Here are a few of our favorite baked potato bar topping combinations:

  • Classic – butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon, and chives
  • Irish-Inspired – corned beef, pickled onions, sauerkraut, and white cheddar cheese
  • Chili-Stuffed – chili, shredded cheese, green onion, and sour cream
  • Fajita – sauteed onions and bell peppers, ground beef, chopped steak or chicken, cheese, sour cream, and cilantro
  • BBQ – pulled pork, barbecue sauce
  • Philly Cheesesteak – ground beef, sauteed onions and peppers, provolone cheese
  • Broccoli + Cheese – steamed or roasted broccoli, shredded chicken, shredded cheese
  • Pizza – tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage, pepperoni, pickled jalapenos
  • Greek-Inspired – feta cheese, kalamata olives, red onion, tzatziki sauce, red pepper

We hope you enjoy making and serving a baked potato bar to your family and friends!

top view of a bowl of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes with a serving spoon sitting on a marble surface

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Easy Baked Potato Bar

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Servings: 6 servings
This easy baked potato bar is a perfect option for your next family dinner or get together!

Ingredients  

For the Potatoes:

For the Toppings:

  • Proteins
  • Corned beef
  • Beef brisket
  • Shredded chicken
  • Bacon
  • Cooked and crumbled sausage
  • Black beans
  • Shredded Pork Shoulder or Carnitas
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • Dairy
  • Butter
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheese – go with classic cheddar or pick a variety of your favorite cheeses for extra flavor!
  • Veggies
  • Roasted/steamed vegetables – broccoli is a personal favorite of mine here!
  • Sauteed greens spinach, kale, etc.
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sauteed bell peppers

Other Garnishes:

  • Chives
  • Green onions
  • Diced red onion
  • Pickled red onions
  • Cilantro
  • Sliced jalapenos fresh or pickled
  • Chili
  • Chopped avocado
  • Salsa

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, then place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the potatoes are pierced easily with a fork.
  • Cut a slit in the potatoes, lengthwise, then set out alongside the toppings. If you want to keep the potatoes warm, you can place them in a slow cooker on the warm setting. Let everyone serve their own potatoes and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Favorite Toppings for Baked Potatoes:
  • Classic – butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon, and chives
  • Irish-Inspired – corned beef, pickled onions, sauerkraut, and white cheddar cheese
  • Chili-Stuffed – chili, shredded cheese, green onion, and sour cream
  • Fajita – sauteed onions and bell peppers, ground beef, chopped steak or chicken, cheese, sour cream, and cilantro
  • BBQ – pulled pork, barbecue sauce
  • Philly Cheesesteak – ground beef, sauteed onions and peppers, provolone cheese
  • Broccoli + Cheese – steamed or roasted broccoli, shredded chicken, shredded cheese
  • Pizza – tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sausage, pepperoni, pickled jalapenos
  • Greek-Inspired – feta cheese, kalamata olives, red onion, tzatziki sauce, red pepper
Meet the Author
Cassy Headshot

Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
Get to know Cassy

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  1. Dian says

    Dian —  01/13/2022 At 03:59

    Do you wrap your potatoes in foil to bake them?

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  01/14/2022 At 09:11

      Hi Dian! We do not wrap our potatoes in foil to bake them. I find baking at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes results in a nice crispy skin and soft outside, my personal favorite texture! ~Melissa

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