This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

Loaded potato skins are the best party appetizer! Make them crispy baked and shower with toppings (this recipe has a time saving trick).

Potato Skins
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Who doesn’t love potato skins? Those crispy, savory vessels for creamy, cheesy deliciousness could melt even the most stone cold heart. So when you’re looking to impress, why not try them at home? They’re not without a little effort: you’ll need to throw these spuds in the oven quite a few times. But! Our method offers some innovations so you can complete it in less time than most potato skin recipes. Ready to get started?

Overview of this potato skins recipe

Why does a potato skins recipe take so long? Well, you’ve got to bake the potatoes, then scoop out the flesh and bake them again, then add cheese and bake them again! But here’s where our time saving obsession comes in. Use our “quick bake” method for the first bake and you can cut down precious prep time. Here’s an overview of this potato skins recipe:

  • Bake the potatoes (30 minutes): Using our quick baked potato method, you can cut the time for this step from up to 1 hour to just 30 minutes!
  • Remove the flesh and season (10 minutes): Remove the flesh from inside the potatoes, then brush them with butter and season.
  • Bake again (10 minutes): Place on a baking rack over a baking sheet (to help get them crispy with maximum air flow!). Bake another 10 minutes.
  • Add cheese and bake again (3 to 4 minutes): Add cheese and bake until it melts.
  • Add toppings and serve! Load ’em up and serve warm.
Potato Skins

Small to medium potatoes are key

The size of the potatoes in this potato skins recipe is key. You’ll want small to medium russet potatoes. Smaller potatoes make a nice handheld potato skin, and they also bake faster! You don’t want a large, floppy potato skin. Small to medium potatoes are key here.

Quick bake method saves time

The quick bake method for potatoes is something we use all the time to speed up baked potatoes. Why bake potatoes whole when you can bake them…in half? Slice the potatoes in half and it takes about half the time to bake them: and they taste just as good (or better!).

When it came to a potato skins recipe, we knew our quick bake method would be perfect. Turns out, it’s the perfect innovation here: and cuts the prep time to about 1 hour start to finish.

Potato Skins

Toppings for potato skins

This is a classic potato skins recipe, so we used all the classic toppings! Of course, you can add innovations of your own. Here are some notes on what we think are essential:

  • Sour cream: A quick tip: loosen the sour cream with a bit of water before you dollop it! It makes it much easier. Want dairy free? Use vegan sour cream (and of course, your favorite dairy-free cheese).
  • Green onions: They’re essential for that savory crunch.
  • Bacon: It’s classic! We generally eat plant based so we used a purchased vegan bacon. The brand isn’t one we’d recommend, so let us know if you have vegan bacon brands you recommend in the comments below! Homemade coconut bacon would be perfect here.
  • Smoked salt: Because we used vegan bacon, we added a hint of smoked salt here. We’d highly recommend it, no matter what type of bacon you use. It adds an irresistibly smoky undertone.
  • Hot sauce: Just a hint of hot sauce adds another dimension, but it’s not required.
Potato Skins

Making this recipe for a crowd

This potato skins recipe makes 16 potato skins, or about enough to feed 8 servings. Of course, they’re so delicious that we could polish off the entire tray between the two of us! The only downside of this recipe is that it does feel like quite a bit of effort for something that’s gone in a flash. But that’s the fun of it!

If you’re serving a big party, you may want to consider making a double recipe here. Use the 2x recipe button below and two large trays in your oven. The only note is that the bake times may be slightly longer, since you have more surface area to bake in the oven. The recipe will likely also take you slightly longer to assemble, with more potatoes to scoop and top.

More easy party appetizers

And that’s it! These potato skins are one of our favorite party appetizers around. But they are a bit of effort to put together! Here are a few more fun ideas that are less effort:

Want more? Try these 30 Super Bowl Food Ideas & Snacks.

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Potato Skins

Easy Potato Skins

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 potato skins (serves 8) 1x
Save Recipe


Loaded potato skins are the best party appetizer! Make them crispy baked and shower with toppings (this recipe has a time saving trick).


  • 8 small to medium russet potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)*
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (or more olive oil for vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese
  • 2 green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Cooked bacon or vegan bacon (purchased or coconut bacon), for garnish (optional)
  • Smoked salt, for sprinkling (recommended)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bake the potatoes: Wash the potatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the potatoes on top and rub them with olive oil, just enough to coat. Turn the potatoes cut side down and prick the tops several times with fork. Bake until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned on the edges, about 25 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Prick them with a fork to assess doneness. (While baking, you can cook the bacon if using, and prep the other toppings.)
  3. Remove the flesh: Allow the potatoes cool slightly. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a 1/4-inch border around the flat edge of the potato, then use a spoon to carefully scoop out the insides (cutting with a knife first helps to puncture the crisp roasted surface). Reserve the scooped potatoes for another use.
  4. Season and bake again: Place a metal baking rack on top of a large baking sheet. Brush melted butter all over the potato skins on both sides. Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and chili powder in a small bowl and add a pinches to the top of each potato, using the entire mix. Sprinkle with a few grinds of black pepper. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. 
  5. Add cheese and bake again: Remove the potatoes from the oven. Add the shredded cheese evenly to the tops. Return to the oven and bake again until the cheese melts, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Top and serve: Remove the potatoes from the oven. Add a sprinkle of salt or smoked salt to the top of each. Dollop with sour cream**, then add the sliced green onions and bacon crumbles. if using. Serve immediately. The potato skins taste great at room temperature as well (so they work to leave out at a party).


*Makes 16 potato skins. Double for a large crowd and use two baking sheets: you may need to increase the baking time slightly with more surface area in the oven.

**Stir in a few teaspoons of water to the sour cream to help make dollops.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. Anonymous says:

    so good

  2. Vonda Whalen says:

    I make mushroom bacon which would be very tasty on these

  3. Tai says:

    I am absolutely going to make these for the super bowl! We’ll have a lot of young children, could I cut them into fourths and just use a little less cheese?