Potato Skins

Crispy, cheesy potato skins are baked, then topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and green onions. Make this easy appetizer for your next party!

A platter of potato skins topped with cheese and sour cream.
Kelly Hamilton

There is nothing like a plate full of crispy potato skins, filled with melty cheddar cheese, and topped with bacon bits, sour cream and green onions.

The first time I had these I was 21 years old, at an outdoor cafe on Newbury Street in Boston; I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Oh for the days of youth when one could eat potato skins with wild abandon! I could eat a whole plate back then (and drink a pitcher of beer along with it) and be none the worse. Sigh.

The Secret to the Best Potato Skins: Bake, Don't Fry!

These potato skins are easy to make. Some approaches call for deep frying, but I don't think it is really necessary. You just want to bake the skins at a high enough heat so that they get crispy enough to hold the toppings.

A platter of potato skins ready to be served.
Kelly Hamilton

The Best Potatoes for Potato Skins

Russets make the best potatoes for these classic potato skins because of their they're big and their skin is tough enough to handle the preparation.

While other potatoes such as red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes will taste good using this preparation, their thinner skins make them more difficult to work with. The skins will more easily rip while scooping, especially because you pierce the skin in Step 1, creating small tears already.

Tips for Baking a Potato

If you're new to baking potatoes, check out How to Bake a Potato for foolproof step-by-step instructions. If you want just a few tips to bake a better potato, follow these.

  • Russets make the best baking potatoes, but remember that the bigger the potato, the longer the baking time.
  • Poke holes in them to avoid explosions and allow some of their moisture to escape.
  • Rub oil on the skins and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Skip wrapping in foil.
  • To check for doneness, slide a fork or a skewer into the potato. If it slides in and out easily, the potato is done.

Topping Variations to Try

Cheese, sour cream, and chives are the classic topping for potato skins, but sometimes it's fun to switch it up.

  • Chili (with or without sour cream and chives)
  • Buffalo-sauced chicken and blue cheese
  • Bacon, fried onions, and blue cheese
  • Cooked shaved steak, fried onions, and American cheese
  • Cooked broccoli and cheddar cheese

Make Ahead Tips for Potato Skins

Follow Steps 1, 3, and 4, baking, scooping, and roasting the skins. Then allow the roasted skins to cool completely and place them in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 days. When it comes time to bake the topped potatoes, bring the refrigerated skins to room temperature, and start at Step 5.

You can also cook the bacon ahead of time, as it's done in Step 2, and refrigerate up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before adding them to the skins in Step 5.

Prep the cheese and green onions up to 2 days ahead of time, too, refrigerating them until needed.

Try These Recipes to Use Up the Insides of the Potatoes!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Potato Skins

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 100 mins
Total Time 110 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

If you have a potato whose skin or flesh has turned green, cut out those parts, do not use them. The green indicates the presence of a toxin that develops when potatoes are exposed to sunlight.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium (3 pounds) russet potatoes

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 6 slices bacon

  • 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Bake the potatoes:

    Scrub the potatoes clean then bake the potatoes using your favorite method, either oven or microwave. If using an oven, pierce a few times with a sharp knife or the tines of a fork, rub with olive oil and bake in a 400°F oven for about an hour until the potatoes are cooked through and give a little when pressed.

    If using a microwave, pierce the potato a few times with a sharp knife of the tines of a fork, rub all over with olive oil and cook on the high setting for about 5 minutes per potato.

    I have found that baking the potatoes in a conventional oven yields potatoes that are easier to work with (cut and scoop out), the potato seems to adhere to the skins a little better, but there is hardly a discernible difference in the final product.

    Potatos halved on a baking sheet to make a potato skins recipe.
    Kelly Hamilton
  2. Cook the bacon:

    While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon strips in a frying pan on medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Let cool. Crumble.

    Bacon cooked and chopped into pieces on a plate for a potato skins recipe.
    Kelly Hamilton
  3. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides:

    Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Cut in half horizontally. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the insides, reserving the scooped potatoes for another use, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of potato on the skin.

    Scooping out the potato flesh to show how to make potato skins.
    Kelly Hamilton
  4. Bake the potato skins:

    Increase the heat of the oven to 450°F. Brush or rub olive oil all over the potato skins, outside and in. Sprinkle with salt.

    Place on a baking rack in a roasting pan (don't use a cookie sheet, it will warp, use a roasting pan or broiler pan that can take the heat).

    Cook for 10 minutes on one side, then flip the skins over and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

    Brushing potatos to make a potato skins recipe
    Kelly Hamilton
    Potato skins baking in the oven.
    Kelly Hamilton
  5. Add the cheese and bacon and bake again:

    Arrange the potato skins skin-side down on the roasting pan or rack. Sprinkle the insides with freshly ground black pepper, cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon.

    Return to the oven. Broil for an additional 2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven.

    Topping potato skins with cheese and bacon.
    Kelly Hamilton
    Potato skins recipe in the oven.
    Kelly Hamilton
  6. Top with sour cream and green onions to serve:

    Use tongs to place skins on a serving plate. Add a dollop of sour cream to each skin, sprinkle with green onions.

    Serve immediately.

    Scooping sour cream on to potato skins to show how to make potato skins.
    Kelly Hamilton
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
379 Calories
17g Fat
45g Carbs
14g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 379
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 398mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 20mg 101%
Calcium 190mg 15%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 1195mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.