Potato Skins

AppetizerSnackSuper BowlPotatoes

Crispy cheese potato skins, baked to a crisp, then topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onions.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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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.

Baked Potato Skins with melted cheese

These potato skins 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.

Potato Skins Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 6 small to medium sized russet baking potatoes (total 3 pounds)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the greens of the onions

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.

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.

3 Cut 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.

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.

5 Add 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.

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.

Note: 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.

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Potato skins with blue cheese and spinach from Dagmar in Sweden, of A Cat in the Kitchen

cheesy stuffed crispy baked potato skins

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

135 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mia Amoure

    Wonderful recipe! Another recipe had said to cook in the oven for the first and only time, on one side at 420 degrees with the cheese on it already. The skins were not crispy enough. I tried at 450 like you said before putting the cheese on and it was much better! The only thing I did different is brushing the skins with bacon grease instead of olive oil – I don’t care about the calories LOL The dish was wonderful. Thank you for posting it. :)

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Chris Petersen

    No. No. No. NOOOOOO salt is needed. You get this from the bacon. Ive made these in restaurants… and while baking will definitely not get them as crispy (no matter how much oil), I recommend frying. But what the heck on the salt… don’t add things that will ruin it. Also, don’t cook potatoes for more than hour or they will fall apart. Trust me though… SKIP the salt (and pepper too… it’s not needed for this rich of an appetizer)

  3. Matt Peterson

    Awesome recipe, perfection!
    My family loves these. I also top them with sour cream (chives mixed in,) and Buffalo sauce.

    They come out perfect every time, and are always gone in 24 hours.

    :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Phyllis

    The first time I had potato skins was at Friday’s in Boston, I think also on Newberry Street! And I too thought I had gone to heaven! It was in the early 80s. (so I was only 10, )
    Can’t wait to make these tonight go with our filet mignon for New Year’s Eve dinner.

  5. Christina

    perfectly tasty and simple to make

    xxxxxyyyyy

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