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The Ultimate Loaded Baked Potato Skins Recipe

loaded baked potato skins on a cooling rack

When I think about appetizers, especially game day appetizers, this loaded baked potato skins recipe always comes to mind. Anytime I can combine cheese and bacon I’m all over it, and this recipe comes with an added twist making it the ultimate baked potato skins recipe.

These loaded potato skins are easy to make, and are always a crowd favorite; right next to the jalapeno poppers. What’s even better, there are so many variations in toppings for these, they never get boring.

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Toppings for Baked Potato Skins

Aside from the traditional toppings I use for this baked potato skins recipe, there are so many others that can be used. Some of the best toppings are actually leftovers, making it even easier. For example:

Leftover pulled pork: There always seems to be leftovers when making a pork shoulder. Using those leftovers as a topping for this baked potato skins recipe is incredible. 

Simply add a heaping pile to these potato skins, and exchange the ranch for some homemade BBQ sauce for dipping or drizzling.

Smoked mac n cheese: If there’s a better use of leftover mac n cheese, I don’t know about it. A nice crispy potato skin topped with gooey mac n cheese are the perfect contrast in texture. Again, I like to hit this with some BBQ sauce.

Spicy Steak Bites: It’s rare that there will ever be any of these steak bites left over, but in the event there are, try topping your baked potato skins with them for an elevated version of this traditional game day appetizer.

Smoked Chicken Thighs: Absolutely amazing on this baked potato skins recipe. Chicken is a challenge to reheat so chopping up any leftover smoked chicken thighs and topping a crispy potato skin with them is a great use for chicken, and levels up the potatoes.

baked potato skins recipe

What Makes This The Ultimate Baked Potato Skin Recipe?

The best part of a loaded tater skin is the crispiness of skin combined with the creamy flesh of the potato. The crispy skin is key!

So, in order to add not only crispiness, but flavor, I use rendered bacon fat on the skins. There’s a million loaded baked potato skins recipes floating around, nearly all of them call for the use of olive oil (or no oil) on the skin.

I’m telling you, using the rendered bacon fat brings an added element of flavor, and crunch that makes these the best baked potato skins ever!

loaded baked potato skins

Tips For Making Potato Skins

Cheese: Try using sliced cheese instead of shredded cheese. This way, the cheese will melt and sort of fold over the edges of the potato. Shredded cheese tends to sink into the middle of the potato.
Oven or Grill: Of course I prefer the grill but the oven works as well. Just be sure the temperature is between 400° – 425°F as indicated by a reliable leave-in thermometer. Less than that, and you’ll end up with soft skins as opposed to the desirable crispy skin.
Portions: Plan for at least two skins for each person you’re serving, possibly three. They are going to go quickly and are best when served hot.
Cooling Rack: I find these easy to make using the wire rack. So much easier to get them on and off the grill. If you’re using the oven, place the cooking rack inside a baking sheet to reduce mess.
baked potato skins sitting on a wire rack

How To Make Baked Potato Skins

Serves: 12 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 75 minutes

Ingredients
6 small russet potatoes
12 slices cheddar cheese
12 slices Colby Jack cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced
12 slices bacon, cut into ½” squares
1 tablespoon BBQ rub, or your favorite seasoning
¾ cup homemade ranch dressing

Step 1: Light your gas or charcoal grill and set up for two zone heating, establishing the temperature at 400° – 425°F. Alternatively, preheat your oven to the same temperature.

Step 2: While the grill is preheating, scrub potatoes thoroughly and pierce the skins in several places with a fork. Place the potatoes on the grill over indirect heat and allow them to roast for 60 minutes. 

russet potatoes baking on a grill

Step 3: While the potatoes are roasting, fry the bacon squares until they are slightly crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve the rendered bacon fat.

Step 4: Remove the potatoes from the grill and when they are cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the center of each half of the potato. 

potatoes cut in half on a platter

Tip: Save the scooped-out potato for some loaded twice-roasted potatoes.

Step 5: Using a pastry brush, coat the skins and flesh of each potato half with the rendered bacon. Then, season the bacon-glazed skins with BBQ rub (or sprinkle with salt) and place them skin side up on a cooling rack. Return to the oven or grill over indirect heat for 7-10 minutes. 

Step 6: Flip the potatoes over on the cooling rack and place a slice of cheddar and Colby Jack cheese in each. Close the lid and allow the cheese to melt for five minutes.

Step 7: Remove them from the oven or grill and fill each potato boat with bacon pieces and green onions.

adding bacon to baked potato skins recipe

Step 8: Dust with additional BBQ seasoning and serve with homemade ranch dressing or a dollop of sour cream.

finished baked potato skins
baked potato skins on a wire rack

Ultimate Baked Potato Skins

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 6 small russet potatoes
  • 12 slices bacon cut into ½" pieces
  • 12 slices cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices colby Jack cheese
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp BBQ rub or favorite seasoning
  • ¾ cup homemade ranch dressing

Instructions

  • Light your gas or charcoal grill and set up for two zone heating, establishing the temperature at 400° – 425°F. Alternatively, preheat your oven to the same temperature.
  • While the grill is preheating, scrub potatoes thoroughly and pierce the skins in several places with a fork. Place the potatoes on the grill over indirect heat and allow them to roast for 60 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are roasting, fry the bacon squares until they are slightly crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve the rendered bacon fat.
  • Remove the potatoes from the grill and when they are cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the center of each half of the potato.
  • Using a pastry brush, coat the skins and flesh of each potato half with the rendered bacon. Then, season the bacon-glazed skins with BBQ rub (or sprinkle with salt) and place them skin side up on a cooling rack. Return to the oven or grill over indirect heat for 7-10 minutes.
  • Flip the potatoes over on the cooling rack and place a slice of cheddar and Colby Jack cheese in each. Close the lid and allow the cheese to melt for five minutes. Remove them from the oven or grill and fill each potato boat with bacon pieces and scallions.
  • Dust with additional BBQ seasoning and serve with homemade ranch dressing or a dollop of sour cream.

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