How to Make Loaded Baked Potatoes

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Loaded baked potatoes might be one of the best comfort foods you can make at home. Bake the potatoes in advance and set out a topping bar so everyone can customize their meal. This is a great way to clean out your fridge since so many ingredients make perfect toppings. Load up your potatoes with cheese, leftover meat, veggies, and your favorite sauce. Then, tuck into a creamy, filling baked potato that’s just the way you like!


  • 4 large potatoes like Russets or Yukon Golds
  • of canola, vegetable, or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) of butter, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Toppings like bacon, cheddar, sour cream, and chives

Makes 2 to 4 servings


[Edit]Baking the Potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to and set a wire rack on a baking sheet. If you don’t have a wire rack and baking sheet, put the potatoes directly on the oven rack. You may want to place a piece of aluminum foil under the rack to catch oil drips.[1]
  2. Poke holes in 4 potatoes with a fork. Scrub 4 large potatoes like Russets or Yukon Golds under cold running water to rinse off dirt. Then, grip a potato firmly and use a fork to poke the potato about 10 times.[2]
    • Since potatoes contain a lot of water that turns into steam as they bake, the holes prevent the potatoes from splitting or exploding.
  3. Rub the potatoes with oil and set them on the wire rack. Drizzle about of canola, vegetable, or olive oil onto each potato and use your fingers or a pastry brush to spread the oil over the entire skin. Then, set the greased potatoes on the wire rack so they’re not touching each other.[3]
    • The oil helps the potato skins crisp up as they bake. If you skip greasing the potatoes, the skins will be dry and chewy.
  4. Bake them for 1 hour or until the center of the potatoes are tender. Carefully transfer the sheet with the wire rack and potatoes into the preheated oven. Cook the potatoes for 1 hour. Then, stick a knife into the center of a potato to see if it slides out easily. If it doesn’t, cook the potatoes for another 5 to 10 minutes and check again.[4]
    • If you’re short on time, microwave the potatoes for 5 minutes. Then, bake them in a oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Cool the potatoes for 5 minutes. Once the centers of the potatoes are tender, take the sheet out of the oven and set them on the stove. Leave the potatoes to cool on the wire rack for 5 minutes so they’re a little easier to handle.[5]
    Make Loaded Baked Potatoes Step 5.jpg
    • If you set the potatoes directly on the rack, wear oven mitts to take them out of the oven.
    • Don’t cover the potatoes as they cool or you’ll trap moisture and make the skins chewy.
  6. Split each potato in half lengthwise and spoon the flesh into a bowl. Set a slightly cooled potato on a cutting board and carefully slice through it lengthwise. Scoop out the soft potato flesh with a spoon and drop it into a large mixing bowl. Repeat this for each potato and set the skins aside.[6]
    • If the potatoes are still hot, wear an oven mitt so you can hold the potato and scoop out the flesh.
  7. Mash the potato with butter, salt, and pepper. Add 1/2 cup (115 g) of diced butter to the bowl with the potatoes along with as much salt and pepper as you’d like. Then, use a vegetable masher to roughly purée the potatoes. If you’d like a chunky texture, mash just until the butter is incorporated or keep mashing until the potatoes are smooth.[7]
    • Plan on using about 2 tablespoons (28 g) of butter for each filled potato.
    • For really rough potatoes, use the tines of a fork instead of a vegetable masher to break up the flesh.
  8. Spoon the seasoned potatoes back into the skins. If you’d like to make small loaded baked potatoes, fill each of the skins with some of the mashed potatoes or overfill just half of the skins. Then, add any toppings you like and enjoy![8]
    • Serve the potatoes as soon as you top them or stick them back in the oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese or reheat them.

[Edit]Loading them with Flavorful Ingredients

  1. Top the potatoes with bacon bits, chili, or meat to make a filling meal. For classic loaded baked potatoes, fry chopped bacon until it’s crisp and sprinkle it over the potatoes. You could also spoon your favorite chili or seasoned ground beef on top.[9]
    Make Loaded Baked Potatoes Step 9.jpg
    • This is a great chance to use leftovers from previous meals. Put leftover pulled pork, shredded beef, or carnitas on the potatoes, for instance.
  2. Scatter shredded or crumbled cheese to give the potatoes a creamy taste. One of the best parts of a loaded baked potato is the gooey, melted cheese. Top the potatoes with whatever cheese you have on hand like:
    Make Loaded Baked Potatoes Step 10.jpg
    • Cheddar
    • Pepper jack
    • Feta
    • Smoked gouda
    • Mozzarella
    • Nacho cheese
  3. Add cooked veggies for nutrition and a burst of color. Make a complete meal by including a variety of colorful veggies. Finely chop raw vegetables or steam, grill, and roast them before you scatter them over the potatoes. Try a few of these great combinations to get you started:[10]
    Make Loaded Baked Potatoes Step 11.jpg
    • Steamed broccoli florets with roasted red peppers
    • Grilled sweetcorn with diced jalapenos
    • Caramelized onions with mushrooms
    • Diced avocados with chopped tomatoes
  4. Spoon a creamy or spicy sauce over the potatoes for extra flavor. Add creamy or bold flavor with a drizzle of salsa, sour cream, or your favorite sauce like barbecue sauce, gravy, or hot sauce.[11]
    Make Loaded Baked Potatoes Step 12.jpg
    • Substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream if you’re trying to reduce calories.
  5. Garnish the loaded baked potatoes with chives or green onions. To give the loaded baked potatoes a slightly sharp flavor, chop a few green onions or chives and sprinkle them over the top.[12]
    Make Loaded Baked Potatoes Step 13.jpg
    • If you don’t want the spicy taste of green onions, use freshly chopped herbs like parsley or basil instead.


  • For the crispiest skin, skip wrapping the potatoes in foil since foil traps moisture and makes the skins soggy.[13]
  • If you have leftover baked potatoes, mash the lightly and mix them with a creamy white sauce. Spread the mixture in a casserole dish and scatter toppings over it. Then, bake the casserole until it’s bubbly.[14]

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Wire rack
  • Fork
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Oven mitts
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Vegetable masher



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