You know how they say “bacon makes everything better”? These Bacon Roasted Loaded Potato Skins are a GREAT demonstration of that fact! These are highly customizable, and easy to make!
Originally posted Sept 11, 2013. Updated 2/27/2023
Sure, it may be a catchy slogan, but it really does tend to ring true.
When it comes to homemade loaded potato skins, bacon is a no brainer. How often to you see restaurant style potato skins *without* bacon, after all?
Trust me when I say my recipe for loaded baked potato skins is the only one you'll ever need.
Aside from the speed and ease of preparing this classic appetizer - no deep frying! - I developed this potato skin recipe to make judicious used of bacon - not only the bacon itself, but the drippings.
"Waste not, want not", right?
Before you ever get to topping these babies with bacon, you've already cooked the potato skins with bacon fat, AND - potentially - sauteed mushrooms in it.
When we were still being social, it was one of our favorite game day appetizers.
As a crowd-pleasing, easy appetizer to make a big batch of, it was a no brainer to make these for Super Bowl watch parties.
Recently, I was doing up my post for Loaded Mini Baked Potatoes , and realized it had been far too long since I made a batch of these bacon roasted potato skins.
I got it in my head that I should make up a batch of these as well, with “new photos” being the excuse, and we ended up making a lunch of it.
Anyway, let’s get to the newly updated post, eh?
This loaded potato skins recipe uses really simple ingredients, that you can get in any grocery store.
All you need are potatoes, bacon, salt, black pepper, and whatever toppings you like!
A few notes for you:
Russet potatoes are the best potatoes to use for homemade potato skins, full stop.
As far of as the size of the potatoes go, just know that the size of your potatoes will influence the cook time, both in the microwave and when roasting.
Personally, I like to use large potatoes, to allow for a lot of surface area for toppings.
Small potatoes can make a cute potato skins appetizer, though, so feel free to use small russet potatoes.
Just cut the microwave time as noted in the recipe, and keep an eye on them when roasting in the oven.
Because this recipe relies on the use of leftover bacon fat in preparing the crispy potato skins, you’ll want to use regular pork bacon if you’re looking to go for accuracy.
That’s because things like chicken bacon, turkey bacon, and vegetarian bacon don’t leave you with fat when you cook them up.
That said, you can definitely use an oil in place of the rendered fat, if you need to use a bacon alternative. It’s all good!
Bacon Roasted Potato Skin Toppings
Beyond the traditional “crispy bacon and cheese” topping, there are all kinds of ways you can prepare your crispy baked potato skins.
A few ideas that aren’t pictured:
1. Finely chopped jalapeno adds a kick to any topping combo, but is especially nice with bacon and melty cheddar cheese.
2. Rinsed and strained black beans and a little salsa, topped with jalapenos, Monterey Jack cheese. Once baked, top with sour cream and a little finely chopped cilantro.
3. Shredded pork, chicken, or jackfruit in a bit of BBQ sauce, topped with cheese and (after baking) coleslaw or green onions.
4. Chopped up sundried tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives, and feta for a Mediterranean vibe. Top with fresh parsley or dill.
5. For a Philly cheesesteak dip themed potatoes, saute some very thinly sliced beef, onion, green bell peppers, and even mushrooms, if you like. Top with provolone cheese.
6. Season your shredded cheese before adding it to the potato skins.
Depending on your cheese and other topping choices, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Cumin, Hatch Chile Powder, Italian Seasoning, Jalapeno Powder, Mustard Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Smoked Paprika, and/or Smoked Serrano Powder are all good options.
7. Use vegetarian bacon bits - and vegetable oil or canola oil in place of bacon fat - for a vegetarian option. You’ll lose a bit of the flavour, but the technique will still give you fantastic crispy loaded potato skins.
Mushroom Swiss Potato Skins
Saute sliced mushrooms in the pan with 1 tablespoon bacon fat or olive oil, until soft. Strain off and set aside while preparing the potatoes.
Bake, then top with green onion slices.
Spicy Bacon Potato Skins
Spread some hot sauce, buffalo sauce, or BBQ sauce on the potato skins, sprinkle generously with bacon, top with cheddar.
After baking, top with sour cream and green onions.
Cheddar Broccoli Potato Skins
Finely chop up some fresh broccoli florets, lightly saute just until slightly tender, and bright green. (Bonus: Sautee the broccoli in bacon fat!).
Top the roasted potato skins with the sauteed broccoli, and some cooked bacon, if desired. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
How to Make the Best Loaded Potato Skins
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through with additional tips and info.
Prepare the Potatoes
First thing: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes, then use a fork to poke holes all over each potatoes skin.
Place potatoes in a single layer on a microwave safe dish and nuke for 20 minutes on high. (10-15 minutes if using smaller potatoes).
Strain out the bacon and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan, transferring the rest of it to a small heat proof bowl.
Note: I like to bake the bacon, these days.
I’ll arrange a single layer of bacon on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet pan, and bake for 20-22 minutes at 400 F, until nice and crispy.
Then I transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, and use another paper towel to blot excess grease.
Use a small spoon to carefully scoop out most of the potato flesh, leaving ¼- ½ inch of potato on the skin.
For really thin, crispy potato skins, leave a ¼-inch border, for a more hearty skin, leave closer to ½".
Note: Sometimes we’ll add shredded cheddar and sour cream to the scooped potato, mash it up in a small bowl, and use it as a filling for some of the potato skins… twice baked potato!
We weren’t in the mood for that when we did these photos, though
Roast and Fill The Potato Skins
Prepare a broiling pan or high heat baking tray with pan spray or brush some vegetable oil to lightly coat.
Place potato skins in the pan, cut sides up.
Bake potatoes skin side down in the 450 F oven for 10-12 minutes, then flip all skins over.
Brush the skin of the potatoes with a little more bacon fat, roast for another 10 minutes.
#1: Sprinkle with finely chopped broccoli, then top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
#2: Top generously with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss Cheese
#3: Spread some hot or BBQ sauce on the potato skin, sprinkle generously with bacon, top with cheddar.
If you’d like some browning, broil it for a couple of minutes on high.
Once cooled to room temperature, leftover loaded potato skins can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.
(This is best done without sour cream having been added to it, IMHO!)
We like to reheat for 30 seconds or so in the microwave, then finish it off with 2-3 minutes in a 400F air fryer, to crisp them up again.
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Bacon Roasted Loaded Potato Skins
- 4 Large Russet Potatoes
- 1 lb Bacon
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
- Pan Spray or Vegetable Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Shredded Swiss cheese
- Hot sauce or BBQ Sauce of Choice
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Green onions sliced
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Use a fork to prick potatoes all over. Place on a microwave safe dish and nuke for 20 minutes on high.
- While the potatoes are cooking, chop and fry the bacon until as crispy as you like it. Strain out the bacon and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan, transferring the rest of it to a small heat proof bowl.
- Remove potatoes from microwave. Slice in half and carefully scoop out most of the potato flesh. *
- Prepare a broiling pan with pan spray or brush some vegetable oil to lightly coat. Place potato skins in the pan, cut sides up. Brush generously with remaining melted bacon fat, season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 10-12 minutes, flip all skins over, and roast for another 10 minutes.
- Remove skins from oven, and top as you would like. (See the post for some suggestions!)
- Return pan to the oven, cook until everything is hot and melted. If you’d like some browning, broil it for a couple of minutes on high.
- Top with sour cream and green onions, serve hot!