Entertaining on a budget has never been easier and more fun! Setting up a baked potato bar with different toppings for everyone to choose from will leave your guests as impressed as they are full!
As much as I love a baked potato bar for entertaining a crowd, truth be told, there’s nothing I love more than setting it up for family dinner night! This quick and easy kid-friendly meal never fails. My kids love a classic loaded baked potato with bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese, so whatever toppings don’t get used up, I like to use the next day as a garnish for this ham and potato soup, especially during cooler months.
Having a baked potato bar is all about having options. It’s what we love about buffets! Being able to not only choose your own toppings but knowing you can go back and have something different the second time around is a treat!
It’s such an easy, budget-friendly way to serve a crowd, for game days, movie nights, summer BBQs, or even birthday parties! It makes entertaining so much fun and it really is so customizable that you never need to worry about not pleasing individual tastes.
Baked potato bar toppings range in everything from sour cream, shredded cheese, and crumbled bacon, to loads of veggies and saucy bbq chicken or spicy chili! Whatever you’ve got going on for baked potato bar ideas, you’re sure to come up with something for everyone.
What potatoes should I use?
Russet potatoes are definitely the way to go. The skin crisps up nicely, you get a soft fluffy interior thanks to the high starch content and they’re a nice size to be able to fit all of those delicious toppings.
The prep is easy for this meal because you can get your toppings together while your potato is baking. Once you’ve got the perfect baked potato that’s crispy on the outside and perfectly soft and fluffy on the inside, it’s then time to let the topping’s shine.
You could also provide oven baked sweet potatoes as an option!
The best method for the perfect baked potato
If you’re making a baked potato for one, you could technically use the microwave. It will “bake” a potato quickly, but it won’t give you a crispy exterior. Neither will grilling it wrapped in foil! Although, if you’re having an outside BBQ anyway, you may want to give this method a try.
I find the BEST way to bake a potato is actually to literally bake the potato! Making sure to pierce the skin, to allow the steam to escape, all it takes is 400 degrees in the oven to get you beautiful crispy skin. This also means you want to make sure to scrub your potatoes clean and sprinkle a bit of salt before baking because it’s definitely meant for eating!
When thinking about how to plan a baked potato bar, coming up with a variety of toppings is key! Have a bit of everything from vegetarian options to meat options to everything in between.
- Cheese sauce
- Taco meat
- BBQ chicken
- Pulled pork
- Buffalo chicken
- Shredded cheese
- Blue cheese dressing
- Ranch dressing
What to serve with it
Your choice of what to serve it with will be different based on what you have going on. Is it a sit-down dinner? or a move and mingle situation? Here are some ideas for both!
- Meatloaf muffins
- Oven baked steak
- Buffalo chicken salad
- Baked macaroni and cheese
- Easy baked hamburgers
- Slow cooker BBQ brisket sandwiches
Baked Potato Bar
- 6 russet potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese , more if desired
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 pieces bacon , cooked and crumbled
- 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
- salt and pepper
Optional toppings: Cheese sauce, Chili, Taco Meat, BBQ chicken, Pulled Pork, Beans, Broccoli
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
- Give potatoes a good scrub and then dry them completely with a paper towel.
- Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet, then brush them all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Pierce a few times with a fork or knife.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until soft and tender.
- Place all of desired toppings in bowls. You can add the cooked potatoes to a slow cooker and keep on the warm setting. Then when ready to serve slice potato in half and then use a fork to break apart the potato. Add the butter, salt and pepper then mix around. Add desired toppings and serve while warm.