Our classic loaded baked potato is crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, and filled with sour cream, bacon, chives and melty cheese. It’s the perfect quick and easy side dish that easily shines on its own!
Loaded baked potatoes have to be one of my favorite side dishes. It’s my favorite thing to order at a steak house or make at home for a nice dinner. My guests love when I set up a baked potato bar so they can choose their own toppings. It’s a great way to entertain a crowd and still keep it classy!
There is so much to love about this loaded baked potato recipe. A salty crispy skin on the outside, soft and fluffy potato on the inside, then topped with sour cream, bacon, chives, and gooey cheese that melts from the heat of the potato. It’s a fully loaded baked potato, both in toppings and flavor!
One of the best things about this side dish is that it takes almost no effort at all. Making the perfect baked potato takes a little prep and then the oven does the rest of the work, giving you time to prepare other things on your menu. Learning how to make loaded baked potatoes is a simple way to get a restaurant-quality side dish that everyone loves.
What is the best type of potato for baking?
Russet potatoes are definitely what you want to look for when picking out your potatoes. They’ve got great length which is great for holding all of those delicious toppings, but they’ve also got a sturdy skin that crisps up nicely. Russet potatoes are also higher in starch which means once baked, the potato flesh gets all nice and fluffy. You can’t beat a russet for this recipe!
Can I make a loaded sweet potato using the same recipe?
Yes, absolutely! Oven baked sweet potatoes are amazing and the sweetness will bring a nice balance to the rich bacon, cheese, and sour cream topping. Plus they come with some added nutrients that regular potatoes don’t have. The cooking time may need to be adjusted, but otherwise, follow the recipe as directed.
Can I make this recipe in the microwave?
Technically yes. You can use the microwave to “bake” your potato and then add toppings to your steaming potato. However, keep in mind you won’t get that same crispy exterior you would with the oven. If you’re making more than one at a time, it’s also probably easier to toss them all in the oven and walk away for the hour, rather than standing at the microwave. In a nutshell, stick with the oven method if you can help it!
- Choose wisely. This is especially true when you’re serving a crowd, you want to pick nice-looking potatoes. Smooth, clean, and without any offshoots (those things that start to poke and grow out of potatoes – some people call them eyes).
- Clean the skin. The skin can be eaten too, so make sure to scrub it clean.
- Season the outside. Make sure to brush the potato with olive oil and sprinkle it with kosher salt. It gives the skin a great flavor.
- Pierce the skin. Poking holes in your baked potato allows for the steam to escape and helps avoid exploding potatoes (yes, that’s a thing).
- No foil needed. You may have seen potatoes wrapped in foil in order to bake them, whether in the oven, on the BBQ, or over a campfire. This method works if you’re baking a potato and trying to soften the skin. But to get the extra crispy skin sturdy enough to hold everything, you don’t need to wrap it in any foil.
- Create an opening. Use your fork to break apart the potato before adding your toppings.
Loaded baked potato toppings
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Crumbled bacon
- Green onions or chives
- Salt and pepper
A classic loaded baked potato has sour cream, bacon, cheddar, and chives, but this is just the beginning. There are so many ways to switch up the toppings, mix and matching flavor combinations is one of the best ways to show off the versatility of the potato!
- Chili. You’ve heard of chili cheese fries? Well, think chili cheese baked potato! Oh yes, add some homemade chili, cheese, and sour cream on top.
- BBQ Chicken. Everyone loves the flavor of saucy BBQ chicken. Sprinkle a little mozzarella, red onion, and cilantro on top for a brilliant combination.
- Veggie. A vegetarian option would be simple steamed broccoli and a cheddar cheese sauce.
- Sloppy Joe. Sloppy joe filling, cheese, and chives. Similar to the chili with a different, sweeter flavor.
- Buffalo Chicken. Buffalo chicken, mozzarella, ranch, and cilantro. A delicious combination of flavorful heat and a cooling creamy dressing.
- Casserole. Instead of serving individual potatoes, turn this dish into a loaded baked potato casserole. It has all the same flavors and ingredients as this recipe, but in casserole form.
What to serve with:
Loaded Baked Potato
- 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. Pierce a few times with a fork or knife and then sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until soft and tender.
- Slice potato in half and then use a fork to break apart the potato. Add the butter, salt and pepper then mix around. Top with cheese, sour cream, bacon crumbles and chives. Top with salt and pepper and serve while warm.