Easy Loaded Crispy Potato Skins, full of melted cheese and bacon, are a baked retro appetizer that harkens back to the late 1970s. Yes, I know many of you probably weren’t even born yet. But I can remember when these cheesy, tasty bites of deliciousness first started popping up in restaurants all over town!
Repurposing potato skins are a great way to avoid wasting a delicious part of the potato. We love twice baked potatoes at our house. And, when I make them, I usually make a big batch and freeze whatever we aren’t planning to eat that night. I also cut off the top third of the potato, and only refill the bottom part to make sure it has plenty of filling.
And, guess what? The top third of the potato makes the absolute best potato skins imaginable! Back in the good old days, potato skins were fried. But this easy baked potato skin recipe calls for baking the potato skins in the oven. So, while my loaded crispy baked potato skins aren’t the healthiest appetizer, they are healthier than their fried counterparts!
The ingredient list for Loaded Crispy Potato Skins couldn’t be less complicated, and they are ridiculously easy to make. Especially if you are using leftover potato skins, as I do, they are also quick to prepare. And, they will be even quicker to disappear! So, what are you waiting for? Why not make these “blast from the past” appetizers tonight!
Let’s have a party!
Here’s an idea: when you make these delicious crispy potato skins, why not prepare a few more simple appetizers, like Roasted Pecans, Cranberry Pecan Mini Goat Cheese Balls, and Caprese Skewers? Then, invite your neighbors or friends over for an impromptu, casual get together? Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking each guest to bring an appetizer too. And, if you need a signature cocktail to round things out, try my retro Meyer Lemon French 75.
How to make Easy Loaded Crispy Potato Skins:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and dry the potatoes, Pierce the potato 2-3 times with a fork. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 60-90 minutes or until they are soft when squeezed with a pot holder. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh but leave at least 1/4-1/2 inches of potato in the skin. Save the potato pulp for another use. Ideas include mashed potatoes and potato croquettes.
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.
Melt the butter in a small dish and add the parsley, salt, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
Use a pastry brush and brush the inside and outside of the potato skins with the butter mixture.
Place the skins cut side down on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.
Turn the skins over and cook an additional 5 minutes or until browned and crispy.
Top each potato skin with a generous amount of shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Remove the potato skins from the oven. Top with a generous amount of sour cream and garnish with chives.
Sharon’s Expert Tips:
- I like to use Russet potatoes, but any potato including sweet potatoes will work. Small baby or new potatoes also work well to make tiny bite-size potato skins. Of course, you will need to adjust your cooking times.
- To make ahead – after you remove the potato pulp, you can freeze the potato skins in a plastic freezer bag for up to two months or store in the refrigerator covered for 24 hours. When you get ready to make the loaded potato skins, remove from the freezer and allow them to thaw for a few minutes before coating with the butter mixture.
- Easy Loaded Crispy Potato Skins are best eaten right out of the oven. Unfortunately, they do not reheat well.
- Remember, how I told you I usually use the top one-third of the leftover potato skins from twice baked potatoes to make my potato skins. Since many folks making this recipe might not have made twice baked potatoes first, the recipe directions assume you don’t have leftover potato tops. I also usually just freeze my tops until I am ready to make the potato skins.
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