Feeding a crowd an easy and delicious meal will be a snap with this baked potato bar how-to and tips for what to serve with baked potato bar.
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One of my favorite simple make-ahead party menus is to serve a baked potato bar. The best part is you can do all the prep work long before your party starts. That helps you enjoy the party and keeps you out of the kitchen when guests arrive.
A baked potato bar is a great way to serve guests for a casual party theme, game day party, or an easy meal for a large family gathering. The best part is, a good baked potato bar has something everyone will enjoy topping their potato with, even picky eaters.
HOW TO BAKE A POTATO
- Start with good size russet potatoes so your guest can pile lots of goodies on top.
- Give your potatoes a good scrub under running water. Then pat dry with a towel.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then place a wire cooling rack on top of the parchment paper; this will allow the potatoes to bake evenly.
- Poke each potato with a fork to allow steam to escape while cooking.
- Brush olive oil all over the outside of each potato.
- Place kosher salt in a bowl and then lightly roll each potato in the salt. Some will come off when you move it from the bowl, don’t worry, that’s ok.
- Place the potatoes on the wire cooling rack that is on your cookie sheet.
- Slide the baking sheet into a preheated 450-degree oven and bake potatoes.
- Bake for 25 minutes. The potato skin will start to dry out and crisp up.
- Remove the cookie sheet pan of potatoes from the oven. Brush melted butter on each potato using a pastry brush. Sprinkle a little more salt and black pepper on each potato.
- Return potatoes to your oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
- Pull the rack out of your oven slightly. Carefully insert a knife into your largest potato to check if it is soft all the way through. If not, place potatoes back onto the oven rack for 10 more minutes. Check again and repeat until the potatoes are soft.
BAKED POTATO FAQ
No, unless you prefer soft steamed skin.
Yes, however, the backing time might be a bit longer for sweet potatoes, depending on the size.
You can use kosher salt, but sea salt or coarsely ground pink Hymilain salt will work if you do not have any.
Yes, the best way is to brush olive or coconut oil on the potato skins before baking.
Russet potatoes are great baking potatoes. Their skins are nice and thick, which, when covered with olive oil or butter, causes them to become crisp during baking. They also have a light fluffy inside perfect for toppings.
You can cook whole potatoes in the microwave, but the skin will be soft and moist. Also, the inside will not be as fluffy as a baked potato from the oven.
SETTING UP A POTATO BAR
If you are looking for an easy way to prep a meal ahead of time when hosting a party, then a potato bar is a great option to eliminate party-day stress.
You can bake your potatoes the day before and then reheat them in the oven just before guests arrive. If it would be easier, you could also keep them warm in a large crockpot or electric roaster.
Another great reason to serve a potato bar is how easy it is to get all your toppings ready the day before. I like to put all my toppings in matching bowls with tight-fitting lids and place them in the fridge until it’s time to serve. Then just before guests arrive, all I have to do is set out the contains, remove lids and slip a serving spoon in the container.
For smaller toppings such as onions, chives, or bacon bits, use small bowls like these 18 oz Disposable Plastic Salad Bowls with lids to put them in after prepping.
For larger items like cheese or vegetables, use larger bowls such as 32 oz. Plastic Salad Bowls To-Go With Airtight Lids
If you are serving warm toppings, then make them the day before and reheat them in a 3-Station 1.5-Quart Oval Slow Cooker Buffet.
A fun way to serve guests their baked potatoes is in Premium Disposable Paper Food Serving Trays. They are large enough to hold a big potato and lots of toppings, up to 2.5 pounds worth. Also, it will be easy to clean up for you after the party is over.
WHAT DO YOU PUT ON TOP OF BAKED POTATOES?
When hosting a party or feeding a large crowd serving a baked potato bar is all about giving your guest options. Everyone has their favorite potato toppings that are standard on a potato bar.
- Sour cream
- Chopped green onion
- Cheddar cheese
- Diced red onion
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Diced red peppers
- Pinto beans
- Homemade cheese sauce
- Wendy’s Copycat Chili
- Cincinnati Chili
To make your potato bar extra special, I have gathered an array of different toppings recipes for you to try. You are sure to find some new delicious topping recipes that will become one of your family”s favorite toppings and impress party guests.
WHAT MEAT GOES WITH POTATOES?
- Pulled rotisserie chicken
- Sausage bites
- Candied Bacon
- Diced ham
HEALTHY POTATO TOPPINGS
SAUCES FOR BAKED POTATOES
MEXICAN BAKED POTATO
- Homemade Mexican Seasoning
- Simple Authentic Mexican Restaurant Style Salsa
- Classic Guacamole
- Cowboy Candy
- Canned black beans
- Green Tomato Salsa
ITALIAN BAKED POTATO
- Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese
- Roasted garlic cloves
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped basil & parsley
- Parmesan cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Pesto sauce
GREEK BAKED POTATO
- Sauteed onions
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Greek seasoning
- Feta cheese
- Greek yogurt
BBQ BAKED POTATO
MEDITERRANEAN BAKED POTATO
INDIAN BAKED POTATO
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Shredded coconut
THAI BAKED POTATO
- Sprinkle Thai Seasoning
- Shredded coconut
- Diced papaya
- Diced mango