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 a baked potato bar.

baked potato topping picture ideas

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.

If you need baked potatoes in a hurry, then try my quick air fryer baked potatoes with crunchy salty skin and creamy centers.

Perfect Air Fryer Baked Potatoes Recipe salt and pepper

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

  1. Start with good size russet potatoes so your guest can pile lots of goodies on top.
  2. Give your potatoes a good scrub under running water. Then pat dry with a towel.
  3. 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. 
  4. Poke each potato with a fork to allow steam to escape while cooking.
  5. Brush olive oil all over the outside of each potato.
  6. 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.
  7. Place the potatoes on the wire cooling rack that is on your cookie sheet. 
  8. Slide the baking sheet into a preheated 450-degree oven and bake potatoes. 
  9. Bake for 25 minutes. The potato skin will start to dry out and crisp up. 
  10. 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. 
  11. Return potatoes to your oven and bake for 20 more minutes. 
  12. 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. 


Do I need to wrap potatoes in foil when baking?

No, unless you prefer soft steamed skin.

Can I use this method for sweet potatoes?

Yes, however, the backing time might be a bit longer for sweet potatoes, depending on the size.

What type of salt should I use?

You can use kosher salt, but sea salt or coarsely ground pink Hymilain salt will work if you do not have any.

Can I make vegan baked potatoes?

Yes, the best way is to brush olive or coconut oil on the potato skins before baking. 

What is the best baking potato?

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.

Can I make baked potatoes in the microwave? 

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 you 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.

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?

How To Cook Melt In The Mouth Roast Beef With Lots of Gravy
Let me show you how to cook melt in the mouth roast beef using this Instant Pot Roast Beef and Gravy recipe. This roast beef recipe is a quick and easy dinner that creates a tender, delicious beef roast with plenty of gravy to top a side of mashed potatoes.
close up of roast beef and a bowl of gravy
Spicy Verde Pulled Pork
Kick your tacos up to a new level of flavor with this easy to make Spicy Verde Pulled Pork recipe.
Kick your tacos up to a new level of flavor with this easy to make Spicy Verde Pulled Pork recipe. You will be amazed at how easy it is to make this delicious pulled pork using the crockpot. Just put a few ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and you will have delicious mexican pork ready to be pulled for your for dinner.

Healthy toppings

Vegan Queso
You’re going to be amazed at this rich and creamy vegan queso. It’s dairy-free, has slightly spicy Mexican flavors, and is quick and easy to make.
vegan queso in skillet


Mexican baked potato

Mexican Ground Beef Skillet (GF, Paleo, Whole30) | Hot Pan Kitchen
This Mexican Ground Beef Skillet is an easy and healthy dinner recipe for busy families. It’s also gluten free, paleo, and Whole30 compliant!
Spicy Pico De Gallo
It’s quick and easy to learn how to make this Spicy Pico de Gallo using simple fresh ingredients. Pico De Gallo is a low-calorie condiment that adds a punch of authentic Mexican flavor to just about any Mexican meal.
Shrimp Pico De Gallo
Shrimp Pico De Gallo is full of zesty lime flavor, sweet onion, cilantro and yummy spicy shrimp that packs a punch to all your Mexican dishes.
Shrimp Pico De Gallo in small bowl

Italian baked potato

  • Instant Pot Vegan Bolognese
  • Olives
  • Roasted garlic cloves
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped basil & parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pesto sauce
Tuscan Bean Stew with garlic & oregano | The Veg Space recipes
This delicious Tuscan Bean Stew is such an easy one-pot dinner. Packed with flavours of Italy, it can be made on the hob or slow cooker.
Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe
Bring a little Sicily to your table with this delicious Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe. The olives are infused with fresh herbs, garlic, dried oregano, a pinch of chili pepper for heat all smothered in extra virgin olive oil and white vinegar dressing.
Green Marinated Sicilian Olives Recipe in a bowl

Greek potato

  • Sauteed onions
  • Spinach
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Rosemary
  • Greek seasoning
  • Feta cheese
  • Greek yogurt

BBQ baked potato

Bacon and Whiskey BBQ Sauce
This is such a unique but oh so lip smacking good BBQ sauce that will please everyone. This sauce dances flavor on your tongue with sweet smoky bacon flavor and punches of whiskey, garlic and maple.
Bacon and Whiskey BBQ Sauce is sure to make you a superstar cook at your next BBQ. This is such a unique but oh so lip smacking good BBQ sauce that will please everyone. This sauce dances flavor on your tongue with sweet smoky bacon flavor and punches of whiskey, garlic and maple.

Mediterrainean baked potato ideas

Roasted Red Pepper Spread
Roasted Red Pepper Spread is a delightfully sweet, Mediterranean flavored roasted red pepper and tomato spread that can be used as a dip for naan bread, a sauce for pizza and pasta, or a sandwich spread.
roasted red pepper spread

Indian baked potato

Curried Coconut Chicken
Curried Coconut chicken is a sweet and spicy exotic-tasting dish that is an easy, crowd pleasing one pan meal.
Curried Coconut chicken is a sweet and spicy exotic-tasting dish that is an easy, crowd pleasing one pot meal.

Thai baked potato

Spicy Thai Chicken Recipe
Grill up juicy Thai rubbed chicken breasts topped with a spicy sauce and shredded coconut in a matter of minutes for a delicious meal the whole family will love.

Unique baked potato topping ideas

Spicy Seed Salad Topping
Try this Spicy Seed Salad Topping, it's a great way to kick up your salads with a little bit of healthy heat and crunch and only 23 calories per serving.

Twice baked potato ideas

Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe (Creamy & Delicious!) – Little Sunny Kitchen
Load up your baked potato with fluffy mashed potatoes and topped with extra bacon and melted cheese!