The Easy Baked Potato Bar Your Weeknight Needs

We're breaking down how to make a baked potato bar that your family will eat right up: from how to make the best baked potato to our all-time favorite toppings.

As a fellow spud lover, I’m always up for a build-your-own baked potato bar. They’re simple and quick to throw together when you’re short on time—whether it be for a weeknight dinner or a get-together with friends. Don’t know where to begin? No worries! I’ll be showing you the ins and outs of how to make the ultimate baked potato bar, complete with topping ideas and more.

How to Make a Baked Potato Bar

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How do you plan a baked potato bar?

Planning a baked potato bar is a breeze. First, you’ll need to figure out how many people you’re serving. Count on each person helping themselves to two baked potatoes, just to be on the safe side. You’ll also want to plan out which baked potato toppings you’d like at the bar and which sides you’d like to serve with the spuds. Once it’s finally tater night, arrange your bar starting with the potatoes and ending with sides and utensils. Then, it’s time to dig in!

What goes with a baked potato bar?

There are endless options to pair with a baked potato bar! We recommend giving your dinner the true steakhouse experience with a cold, crisp side salad and one of these steakhouse dishes. Or you could pair with a big bowl of chili!

How to Make the Best Baked Potatoes

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Haul out your trusty slow cooker to make these amazing slow-cooker baked potatoes. This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight—just throw them in before you start your workday and they’ll be ready just in time for dinner. Here’s how.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Sour cream, butter, crumbled bacon, minced chives, guacamole, shredded cheddar cheese and minced fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Scrub potatoes; pierce each several times with a fork. In a small bowl, mix butter and garlic. Rub potatoes with butter mixture. Wrap each tightly with a piece of foil.
  2. Pour water into a 6-qt. slow cooker; add potatoes. Cook, covered, on low 8-10 hours or until tender. Season and top as desired.

If you don’t own a slow cooker, use one of these other methods:

  • Oven: Bake at 400° for 50 to 75 minutes, or until tender.
  • Microwave: Cook on high for about 15 minutes, or until tender, flipping once.
  • Instant Pot: Cook at manual pressure, on high, for about 14 to 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

Note: Make sure you pierce your potatoes with a fork before using any of the methods above.

Baked Potato Bar Ideas

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Now for the best part: the toppings! We recommend placing your desired toppings in bowls and plates so your family (or friends!) can help themselves easily. When serving, keep your baked potatoes inside the slow cooker on the “keep warm” setting so they’ll last for hours. Try using one of these ways to warm food for other ingredients you’d like to keep warm, like veggies. Ingredients that should be kept cold, like sour cream or cheese, can be placed over ice. Just place your serving bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice. You can also freeze or refrigerate your serving dishes in advance to keep the food cold for longer.

Create a scoopable baked potato topping:

baked potato topperTaste of Home

In a rush? Save time by creating a scoopable chive butter spread. To make, bring about a cup of butter to room temperature. Once your butter is softened, mix butter with freshly cut chives. We recommend a ratio of 1 cup butter to 1/4 cup chives. Finally, using an ice cream scooper, top your spuds with a scoop of the chive butter.

Choose your baked potato bar toppings:

  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Corn
  • Avocado
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda and pepper jack work well)
  • Shredded chicken
  • Sriracha
  • Bacon bits
  • Green onions
  • Diced onions
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Fritos
  • Crackers

Here are some of our favorite flavor combos:

  • Hungry Man’s Baked Potatoes: Sweet potato, bacon strips, corn, red onion, barbecue shredded pork, goat cheese and cilantro
  • Southern Spud: Russet potato, whiskey barbecue pork, deli mac and cheese and barbecue sauce
  • Steakhouse Baked Potatoes: Baking potato, beef ribeye steaks, olive oil, butter, arugula, blue cheese dressing, sour cream and crumbled blue cheese
  • Tex-Mex Tater: Russet potato, hot chili cheese dip, pickled or fresh jalapenos, fresh cilantro, black beans and coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • That’s Amore Baked Potatoes: Baking potato, ground beef, green pepper, carrot, onion, garlic, spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, pepperoni, red wine, oregano, and Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • Candied Earth Apple: Sweet potato, bacon, brown sugar, maple syrup and butter
  • Very Veggie Baked PotatoesBaking potato, yellow summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, leeks, Italian salad dressing, garlic-herb spreadable cheese, sour cream and basil leaves
More Baked Potato Ideas!
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Christina Herbst
Christina is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in content creation and SEO optimization. She enjoys trying out local foodie restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on.