Potato Skins

February 5, 2021

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Crispy Potato Skins – baked russet potatoes are hollowed out into a boat-like shape, baked until crisp, filled with cheddar cheese, then finished with bacon, green onions and an herbed sour cream. In other words you know they’ll be expectedly delicious with ingredients like that!

Here we’ve turned what may otherwise be the unwanted wasted portion of the potato into an all out comfort food classic no one can resist!

Potato skins on a white oval serving platter shown from above. Potato skins are garnished with green onions, bacon and topped with a dollop of herbed sour cream.

First of all, can you eat potato skin?

Yes of course! It’s actually the most nutritious part of the russet potato and a good source of fiber. The trick is just to be sure that you’ve cleaned them well by scrubbing clean (with a clean scouring pad or brush) while rinsing under water to remove dirt and debris.

Is green potato skin safe to eat though? You should not eat green potato skin as it can contain a toxin called solanine, which can cause nausea and other intestinal upsets. This reaction occurs when potatoes are exposed to too much light, it also makes the potato skin taste bitter.

You can peel away green portions and still use the potato flesh that isn’t green, but here if there are large areas of skin covered in green it’s best to get a new batch of potatoes since we are using mostly potato skin.

Tips for the Best Potato Skins

This is my idea of the absolute best way to make potato skins! The key to the recipe is:

  • Keep potatoes coated with oil/fat to assist in making them crisp and flavorful.
  • Bake in high heat for browning and also to crispen.
  • Bake on a wire rack set on the baking sheet to allow heat to evenly circulate. Also use foil if you want easier clean up of the drippings.
  • Leave a good portion of the interior of the potato behind for better flavor, and even in doing so here you still you end up with a perfectly crisp exterior.
  • Season the sour cream. Otherwise it’s just too boring. Think herbs and garlic, somewhat similar to the idea of ranch dressing.

Ways to Use Up the Leftover Potato

Of course there’s no need to just toss the extra potato centers in the trash once you’ve scooped it from the interior. Instead you can make mashed potatoes, fry them up for breakfast, add to a casserole, or mix in a soup. Lots of options.

Close up photo of potato skins.

Potato Skins Recipe Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes: Don’t attempt to use another type of potato. Russets work best here since they are dry and starchy and will make for the crispiest skins.
  • Bacon: I use standard cut bacon though thick cut bacon will work fine as well.
  • Medium cheddar cheese: This is just what I prefer but mild or sharp cheddar will work great too if that’s what have.
  • Olive oil: Another option is vegetable oil or another mild flavored oil.
  • Salt and pepper: Season both sides of the potato skins.
  • Green onions: I never really measure, I just add enough to generously sprinkle.
  • Parsley: A not-so-typical ingredient to potato skins but it gives them an extra layer of flavor.
  • Garlic: This really upgrades the flavor of the sour cream.
  • Sour cream: You can use regular or light here.
  • Red pepper flakes: If you want a spicy kick include these, if not then omit.

Photo of ingredients used to make potato skins. Includes russet potatoes, bacon, olive oil, cheddar cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, green onions and garlic.

Collage of six images showing first six steps of making potato skins. Includes brushing potatoes with oil, shows after baking. Then diced bacon shown before and after cooking in skillet. Last photos show halving baked potatoes and scooping out flesh.

How to Make Baked Potato Skins

  1. Heat oven, prepare baking sheet: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set an oven safe wire rack over baking sheet.
  2. Clean potatoes: Scrub and rinse potatoes to remove dirt and debris. Dry with paper towels.
  3. Poke potatoes (to prevent bursting), set on rack: Pierce both sides of each potato twice with a fork. Align potatoes on wire rack set on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Brush potatoes with oil: Brush both sides of potatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  5. Bake potatoes until nearly soft: Bake in preheated oven until just tender with a little firmness still (not squishy). About 45 – 55 minutes.
  6. Cool: Let potatoes cool about 15 – 20 minutes until you can handle them.
  7. Cook bacon: Meanwhile cook chopped bacon in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, reserve bacon fat in pan off heat.
  8. Increase oven heat, scoop centers from potatoes: Move oven rack up one level from center and increase oven to 450 degrees. Scoop flesh from potatoes, while leaving about 1/4 to 1/3-inch rim of potato flesh intact on all sides.
  9. Brush hollowed potatoes with fat: Return potatoes to oven rack on prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides of potatoes with 1 Tbsp reserved bacon fat and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  10. Bake skins, turning halfway: Bake upside down for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, flip to opposite side (upright), brush with a little more bacon drippings on the top side (about 1/2 Tbsp) and continue to bake about 8 – 13 minutes longer until browned and fairly crisp.
  11. Make sour cream topping: Meanwhile stir together sour cream, 3 Tbsp parsley, garlic and season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Sprinkle with cheese and continue to bake: Sprinkle potatoes evenly with cheese then bake 4 – 5 minutes longer until cheese is melted and bubbling and skins are crisp.
  13. Garnish: Sprinkle potatoes with bacon, green onions, and add about 1 Tbsp dollop of sour cream mixture to each. Garnish with 1 Tbsp parsley. Serve right away.

Collage of eight photos showing how to finish potato skins. Includes brushing both sides with rendered bacon fat. Mixing herbed sour cream ingredients. Baking the skins, filling with cheddar and bacon again. Then last finished with bacon.

Variations

  • Use a combo of two types of cheese, cheddar and another smooth melting cheese.
  • Instead of finishing with melted cheese just fill with broccoli cheese sauce.
  • Load up with chili after baking with cheese.
  • Serve with ranch dressing drizzled over or for dipping instead of the herbed sour cream.
  • Try cooked ham or sausage instead of bacon.
  • Use chives in place of green onions.

Potato skins shown from a side angle on a large serving platter.

More Tempting Appetizer Recipes to Try

Potato Skins

Baked russet potatoes are hallowed out into a boat-like shape, baked until crisp, filled with cheddar cheese, then finished with bacon, green onions and a herbed sour cream. In other words you know they'll be expectedly delicious with ingredients like that!
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook1 hour 15 minutes
Cooling20 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 medium (7 oz each) russet potatoes (2.5 lbs total)
  • 7 slices bacon, chopped (7 oz)
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp minced parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (1 tsp)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set an oven safe wire rack over baking sheet.
  • Scrub and rinse potatoes to remove dirt and debris. Dry with paper towels.
  • Pierce both sides of each potato twice with a fork. Align potatoes on wire rack set on prepared baking sheet.
  • Brush both sides of potatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  • Bake in preheated oven until just tender with a little firmness still (not squishy). About 45 - 55 minutes.
  • Let potatoes cool about 15 - 20 minutes until you can handle them.
  • Meanwhile cook chopped bacon in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, reserve bacon fat in pan off heat (there should be about 2 Tbsp).
  • Move oven rack up one level from center and increase oven to 450 degrees. Scoop flesh from potatoes, while leaving about 1/4 to 1/3-inch rim of potato flesh intact on all sides.
  • Return potatoes to oven rack on prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides of potatoes with 1 Tbsp reserved bacon fat and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Bake upside down 12 minutes. Remove from oven, flip to opposite side (upright), brush with a little more bacon drippings on the top side (about 1/2 Tbsp, rewarm it if needed to melt) and continue to bake potato skins about 8 - 13 minutes longer until browned and fairly crisp.
  • Meanwhile stir together sour cream, 3 Tbsp parsley, garlic and season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle potato skins evenly with cheese (boat shape up) and red pepper flakes if using then bake 4 - 5 minutes longer until cheese is melted and bubbling and skins are crisp.
  • Sprinkle potatoes with bacon, green onions, and add a dollop of sour cream mixture to each. Garnish with a little more parsley and red pepper flakes if using. Serve right away.
Nutrition Facts
Potato Skins
Amount Per Serving
Calories 407 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 401mg17%
Potassium 678mg19%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 1118IU22%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 233mg23%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.