A Loaded Baked Potato Bar is an easy weeknight comfort food that are totally family friendly! Let everyone add their own toppings, like shredded cheese, roasted broccoli, bacon, black beans, corn, avocado, salsa and sour cream or plain yogurt! This is a healthy baked potato bar with endless topping ideas and possibilities to serve this dinner staple a little different every time!
Simple Comfort Food
- Simply Delicious! - Sometimes we let dinner get just too complicated! A loaded baked potato bar can take you back to a simple childhood favorite dinner. These are homemade, with healthy whole ingredients, scratch cooking, and everyone can make theirs just the way they like them. It's the real food we grew up with as kids! My mom always topped our baked potatoes with Homemade Chili and all the fixings.
- Toppings are Versatile! - I usually make a loaded potato bar when I think I have nothing for dinner! Get the potatoes in the oven and from there, see what's in the fridge for toppings! I always have cheese to shred, plain yogurt or sour cream, and a can of black beans rinsed with frozen corn to thaw it. Then, just add veggies! Roasted broccoli (fresh or frozen) or cauliflower, Kale Chips, avocado or Guacamole are all great toppings. A jar of my 5 Minute Salsa or Pico de Gallo is a great way to add extra veggies. A Baked Potato Bar is just so simple, when I thought I had nothing in the fridge, I was actually able to pull together a home-cooked satisfying meal! Save this one in your back pocket!
Ingredients & Topping Ideas
- Russet Potatoes - one per person
Baked Potato Bar Toppings
- Bacon - I like to bake the whole package in the oven and freeze the leftover chopped bacon.
- Broccoli - Fresh or frozen broccoli can be roasted in the oven, or blanched for a few minutes in boiling salted water.
- Cheese - Any shredded cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, Colby or Muenster.
- Black Beans
- Frozen Corn - Rinsed in a strainer with the black beans to thaw.
- Red Onion, Scallions, or both
- Avocado - Diced or mashed with a pinch of salt
- Salsa - Store-bought is fine or try my homemade Pico de Gallo or 5 Minute Salsa from the food processor.
- Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt - Plain yogurt is very similar in taste and function so I always use it in place of sour cream. We also eat it for breakfast with Granola, and in these Protein Pancakes.
- Other Topping Ideas - Guacamole, cilantro, olives, cherry tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, or kale chips.
Step 1 - Wash potatoes and poke a few holes with a fork. Bake them directly on the oven rack at 400° for anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes, depending on their size.
Step 2 - The bacon and broccoli can be cooked in the oven on sheet pans while the potatoes cook and taken out when they are done. Cook bacon about 20 minutes, flip with tongs halfway through. Toss broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook about 15 to 20 minutes. Set a timer and check the oven often to pull things out when they are done.
Step 3 - While everything is baking, assemble all your toppings for the baked potato bar on a cutting board or in small bowls. When the potatoes are soft when squeezed, they are done. Slit them and squeeze them open and load on your toppings!
Tips & Variations
- Storage - Store leftover loaded baked potatoes, either assembled or unassembled, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Microwave to reheat, makes a great lunch!
- Cook Bacon in the Oven - Bacon adds that classic baked potato flavor. The whole package of bacon can be baked in the oven on a sheet pan. This is much cleaner and easier than cooking it in a frying pan! It cooks evenly and you can cook more at a time. You won't need a whole package for the baked potato bar, but I love to freeze extra bacon. Leftover frozen bacon is so handy to throw in omelettes, on a dinner salad, in soup, or in pasta. Or if you have some already frozen bacon from leftover BLT's that would be perfect to easily add to these loaded baked potatoes!
- Baked Potato for Kids - A loaded potato bowl is the perfect kid friendly dinner! Kids love to do things themselves, so let them add the toppings they like! I usually have luck with the cheese, bacon, yogurt, salsa and avocado with hopefully a few bites of broccoli!
- Vegan Loaded Baked Potato - To make a healthy baked potato bar vegan, simple omit the bacon and substitute a vegan cheese and sour cream. You can also increase the veggie options, maybe roast broccoli and cauliflower together. This is still a hearty meal when kept vegan!
More Weeknight Dinner Ideas!
Loaded Baked Potato Bar
- 4 Russet Potatoes one per person
Baked Potato Bar Toppings
- ½ pound bacon
- 3 to 4 cups broccoli chopped, olive oil, salt and pepper for roasting
- shredded cheese
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- ½ cup frozen corn Rinsed with the black beans to thaw
- ¼ red onion chopped
- 1 avocado diced or mashed
- salsa store-bought or homemade
- sour cream or plain yogurt
- scallions, sliced optional
- Other topping ideas: guacamole, cilantro, olives, cherry tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, jarred jalapeno, or kale chips
- Preheat oven to 400° convection bake. Start the potatoes right away (just wash them and poke a couple holes with a fork and place directly on the oven rack). The potatoes take the longest to cook, about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on their size.
- The bacon and broccoli can be cooked in the oven on sheet pans while the potatoes cook and taken out when they are done. Cook bacon about 20 minutes, flip with tongs halfway through. Toss broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook about 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are baking, assemble all other toppings on a cutting board or in bowls. Shred cheese, chop onion, make salsa or guacamole or just mash or slice avocado and sour cream or plain yogurt. A can of black beans and frozen corn can be rinsed together in a strainer under hot water to thaw the corn.
- When the potatoes are soft when squeezed they are done. Slit them and squeeze them open and add toppings!
- Set a Timer! - The bacon, broccoli and potatoes will all be in the oven at the same time, but will cook for different amounts of time. Check on them often. The cooking time for bacon may vary depending on its thickness. Your broccoli is done when it is browned and crispy but not burnt.
- Storage - Store leftover loaded baked potatoes, either assembled or unassembled, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Microwave to reheat.