Potato skins is a classic game day appetizer that is far easier than you'd think. Not only are these oven baked potato skins cheesy, crispy, and delicious, but potato skins are surprisingly filling and healthy-ish. Don't worry, this is still very much a potato covered in cheese and bacon, but you'd be surprised how it can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
One of my favorite parts about this oven baked potato skins recipe is that they are freezable and reheat like a dream. Further down in this post, you'll see options for oven, microwave, and air-fried potato skins. This means you can heat these up for a midweek snack, or keep them for an easy game day appetizer.
Best potatoes for potato skins
For this recipe, I am using russet potatoes. Russet potatoes are traditionally used for potato skins, but you can make potato skins with red potatoes or even sweet potatoes. Potatoes get a bad rap in the health-food world because of the push for low-carb diets, but they offer great benefits. There's a reason why they became a zero point food for WW Purple.
The protein in potatoes is considered a high quality protein because of its amino acid composition. While potatoes are high in starch, russet potatoes' health benefits include being a good source of potassium, folate, niacin, vitamin C, and B6--especially when you consume the skin. You can read more about potatoes' health benefits here.
How to bake potatoes
Since we are eating the skins of these baked potatoes, you need to wash your potatoes well. I suggest using a scrub brush to really make sure they're clean. Potatoes and grown in the ground, and they need to be washed properly. Run the potatoes under cold water and scrub with a brush to remove any dirt.
Pierce your potato all over, and bake the potatoes at 425° F for about 60 minutes. You'll know when they are done when the skins are dry and they are soft when you squeeze them. I use my bare hands, but feel free to use tongs like a normal human.
Twice baked potato skins
These potato skins will be baked a second time. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes in half (length wise) and scoop out the insides. You want to leave about 1/4" of potato around the edge of the skin. You can save the cooked baked potato insides for potato salad, breakfast burritos, or Baked Potato Soup.
Spray both sides of the potato skins with your preferred cooking spray, and liberally salt the potatoes. Place the potatoes on an oven safe cooling rack in a baking sheet and bake at 450°F for 7 minutes. Flip the potatoes, and bake for another 7 minutes. The cooling rack allows the air to circulate resulting in a crispier potato--similar to an air fryer.
Potato Skin Toppings
These potato skins are using traditional loaded potato skin toppings--shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and scallions. You can, however, get wild with the toppings and filling them with taco seasoned beef and cheese, chili and cheese, spinach artichoke dip, or even buffalo chicken dip. Just think of these as nachos--as long as there is cheese involved, there's no wrong answer.
While my potatoes were baking, I fried up six slices of center cut bacon and grate 3 oz. of Colby Jack. You can make this recipe even lighter by using turkey bacon or reduced fat cheese. I'm team real cheese, but I know some people love their reduced fat or fat free cheese. I prefer real cheese because it melts better, tastes better, and it has simpler ingredients. I'm not the food police though--you do you. I am using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for wellness purposes; it's added protein and this is one of the few times I agree Greek Yogurt can be a swap for sour cream (I draw then line at tacos).
Can I freeze potato skins?
Yes, you certainly can. This was something I was so excited about. I took my remaining potato skins and froze them on a baking sheet in the freezer. By freezing on a baking sheet first, your food will not stick together when you transfer to a freezer bag.
How to reheat potato skins?
There are three methods I used to reheat potato skins: microwave, air fryer, and oven.
- To reheat frozen potato skins in the microwave, microwave two potato skins for 1-1.5 minutes. This is effective at heating the potato skins, but you will not have the same crispiness. Still delicious though.
- To reheat frozen potato skins in the air fryer, preheat air fryer to 325° F, and cook for 5 minutes. Remember, all air fryers are different and there can be some variation.
- To reheat frozen potato skins in the oven, preheat oven to 350° F, and cook for ten minutes.
Each of these methods were great, but I preferred the air fryer. Microwave is great when you want a quick bite to eat. It may not be crispy, but still very tasty. If I was serving these baked potato skins to a crowd, I would use the oven. They are crispy, the cheese is melty, and you can make a larger batch. The air fryer wins for the reheating capabilities, but just by a slight margin of extra crispiness. Air fryers are easy to use and clean, and this cooked it in no time at all.
Looking for more healthy game day appetizers?
I am a firm believer that you don't need a party to eat party food. Here are some of my favorite WW - Weight Watcher appetizers:
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Sweet Chili Meatballs
- Baked Beef Empanadas
- Big Mac Biscuit Bombs
- Baked Beef and Cheese Tacos
- 8 small sized russet potatoes (about 2.5 pounds)
- 6 slices of center cut bacon
- 3 oz Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- cooking spray or canola oil
- Greek yogurt (or sour cream) for dipping
- Thoroughly wash and scrub potatoes to clean.
- Pierce potatoes with a fork. Lightly coat the potatoes in oil or cooking spray and liberally salt with kosher salt.
- Bake at 400° F for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are soft and the skin is dry.
- While potatoes are baking, cook bacon until crisp in a frying pan. Crumble bacon when cool enough to handle with hands.
- Scoop out inside of cooked potatoes, leaving about 1/4" of potato on skin.
- Lightly coat inside of potatoes with oil or cooking spray, liberally salt, and bake cut side down at 450° F for 7 minutes. For maximum crispiness, cook on a cooking rack in a baking sheet to allow air to circulate.
- After 7 minutes, flip the potatoes and cook for another 7 minutes.
- Top the potatoes with cheese and bacon and broil on high until the cheese is melted. Alternatively, you can cook at 450° F until cheese is melted.
- Top with scallions and serve with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Specifics about weighing baked potatoes: Potatoes lose about 1/4 of their weight when baked. My potato skins came to 19oz after baking and before topping.
Freezing: Freeze on a baking sheet to freeze thoroughly. Transfer frozen potato skins to a freezer bag to store up to 6 months.
To reheat from frozen: Microwave two potato skins for 1.5 minutes. Air fryer potato skins at 325°F for 5 minutes. Bake potato skins at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Serving Size:2 potato skins
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g