Baked Potato Bar: winning meal, every time

PM Bottom Line:  this is a great last minute whole foods meal, left over user-upper, and super duper easy.  Your kids can make this.  Oven, toaster oven, Instant Pot and crockpot options, too.  Finally, it’s quite easy on the budget!


Baked Potato Bar is so simple, it’s genius.  I schedule this meal when we will be out all day and I expect we’ll come back hungry.  OR when plans have changed and suddenly need a meal when I was expecting to or someone in the house is sick and I’d prefer a very uncomplicated meal.


This also makes a wonderful entertaining/party dish and buffet!  You can keep everything heated in a crockpot and guests take their potato and top it as they like. It’s so wonderfully easy as a host and guests love getting something just right for their tastes. (Make sure there’s lots of veggies and low carbers can just put together a veggie bowl.)


  1. Bake Potatoes.  OR Sweet Potatoes. I’m always surprised by how YUMMY sweet potatoes are with the traditional baked potato toppings.
    • Bake them in the crockpot.  All day on low. If you want crispy skins, finish them off in the oven. Too many steps for me and the family doesn’t know any different.
    • Bake them in the Instant Pot. You can use it like a slow cooker or pressure cook them.  About 20 minutes on the steamer rack over water. So they’re more STEAMED then baked. And, again, they won’t have crispy skins.
    • Bake them in the oven. I don’t even put them in foil.  If you have a small amount or you don’t want to heat up the whole house, try the toaster oven.
    • In the summer, I use my little solar oven. It keeps the house cool and uses no electricity, which still amazes me.
    • Great for hot days or any day, the Epicure steamers are great for quickly cooking potatoes without heating up the kitchen.  Here’s an example!
    • Make extra. You can use them for breakfast in the morning or tomorrow’s lunch or baked potato soup a few days later.
    • Even your youngest cooks can help with this meal. They can wash potatoes and place them in the cooking vessel, whichever one you choose.  They can also get out and/or prep the toppings,


  2. Serve Potatoes.  Everyone gets to dress up their potato how they like, so everyone should be happy with their meal.  Yay, Mom Win! Unless one of your bunch doesn’t like potatoes, in which case you’re probably not reading this post.  Some topping ideas include:
    • sour cream
    • cheese (cheddar is standard, but blue, feta and parmesan are also yummy)
    • cottage cheese
    • yogurt
    • salsa
    • bacon (make extra and save or freeze)
    • chives/green onions
    • green or red chile (New Mexicans, you know what I’m talkin’ bout….)
    • leftovers
    • texas chili
    • roast meat (or even steak)
    • curry
    • shrimp
    • veggies
    • beans of any kind
    • BBQ of any kind
    • chicken, tuna or salmon salad
    • fried egg (makes a great breakfast)
    • mushrooms
    • broccoli
    • smoked salmon
    • fresh herbs (basil, oregano, whatever you love)
    • sprouts
    • sun-dried tomatoes
    • jalapenos
    • guacamole or avocado slices
    • gravy
    • pesto
    • buffalo sauce or ranch dressing
    • lunch meats
    • oh my goodness, I almost forgot butter.  DO NOT FORGET BUTTER.
A bit of a tangent, but how about taking combinations of the above and giving them fancy names?  This wouldn’t be a BAR, per se, but it might add some variety to your meal repertoire?
  • nacho potatoes (salsa, cheese, sour cream guacamole, jalapenos)
  • pizza potatoes (usually a hit with kiddoes.  Sausage, pepperoni, peppers, onions, mozzarella with some leftover red sauce)
  • Philly Cheesesteak potatoes
  • Chili Cheese potatoes or Chili Cheese Dog potatoes (in case leftover hotdogs exist at your house)
  • Enchilada potatoes
  • BBQ potato (even top with some slaw)
  • BLT
  • Jalapeno Popper
  • chicken or shrimp alfredo
How does your family like to top  potatoes?
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