Baked Potato Bar

We recently invited six friends over for dinner, and instead of juggling recipes (we aren’t fancy cooks), we did a baked potato bar! Alex baked the potatoes in the oven for an hour, and we put out bowls with tons of toppings. Our list of toppings: butter, black pepper, goat cheese, sautéed spinach, avocados, chicken, brie and cranberry sauce, chili, grated cheddar cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions and garlic. (I also wanted to do sour cream with caviar–how fabulous would that be? Next time!) It was super easy and delicious. What toppings do you like on baked potatoes? Any weird ones?

P.S. And a staring contest:)

(Graphic design by Jennifer Hagler for Cup of Jo)

  1. Baked Potato with toppings is my go-to-meal. Love alfredo sauce, shredded chicken and roasted broccoli. Alltogether of course. :)

  2. I’ve done a mashed potato bar before. I had chili for the potatos, and it turned into a little bit of a chili bar, but that was okay too. I had about twenty-five different toppings. It was craziness. If I do it again, I’ll scale down the toppings. Your list sounds perfect.

  3. Anonymous says...

    nice idea.. thanks for posting..

  4. i took this idea and did it! we bean sprouts and feta which was so yummy – thanks for the idea!

  5. Mmmm, this is an awesome idea!
    We will do this for our next party for sure:-)

  6. This is a great idea! Am really looking forward to trying something like this at home xx

  7. This is the awesomest of ideas! We had baked potatoes just the other day and topped them off with tuna mayo and sweetcorn. YUM! I also love chilli con carne and cheese.

    Maria xx

  8. Yes! I am so doing this for my next party. Also, I want to try roasted grapes and goat cheese as a topping.

  9. An egg sunny side up with cottage cheese :)

  10. I love baked potato bars! Every once and a while my mom would do this for dinner and we all loved it.

  11. cottage cheese and salsa, or just ketchup.

  12. This is a genius idea!!!!! I love baked potatoes more than just about anything …

  13. I love roast beef, cheddar, and lots of brown gravy. EVERYTHING is better with gravy!

  14. yum!! my current favourite is bacon and sour cream- yum!!

  15. My camp would have a potato bar night and it was everyone’s favourite meal of the session.

    My favourite is baked sweet potato with cheddar cheese, red onion and salsa.

  16. This is a GREAT idea! I’m definitely keeping it in mind for my next get together. My husband and I do this for us..never thought of doing it for a dinner party.


  17. Anonymous says...

    Mmm. I used to work for a catering hall that offered something similar for cocktail hour, only it was mashed potatoes (served in big martini glasses) with lots of toppings. Totally mentally bookmarked it for a wedding, but never thought to have it at a party! Genius. Somehow, so much more satisfying than an ice cream bar!

  18. in the dirty South, we do potato bars too! we put them in martini glasses to “dress it up”. it adds an air of glamour.

  19. I love my baked potato with:
    bacon, avocado dip (garlic, avocado, lemon juice, salt pepper), whole egg mayonaise and gerkins (little sliced pickles). YUM!

    When I travelled in Turkey a lot of street vendors in Istanbul had baked potato bars. Every time I make this baked potato combination it reminds me of the ones I ate in Turkey haha.

  20. LOVE THIS! My husband recently decided we should buy a bag of potatoes at Costco. A few friends over for a potato bar would be a great way to use them.

  21. elisa says...

    I’m definitely a brocoli and cheese gal with some sour cream and bacon. Definitely bacon! Such a good idea for a party, easy and fun.

  22. What a fantastic idea! Although I find it difficult to eat a baked potato because I love sweet potatoes so much- I’m envisioning a baked sweet potato bar with scallions, chopped peanuts, and cilantro.

  23. Love this idea!!!

  24. Wow, I would kill for a baked potato with sour cream and caviar, that’s brilliant!

  25. Anonymous says...

    I LOVE this idea. My bf and I always want to entertain, but we live on shoestring budget — this might just be the way to have a few friends over for dinner. (minus the caviar) :)

  26. I love everything you had on your baked potato bar – great idea and so simple!

  27. that sounds incredible

  28. i LOVE baked potatoes. they’re literally my favorite!

  29. Anonymous says...

    I must have a potato – NOW!

  30. OBSESSED WITH BAKED POTATOES, especially sweet ones!

  31. Anonymous says...

    Next time try a macaroni and cheese bar. Delightful when served in martini glasses.

  32. Love dinners like these for guests! We usually do a burrito bowl bar, much like chipotle for guests with tons of toppings.

  33. Anonymous says...

    English classic- tuna with mayonaise! That’s where/how I tried these “jacket potatoes” first and I’m sticking to it. It’s delicious!
    and your post just made me hungry…and it’s 1a.m. here! Shame on you for that, Joanna! :)


  34. I used to live in Scotland, and my favourite baked potato topping was tuna and sweet corn.

  35. sounds fun!! great combinations as well! last week i made baked potatoes and we put black beans green chilies, onions, and salsa on top. Yum! =)

  36. Mersey says...

    I was already planning to make baked potatoes for dinner tonight! Now I have a yummy list of new ingredients to try! Thanks Joanna!!

  37. Such a great idea. Easy and delish! Before I stick the potatoes in the oven, I like to rub olive oil on them and sprinkle kosher salt. Makes the potato skin nice and crispy!

    Just made some crispy tacos, come see!


  38. YUM. that sounds amazing!

  39. This is actually called “Kumpir” in Turkish, and it’s a really famous fast food in Istanbul. We usually put butter, cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, sweetcorn, olives, sausage slices and Russian salad in the baked potato! Delicious!

    It’s a great idea for dinner parties :)

  40. I saw this on an episode of Four Weddings US a few months back and have been wanting to do a dinner party like this ever since! Great idea and so simple!

    My favourite baked potato topping is – wait for it – prawn cocktail! AMAZING!:)

  41. Oh snap, this sounds awesome!

  42. A potato bar! What a brilliant idea! (I’m a vegetarian, for the most part, but I can’t resist a little bacon every now and then-especially on a baked potato!)

  43. Try yogurt with mustard and lemon. It’s deliciously fresh and a perfect match to baked potatoes!

  44. Nothing fancy. Salmon. Cream Cheese. But then again, I’m Bavarian. Everything without dumplings and beer borders ‘wild cuisine’ ;-)

  45. Now, that’s MY kind of dinner party!
    Brilliant (as I coyly call myself brilliant too).

  46. Love this! Now I know what I’m serving at our Super Bowl party. Thanks – You are a genius!

  47. ooh love this idea! Must do asap!

  48. C says...

    Would you think broccoli is weird? I love my baked potatoes topped with broccoli and melted cheese. Although, smoked salmon is a favourite as well.

  49. YUM! And so clever. I bet everybody loved it. I love baked potatos but rarely make them for myself!

    I don’t eat meat, but my husband’s mom makes these (apparently) delicious crab twice-baked potatos… she gets crab meat and mixes it with grated parm and puts it into the potato!

  50. This sounds like fun! The perfect thing to do with a bunch of friends. I usually go with just butter and pepper, but sometimes I’ll take a walk on the wild side and add some sour cream! Such a dangerous life I lead… :)

  51. Am homesick for the States right now so this post is killing me! Although I must say that my grandmother once made twice baked potatoes every night for a WEEK when she was watching us and that almost killed me on taters. From a Frenchy point of view? Shaved truffles and baratte butter. Voila.

  52. GREAT idea!!

  53. That is an Awesome Idea !!! Have fun, i’m sure you will :)

  54. I actually get anxiety when I invite a big group of friends over – spending nights dog-earring recipes in magazines and hoping it all somehow comes together. THANK YOU for this, can’t wait to use it on the next bunch!!!

  55. Caviar is amazing on potatoes! My mouth is watering!

  56. Shrimp, Crab and lobster are good.. especially with cheddar cheese:)

    Taco Bars are good.. and you can make them so different.. have mango salsa and tilapia for fish tacos. You can make it healthier by offering nonfried foods and baked chicken etc.. so that the calories don’t get too out of wack

  57. that is a great idea. thanks, i am join going to use it!

  58. They used to have these at the “max and erma” restaurants in the midwest. Love me some potato bar.

    Im sure I would like any options with cheese. I bet brie is too good on a potato


  59. I LOVE baked potatoes! Ranch dressing on top is also really good. What a great idea!

  60. My favorite baked potato topping is actually A-1 sauce! You should try it; it’s SUPER yummy and a little bit healthier than sour cream (although I have been known to add both at the same time!). What a fun idea for a party!

  61. Kelly R says...

    I make a saucy chick pea topping and have it on a baked sweet potato. It’s so yummy! Saute onion, garlic, green pepper; add 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup Worcestershire and a can of crushed tomatoes; add chick peas and additional 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and heat through. It sounds a bit weird, but it’s yummy and good for you!

  62. my girlfriend did this at their wedding. it was a hit!

  63. I like BBQ sauce on my baked potatoes!

  64. LOVE potato bars! surprisingly, salsa on potatoes is absolutely incredible!

    and lately we’ve been wrapping the potatoes in tin foil, popping them in the crock-pot for 6-8 hours on low, and it’s the best! there’s SO moist that way and always done perfectly, takes all the guess work out of it for us!

  65. carmelized onions! what a fun idea! xo

  66. Great idea! I had one with cheese and coleslaw for lunch today but I also love tuna Mayo with sweetcorn. Xx

  67. Jacket potatoes! Oh my gosh…I absolutely love love love!! This is a fabulous idea!!


  68. oh i love baked potato bars! they seem ordinary, but i you do what you guys did, it’s such sweet meal! i mean who really gets all those toppings ready for an ordinary night at home? great idea.

  69. Alyssa says...

    We did this for our new years party when we had 5 families over to celebrate (it’s great for kids too). We had a lot of the same toppings plus crispy pancetta, carmelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, cilantro, and vegetarian chili in the crockpot. Easy and delicious.

  70. Problem: you missed bacon! Nueske’s bacon, to be exact, straight from my home state. :)

  71. What an incredible idea! Such a great idea for students (aka moi) who are tight on funds but high on leftovers/random ingredients!

  72. I/we love crunchy quinoa! You cook it on the stove (the conventional way) for a bit, then spread it out on a pan in the oven so it has a nice crunch. It shakes up the baked potato and regular topping texture and is good for you!

  73. Anonymous says...

    The ultimate comfort topping for me is cheddar cheese and baked beans (add the cheese first so it melts better with the beans on top). Yum! Salmon and cream cheese with black pepper is also amazing.

    What a great idea!!

  74. Salsa and corn:) Love it. Also, I once went to a Baked Potato restaurant in Montreal. It was pretty amazing…

  75. I absolutely agree that this is a wicked idea. I’m sure everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing Jo!

  76. Sounds just like what I need to make tonight.

  77. what a great idea! now im craving for a baked potato. great post!

  78. Mmmm… great idea! I would choose chili and cheese. It’s a chill and cheese kind of day around here. Thanks for sharing!

  79. Anonymous says...

    I love how the butter is melting in the top photo. Melted butter and pepper is the best.

  80. This is one of my favorite company dinners. Sometimes I ask friends to bring different toppings. I love corn on a baked potato.


  81. We used to do this growing up and my roommate and I lived off these in college! Our family friend introduced them to our family as Spud-weisers.
    Since they’re great for using up the leftovers in the fridge, we’d often include sauteed mushrooms (my favorite), corn, and black beans (since I was vegetarian).
    You’re toppings look great! Can’t wait to try them!

  82. I did a baked potato bar at my ugly sweater christmas party this year and it is such a great meal to serve! No stress for the hostess and people can grab when they want it. You can even keep baked potatoes warm in a big crock-pot until people are ready to eat. I made four different infused butters to serve with mine as well. Love your idea for sweet toppings too! So fun and easy!

  83. yum. have you tried the roe and the faux roe (it’s made of seaweed) at ikea? i want to.

  84. I strongly believe that baked potatoes are an under-appreciated meal. But what about freshly chopped chives? They are an essential component of a baked potato bar!

  85. Anonymous says...

    Yes, great idea for the superbowl!

  86. Anonymous says...

    I totally LOVE baked potatoes! This sounds like so much fun. Did you make a salad or anything or just the potatoes? YUM.

  87. Back in college, my roommate and I used to have our own little baked potato parties at least once a week. Such a cheap and filling dinner.

    I did just attend a wedding with a MASHED potato bar though and everyone was so excited about it!

  88. What a great idea! My personal favorite topping is chili and cheese. Moscow has a chain of potato kiosks that lets you mix and match your toppings…

  89. This makes so much sense for a dinner party!! I’ve seen it done at a few weddings and while delicious it was always a bit of a misplaced item, this on the other hand is perfect!!

  90. i’m totally stealing this! yum.

  91. we do broccoli and bacon…not bacon bits but real bacon…yummers! We do this for football games snacks..well I guess meals!

  92. I love this idea! Such a fun and creative approach to a dinner party. Now I’m hungry…

  93. What a flippin’ cute idea!! That’d be fun with homemade pizzas too!

  94. YUM! How fun and easy is that? Not to mention deliciuos! Can you imagine a yam bar for dessert with marshmallows and brown sugar?!

  95. Anonymous says...

    Cottage cheese and honey. Sounds sick but is quite tasty.

  96. Yum! My favorite topping is spinach cashew pesto from Joy the Baker’s food blog – it is AMAZING. And another favorite is cottage cheese – it may sound kind of gross but it’s sooo good.

  97. This is such a great idea. This is a popular fast food stand in Russia, you get a baked potato and select the toppings! Simple and delicious.

  98. maybe next try some homemade salsa too? :)

    esp. during summer time, fresh salsa is so good on baked potato, sprinkle some pepper on it. Hmm..

  99. Great idea! I would probably add sauteed mushrooms, marinara sauce, and meatballs to the bar.

  100. this is such a good idea! my mom’s family is irish*, so whenever we have potatoes we only have them with butter. when I was little I hated mashed/baked potatoes b/c my mom made them EVERY night for dinner!

    I am totally doing this with my friends…but would you believe I have no idea how long to roast a potato b/c I’ve never wanted to before?

    (* this also means that pepper is “spicy”…so food isn’t very flavorful around here!)

  101. Barchbo says...

    My parents host a dinner for 30 for their volunteer groups every 1-2 months and they are BIG fans of the potato bar AND the pasta bar. My husband & I have 14 people for dinner once a month, and we became big fans, too. They invite people to bring their favorite items, and have had some unusual thing (my mom said someone brought cottage cheese, which was kind of gross.)

    They have introduced us to sauteed peppers and onions, grilled sausage, sesame seeds, and vegetable stew for our potato bars. We haven’t tried the veggie stew, but we plan to!

  102. Love this idea! I always kill myself when we have dinner guests. This sounds so much more relaxing.

    We had a mashed potato martini bar at our wedding, it was awesome!

  103. i was once at an event that had a mashed potato bar – and you put your mash into large martini glasses… it was amazing…. i kept going back for blue cheese and chives… delish…

  104. Thats a great idea! Simple, but fun. I will definitely have to try it one of these days. It also works GREAT for accommodating allergies, vegans, and gluten free eaters – who are all within my immediate family!

  105. Love this idea. I like Worcestershire sauce on my baked potato!

  106. What a great idea!

    The deli downstairs from my office does baked potatoes, and sometimes I’ll get one for lunch. I usually go for either the turkey chili with cheese and a dollop of sour cream, or broccoli and cheese.

  107. Annie G says...

    This is brilliant. I am bored with trying to think of interesting things to cook when people come round but I’d love to do this. Can’t really think of anybody who’d object. And I’d give the staring contest a go too. After 25 years + of cooking to entertain, I was beginning to despair. Cheers!

  108. Love this idea! I enjoy any meal that’s customizable. (Ice cream bar? Swoon!) I’d add salsa to that list, or something similarly spicy.

  109. This is such a cute idea! When I was visiting Berlin there was this awesome baked potato restaurant called Bixel that was always PACKED with people. Simple, delicious and surprisingly trendy.

    Great party idea Joanna!

  110. we’re having a chili dinner party this weekend and this will be the perfect added comfort food! l o v e! and my mom and I love cottage cheese and cracked pepper on our baked potatoes! delish. :)

  111. This sounds so fun. As long as there were no chives… They are the worst, no? Your parties seem like such fun!

  112. Great Idea! Currently inviting the in-law family over to make this happen. This makes cooking for a crowd definitely more do-able:)

  113. chic potato – so funny. so MINIMALIST.
    definitely adding this to the DINNER PARTY folder; also, we’ve been using potatoes (or sweet potatoes) at our house to stretch out small amounts of leftover winter stews.

  114. Fab idea! Seems like such an easy and hassle-free solution. More parties need to have that same attitude.

  115. Love this! What a fab idea x

  116. Sounds delish! We did that the other day with crepes. Costco did the fancy part of the cooking – the crepes – and I sauteed separate dishes of spinach, mushrooms, and chicken along with a gruyere bechamel sauce. Folks made their own combinations, and that plus a green salad was all we needed! Super, super easy and the toppings were all cooked separately in one pot, so clean up was a cinch, too.

  117. Awesome idea! Trying this for the superbowl!

  118. wow, elizabeth, that sounds delicious! i would never think of tuna!!

  119. it was like a personality test to see whatever chose, some people did the simple/chic potato with butter and pepper, some did veggies, some were experimental, and some did EVERYTHING!

  120. Yum! That’s a fab idea.

    My favourite topping is tuna mayonnaise. It’s simple but also nice with a sprinkle of curry powder, paprika or chilli powder too.

  121. Genius! A blank baked potato canvas with a whole palette of toppings.

  122. Great idea! I’ll have to add this to my party idea list :)

  123. What a great idea! Definitely trying that out :)