Loaded Baked Potato Bar

DIY loaded potatoes are perfect for entertaining a group of friends or for an easy birthday party.  A Loaded Baked Potato Bar allows each person to top their potato the way they like it!

Make or buy pulled pork or taco meat with ground beef, offer a few toppings and you’ve got an easy meal that will please a variety of palates!

Close up DIY baked potato toppings for loaded potatoes are bacon bits, green onions, sour cream cheddar cheese and black beans on foil wrapped potatoes on a wooden board.

DIY Baked Potato Bar Ideas

Baked potatoes are a starch with a neutral flavor that creates a filling base for a great meal. The options to customize and top potatoes with are endless. When my goal is to make a nice, easy meal that everyone will enjoy I often create a baked potato bar.

Most of the work can be done ahead of time which also makes entertaining a crowd easier. Slow cookers also take a lot of stress out of party preparations for me. Meat can be heated and kept warm and potatoes cook and can stay warm easily in a crock pot.

We start by planning at least one hearty meat to top the spuds. Pulled pork is our favorite, but Sloppy Joes or taco meat and Farmhouse Chili are popular.

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Loaded Baked Potato to feed a crowd with dishes of Pulled pork, baked potatoes, broccoli, sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions and barbecue sauce surrounding foil wrapped potatoes on a brown counter top.

I typically make Farm House Slow Cooker recipe or a Margarita Mix Pulled Pork but like to use the Instant Pot to make Best Pulled Pork on occasion. Pans of pre-cooked frozen pulled pork also reheat fantastically to save a little more time and effort.

Our Ground Pork Taco Meat makes a great potato topping and so does this Loaded Taco Meat.

Loaded Baked Potato Bar Toppings

  • Shredded cheese – we like to use sharp flavors, but kids typically prefer mild flavors.
  • Crumbled bacon – buying bacon bits or cooking and crumbling your own bacon is one of the most popular toppings.
  • Sour cream – we like to use a smaller dish and refill this popular topping as needed.
  • Green onion or chives – sliced into small pieces adds a wonder fresh flavor.
  • Broccoli – cut into smaller pieces before cooking to make eating easier.
  • Shredded pork – tender meat that is shredded well will mix best with bites of potato.
  • Barbecue sauce – having a few flavors to choose from helps appeal to more guests.
  • Black beans – drain and rinse a can of beans and pour into a dish to serve.
  • Corn – we like to serve warm sweet corn.
  • Salsa – gives more options if a southwest flair is your goal.
  • Tortillas or taco shells for those who may not eat potatoes.
Overhead view of cheese, sour cream, green onions, bacon, black beans, broccoli and other potato toppings

Popular side dishes to serve with this meal are Fruit Salad For A Crowd and a Big Batch of Pasta Salad.

What To Make A Day Ahead

Potatoes can be poked, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrapped in foil a day ahead of time. Then bake in the oven at 400°F for 45 – 60 minutes. I prefer to make in the slow cooker on low for 4 to 6 hours. Cooking time varies greatly based on the size and age of my slow cookers.

Use several small bowls, preferably with lids and fill them with cheese, sour cream, bacon, chives, broccoli, black beans and corn.  Using the lids made it easy to stack the toppings and store them in the refrigerator. 

I loved having little bowls with lids to make meal prep easier.  I use a larger glass bowl  or slow cooker to serve the pork.

The same toppings and ideas that work for a loaded baked potato bar can also work for a loaded taco bar or a loaded mashed potato bar.

Small bowls of toppings for baked potatoes next to loaded potatoes.

Having topping pre portioned into dishes and all organized in one area of the refrigerator will make the party run more smoothly too.

Tips for Planning a Baked Potato Bar

  • Plan foods that can be cooked and/or placed in individual dishes well before the party
  • Keep cold foods in serving containers in the refrigerator until the party begins
  • Use small containers with lids if possible as it makes preparation and clean-up so much easier
  • Layout hot pads or tools that guests can use to unwrap and slice their baked potato without burning their hands
  • Offer pulled pork or toppings that you have a bigger volume of first
  • Offer toppings like green onions and bacon last because lesser amounts will be used to top off the potato
  • Make sure to have enough spoons, tongs or other serving utensils to keep food containers separated
  • Keep all of the topping options together so that guests can see all options before building their potato
  • I like to put plates at the beginning of the line and napkins and silverware at the end of the line to keep hands as free as possible
Baked potatoes with a variety of toppings

We like to keep any leftover baked potatoes to use in our Loaded Potato Casserole a couple days after the party.

DIY Taco Bar Option

Many of the same toppings that taste great on baked potatoes also taste great on tacos. To give guest yet another option offer flour tortillas that guests can fill.

Just another way to make it easier for everyone to enjoy their meal!

Dessert to Go With Baked Potato Bar

To keep with the theme of choosing your own topping an Easy Mini Cheesecake Dessert Bar works great!

To keep with the theme of fuss free and serve your self consider a cookie tray with classics like Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip, Cowboy Cookie Bars and Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies.

Dirt Cake for A Crowd with Oreos, cream cheese, pudding and Cool Whip is so versatile and easy!

Our Cherry Cobbler For A Crowd makes an easy warm dessert for a party.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Bars are our most popular dessert!

Providing options for guests takes the stress out of meal planning for me and makes the meal more enjoyable for guests.  We’ve gotten several positive reviews about this idea and hope these tips help others too!

Other Leftover Pulled Pork Recipes:

Printable Loaded Baked Potato Bar Ingredients & Recipe

Potato Bar ideas in small bowls and on baked potatoes

Loaded Baked Potato Bar

Servings 20 people
Author: Jennifer
DIY loaded potatoes are perfect for entertaining a group of friends or for an easy birthday party.  A Loaded Baked Potato Bar allows each person to top their potato the way they like it!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 5 pounds baked potatoes
  • 3-5 pounds pulled pork cooked
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 pound bacon cooked & crumbled
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chives chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli cooked
  • 1 bottle bbq sauce
  • 1 can black beans
  • tortillas or taco shells optional

Instructions
 

  • Wash potatoes, poke holes with a fork, drizzle with olive oil, then add a few shakes of Koshor salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake potatoes in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes – 1 hour or cook in the slow cooker on low for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Warm precooked pork OR cook and shred pulled pork.
  • Wash and chop green onions or chives
  • Steam broccoli.
  • Cook black beans for 1 minute in the microwave
  • Neatly arrange ingredients on the counter in a way that is easy for guests to serve themselves.  Provide plates, napkins and forks.  Enjoy 🙂

Notes

  • Plan foods that can be cooked and/or placed in individual dishes well before the party
  • Keep cold foods in serving containers in the refrigerator until the party begins
  • Use small containers with lids if possible as it makes preparation and clean-up so much easier
  • Layout hot pads or tools that guests can use to unwrap and slice their baked potato without burning their hands
  • Offer pulled pork or toppings that you have a bigger volume of first
  • Offer toppings like green onions and bacon last because lesser amounts will be used to top off the potato
  • Make sure to have enough spoons, tongs or other serving utensils to keep food containers separated
  • Keep all of the topping options together so that guests can see all options before building their potato
  • I like to put plates at the beginning of the line and napkins and silverware at the end of the line to keep hands freer

 

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 20gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 938mgPotassium: 656mgFiber: 4gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 479IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 170mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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Originally published on September 15, 2018 and updated on December 10, 2021.

Collage of DIY Loaded Baked Potato bar and loaded baked potato with bbq sauce, cheese, bacon, pulled pork and broccoli.

3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious and worked great for a gathering we had at our home. Definitely plan to make it again!

    1. Jennifer @ Plowing Through Life says:

      So glad it worked out well! Thanks for letting us know! Guests always love the variety.

  2. 5 stars
    Such a fun dinner idea! We love dinners we can customize so everyone can have what they like.

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