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Someone holding a plate with a baked potato topped with homemade cheese sauce and steamed broccoli and using a spoon to add chopped bacon to the top.

Baked Potato Bar

A classic Baked Potato Bar recipe that includes instructions for making the potatoes, a cheese sauce, bacon crumbles, steamed broccoli, and more toppings. Perfect to serve to a large group or for family dinner. Leftovers are great, too.

Yield: 6-8 servings (1 loaded potato) 1x
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 68 large baking potatoes (i.e. russet)
  • Avocado oil (sub: olive oil)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1216 ounces uncured bacon
  • Ingredients for 2 batches of Cheese Sauce: 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups chopped (bite-sized) broccoli florets, about 2 heads
  • 1/21 cup sliced green onions or minced chives (about 1 bunch)
  • Butter
  • Sour cream

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1. Prep Oven: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Adjust the two oven racks to be equidistant from the center. Cover a rimmed sheet pan with foil and then set a cooking rack on top*.

2. Prep Potatoes: Scrub the potatoes and dry them off. Working on a cutting board, pierce each potato a few times on each side with a fork or knife. Rub the potatoes with oil and season with Kosher salt and pepper (optional) on all sides.

3. Bake the Bacon: Lay out the bacon side by side on the rack on the sheet pan. Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until crispy. Move on to next step right away, so the potatoes cook at the same time. 

4. Bake Potatoes: While the bacon bakes, place the potatoes directly on the top rack (over the sheet pan, so it catches any drips as they begin to cook) and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a fork or paring knife slides easily into the center of the potato. Remove with oven mitts or tongs to a serving dish.

5. Steam Broccoli: While the potatoes bake, steam the broccoli using one of these methods:

    • Stovetop: Fill a medium-sized pot with 1 or 2 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli and partially cover with the lid. Steam for 2-3 minutes, until fork tender. Carefully drain off the water and set aside.
    • Microwave: In a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl, add 1-2 inches of water and the broccoli, cover with a napkin or plate. Microwave on high for about 2-3 minutes, or until fork tender. Carefully drain off the water and set aside.

6. Make Cheese Sauce: Using our Cheese Sauce recipe, double the recipe and make in a medium-sized pot on the stove (I use the same one I steam the broccoli in). Keep the sauce warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. 

7. Prep Toppings: Chop the bacon into small bits. Set out other toppings like sliced green onions, sour cream, and butter, salt, and pepper.

8. Serve: Slice open each warm baked potato from end to end and push the ends together to open it up. Everyone can individualize their baked potato with toppings from the Baked Potato Bar. I like mine with broccoli, cheese sauce, sliced green onions, and bacon bits.


*If you don’t have a cooking rack, skip that part. The bacon will cook faster, so keep an eye on it. You’ll also want to drain the bacon on paper towels since it will be greasier.


  • How to Make Ahead: You can make all the toppings a day or two ahead of time and warm the bacon, cheese sauce, and broccoli in the microwave before it’s time to eat. The baked potatoes can be made 1-2 hours in advance. To keep them warm, place in an oven safe dish, cover with foil, and put in a 200°F oven.
  • Dairy-Free Version: In place of the butter use plant-based butter. Avoid the cheese sauce and sour cream. Use mashed avocado with salt and pepper to add richness instead.
  • Gluten-Free Version: Use gluten-free flour in the cheese sauce or replace the cheese sauce with shredded cheese instead.
  • Other Ways to Bake Potatoes: Air Fryer Baked Potatoes, Crock Pot Baked Potatoes, or Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
  • More Topping Ideas:

      • Taco: Use ideas from our Taco Bar post, such as Taco Meat, shredded cheddar, salsa, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, black beans, green onions, etc.

      • Vegan Delight: plant-based butter, sautéed mushrooms/peppers/onions, black beans, salsa, Guacamole

  • The cook time of your baked potato will slightly vary depending on the size of the potato. Cook until you can easily pierce into the center of the potatoes with a knife.
  • Poking holes in the potatoes for steam to escape guarantees perfectly fluffy interiors. Don’t skip this step. 
© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: American Method: Oven