Air Fryer Potato Skins

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These air fryer potato skins are faster than the oven-baked version and less greasy than the deep-fried version! Just as crispy on the outside and stuffed with loads of cheese and bacon on the inside! These are the kind of yummy appetizers that people look forward to, so make sure you make lots so you can keep replenishing the platter!

plate of air fryer potato skins with cheese, bacon and chives

I love taking all kinds of popular appetizers and figuring out a faster and easier way to get them done in the air fryer, like my air fryer garlic bread and jalapeno poppers! These potato skins are my latest favorite because not only do they taste better than ones you’d order at a restaurant, but they’re so easy to come together that I’m looking for excuses to make them!

Potato skins are great for entertaining friends, game day parties, holiday parties, ladies’ apps, and drinks night, you name it. The best part is it allows me to spend more time with my guests rather than worried about what’s going on in the kitchen.

I’m also a big fan of whipping some up as an after-school snack or for a Friday night movie night for me and my girl. Whatever the reason is, they’re always a hit!

What are Potato Skins?

Potato skins are traditionally made by taking a baked potato, cutting it in half lengthwise, scooping out most of the flesh from the inside, and filling it with loads of yummy, creamy, cheesy, salty, goodness. Then, they’re baked until the skin on the outside is nice and crispy, and the insides are fluffy and filled with melted cheese and whatever else you’ve loaded it up with.

My air fryer version is even better because we’re using the microwave for a quick “baked” potato. It’s a simple filling of cheese and bacon (who doesn’t love that?), and it’s then air-fried for a few minutes, and bam! Quick and easy dinner side dish or snack.

Why This Recipe Works

  • A quick and easy, budget-friendly appetizer ready in under 30 minutes.
  • Always a crowd-pleaser for appetizers, snacks, or a light dinner idea.
  • No heavy grease, no deep-frying, and no turning on the oven make cleaning up a breeze, and a lighter version with the same delicious results.
  • Versatile recipe that has so many options for filling variations. Something for everyone! For a party, you could make a bunch with different fillings so people have a variety to choose from.

Ingredients Needed

  • Potatoes – Russets are best for this recipe. They’ve got a coarse skin that crisps up nicely, and they’re sturdy enough to hold all of that filling. They’re also usually big enough to have enough space.
  • Olive oil – Used to coat the outside of the potato skin before placing it in the oven. Helps to get crispy skin but also keeps the salt adhering to the skin.
  • Salt – Is there anything better than salty, crispy potato skin? Just a sprinkling adds the right amount!
  • Butter – Whether you use salted or unsalted is up to you. There is quite a bit of salt already from the cheese, bacon, and outer skin, but it’s totally up to you. Be sure to melt it ahead of time.
  • Bacon – Precook your bacon either in the oven, the microwave, the air fryer, or the traditional pan fry method. Either way, you want it ready and crumbled by the time you load your filling.
  • Shredded cheese – I use a good sharp cheddar because I think it balances the smoky, salty bacon nicely, but you can use whichever is your favorite. I do recommend grating your own rather than buying pre-shredded in a package.
  • Toppings – Sour cream, green onion (scallion) or chives, extra bacon, extra cheese.

How to Make Potato Skins in the Air Fryer

Please scroll ⬇️ to the recipe card to see the full ingredient amounts and instructions.

steps to make air fryer potato skins

Step 1: Microwave the potatoes for 6 minutes and flip for an additional 2-3 minutes (or more, depending on the size of your potatoes). Potatoes should be fork-tender.

Step 2: Once cool to the touch, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle flesh. Leave about 1/2” of potato.

Step 3: Drizzle olive oil on the skin and rub it all in so it’s coated evenly inside and outside. Sprinkle some salt on the skin of the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a single layer in the air fryer basket/tray and air fry at 400°F for 6 minutes.

Step 4: Add the butter, cheese, and cooked bacon to the hallowed-out pockets of the potato skins and air fry for an additional 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Step 5: Top with your favorite toppings and serve immediately!

plate of air fryer potato skins with cheese, bacon and chives

Tips

  • Scrub and dry your potato. You want to make sure to dry it as best as you can. That way, you’re not leaving any water behind to create steam. The drier the skin, the better it will crisp up.
  • Exploding potatoes are a thing, so remember to poke holes in the skin of the potato to allow steam to escape!
  • Test the potatoes for doneness by poking them with a fork. If they come out easily, they are done. If not, microwave them for a couple of minutes longer.
  • Use small-medium potatoes for faster cooking. You might need to microwave them longer if they’re bigger.
  • It’s very easy to scoop out too much and rip a hole into the potato skin. Start by scooping a small spoonful in the middle and gently scoop your way out. You’ll want to leave some potato on there so it’ll hold its shape and hold all the toppings.
  • Work in batches if you’re making a lot. If you’re doing that, you might want to think about having a different filling for every batch for variety.
  • Best served immediately, although if you do have leftovers, they’re just as good reheated the next day!

How much can I cook at a time?

Potato skins before cooking in Cosori air fryer and Instant Omni Plus
Potato skins in COSORI Air Fryer 5.8 Qt. and Instant Omni Plus Toaster Oven

For reference, these are about 3-inch Russet potatoes. I was able to fit 6 potato skins into the basket of the Cosori Air Fryer (5.8 Qt). The second photo was cropped, but I could probably fit about 10-12 potato skins into the Instant Omni Plus Toaster Oven. Hopefully, this will let you have an idea of how many batches you’ll need to make if you’re cooking for a crowd.

Topping Variations

Bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions (or chives) are classic toppings for potato skins, but you can switch it up with these variations.

  • Broccoli and cheddar cheese: Using chopped broccoli (a great way to use up leftovers!) and cheese is a great combo.
  • Chili: Use leftover chili, top with cheese, and serve with sour cream. Amazing!
  • Buffalo chicken – Grab some rotisserie chicken, or shredded chicken and toss around in some buffalo sauce. Combine with cream cheese and voila!
  • BBQ: Shredded chicken or pulled pork slathered in BBQ sauce would be delicious.
  • Mexican: Black beans, salsa, cheese, guacamole, and you’ve got yourself a great appetizer.

Ways to Use Up the Insides of the Potato

Don’t toss the insides of the potato once you’ve scooped them out. Keep them for any of the following delicious reasons:

  1. Combine with a bit of milk for a lazy version of mashed potatoes!
  2. Keep some skins empty and combine the potato flesh with cheese, sour cream, and butter. Put them back into the skins for some twice “baked” potato skins.
  3. Use it to top shepherd’s pie.
  4. Make some mashed potato balls or another form of potato croquette or patty.

FAQs

What kind of potato is best for potato skins?

I’ll always recommend Russet potatoes, specifically small or medium-sized (about 1-4 inches), for this recipe. They’ll cook faster if they’re not too big, but still large enough to hold a good amount of filling. The skins on a Russet potato are coarse and sturdy so that they won’t break easily under pressure. You can also use Yukon Gold potatoes if you prefer. Some people appreciate the more delicate skin and prefer it to Russets, so the choice is yours!

What other toppings can I serve them with?

I like to think of this little appetizer as a smaller version of a loaded baked potato. Popular toppings are always things like extra cheese, sour cream, green onions (scallions), chives, or extra bacon. You can get a little more creative and add a bit of hot sauce or diced jalapenos. Maybe even some Chipotle crema or a bit of BBQ sauce.

Storage Tips

To store leftover potato skins, allow them to cool to room temperature. Then, place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the potato skins, and they can be stored for up to 3-4 days.

When reheating, preheat your air fryer or oven to around 350°F (175°C). Place the potato skins on a baking sheet and reheat for about 10-15 minutes or until they are thoroughly warmed. This helps maintain their crispiness.

Alternatively, you can use a microwave for a quicker reheating option, but keep in mind that the skins may not remain as crispy as when initially cooked. Reheat in short intervals and check for desired warmth.

RECIPE

plate of air fryer potato skins

Air Fryer Potato Skins

Quynh Nguyen
These air fryer potato skins are faster than the oven-baked version and less greasy than the deep-fried version! Just as crispy on the outside and stuffed with loads of cheese and bacon on the inside!
5 from 43 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 160 kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

  • 4 small to medium Russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • cup sour cream (for topping)
  • 2 green onions or chives (for topping), thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke a few holes into the outside of the potatoes. On a microwave-safe plate, place potatoes in a single layer and place a wet paper towel on top. Microwave for 6 minutes; flip and microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes or until tender. (Check for tenderness by poking a fork into the potato. If it doesn’t slide in and out easily, microwave for 2-3 more minutes.)
  • Let the potatoes cool down. Cut the potatoes in half. Scoop out the middle of all the potatoes leaving around ½ inch layer.
  • Drizzle some olive oil on the top and skin of the potatoes. Use your hands to rub it all in so it’s evenly coated. Sprinkle some salt on the skins of the potatoes.
  • Place the potato skins in a single layer in the air fryer basket/tray and air fry at 400°F for 6 minutes.
  • Leaving the potato skins on the air fryer tray, add butter, cheese, and bacon to the pockets of the potato skins and air fry for an additional 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Top the potato skins with sour cream and green onions and serve.

Notes

  • Scrub and dry your potato. You want to make sure to dry it as best as you can. That way, you’re not leaving any water behind to create steam. The drier the skin, the better it will crisp up.
  • Exploding potatoes are a thing, so remember to poke holes in the skin of the potato to allow steam to escape!
  • Test the potatoes for doneness by poking them with a fork. If they come out easily, they are done. If not, microwave them for a couple of minutes longer.
  • Use small-medium potatoes for faster cooking. You might need to microwave them longer if they’re bigger.
  • It’s very easy to scoop out too much and rip a hole into the potato skin. Start by scooping a small spoonful in the middle and gently scoop your way out. You’ll want to leave some potato on there so it’ll hold its shape and hold all the toppings.
  • Work in batches if you’re making a lot. If you’re doing that, you might want to think about having a different filling for every batch for variety.
  • Best served immediately. Although, if you do have leftovers, they’re just as good reheated the next day!

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