Crispy, Smoked Potato Skins are a quick appetizer filled with fresh jalapenos, melty cheese, and crispy bacon crumbles. Smoke them until crispy and serve plenty, because they will disappear fast!
Classic potato skins get a slight makeover with flavor. Adding a brief blast of smoke works well with any kind of potato, especially when filled with the good stuff.
Why This Recipe Works
- Everyone likes them. No seriously, I haven’t met a person that doesn’t enjoy some form of smoked potato skins. Vegetarians can leave off the bacon, and top it with salsas. Big eaters can fill them with Smoked Pulled Beef or even Jalapeno Pimento Cheese. There’s something for everyone.
- Nothing goes to waste. You might be wondering what happens to the filling. Of course, you can make mashed potatoes, but think about Loaded Baked Potato Jalapeno Poppers and suddenly you just made two appetizers.
What are Potato Skins?
Served across the country, these are widely available at bars and restaurants. Essentially it’s just a baked potato skin, with a little potato left behind, filled with delicious toppings, and cooked a second time.
Potato skin recipes can be fried, smoked, grilled, or even just oven-baked. The goal is to melt the cheese (if there’s cheese) and crisp up the potatoes. Think about a large French fry, filled with the good stuff!
They make great appetizers for a game day, party, or even tailgating. It’s likely you don’t want to sit around and wait for potatoes to bake. These skins can be baked and scooped out ahead of time, saving you a little stress when guests are coming.
It Starts with Baked Potatoes
First step: bake your potatoes.
The best potatoes for this recipe are russet potatoes, sometimes referred to as Idaho potatoes. I recommend medium-sized ones, not the massive ones you’d be served at a steakhouse. Ultimately, go for what you like. Few people would complain about a hand-sized smoked potato skin!
Wash the potatoes and poke a couple of holes in them with a fork (so they don’t explode). Bake them at 400°F in your oven or smoker for about an hour, or until they slightly squish when you squeeze them.
Allow the potatoes to cool off slightly and then slice them in half along the length. Save the scooped-out potato flesh for mashed potatoes, or make the Loaded Baked Potato Jalapeno Poppers for a dual appetizer.
Toppings for Smoked Potato Skins
Feel free to have as much fun as you want with your topping combinations. The key is having a variety of flavors, spices, and textures. Melty cheese is always a hit, as well as crispy bacon. Check out some of my recommended combos:
- The Classic: Sliced jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and bacon crumbles. Step it up with some Smoked Bacon Crumbles!
- The Beefy: Smoked Pulled Beef, pepper jack cheese, and caramelized onions.
- The Buffalo: Smoked Pulled Chicken, blue cheese, celery, green onions, and Spicy Buffalo BBQ Sauce
Smoke the Potato Skins
Set your smoker to 325°F and place the tray of potato skins in the smoker. Cook them for about 35-40 minutes or until the edges are crispy to your preference.
This temperature is ideal for crisping the potatoes while still putting out some smoke flavor. Once you cross 350°F it really steps into roasting, and the smoke flavor will be much less.
You can do this in a charcoal grill, or even the oven as well. Make sure you use smoky bacon and a good seasoning if you’re doing it in the oven, so it still has that BBQ flavor.
Important Tips for Potato Skins
- Brush the edges with oil just before cooking. This helps crisp up the outside with just a small touch of neutral oil.
- Potatoes can be baked & scooped ahead of time. Don’t put fillings in the potato skins until you’re ready to cook, but feel free to prep the potatoes beforehand. The skins will be the best if you prepare same day, but you can hold the potato skins in the fridge overnight if you have to.
- Season the potato skins. Don’t forget to sprinkle a little BBQ seasoning in the skins because you fill them with toppings. Remember, they aren’t salted so they will need a little love.
What to Serve with Smoked Potato Skins?
Pass me a tall, ice-cold beer and a plate of these smoked potato skins. Likely, that’s all I’d need. However, if you’re serving up a crowd there are plenty of options to pair with these. Don’t forget the dipping sauces too!Print
- Bake the potatoes. Wash the potatoes and poke a few holes in each one with a fork. Bake them at 400°F in the oven for an hour, or until they are tender to the touch. Allow them to cook slightly before slicing.
- Slice the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Reserve for mashed potatoes, or another recipe (see notes).
- Season each potato with a sprinkle of the BBQ seasoning before adding in the filling.
- Top each skin with slices of jalapeno, cheddar cheese, and some of the bacon crumbles. Do this for all of the potato skins. Brush the edge of each skin with a little olive oil to promote additional crisping.
- Smoke the potato skins at 325°F for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges of the potato skins are crispy and the cheese is fully melted.
- Serve immediately with the sauce of your choice.
- Bacon crumbles can be made by cooking bacon until crispy and then chopping it into pieces. Also see our recommended recipe for Smoked Bacon Crumbles, a huge boost to the flavor.
- Use the potato filling that was scooped out for a second recipe, the Loaded Baked Potato Jalapeno Poppers.
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Smoking
- Cuisine: Appetizer
Keywords: baked potato, potato skins, smoked potato skins, appetizer