Air Fryer Potato Skins make a great hot appetizer on game days or an easy hot snack any time of year. They’re quicker to make than waiting at a restaurant and loaded with melted cheddar cheese, crispy bacon and chopped chives.
In less than 15 minutes, you can have piping hot, crackly potato skins right out of the air fryer. Then, if you need a few more, it takes no time to make an extra batch.
Potato skins are great for any gathering, but they also make a great side, especially if you don’t want a whole baked potato all to yourself. If you do want that, give these Air Fryer Baked Potatoes a try.
- Russet potatoes
- Olive oil
- Cheddar cheese
- Optional garnishes: chives or green onion, sour cream, ranch, ketchup
Potato skins recipe
- Prep the potatoes and cook them in a microwave for 4 to 5 minutes then cool.
- Cut in half and scoop out the insides.
- Rub potatoes with olive oil inside and out.
- Place in the air fryer and cook until lightly browned.
- Remove and top with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits.
- Return to the air fryer to melt the cheese.
- Remove, garnish and serve.
Full recipe details can be found in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
- When you’re selecting potatoes, try to get ones big enough to make a good foundation so you can fill it up with all the tasty stuff – like cheese, bacon, and more cheese.
- Always poke holes in the potato with a fork before baking them whether you use a microwave, air fryer or oven. It’s an avoidable mistake that will save you a tremendous amount of cleanup if you were to skip this step.
- You must cook the potatoes before hollowing them out and then crisp them up in the air fryer.
- I recommend compacting down the cheese as much as you can because it keeps strands of cheddar cheese from flying off of the potatoes.
- The total cook time depends on the size of your potatoes. The larger the potato, the more time it will need.
- Different types of air fryers will cook differently, so cooking time may vary depending on the model.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Air must circulate between the potatoes to get them evenly crisp all around. You’ll want to give them some room, so if you are making more than 3 potatoes, you’ll want to crisp up the potato skins in batches.
Toppings for potato skins
- Sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and green onions make these potato skins especially delicious.
- This Slow Cooked Pulled Pork would be extra delicious to top off these potato skins or to serve alongside it.
- If it’s cooler out, this Kid-friendly Chili is a great addition and not so spicy that guests can’t handle it.
- I also think Blanched Broccoli and smooth melted cheese would be terrific.
- For an Italian twist, you can hollow out the potato, mix some basil pesto with the mash and return it to the potato boat. Crisp it up in the air fryer and add a dollop of sundried tomatoes that are drenched in oil for a flavorful and interesting take on this American classic.
- Bell peppers, jalapenos, blue cheese crumbles, ranch dressing, Cajun seasoning or cayenne, you name it, you can top them just the way you like.
- If I’m cooking for guests, I like to set up a toppings bar with an array of different toppings and dipping sauces and let guests make their own special treats.
Do I have to microwave them first?
Yes, you must cook the potatoes before hollowing them out and then crisp them up in the air fryer. It is the quickest method to cook the potatoes before turning them into crispy potato skins.
While the potatoes are in the microwave, you can start prepping the toppings.
Don’t want to use the microwave?
You just need to start with an already cooked potato to make potato skins. I suggest using the microwave because it is absolutely the quickest way to get the potatoes cooked so you can easily and quickly prep the skins for a hot and delicious appetizer.
If you want, you can bake the potatoes in an air fryer, just use the link I mentioned above. It takes a total of 45 minutes. Remember, you can really only get 3, maybe 4 large potatoes in the basket. If you have lots of guests, using the oven might be a better alternative.
To bake the potato in the oven, you preheat the oven to 425 °F (220 °C) for about 50 to 60 minutes. The benefit of using the oven is that you can bake a lot of potatoes at once, then use the air fryer to crisp up the skins and melt the cheese.
Do I have to use olive oil?
Lightly brushing oil to the exterior of the potato adds a lot of flavor, but it also helps them crisp up. I prefer olive oil, but you can use any neutral-tasting oil that can be used in an air fryer.
If you have vegetable oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil, it all works great, so use what you have available.
Don’t use an aerosol spray in the air fryer or risk damage to the coating of the basket.
Can I use a different kind of potato?
I highly recommend russet potatoes for this recipe as they hold their shape the best! They’re also larger than most potatoes which means they’re satisfying.
Russet potatoes have firmer skin and will crisp up nicely in the air fryer. If you use a Yukon gold potato that has thinner skin, it won’t hold up when you pick it up to eat it.
That’s not to say you can’t use a different potato than Russets. It’s just my personal preference to use the thickest skin to get that extra sturdy crunch.
Can I make them ahead?
Yes! To make entertaining easy, you can bake the potatoes beforehand and leave the final phase of crisping them up and melting the cheese until the day you are serving them.
Just place the hollowed-out potato skins in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready for the final heating just before serving. The potatoes should keep well in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
Then you can use what you scooped out of the potato for a nice mashed potato side dish before the big day.
How to reheat potato skins
When you want to reheat the potato skins, just add the potatoes to the air fryer and cook at 350 °F (176 °C) for 3 to 4 minutes. Add toppings and serve.
This makes it easy to serve a nice hot afternoon snack during the week as well.
How to freeze potato skins
If you are one to really plan ahead, you can make a large batch of potato skins and then freeze some to be reheated for later!
Just make the potato skins according to the directions, but don’t add the sour cream or green onions just yet. Allow them to cool completely, scoop out the insides, then put them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container, press out the air and zip it up.
The potato skins will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat them just add the frozen potato skins into the air fryer basket. Set for 370°F (187 °C) for 5 minutes. Depending on how large the potatoes are, you may need to add 1 to two minutes more.
This will crisp them up, and the only thing left is to top them and melt the cheese.
Then you’re ready to serve any time you have surprise guests.
Why use an air fryer?
The air fryer is incredibly easy to get crispy food without frying it in oil or heating up the entire house by using an oven. It’s energy-efficient, and it gets food super crispy in minimal time. For me, it’s a healthier way to get hot crispy food on the table without a lot of hassle.
The air fryer circulates air around the food and the results are similar to deep frying but without the oil!
Plus, anything you can cook in the oven, you can make in the air fryer! Just like this Air Fryer Ham! It’s super easy and takes less time than in a conventional oven.
I don’t have an air fryer
If you don’t have an air fryer, no problem. You can make these potato skins in the oven.
- To bake the potatoes, prep the potatoes and preheat the oven to 425 °F (220 °C) for about 50 to 60 minutes. When you can easily put a fork into them they are done.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
- As they are cooling, you can assemble the toppings.
- Hollow out the skins and set the oven to broil. Return the boats to a foil-lined baking sheet and add a little olive oil to the potatoes with cheese and bacon.
- Place under the broiler and when the cheese is bubbling hot, remove, top with green onions and serve.
Game night snacks
These potato skins made in the air fryer are super easy and ideal for game days. If you’re serving guests, then here are some other game-day treats you might like to add to the menu.
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Frozen Chicken Wings in Air Fryer
- Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Garlic Fries
- Air Fryer Carrot Fries
- Air Fryer Pizza Rolls
- Smoked Burgers
Treat yourself to a Frozen Pineapple Margarita and enjoy the halftime show!
What will you be serving for game day? I hope you enjoy these Air Fryer Potato Skins. If you make them snap a pic and tag #FooddoodlesRecipes so I can get in on the fun!
Air Fryer Potato Skins
- 4 small russet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2/3 cup (75 grams) sharped shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup crumbled bacon
- optional garnishes: chives or green onion sour cream, ranch, ketchup
- Poke all sides of the potatoes with a fork and microwave them on high for 4-5 minutes, or until they’re fork-tender. Set them aside and let them cool.
- Cut the cooled baked potatoes in half. Scoop out the insides to form a boat.
- Lightly brush or rub the baked potatoes on all sides (including the inside) with olive oil and place them in the air fryer basket.
- Cook at 400F or until they begin to brown, which will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and top with cheese and bacon bits.
- Return to the fryer and cook just until the cheese is melted, which takes about 2 minutes.
- Remove from the fryer and serve immediately with garnishes of your choice. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.