7 Inexpensive Loaded Baked Potato Ideas
Loaded baked potatoes are an inexpensive meal idea that can be topped a million different ways. Here are 7 delicious and inexpensive toppings ideas to get you started + instructions for making perfect baked potatoes.
Want to start saving more money on food? Start incorporating more potatoes into your diet.
Mashed potatoes, potato soup, homemade fries or tater tots, scalloped potatoes, and roasted potatoes are all great.
But my favorite way to eat a potato?
Baked and loaded with delicious toppings like cheese, meat, veggies, and more!
Saving Money On Potatoes
Potatoes are extremely budget-friendly. Currently, you can buy a 5 lb. bag of potatoes at Walmart for $2.58, or a 10 lb. bag for $5.14.
If you shop at ALDI, Walmart, Target or a general supermarket, you can usually find Russet potatoes for around 50 cents each.
Money-saving tip: Purchase a bag of potatoes, which usually costs less than purchasing individual potatoes by the pound.
Start By Making Perfect Baked Potatoes
What is the perfect baked potato?
In my opinion, it’s a crispy, crunchy exterior with a light and fluffy interior.
I followed this method for baking potatoes from Gimme Some Oven. This recipe results in a baked potato that is delicious on its own – but is even better fully loaded. Here’s how to make them (scroll down for detailed recipe):
- Start with Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and pricked with a fork about 15 times
- Coat with butter
- Bake in an oven preheated to 450F for 25 minutes
- Flip potatoes and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Return to oven to bake for 25 more minutes
The key in this method is baking the potato in a really hot oven: 450F. This results in a crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside baked potato.
#1: The Classic Loaded Baked Potato
Start by topping your baked potato with some salted butter. Add a dollop of sour cream, bacon bits (purchased off the grocery store salad bar to save money), and fresh cut chives or green onions.
#2: Broccoli And Cheese Loaded Baked Potatoes
Top a baked potato with steamed broccoli and cheese sauce.
While nacho cheese sauce or even melted Velveeta will work, I prefer to make my own real food nacho cheese sauce with a few simple ingredients.
#3: Greek Loaded Baked Potatoes
Mediterranean flavors go surprisingly well on a baked potato.
Top your baked potatoes with crumbled Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, chopped tomatoes, and fresh parsley.
#4: Chicken Fajita Loaded Baked Potatoes
These potatoes are topped with mélange of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers + black beans, onions, and chicken or steak. Optional toppings: Fresh cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole.
Money-saving tip: Buy frozen bell peppers and onions instead of fresh.
#5: Buffalo Chicken Loaded Baked Potatoes
Toss cooked chicken with buffalo sauce. Add blue cheese (purchase off the grocery store salad bar to save money). Drizzle with ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing, if desired.
#6: Chili Cheese Loaded Baked Potatoes
These potatoes are topped generously with chili, sour cream, and shredded cheddar.
Tip: Thick chili will work better than runny chili here. If your chili is extra runny, simply strain some of the liquid out before placing on your potato.
#7: Pulled Pork And Mayo Loaded Baked Potatoes
This loaded baked potato is inspired by the char siu donburi bowl at Ichiddo Ramen at the Mall of America. The bowl features rice topped with pork, Japanese mayo, green onion, and other ingredients.
I kept it simple here and topped a baked potato with pulled pork made in the slow cooker, Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie brand), and chopped green onions.
How To Fluff A Baked Potato
Wondering how to get that perfect, fluffy interior?
Once the potato is baked and cooled slightly, cut a slit in it, lengthwise. Then squeeze each end to open up the slit. Next, use a fork to break up and fluff the interior.
You can remove some of the interior potato so there is more room for fillings.
Set Up A Baked Potato Bar
Entertaining guests? Feeding hungry kids? Set up a DIY loaded baked potato bar with lots of toppings set out in individual bowls.
More loaded baked potato ideas! Raid your fridge, freezer, and pantry for more toppings ideas. Using leftovers and food you already have makes this inexpensive meal idea even cheaper.
- 7 Russet potatoes (similarly sized)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 450F. Rinse potatoes and scrub off any dirt or debris. Using a fork, prick each potato about 15 times all over.
- Using a pastry brush, coat each potato with butter. Place on a large baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, flip using tongs, and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Continue to bake for 25 more minutes, until potatoes are tender inside when pierced with a fork.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut each potato lengthwise, then squeeze the ends to open the potato. Fluff with a fork. Remove some of the interior, if desired.
- Fill each potato with desired ingredients and serve.