Ready to make an easy copycat TGIF potato skins recipe at home? These crispy, cheesy appetizers are a popular party food.
They will be begging… begging you to make another batch. Yes, your TGI Friday’s potato skins recipe will be the fun appetizer everyone talks about. (And you don’t need to tell anyone how easy this copycat recipe is to make.)
Potato skin appetizers are empty baked potato skins brushed with olive oil, topped with cheddar cheese and bacon, and baked until crispy. They are best eaten warm dunked in green onion sour cream dip. However, they are still good after they cool down.
This finger food is the perfect appetizer for game-day parties, summer barbecues, and birthday celebrations.
In this article, you will learn how to make copycat TGI Friday’s loaded potato skins recipe, how to keep them warm for a party, and what dishes to pair with them.
Just a few simple ingredients you can get on the cheap make this a popular mini-meal to throw together. It all starts with baked potatoes.
TGI Friday's makes their potato skins with a white potato. However, I haven’t found a white potato in my grocery store that is as good for this recipe as a Russet potato. Why?
- Russet potatoes can be enormous. You can easily get 8 appetizers from one large potato.
- Russet skins are sturdy. Maybe you don’t need as much structure for potato skins as you do for stuffed potatoes, but I like to have it anyway.
Cheddar and potatoes. They go hand in hand. You will love eating this dish right out of the oven with soft, stringy, melty cheddar cheese.
Bacon is just as important to this recipe as the potato. Or the cheese. You will be lost without it. Ok, you can skip it if you want, but your potato skins just won’t be the same without the bacon taste.
Cook and crumble your bacon or use premade bacon crumbles or bacon bits. If you want to go lighter, try turkey bacon instead.
Want a hands-free way to cook bacon? Bake it in the oven. Check out this post on cooking bacon in the oven. You will learn easy techniques to make either crispy or chewy bacon.
Green Onion Sour Cream Sauce
This simple dipping sauce whips up in 5 minutes. You will love it.
- The base. Sour cream is the main ingredient in the dip. However, you can substitute Greek yogurt if you want.
- Seasonings. Dill, parsley, salt, and pepper. Fresh herbs are the best but dried work too.
- Green onions. Slice them up.
This is a straightforward recipe. However, if you don't already have baked potatoes, making this dish from scratch will take a long time.
If you want to serve potato skins at a party, plan ahead. Bake the potatoes the day before. Then you can whip up the recipe in no time.
Note: TGI Friday's potato skins are made with small white potatoes. Because of their small size, TGI Friday’s cheesy potato skins are halves.
It was challenging to find this size potato in the grocery store, let alone a bunch of them. It was easier to cut large potatoes into wedges. Plus, I wanted them to be appetizers and wedges felt like the right size.
However, if the grocery store of your choice sells smaller potatoes, you can make potato skin halves. The directions are the same (other than cutting the potato in wedges).
Make the Green Onion Sour Cream Dip
- Slice the green onions.
- Mix the sour cream, dill, parsley, salt, and black pepper.
- Top with the green onions.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. One to 24 hours in the refrigerator is a reasonable timeframe.
Bake the Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).
- Scrub the potatoes with a vegetable scrubber under cool running water. Dry potatoes and poke several holes in each one with a fork.
- Brush the outside of the potatoes with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with coarse salt. Throw them all on a baking sheet.
- Bake the potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes, until they’re cooked completely. The cook time depends on the size of the potatoes. Larger potatoes will take longer to bake. Remove from oven and then let rest until cool enough to handle.
Prep the Rest of the Ingredients
Prep while the potatoes are baking.
- Cook the bacon and let it drain on a paper towel. When it is cool enough, crumble it.
- Shred the cheese.
Bake the Crispy Skins
- Using oven mitts, carefully move the oven rack to the top shelf. It will be hot if the oven is hot from baking the potatoes. Be very careful.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half. Cut each half in half again so you have quarters. (Cut it into eighths if the potatoes are large enough.)
- Scoop out the insides of the potatoes and save them for another recipe (like mashed potatoes). Leave about ¼ inch of baked potato on the skin.
- Brush a baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silicone mat to prevent the potato skins from sticking.
- Brush potato shells with olive oil or melted butter. Place potato skins face down on the cookie sheet.
- Broil the skins with the oven rack on the top shelf for 5 minutes. Pull them out and flip them over so the skin side is down. Return to the oven and broil for another 5 minutes, or until the skins are crispy.
- Pull them out of the oven.
- Generously sprinkle each piece with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
- Return to the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Remove from the oven and quickly transfer them to a serving tray.
- Serve them hot with the green onion sour cream dipping sauce.
- Scoop out potato insides when they are warm. Even if you bake the potatoes the night before you make the potato skins, don't wait to cut the potatoes and scrape them out. It is MUCH EASIER to keep the skins intact if the potatoes aren't cold.
- Leave ⅛ to ¼ inches of baked potato on the skin. The less potato left, the less filling the appetizer will be. However, more than ¼ inches of potato and the dish will fill heavier than a finger food.
What Can You Substitute?
The ingredients are pretty basic, but you can substitute different varieties of the ingredient. For example:
- Yukon gold potatoes for Russets. I don’t recommend using red potatoes because I think their skin is bitter. Some people agree with me, and others don’t. Use your own experience.
- Any melty cheese is an acceptable substitute for cheddar cheese, although the flavor may change. But if you use a cheese you like, that won’t matter.
- For healthy eating, turkey bacon or Canadian bacon can replace crumbled strips or regular bacon.
Ready to Change it Up?
If you want to try a variation of this delicious appetizer, here are a few potato skin recipes you may like.
- Fire them up. As soon as the potato skins come out of the oven, top each one with a slice of pickled jalapeno pepper. Make the dip with crema, chili powder, and green onions.
- Add an Italian flair. Spoon some sausage crumbles on the skins, and then top with mozzarella cheese. After broiling, dip the appetizer in warm marinara sauce.
- Go bare. After removing the mashed potatoes from the shell, brush the skins with melted butter. Then sprinkle on oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Finish with Parmesan cheese. Broil for 5 minutes and then serve with pesto.
How to Store Leftovers
The whole family will be thrilled if you have leftovers. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four or five days.
The freezer offers convenient storage for up to 6 months.
How to Freeze Potato Skins
- Cool the potato skins thoroughly. Otherwise, you risk freezer burn.
- Lay the skins in a single layer in a freezer container or bag. Label the bag with the ingredients and date.
- Freeze for 1 hour, keeping the container as flat as possible.
- Open the container and ensure none of the potato skins are sticking together. Break any apart that are attached. Following this step allows you to pull out just what you want to eat rather than thawing them all.
- Return to the freezer and freeze completely. If they were wrapped correctly, they will keep for up to 6 months.
Frozen skins are small enough that they don't even need to be thawed before being reheated.
How to Reheat Potato Skins
The quickest way to reheat potato skins is in the microwave. However, you will lose some crispiness with this method. The microwave is best when you have a small amount to reheat.
- Place the potato skins in a microwavable container. Heat on full power for 30 to 45 seconds if the food comes from the fridge. Heat for 1 to 1 ½ minutes if the potato skins come from the freezer.
The best way to reheat a lot of potato skins is in the oven. The oven will keep the potatoes crispy.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Reheat refrigerated potato skins for 10 to 15 minutes until heated through. Add an additional 5 to 10 minutes if the skins come from the freezer.
If you have a few potato skins to reheat and want to keep them crispy, try reheating in a toaster oven.
- Heat in a toaster oven at medium heat for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the power of your toaster oven).
Want extra crispy potato skins? Reheat in an air fryer.
- Air fry potato skins from the refrigerator for 5 to 8 minutes at 350°F (175°C). If they come from the freezer, add an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
How to Keep Potato Skins Warm for a Party
Potato skins are easy appetizers best eaten right out of the oven. You get a good cheese pull because it is so melty. However, it is not always possible for party guests to snarf them down the second they come out of the oven.
So, here are a few tips to keep potato skins warm during the party.
- Serve them from a slow cooker. You can keep dry food warm in a slow cooker when you use the warm setting. Warm up the slow cooker 15 minutes before you need it. Then use tongs to transfer the hot potato skins into the warm slow cooker.
- Keep them warm in a conventional oven. The key here is a warm oven. Not a hot oven. An oven set to 200°F (93°C) will keep the potato skins warm without continuing to cook them.
- Transport them in a cooler. If you bring the dish to someone else’s house for the party, keep the bacon potato skins in a foil-covered aluminum pan inside a cooler. Yes, coolers can keep foods warm too.
What to Serve with TGIF Potato Skins
- Barbecue meat. Potato skins make an excellent side, whether it is burgers, steak, or chicken grilling outside. Forget the snack chips this time.
Making burgers? Check out the best bread for burgers based on what top burger joints serve.
- Soup. Creamy bisque soups like butternut squash soup are a good choice for potato skins. They will give you some chew and make a light soup meal complete.
You may also be interested in other sides for butternut squash soup.
- Sliders. Sliders are finger food, just like crispy potato skins. You won’t even need utensils with this meal. Try them with turkey sliders.
- Chicken. Whether you serve moist, juicy chicken cooked on the stove or chicken bites baked in the oven, your world-famous loaded potato skins are a perfect match. (Your entire family will vouch for the world-famous part.)
- Sampler plate. Make an appetizer sampler with potato skins, jalapeno poppers, and mozzarella sticks recipe. Now that is real party food.
Potato skins can be made 24 to 48 hours early and kept in the refrigerator. Reheat them in the oven before serving.
As long as potato skins have been cooked, you can freeze them in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
They must be room temperature or cooler before going into the freezer.
Potato skins have vitamins and minerals, including iodine. If you limit table salt or use pink salt that hasn’t been fortified with iodine, eating potato skins can help you get iodine in your diet.
However, potato skins with cheese and bacon become less healthy. It is a food that should be eaten in moderation.
One reason to make your own baked potato skins with cheese and bacon is because you can control the ingredients. You don’t have to load on the cheese to get a tasty appetizer.
More Copycat Recipes
Look no further for the easiest copycat restaurant recipes around.
- Taco Bell bean burrito. When you need a quick, no-fuss burrito, turn to this 5-ingredient copycat Taco Bell bean burrito recipe. Fill, roll, and dip in taco sauce for an easy weeknight dinner.
- Taco Bell seasoned rice. Craving some Mexican rice for dinner? Try this Taco Bell seasoned rice recipe? Learn my expert tips for the easiest flavorful copycat version of this fan-favorite dish. It is a simple recipe you can make in 30 minutes.
- Kale and Brussels sprouts salad. Make copycat Cracker Barrel Kale and Brussel sprouts salad. Shredded veggies, crunchy pecans, and sweet Craisins are drizzled with a creamy maple vinaigrette. Gimme seconds please.
- Trader Joe's spicy pecans. You will love Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy pecans copycat recipe. Candied nuts are easy to bake for snacks, gifts, road trips, or parties. Even if you have never made them before.
Copycat TGIF Potato Skins Recipe
- 4 large Russet potatoes
- 1½ tablespoon of olive oil separated
- ½ teaspoon of coarse salt like Kosher salt
- 4 strips of bacon cooked and diced
- ½ cup of cheddar cheese shredded
Green Onion Sour Cream Dip
- 4 green onions chopped fine
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 teaspoon of dried dill
- ½ teaspoon of fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sour Cream Dip
- SLICE the green onions.
- MIX the sour cream, dill, parsley, salt, and black pepper.
- TOP with the green onions.
- COVER and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Potato Skins
- PREHEAT the oven to 450°F (232°C).
- SCRUB the potatoes with a vegetable scrubber under cool running water. Dry the potatoes and poke several holes in each one with a fork.
- BRUSH the outside of the potatoes with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with coarse salt. Throw them all on a baking sheet.
- BAKE the potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes, until they are cooked completely. The cook time depends on the size of the potatoes. Larger potatoes will take longer to bake. Remove them from the oven and then let them rest until they are cool enough to handle.
- COOK the bacon and let it drain on a paper towel. When it is cool enough, crumble it.
- SHRED the cheese.
- USE oven mitts to carefully move the oven rack to the top shelf in the oven. It will be hot if the oven is still hot from baking the potatoes. Be very careful.
- CUT the potatoes in half when they are cool enough. Cut each half in half again so you have quarters. (Cut into eighths if the potatoes are large enough.)
- SCOOP out the insides of the potatoes and save them for another recipe (like mashed potatoes).
- BRUSH a baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent the potato skins from sticking.
- BRUSH the potato shells with ½ tablespoon of olive oil or melted butter. Place the potato skins face down on the cookie sheet.
- BROIL the skins with the oven rack on the top shelf for 5 minutes. Pull them out and flip them over so the skin side is down. Return them to the oven and broil for another 5 minutes, or until the skins are crispy.
- PULL them out of the oven.
- GENEROUSLY SPRINKLE each piece with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
- RETURN the pan to the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- REMOVE from the oven and quickly transfer them to a serving tray.
- SERVE them hot with the green onion sour cream dipping sauce.