These delicious crispy air fryer potato skins get extra crispy in the air fryer and are piled up with melted cheese, bacon and onion for a tasty tasty snack. They can also be made in the oven.
We love our air fryer and use any opportunity to let it show off its magic. One of the things it does really well is potato skins.
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can absolutely make these potato skin appetizers in the oven, but the air fryer makes them so perfectly that I’d suggest you consider getting one. Here’s a guide that will help you choose a good one. You won’t regret the decision. It’s so quick to make food in the air fryer and you won’t miss having to turn on the oven.
More good news: it takes sooo much less time to make them in the air fryer than in the oven.
What Potatoes to Use for Potato Skins
The best potatoes for this appetizer are oblong russet potatoes. They’re good especially because they have a firmer skin that will crisp well and hold well when picked up to eat. The insides get nice and soft while baking.
You can also use Yukon golds, but they have a thinner skin, so they don’t tend to hold up as well, or get as crispy. If you prefer that, then these are your winner! It really comes down to personal preference.
I wouldn’t use extra large potatoes. Try to find ones that are big enough to make a substantial potato boat out of, but small enough that you don’t get too full from eating just one.
How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Potato Skins
The instructions below include alternatives for baking the potatoes in the oven or microwave, but the final step is cooked in the air fryer.
Step One: Bake the Potatoes
To start making this appetizer, you need to bake the potatoes. I use my air fryer to bake the perfect “crispy on the outside, soft on the inside” potatoes. If you’re using an air fryer, preheat to 380 degrees F (190 C) for about 3 minutes. Rub the potatoes lightly with olive oil and pierce the potatoes a few times top and bottom with a fork or knife.
Bake the potatoes for approximately 35-40 minutes, flipping over halfway to ensure they get cooked evenly. They’re done when they feel tender when squeezed.
If you’re baking them in the oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C), oil and pierce the potatoes, and bake for about 60 minutes, until tender.
You can cook the potatoes in the microwave, if you want. They cook way faster. Cook for 5 minutes per side. If they aren’t tender yet, add an extra 2 minutes per side until they are. The only thing I don’t love about cooking them in the microwave is that it doesn’t allow the skins to get crispy, which is really important for great potato skins. If you like them that way, then you’re all set!
Allow the potatoes to cool enough that you can cut them and work with them easily without burning yourself. This usually takes about 30 minutes.
Step Two: Prep the toppings
The two must-have ingredients for air fryer potato skins are cheese and bacon. While the potatoes are baking, you can prep these ingredients and have them ready.
Shred the cheese. I use a medium or sharp cheddar for maximum flavor.
Cook the bacon. Make sure you get the bacon nice and crispy. Reserve the bacon grease. We’re going to use it on the potatoes. Then chop up the bacon into little bits.
Step Three: Prepare the skins
The next step is to hollow out the potato skins. This is a delicate operation, because you want to remove enough of the flesh so they aren’t too heavy and potatoey, but leave enough potato to be sturdy and toothsome.
Cut the potatoes in half. Use a spoon or a melon baller to scoop out the center of the potato, leaving about 1/4″ all around.
Coat the outsides and insides of the potatoes with the left over bacon grease. If you don’t have enough grease, supplement with melted butter or olive oil. Then salt and pepper the inside of the potato.
Step Four: Air Fry the Potato Skins
Last step is to air fry the potato skins. Add them in a single layer to the basket. Air frying the skins empty for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F (200 C). Flip them over halfway through. This will get them nice and crispy all around.
Then open the basket and add the cheese in the center of each potato. I like to compact it down as much as possible, because separate strands of shredded cheese have a way of flying off the potatoes. Cook for 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Transfer the potato skins to a plate and top with the bacon bits and green onions. Serve them right away, as they’re best when warm. You can set out some extra toppings to add, like sour cream, salsa, and Cajun seasoning.
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These delicious potato skins get extra crispy in the air fryer and are piled up with melted cheese, bacon and onion for a tasty tasty snack. They can also be made in the oven.
- 4 medium russet potatoes
- 4 slices bacon (rendered fat reserved)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 green onions, sliced
- Sour cream, on the side
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F (190 C) for 3 minutes. Rub the potatoes lightly with olive oil and pierce a few times top and bottom with a fork.
- Bake the potatoes for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway to ensure they cook evenly. They're done when they feel tender when squeezed.
- Allow the potatoes to cool. Meanwhile, cook and crumble the bacon (reserving the grease).
- Cut the potatoes in half. Scoop out the center of the potato, leaving about 1/4" all around.
- Coat the potatoes with the reserved bacon grease. Salt and pepper the inside of the potato. Add the potatoes in a single layer to the air fryer basket. Cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F (200 C). Flip them over halfway through.
- After 10 minutes, open the basket and add the cheese in the center of each potato.Cook for 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Transfer the potato skins to a plate and top with the bacon bits and green onions. Serve right away with additional toppings, if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 405mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 15g
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Laura is the founder and editor of the travel blogs Savored Sips and Savored Journeys. She is dedicated to sharing the best information about drinks found around the world.