Baked potatoes are delicious and universally loved, making them an excellent entree to serve at your next large gathering. They fit into almost any dietary restriction or food allergy. Baked potatoes are also inexpensive and easy to find year-round.
They are perfect to serve in situations when you don’t know the tastes or dietary needs of the guests who will be attending your gathering, such as a church potluck or community meal.
Baked potatoes are also good for you, giving you a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Baked Potato Party Tips:
Divide the workload. Prepare the potatoes and ask guests or co-hosts to bring their favorite toppings.
Choose a theme for your party. You could serve baked potato toppings based on:
Your favorite sport team’s home town, if you are throwing a game day party.
A specific holiday, such as Thanksgiving or St. Patrick’s Day
A global cuisine, such as Indian, Mexican, or Chinese foods
A regional cuisine, such as barbecue or philly cheesesteaks
Plan to serve two medium-sized baked potatoes for each adult and one medium-sized baked potato for child attending your gathering.
Try to buy baked potatoes that are all the same size so they cook evenly.
Look for Russet potatoes, as they have the best flavor and texture for baking.
The day before your gathering, scrub the potatoes under cool water and pat them dry.
Prick each potato a few times with a fork, just before baking.
Baked Potato Cooking Options:
Place potatoes in the oven and bake for one hour at 400 degrees. Flip them from top to bottom halfway through the baking time.
If you are serving a small amount of people, or have extra last-minute guests, potatoes can be baked in the microwave. Many microwaves have a baked potato button, just follow the manufacturer’s instructions for baking times and power levels.
Potatoes can also be partially baked earlier in the day and then finished just before it is time to eat. Bake potatoes for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees and then remove them from the oven. When you are ready, bake the potatoes for another 30 minutes, or until tender.
Another option for preparing your potatoes is to use a crockpot. Place the clean potatoes vertically on end in the crockpot. Cook with the lid closed on the Low setting for approximately 6-8 hours, or until tender.
Keep potatoes warm for your gathering by placing them in a cooler. Fill the cooler with hot water and let it set for a while. Then when the potatoes are fully cooked, empty the cooler and dry it completely. Place the potatoes inside and close the lid. They can be kept warm this way for up to four hours.
Potatoes are fully cooked when they feel soft to the touch and a skewer can be inserted in the center.
Wrap potatoes in foil to keep them warm on the buffet.
If you are hosting your baked potato buffet out of your home, allow guests to unwrap and cut open their baked potatoes as they go through the line.
If you are hosting a community meal or potluck, pre-cut a slash into the potatoes and push up the sides so that they are ready to fill and the line keeps moving.
Offer a variety of toppings, along with baked potato classics, such as bacon, butter, sour cream, and cheese.
Easy Chili Con Carne
White Bean Chicken Chili
Easy Turkey Chili
Hearty Vegetarian Chili
Cream Sauce for Fettuccine Alfredo
Better Than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce
Kenny Rogers Barbecue Sauce
Maple Barbecue Sauce
Steamed Vegetables with Cheese
Anytime Broccoli Cheese Sauce
Carolina Gold Pulled Pork
North Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Prarie Roast Chicken
Simplest Roast Chicken
Grilled Chicken with Creamy Herb Sauce
All American Pot Roast
Savory Crockpot Pot Roast
Easy Crockpot BBQ Pulled Beef
Portabella Mushroom Gravy
Homemade Refried Beans
Refried Black Beans
Applebee’s Pico de Gallo