Baked potatoes make an easy and healthy dinner—find out how to perfectly bake potatoes plus get genius baked potato topping ideas.

Penelope Wall
October 25, 2017

Remember baked potatoes? I'll admit I almost forgot about them amidst the grain-bowl carb-swap cauliflower craze. Baked potatoes are the ultimate comfort food-starchy and warm and filling, they're the perfect antidote to a chilly autumn night. It's amazing how something so wholesome, so available and inexpensive could be so delicious too. But it's true. And they're also really good for you.

baked potato toppings you haven't tried

What about the carbs, you say? I say, what about them, indeed! I'll admit, I too avoided potatoes for a long time. But no more. I will have my baked spuds and eat the skin too. Here's why: Potatoes are rich in vitamin C (good for keeping your immune system healthy) and potassium (good for healthy blood pressure) and offer some fiber, especially when eaten with the skin on. And according to my trusty nutrition sources here at EatingWell, eating more fiber will help you lose weight-and keep it off. All of that for about 50 cents per potato! Is that a bargain or what?

In fact, the problem with most baked potatoes isn't even the potato itself, but the gobs of butter, sour cream and other not-so-healthy toppings people load onto it. So let's get back to basics and have baked spuds for dinner tonight! Here are 10 healthier-and super-flavorful-toppings to try.

Here's How to Bake a Potato:

how to make a baked potato

1. Prep: Scrub 1 medium russet potato per person and pierce in several places with a fork.

2. Cook the potato:

In the microwave: Place the potatoes in the microwave and cook on Medium, turning once or twice, until soft, about 20 minutes. (Or use the "potato" setting on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer's directions.)

In the oven: Bake potatoes directly on the center rack in a 400°F oven until tender, 45 to 60 minutes.

3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, make two cuts in the top to form a cross, then squeeze the sides to make a little bowl for your toppings.

how to make a baked potato

10 Topping Flavors to Try

Ham & Broccoli

½ cup cooked broccoli florets; 3 tablespoons heated diced ham; 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt; ¼ cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

Italian Veggie

¼ cup chopped zucchini cooked with ¼ cup canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning; ¼ cup shredded Italian-blend cheese

Cottage Cheese & Roasted Tomato

½ cup red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes roasted in 2 teaspoons olive oil; ¼ cup cottage cheese; 1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives

Bacon & Avocado

2 slices cooked bacon; ¼ avocado; 2 tablespoons salsa; 2 tablespoons shredded Colby Jack cheese

Marinara Meat Sauce

2 ounces lean ground beef cooked with ⅓ cup sliced mushrooms and 3 tablespoons pasta sauce; 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


1 tablespoon low-fat ranch dressing; 2 teaspoons chopped scallions


1 tablespoon prepared pesto; 1 chopped small plum tomato

Creamy Horseradish

1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream mixed with 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish

Creamy Chive

1 tablespoon pureed low-fat cottage cheese; 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives


1 tablespoon refried beans; 1 tablespoon prepared tomato salsa; 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

Watch How to Make Spanakopita Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes