These delicious air fryer potato skins get extra crispy in the air fryer and are piled up with melted cheese, bacon and onion for a tasty snack.
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.
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
- I use a Ninja MaxXL air fryer (pictured left). If you don’t have an air fryer yet, check out these options to find one that fits your needs.
- See reviews and prices for air fryers on Amazon.
- Here’s a printable Air Fryer Cooking Times Cheat Sheet to get you started.
- Click to find more recipes to make in your Air Fryer.
- Learn how to make fun things in the air fryer, like potato wedges, pork belly bites, and chicken wings.
How to Make Air Fryer Potato Skins
You must first cook the potatoes before hollowing them out and putting then in the air fryer. You can cook the potatoes in a number of different ways, including the oven, the air fryer, or the Instant Pot.
- In the air fryer: Cook them in the Air Fryer on 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking to evenly crisp up the skin. The total cook time will depend on the size of your potatoes. Larger potatoes will need more time. You can tell they’re done by squeezing. It should give easily when you squeeze.
- In the oven: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pierce the skin several times with a knife or fork. Rub the skin with olive oil, then with salt. Bake for 90 minutes, or until slightly soft and golden brown.
- In the Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot. Place the potatoes on top of the trivet. Lock the lid and set the valve to “sealing”. Press the “Pressure Cook” button and set to 15 minutes at high pressure. When done, do a quick pressure release.
Step One: 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 Two: 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 Three: 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 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 C). Flip them over halfway through cooking to get them nice and crispy all around.
The reason for the time range is that larger potatoes will need more time to cook, while smaller ones only need 12 minutes. At the end of 12 minutes, you’ll need to gauge whether they’re soft enough or need a few more minutes.
Step Four: Add the Fillings
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 2 minutes longer, until the cheese is melted on top.
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.
What Else to Serve With Potato Skins
Since you typically will be serving potato skins as an afternoon snack or game day appetizer, you might also want to see how to quickly and easily make frozen french fries in the air fryer. We also really like making our own sweet potato fries or sweet potato chips as snacks in the air fryer.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Crispy Air Fryer Potato Skins
- 4 medium russet potatoes pre-baked
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 slices cooked and crumbled bacon grease reserved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (only if not using bacon grease)
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 3 green onions sliced
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Cook the potatoes using your preferred method. See methods in post.
- Half the potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out the center of the potato to leave 1/4" of flesh around the skin.
- Coat the potatoes with the reserved bacon grease or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the potatoes in a single layer to the air fryer basket. Cook for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F. Open the basket and add the cheese and bacon crumbles to the center of each potato. Cook for 2 more minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Transfer the potato skins to a plate and top with green onions and sour cream. Serve right away with additional toppings, if desired.
- Be sure to pre-bake the potatoes in the oven, air fryer, or instant pot, until they are tender.
- You can top your potato skins with any toppings you like – use different types of cheese, top with ham, shredded bbq chicken, or different seasonings for a twist.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.