Alison Roman's Advice For The Ultimate Baked Potato Bar

Whether you are chaperoning a sleepover for a bunch of teenagers or it's your night to host book club, creating an ultimate baked potato bar will please and satisfy the pickiest of eaters. No one knows this better than chef and food writer Alison Roman. The New York Times food columnist shared with Bon Appétit that, "One of life's greatest pleasures is a bar of any sort, but none is better than one that involves potatoes." 

Roman likes to use lots of small bowls filled with toppings for guests to customize their baked potato however their taste buds prefer. Some of her favorite toppings include usual suspects like sour cream and butter, but she also likes to add lots of herbs and even cured fish roe for a more elegant baked potato. When it comes to this tuber, the type of toppings you put out are only limited by your imagination and whether or not your guests have food allergies. 

But there are a few things you should consider when building your potato bar.

Be adventurous with toppings

A good potato bar starts with the potato, so before you break out containers for the toppings, decide on the type of potato you are going to serve. Using a variety is always a great choice and will make russet, sweet potatoes, or Yukon gold lovers equally happy. Make certain you wash the potatoes before baking and keep them wrapped in foil so they stay warm until your guests are ready to dig in. 

When it comes to toppings, there are plenty of choices, so be like Roman and have some of the tried and true, but also some unexpected. Go for a myriad of different cheeses, meats, vegetables, sauces, seasonings, and herbs so both your carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores can find something they love. This way guests can make anything from their favorite baked potato loaded with the likes of broccoli and cheese sauce to one piled high with bacon, egg, and ketchup. Or if you are feeling the siren song of Mexican food, plan on having all the ingredients you would put in a taco or burrito set up around your potato bar: shredded cheese, refried beans, shredded rotisserie chicken, guacamole, cilantro, and black olives. 

The sky's the limit, and you can go as simple or as elaborate as you want. But the true beauty of building your baked potato bar is most of the prep work can be done before your guests even arrive so you can enjoy the fun too.