Why settle for a pile of soggy tortilla chips when you can have a bite-sized plate of nachos loaded into a crispy potato shell? Filled with beans, cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, avocado, and salsa, these nacho potato skins only need one more thing to complete them: a margarita.

What to buy: Look for potatoes in 5-pound bags, as they tend to be smaller in size than loose potatoes. Avoid green-spotted or sprouted potatoes—they contain the bitter toxin solanine.

Game plan: You’ll need to make the refried beans and hot sauce before you begin.

Use the leftover scooped potatoes for mashed potato cakesgnocchi, or potato soup.

This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Loaded Potato Skins project.

  • Yield: 16 potato skins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients (11)

  • 8 (3-inch-long) russet potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), scrubbed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup small-dice avocado (from about 1 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 medium lime)
  • 1 cup refried beans (8 ounces; see Game Plan note)
  • Hot sauce (see Game Plan note)
  • 2 cups shredded jack or cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/3 cup crema or sour cream


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Pierce each potato several times with a fork or sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until the skins are crisp and a knife easily pierces the potatoes, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Set the oven to the broil setting.
  3. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch intact; reserve the flesh for another use. Brush the insides of the potatoes with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Flip the potatoes over, brush the skin sides with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Evenly space the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet and broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes (keep a close watch so they don’t burn). Flip the potato halves over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Place the avocado and lime juice in a small, nonreactive bowl, season with salt, and stir to coat the avocado; set aside.
  5. Divide the beans evenly among the potato skins and top with a dash or two of hot sauce and the cheese. Place in the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the broiler and top with the salsa, sour cream, and reserved avocado. Serve immediately.