10 Delicious Ways to Serve Baked Potatoes

 A baked potato makes a great side dish, but the wrong toppings will increase the sodium, fat, calorie counts and turn this otherwise healthy veggie into a diet disaster. Here's a look at the calorie counts in a baked potato and how that image changes when you add different toppings.

Medium Plain Baked Potato: 150 Calories

Plain Baked Potato

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One medium-sized plain baked potato (about three inches in diameter) has about 150 calories and about five grams of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive tract. It's also a healthy source of vitamins and minerals.

Size matters. A small baked potato (about 2 inches in diameter) has about 130 calories while a large baked potato (up to 4 inches in diameter) can have about 275 calories. 

Toppings such as butter, sour cream, and cheese will add more (sometimes a lot more) calories. But you can also find toppings that are lower in calories, or, at least, loaded with good nutrition.

Scroll down to see how many calories your toppings add and maybe find a few new ideas for your next baked potato.

Medium Baked Potato With Butter: 250 Calories

Baked potato

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

One full tablespoon of butter has about 100 calories, so that brings a medium baked potato up to 250 calories. But, one little pat of butter only adds about 35 calories, so a small baked potato with one pat of butter should have less than 170 calories. On the other hand, a large potato topped with two tablespoons of butter has closer to 500 calories.

Medium Baked Potato With Sour Cream: 210 Calories

Baked potato with sour cream and chives.

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Two tablespoons of sour cream add about 60 calories so you can be a little more generous (compared to butter) and still keep the calories in check. One medium baked potato with two tablespoons of sour cream has about 210 calories. A small baked potato with one tablespoon of sour cream has about 160 calories and a large baked potato with three tablespoons has around 365 calories. Chives add nearly zero calories.

Medium Twice Baked Potato: 160 Calories

Twice-baked potato.

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The calorie count for twice baked potatoes varies depending on how you make them. A small twice baked potato made with a little milk and sour cream should have around 160 calories but adding cheese or bacon into the mix can bring the calorie count up. A large twice baked potato could have 300 or more calories.

Medium Baked Potato With Cheese Sauce and Broccoli: 400 Calories

Potato with cheese and broccoli.

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While broccoli is low in calories (and provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), the cheese sauce alone can add 200 to 300 calories. A medium baked potato with broccoli and cheese sauce will have around 400 calories, and a large one will have closer to 600. Even more, if you add bacon.

Melt away half or more of those cheese sauce calories by topping your potato with a big serving of steamed broccoli and sprinkle a tablespoon or two of shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Medium Baked Potato With Chili: 225 Calories

Baked potato with chili.

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A generous portion of chili can turn a baked potato into a full meal and give you extra protein, fiber, and antioxidants such as lycopene. One medium baked potato with a modest topping of chili should only have around 200 to 250 calories, but a large potato laden with chili, cheese, and sour cream could tip the calorie scales at 600 or more.

Medium Baked Potato With Baked Beans: 250 Calories

Jacket Potato with Baked Beans
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Baked beans add protein, fiber, and extra flavor to a baked potato. About half a cup adds just over 100 calories so a medium baked potato with beans would have 250 calories, which isn't bad for the nutrition. A large potato with a full cup of baked beans has about 400 calories is still not bad. Add a side salad or a green vegetable, and you've got a healthy meal.

Medium Baked Potato With Tuna and Mayo: 275 Calories

Jacket potato with tuna, mayonnaise and salad, close up
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Another way to turn a baked potato into a meal is to top it off with some canned tuna in water and a dab of mayonnaise. One medium potato with half a can of tuna and one-half tablespoon of mayo has less than 275 calories, and you'll get extra protein and omega-3 fats from the tuna.

A larger potato with a full can of tuna and one tablespoon of mayo has less than 450 calories. Lighten your tuna baked potato up by using a reduced-calorie mayonnaise, mixing half with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, or skipping it altogether. Save a few more calories when you buy tuna packed in water rather than oil.

Medium Baked Potato With Cottage Cheese, Ham, and Pineapple: 300 Calories

Baked potato with ham and pineapple.

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Here's an interesting twist to the typical "stuffed" baked potato. Add low-fat cottage cheese, a few slivers of ham, and a few pineapple chunks. To be more specific, one-quarter cup of ham pieces adds about 50 calories, one-half cup cottage cheese adds about 80 and one-half cup of pineapple adds 40 calories. These toppings bring a large baked potato up to about 450 calories. A medium potato with a little less of each topping should have just over 300 calories.

Medium Baked Potato and Salsa: 190 Calories

Potato with salsa.

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A simple way to add nutrients and flavor to a baked potato without adding many calories is to add a generous serving of your favorite salsa. One-half cup of salsa has less than 40 calories, which brings a medium baked potato to about 190 calories and even a large potato with a generous serving will stay under 400 calories.

A Word From Verywell

A baked potato can serve as a tasty side dish or be a meal in itself. Be sure to top your potato with healthy toppings that add good nutritional value and don't break your daily calorie budget.

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