10 Delicious Ways to Serve Baked Potatoes

A baked potato makes a great side dish or a quick, healthy meal. Though potatoes are a starchy, high-carb vegetable that's off-limits for many low-carb diets, potatoes are packed with nutrients and can also be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Whether you choose from white, russet, sweet, or yams, potatoes are relatively low in calories and are loaded with fiber. They're also a great source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, phosphorus, and niacin. Not only are potatoes good for you, but depending on the toppings, a baked potato can also be a healthy choice. The nutrition of a medium-sized baked russet potato (about three inches in diameter) contains about 164 calories and about 4 grams of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive tract.

There are myriad options for nutritious toppings that can boost your intake of protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and even fiber. Of course, some toppings—such as Greek yogurt, broccoli, and chives—are more nutritious than others. For instance, high-calorie toppings like bacon, cheddar cheese, and sour cream would increase the amount of sodium and saturated fat in an otherwise healthy dish.

Here are some ideas to make your baked potatoes more nutritious and delicious by choosing toppings on the lighter, healthier side.

Plain Baked Potato: 164 Calories

Plain Baked Potato

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Before adding any toppings, a baked potato is relatively low in calories. But toppings such as butter, sour cream, and cheese will add more calories and fat.

To monitor your portion size, stick with a medium-size potato versus a larger one to avoid loading it with more toppings. A smaller size potato is also an option as a great low-calorie snack.

Baked Potato With Butter: 200 Calories

Baked potato

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

As a rule of thumb, try to use no more than a tablespoon of higher fat ingredients. If you're following a diet that encourages healthy, high-fat foods, grass-fed butter and ghee are great options.

One full tablespoon of regular butter has about 100 calories, so that brings a medium-size baked potato up to 264 calories. But just one little pat of butter only adds about 35 calories, which would make your baked potato just under 200 calories instead.

A tablespoon of butter has 11 grams of fat, 90 milligrams of sodium, and zero grams of carbohydrates and protein, and contains 8% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A.

Baked Potato With Salsa: 210 Calories

Potato with salsa.

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A simple way to add nutrients and flavor to a baked potato without the extra calories a generous serving of your favorite salsa. A half-cup of salsa has about 48 calories, which brings a medium baked potato to about 210 calories in total.

A 1/2 cup serving of salsa adds 10 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, 581 milligrams of sodium, and 12 milligrams of vitamin C.

Baked Potato With Sour Cream: 220 Calories

Baked potato with sour cream and chives.

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Two tablespoons of sour cream add about 60 calories and chives are nearly zero, making the total calorie count for this baked potato around 224 calories.

A 2 tablespoon serving of sour cream has 5 grams of fat and just under 1 gram each of protein, fiber, and sugar. It also contains about 2% of your recommended daily value of calcium.

Twice-Baked Potato: 230 Calories

Twice-baked potato.

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The calorie count for twice-baked potatoes varies depending on how you prepare them. For instance, a twice-baked potato made with a splash of milk and a tablespoon of sour cream should have around 230 calories, but adding cheese or bacon into the mix can bring the calorie count up to 370 or more.

A 1-ounce serving (28 grams) of cheddar cheese has 110 calories, 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs, 180 milligrams of sodium, and 20% of your daily value of calcium. Two strips of bacon is an additional 100 calories, 6 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 330 milligrams of sodium, and is 5% of your recommended daily cholesterol requirement.

Baked Potato With Chili: 250 Calories

Baked potato with chili.

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A generous portion of chili can turn a baked potato into a full meal. You'd also get extra protein from meat or a plant-based substitute, fiber from beans, and antioxidants such as lycopene from the tomatoes. One medium baked potato with a quarter cup of chili should have around 250 calories.

A 1/4 cup serving of chili contains about 90 calories, 5 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 280 milligrams of sodium. It also contains 15% of your recommended daily value of saturated fats.

Baked Potato With Cheese Sauce and Broccoli: 300 Calories

Potato with cheese and broccoli.

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While broccoli is low in calories (and provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), a serving of melted cheese can add another 100 calories or more. A medium baked potato with broccoli and cheese sauce will have around 300 calories.

Swap out the extra cheese with a big serving of steamed broccoli and sprinkle just a tablespoon or two of shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Broccoli contains around 20 calories per 3/4 cup serving, with 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 50% of your daily calcium needs. A 28-ounce serving of cheddar cheese has 110 calories, 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs, 180 milligrams of sodium, and is 10% of your daily cholesterol requirement.

Baked Potato With Baked Beans: 330 Calories

Jacket Potato with Baked Beans
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Baked beans add protein and extra flavor to a baked potato, with the added benefit of extra dietary fiber from the beans. A half a cup of beans adds just over 170 calories, which would make your baked potato around 330 calories. As a caveat, you'll want to be mindful of some brands of baked beans that contain hidden added sugars. Add a side salad or a green vegetable, and you've got a complete healthy meal.

A 1/2 cup serving of baked beans has 170 calories, 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and can contain around 14 grams of total sugars or more. The amount of added sugars in some brands accounts for about 24% of your recommended daily value.

Hawaiian Pizza Baked Potato: 330 Calories

Baked potato with ham and pineapple.

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This tropical twist adds low-fat cottage cheese, a few slivers of ham, and some pineapple chunks. A quarter cup of chopped ham adds about 50 calories, a half cup cottage cheese adds about 80, and a half cup of pineapple adds another 40, totaling around 330 calories.

A 1/4 cup serving of ham adds 8 grams of protein, about a gram each of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar, and around 670 milligrams of sodium. A 1/2 cup of pineapple adds 13 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and just under a gram of protein. It also contains 14 milligrams of calcium and 34 milligrams of vitamin C.

Baked Potato With Tuna and Mayo: 350 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 for a dose of protein and omega-3s. If you add a dollop of mayonnaise, however, your baked potato with tuna will contain nearly 350 calories.

As an alternative, try a reduced-calorie mayonnaise with your tuna baked potato or mix half your mayo with plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. You could try making your own healthy mayo from scratch, or substitute yogurt for mayo altogether, which would put you at about 300 calories.

Choose tuna packed in water rather than oil if you're monitoring your fat intake, otherwise, olive oil is a great source of healthy fat.

Half a can of tuna packed in water contains 76 calories, 16 grams of protein, less than 1 gram each of fat and carbohydrate, 15 milligrams of calcium, and 19 milligrams of magnesium. A 1/4 cup serving of Greek yogurt contains 67 calories, 8 grams of protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4.7 grams of sugar, 100 milligrams of calcium, and 160 milligrams of potassium.

A Word From Verywell

A baked potato can serve as a tasty side dish or become a hearty meal in itself depending on the toppings. Be sure to use healthy toppings that add good nutritional value to keep this dish part of a balanced diet.

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  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Potato, russet, flesh and skin, baked. Updated October 30, 2020.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Butter. Updated April 1, 2019.

  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Salsa. Updated April 1, 2019.

  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Sour cream. Updated April 8, 2019.

  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Sour Cream. Updated April 8, 2020.

  6. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Cheddar Cheese. Updated April 1, 2019.

  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Bacon. Updated April 1, 2019.

  8. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Broccoli. Updated October 7, 2020.

  9. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Baked Beans. Updated April 1, 2019.

  10. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Ham. Updated April 1, 2019.

  11. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Pineapple. Updated April 11, 2018.

  12. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Mayonnaise. Updated April 8, 2020.

  13. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Tuna, canned, water pack. Updated October 30, 2020.

  14. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central. Greek yogurt. Updated April 1, 2019.

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