Cooking simply with a potato bar for holiday food  is the way to go.

Prepare potatoes as the main holiday food for an event, and ask everyone to bring potato fixin’s. Definitely include sweet potatoes, a Thanksgiving classic side dish.

sweet potato
Sweet Potato Topped with Butter and Cheese

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Types of Potatoes for a Potato Bar

When you’re considering types of potatoes for a potato bar, there are options. Go with one or more of these:

1. Russet (or Idaho) potatoes

2. Red potatoes

3. New potatoes

4. Sweet potatoes

5. Fingerling potatoes

Out of the five types of potatoes listed above, russet/Idaho and red potatoes are the highest on the glycemic scale. So for the sake of guests who are diabetics, go for a lower glycemic potato.

Russet is the big brownish kind of potato good for baking, like the plate-size serving you get when you order a baked potato with all the fixin’s.

russet potatoes
Russet & Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

Red potatoes and new potatoes are smaller than the russet or Idaho kinds.

red potatoes
Red Potatoes

If you’ll be serving people who enjoy larger portions, cook russet/Idaho or double up on the amount of smaller potatoes.

Planning a Potato Bar

Cooking simply during the holidays is easy to do when planning a potato bar. Use different types of potatoes, recipes, and toppings. While you boil a pot full of red potatoes, you could be roasting fingerling potatoes in the oven.

Add potato soup to your potato bar. It can be homemade or pre-packaged. Serve the soup with crackers and/or garlic bread.

Planning a potato bar for a fall (or any season) holiday event is easy. And it’s inexpensive.

Russet/Idaho Potatoes

Bake russet/Idaho potatoes in the oven, microwave them, or boil them on the stove. Potatoes can also be “baked” in a slow cooker.

Add a couple of ribeyes in the slow cooker with your russet/Idaho potatoes. Cut the steaks into bite-size pieces for potato fillers. Top with a mesquite (or other flavor) barbecue sauce.

Check out this Mesquite-Tea Ribeye and Baked Potato slow cooker recipe to add to your holiday food menu.

slow cooker ribeye meal
Ribeye and Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

Simple Cooking in the Microwave

One very simple and fast way to cook new or red potatoes is simple cooking in the microwave. And the potatoes taste just as good as boiled or baked.

Many microwave ovens include a “potato” button (can’t get any more simple than that!). When you press it, a “1” shows on the screen. Start cooking after you enter how many potatoes you’ll be cooking.

Add Sweet Potatoes to the Potato Bar

Add sweet potatoes (or yams) to the potato bar. They are delicious and sweet, even without added sugar or toppings.

You may prefer sweet potatoes plain or with cinnamon and sugar. They’re also good as dessert with brown sugar and marshmallows. 

Sweet potatoes can also be cooked with steaks in the slow cooker.

Slow cooker ribeye steak
Ribeyes and Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

For more ideas for sweet potato recipes, order this Amazon cookbook:

Vegans, check out this beautiful Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Vegan Recipes…. cookbook ferom Amazon:

Should sweet potatoes be peeled?

Boil sweet potatoes, and the skin can be peeled right off. But you don’t have to peel them. Slice them like you would a baked russet potato. Then add the fixin’s.

Pattycakespantry.com’s Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole will fit right in with the potato dessert part of the potato bar. Check out Patty Cakes’ other potato recipes for additional fillings and fixin’s for your other potatoes. For instance, her pressure cooker baked potatoes recipe is a fantastic idea!

What are Fingerling Potatoes?

Fingerling potatoes are small, narrow, and come in different colors, even purple. Though fingerling potatoes are in season from spring to summer, you may be able to find them early fall. Boil, bake, or microwave them.

Fingerling Potatoes

The Potato Fixin’s

Once you’ve decided on what types of potatoes to serve your guests, make a list of potato fixin’s. Doing a holiday food list ahead of time will help you avoid hectic last-minute holiday grocery shopping.

If planning a potluck event, ask guests to bring specific ingredients.

I’ve started a list of possible toppings:

1. Grated cheese

2. Chives or chopped green onions

3. Chili – A jar or can of chili will work fine. Double or triple the amount, depending on how many people are invited

4. Sour cream – Choose regular, light, or one of each.

5. Barbecue – Easiest way is to pick up BBQ at your favorite barbecue restaurant. Or you can find already-cooked barbecue in the refrigerated section at the grocery store.

6. Queso – melt 1 lb Velveeta cheese with 1/2 can evaporated milk (or 2 lbs with 1 can evaporated milk)

7. Taco meat (2 lbs for up to 4 people; 3 lbs for 5-6; 4 lbs for 6-7, etc.)

8. Bacon (Store-bought bacon pieces or fry your own)

9. Broccoli (Broccoli and queso or simply broccoli with salt, pepper, and butter are good choices for the vegetable-conscious individual.)

Order a potato recipe book for new ideas and easy ways to prepare potato dishes.


Do a Chili Bar

Do a chili bar for the holidays. You can also combine the potato bar and chili bar. Check out Kitchen Southern Hospitality’s chili bar plan and the simple-to-make chili recipe for an after-Thanksgiving meal.

Chili Recipe Ideas:

Corn Chip Boat Chili


Chili Relleno Chili

Making a potato bar as one of your family menus? Include the children on the planning, and ask what they think would taste good on a potato. You could start a new fun family menu tradition.



  1. I like how this potato bar allows for such variety in different recipes to make as these all seem like ones everyone will enjoy. Thanks

  2. This is such a great idea. Sounds cozy and fun. I’m going to try this for sure. Thanks!

  3. What a fabulous idea for the holidays! Our family loves baked potatoes so I know they will love adding all their favorite toppings.

  4. This is a great idea. Love potatoes and this saves having to pick one!

  5. This recipe looks really easy to make and it looks super delicious. I cant wait to give this a go, thank you for sharing this recipe!

  6. I have to be honest, I have never heard of that, however, what a brilliant idea. I love potatoes so I am in. The variety us amazing. Thanks for the potato 101. Happy up and coming Thanksgiving!

  7. This is such a great idea for a work pot luck or a large family gathering.

  8. A Potato bar is a great idea so guests can fix their potatoes just the way they like it. Taco Meat and queso toppings for my potato please!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Michele. Yes, ma’am, Taco Meat and queso toppings coming up for you. LOL

  9. This is really easy to make and tasted super delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again, highly recommended!

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