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Air Fried BBQ Chicken Potato Skins: Party Appetizer

BBQ Chicken Air Fryer Potato Skins are fantastic, make at home pub food without all the deep frying. Crispy and crunchy outer potato skins loaded with melty cheese and shredded chicken covered in a zesty bbq sauce. They are an easy, filling, and delicious crowd pleaser with major flavor in every bite!

Serve these potato skins for any get-together or for some game day snacks. Serve them alone or alongside Korean BBQ Chicken Wings and our Simple Cream Cheese Shrimp Dip for easy party food.

bbq chicken potato skins on a white plate

Individual sized portions of anything you can pick up and carry around while you mingle and socialize is why I love these potato skins for game nights or game day parties. Well, really I love any reason to make them!

They are one of the most requested recipes, probably because they remind everyone of what they get at restaurants, except even better! With football games, basketball season, and the Superbowl coming up it’s nice to have some great appetizers to make that don’t take all day.

The combined flavors might remind you of a BBQ chicken pizza, but the added flavor and texture of a really well-crisped potato shell, perfectly seasoned with a sprinkling of salt, is magic.

The tang from the BBQ sauce, combined so nicely with the tender juicy chicken and add to that some melted cheese? I mean, c’mon!

There’s something about how crunchy the potatoes are when making them in the air fryer that makes them crazy good.

Whether you’re serving them at a football party, as an appetizer for a holiday party, maybe even for your kid’s birthday party, these mouthwatering barbeque chicken potato skins have something for everyone in every single bite!

They are elevated comfort food that everyone LOVES!

Ingredients for chicken potato skins


  • Russet potatoes – Highly recommend you don’t substitute. Russet potatoes have the size and shape you need, as well as the starch content to hold its shape.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Chicken breast – Chopped or shredded. If you have leftover chicken, this is a great way to use it up. Otherwise, for convenience, you could use a store-bought rotisserie to shred. If you have an Instant Pot, shredding chicken breast takes no time.
  • Barbecue sauce – Use whatever you have on hand, or go out and pick up whichever is your favorite.
  • Cheddar cheese – Shred your own rather than buying prepackaged. It melts much better and has a better flavor.
  • Red onion
  • Fresh parsley – You can also use cilantro. Both work as a nice garnish.

How to Make Air Fried Potato Skins

  • Always wash and scrub your potatoes before using them. They typically have remnants of dirt on them that you don’t want to be tasting in your food. Pat to dry as best as you can, then generally coat with olive oil using your hands.
  • Place the potatoes in the basket (or rack if you have one) and sprinkle all sides of the potato with salt. Prick a couple of holes in the potatoes with a toothpick and cook for 30-40 minutes.
  • Check the potatoes at 30 minutes. Your thermometer should read 210 degrees. If you don’t have one, press the sides of the potato to see if they’ve got a little give. Then take a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the potato. If it goes in all the way without any resistance they are done. If there are some harder areas it will need to cook a little longer.
  • Once they are done, take them out of the fryer and allow them to cool until you can handle them. Then, cut them in half lengthwise.
  • Scoop out the middle leaving a 1/4″ of potato attached to the shell. Be careful with this, it’s super disappointing them you tear the skin! Create a hollow groove setting aside the scooped out potatoes for cheesy mashed potatoes or another recipe of your choice.

Use a melon baller to scoop out the center– it’s a perfect size!

  • Brush potato skins with olive oil on both sizes and generously season the skin side with salt and pepper.
  • Place potato back into the air fryer with skin side up and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 5 more. While this is cooking, chop the red onions and set them aside. Toss the chicken in half of the BBQ sauce, making sure to coat each piece.
  • Open the air fryer, and sprinkle the shredded cheese on the inside of the potato. Then, top with BBQ chicken and chopped red onion pieces.
  • Close the lid and cook until cheese has melted. Remove to a plate and drizzle remaining BBQ sauce over top of each loaded potato and sprinkle with your choice of parsley or cilantro and serve immediately.

Don’t skip the second time air frying the potato- Brushing with olive oil then “toasting” is the key to avoiding soggy potatoes.

close up of bbq chicken and melted cheese on potato skin

Tips for making the crispiest skins without deep frying them

  • Use Russet Potatoes. They are the best because the amount of starch in them is perfect for baked potatoes. 
  • Be sure and prick the potatoes before baking them to prevent any exploding potatoes.
  • Cook the potatoes until they are light and fluffy. How do you know when the potatoes are light and fluffy? You can insert a pick and it goes in and comes out super easily. Or use a thermometer. The temp should be 210° for the perfect potato.
  • When scooping out the potato try to keep the outer shell of the potato intact, not letting it bend or break. This gives the potato a solid base for the chicken filling.
  • After scooping out the potato, you’ll brush with olive oil again and bake again for maximum crispiness.
  • Season the potatoes when baking, and again when brushing with oil. The salt will bring out the flavor of the cheese and BBQ sauce once you add it.
  • Coat the chicken in BBQ sauce before adding it to the potato. Not only does it keep the chicken moist, but the sauce will caramelize a little when cooking for maximum flavor.
  • Drizzle even more bbq sauce on top or serve it alongside for even more flavor.
  • You can add sour cream to them or ranch dressing to dip into them.
pinterest image of chicken tater skins

Find the Potato Skin Web Story here for a fun slide show!

Variations on Air Fried Potato Boats aka Loaded Potato Skins

BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Skins

Sweet potatoes make amazing potato skins but keep in mind they cook faster than regular potatoes. Rub the skin with oil and season with salt. Bake/AIr Fry at 390° for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick poked into the potato goes in and is removes very easily. Follow the rest of the recipe as given for regular potatoes.

BBQ Pulled Pork Potato Skins

Swap out pulled pork for chicken. Toss in BBQ sauce and prepare the rest of the recipe exactly as given.

potato skins on an appetizer plate loaded with bbq chicken

Questions for making these that might be helpful

I don’t have an air fryer, can I make these in the oven? Yes! These are easily adapted to the oven. Using the same temperature and times given but placing in the oven yields just as delicious crispy tater skins. 

Can I make these ahead of time? These are perfect to make ahead of time. You can do the initial bake, scoop, and have all of the ingredients ready to go.

You’ll want to store them in the fridge once they have baked in an airtight container. Allow the potatoes to completely cool before sealing. Do the last 5-5-5 bake/top just before serving.

Why do you prick the potato? I’ve made this recipe so many times without pricking it, but one and only one time the potato exploded in the air fryer.

Thankfully, no damage was done, but still a mess. Now I always make a couple of small pricks with a toothpick so that the pressure isn’t able to build up to explode!

How many potato skins should I make per person? If this is the main thing Im serving for game day snacking I’ll use medium sized potatoes and figure 1 whole potato per person—-(2 halves.) Then I add on one -two extra whole potatoes for just a few extra. These reheat up so well it’s always a bonus it there are leftovers!

More Superbowl Party Food Ideas:

Yield: 16

BBQ Chicken Air Fryer Potato Skins Recipe

overhead shot of plate of chicken potato skins

BBQ Chicken Air Fryer Potato Skins are fantastic, make at home pub food without all the deep frying. Crispy and crunchy outer potato skins loaded with melty cheese and shredded chicken covered in a zesty bbq sauce. They are an easy, filling, and delicious crowd pleaser with major flavor in every bite!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 8 8ounce Russet Potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 8 ounces chicken breast, chopped or torn into small bite sized pieces
  • 1 Cup Barbecue Sauce (divided )
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced fine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, minced fine


  1. Rinse and scrub the russet potatoes with water, then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Using your hands rub the olive oil on all sides of the potatoes.
  3. Place the potatoes in the basket of the air fryer. If you have a rack, place them on the rack---
    Sprinkle all sides of the potatoes generously with salt.
  4. Prick a couple of holes in the potato with a toothpick.
  5. Cook at 390° for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Check the potatoes at 30 minutes- using a thermometer cook the potatoes to 210°-- If you don't have a thermometer, press the sides of the potato and if they give just a little, take a toothpick and push it into the center of the potato and make sure it goes in evenly- if it is hard at all the potato needs to go longer.
  7. Allow the potatoes to cool until you can handle them, then cut them in half lengthwise.
  8. .Cut the baked potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon or a melon baller remove the potatoes inside, leaving a 1/4" of the potatoes attached to the shell. Save the potato scooped out for another recipe.
  9. Brush on olive oil to both sides of the potato. Generously season the skin side with salt and pepper.
  10. Place the potato into the air fryer on the tray skin side up. Cook at 390° for 5 minutes.
    Flip over air fry for 5 more minutes.
  11. Toss the chicken in 1/2 cup bbq sauce and stir to coat well while the potato is crisping.
  12. Once the potato is crisped, open the aIr fryer and sprinkle the cheese over the inside of the potato. Then top with bbq sauced chicken and chopped red onion pieces.
  13. Close the air fryer and cook for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
  14. Remove from the air fryer to a serving plate. Drizzle remaining BBQ sauce over the top and sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro.
  15. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 391mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 9g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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Wednesday 20th of January 2021

I love this recipe! How easy to bake potatoes in the air fryer-- and to have them as potato skins? With BBQ chicken? Thats a win! Great recipe-- thanks for sharing!!.

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