The BEST Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe – cheesy, creamy, and loaded with fluffy mashed potatoes, gooey cheddar cheese, crumbly bacon, and fresh chives. Learn how to make these Easy Twice Baked Potatoes and enjoy as an easy side dish, appetizer, or satisfying meal.
Easy Twice Baked Potatoes
Incredibly indecisive when it comes to options and food, I am that person always last to order at a restaurant because everything always sounds so good. Incredibly, however, and despite the countless potato recipes to choose from (baked, mashed, roasted, cheesy, scalloped, in soup, in eggs, in a stew), I can firmly conclude that these cheesy, creamy, and utterly irresistible twice-baked potatoes are my favorite.
Studded with bits of bacon and packed full of shredded cheese, these potatoes are not only delicious but also super easy to make. Plus, they’re easy to make ahead of time and freeze to enjoy later.
Ready for some amazing potatoes? Let’s get started.
What are Twice-Baked Potatoes?
A twice baked potato is a potato that is first baked in the oven, then removed and allowed to rest until cool enough to handle – but not cold as this results in a gluier mashed potato stuffing.
Once cool enough to handle, the top of the potato is cut away and the white, fluffy, soft potato interior is scooped out into a clean mixing bowl, leaving just the potato “shell” behind.
The soft white interior is mixed with delicious things like milk, butter, and sour cream to make fluffy mashed potatoes. Then bacon and shredded cheese are added. These “loaded mashed potatoes” become the stuffing which is then scooped back into the potato shell.
Top with extra shredded cheese and bake for a second time until gooey and melted.
Ingredients + Frequently Asked Questions
- Medium-large russet potatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt + Black pepper
- Sour cream
- Cheddar cheese
- Fresh chives
What potatoes should I use to make twice-baked potatoes?
The best baking potatoes for this recipe are russet potatoes, hands down. Russet potatoes are considered starchy potatoes, which means they are low in moisture and have a fluffy, crumbly, soft interior after they’ve been baked. They are also fantastic at absorbing all your favorite mixins such as butter, milk, and sour cream.
Most importantly, however, Russet potatoes have sturdy, thick skins. This is incredibly important when making twice baked potatoes since you will actually be scooping out the inside of each baked potato and restuffing with the new and improved cheesy mashed potato mixture. A flimsy shell would fall apart.
How long does it take to bake potatoes?
The total baking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes, but assume that it will take approximately 1 hour. For best results, pick potatoes that are all about the same size, this way your potatoes are finished cooking around the same time.
Can I stuff my twice-baked potatoes with other things?
Yes, please! Feel free to get creative and add whatever you’d like. Add some cream cheese or plain Greek yogurt. Add in some veggies like broccoli or cauliflower (roasted or mashed). Feel free to add a little chicken or even shrimp and drizzle with bbq sauce, ranch dressing, or buffalo sauce.
Imagine the potato is a pizza (minus the gluten), there are a million different ways to make it totally unique.
Can I slice my potato in half to get two twice-baked potatoes from one baked potato?
Yes. This was always the way my dad did it when I was growing up. However, I’ve also found that cutting directly in half usually leads to sloppier, less contained twice-baked potatoes. The taste is the same, they’re just literally less put together.
Can you make twice baked potatoes ahead of time?
Yes! Absolutely. In fact, you can easily make this recipe up to 4-5 days ahead of time. To do so, follow steps one through seven, stopping just before baking for a second time. Instead of placing on a baking sheet and in the oven, transfer each stuffed and loaded potato into a clean and dry air-tight container and keep refrigerated until you are ready to bake for the second time.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
Yes! This recipe is completely gluten-free (although you may want to double-check your bacon just to be extra safe).
Oh no! My potatoes turned out super runny! What happened?
The likely cause of runny potatoes is too much liquid. This can happen if you used small(ish) potatoes. To prevent this either
- Purchase larger potatoes or,
- Start with less milk and sour cream, then add more as needed
One reader did mention that she rescued her potatoes by adding some instant potatoes which is a great tip!
How Long Does it Take to Cook Twice-Baked Potatoes?
We already know that it takes approximately 1 hour to bake potatoes, but how long does it take to cook twice-baked potatoes?
Plan at least 2 hours to make this recipe, start to finish. Why does it take so long?
Well, it takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes for your potatoes to bake. And even after they are cooked completely, it is advised that you wait until they have cooled before cutting off the tops and scooping out the inside (because trust me, they are hot inside!)
Once they have cooled, you have to scoop. Each potato will take you at least 2-4 minutes to scoop carefully and thoroughly. Multiply that by your number of potatoes and that can easily add up.
Of course, then you’re baking them again…because, you know, they’re twice baked. This will take about 15 minutes or so.
The good news? Baking potatoes is super easy and once you have them in the oven, it’s completely hands-off. I recommend making extra and saving the leftovers so that you may enjoy them again and again (minus all the work).
How to Make Twice Baked Potatoes
This recipe is easy, but it does require a bit of patience and time. If you’re hoping for a quick and easy 30-minute side-dish, I highly recommend garlic roasted potatoes or roasted cauliflower with shredded cheese.
1. Preheat oven and prepare a baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Prepare the potatoes for baking.
Scrub each potato under cold water using a vegetable brush. Dry thoroughly (this is super important for a crispy skin). Use a dinner fork and carefully poke each potato several times on each side. Next, rub each potato with olive oil and coat generously with coarse salt.
3. Cook the potatoes.
Transfer the prepared potatoes to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until the inside is soft. Exact cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Check for doneness by gently squeezing each potato. They should feel soft. Always make sure your hand is protected by an oven mitt or towel.
4. Cook the bacon.
As the potatoes are baking, cook the bacon. Chop and add to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon pieces are golden and release their grease, remove the lid and allow them to cook until the desired doneness is reached. Remove from heat and transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels using a slotted spoon. Set aside.
You can also cook bacon in the oven (so easy!)
5. Scoop out inside of potatoes.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and set them aside to rest until cool enough to handle. Then, use a sharp paring knife to carefully cut around the top of the potato. Scoop out the top and very carefully use a spoon to scoop out the potato flesh, leaving approximately 1/8-1/4-inch thickness of skin and flesh in each shell. If the potato feels especially delicate, scoop out less of the inside so that it can act as a buffer.
Transfer inside of the potatoes to a large bowl.
- Tip: It’s easier to scoop out the inside of your baked potatoes while they are still warm. Cold potatoes get gummy when mashed, losing the delicious, fluffy texture we all love.
6. Mash the potatoes.
Add the butter, cooked bacon bits, milk, salt and pepper, and sour cream to the large mixing bowl filled with the fluffy baked potato insides. Mash until smooth using a potato masher or (for extra smooth and creamy mashed potatoes) use a hand mixer. Add half the cheese and mix to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Fill each potato skin with the mashed potato filling and top with remaining cheese and bacon bits (if any extra remain).
8. Bake again.
Place the stuffed potatoes on a large baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh chopped chives or chopped green onions.
How to Serve with Twice-Baked Potatoes
This easy recipe pairs wonderfully with just about everything! They really are the perfect, all-around side dish.
Make your potatoes a main course and serve it will all your favorite side dishes including,
Can twice baked potatoes be frozen?
Yes! Twice-baked potatoes are great stashed away in the freezer. You can do this one of two ways-
- After they’ve been twice-baked: Allow potatoes to cool completely before placing on a small baking sheet in the freezer for one hour. Remove after one hour and wrap in foil. Transfer to an airtight container or large freezer bag. Transfer to the freezer.
- Before they’re twice baked: Stuff potato shells and top with cheese or wait to top with cheese until later (before you decide to bake them). Carefully wrap in foil and transfer to an airtight container or large ziplock bag. Transfer to the freezer.
Twice-baked potatoes are best enjoyed within 3-4 months after being frozen.
How to Reheat Twice Baked Potatoes
From frozen- the easiest way to cook twice-baked potatoes from frozen is to transfer the desired number of potatoes in the refrigerator to thaw overnight then bake for approximately 20 minutes at 400 degrees F the next day. Feel free to add more cheese to make them extra cheesy. If you’re reheating directly from frozen, place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. To prevent the top from burning, you may want to tent your potatoes with foil.
Refrigerated potatoes– You may either reheat in the oven or microwave. The oven will take approximately 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F while the microwave will take approximately 2 minutes. Remember, never place aluminum foil in the microwave.
More Potato Recipes,
If you try making these Easy Twice Baked Potato Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Easy Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe
- 6 medium-large russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- coarse salt
- 6 strips bacon - chopped
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1.5 cups milk
- 1 cup sour cream - (or Greek yogurt), plus more as needed
- salt and pepper - to taste
- 2.5 cup cheddar cheese - shredded
- 1/4 cup fresh chives - chopped (more or less to taste)
- Preheat oven and prepare baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Prepare potatoes. Scrub potatoes under cold water with a vegetable brush. Dry completely. Use a dinner fork to poke the potato several times, and on each side. Rub each potato with olive oil and coat generously with coarse salt.
- Cook the potatoes. Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until the inside is soft (you can check for doneness by squeezing the potato-just take care and make sure your hand is protected by an oven mitt or towel). Exact cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Cook the bacon: Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook low and slow, stirring occasionally. Once the bacon pieces are golden and release their grease, remove the lid and allow them to cook until the desired doneness is reached. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
- Scoop out inside of potatoes. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a sharp paring knife to carefully cut around the top of the potato. Scoop out the top and very carefully use a spoon to scoop out the potato flesh, leaving approximately 1/8-1/4-inch thickness of skin and flesh in each shell. Transfer inside of the potatoes to a large mixing bowl.
- Mash potatoes. Add the butter, cooked bacon bits, milk, salt and pepper, and sour cream to the large mixing bowl filled with the fluffy baked potato insides. Mash until smooth. Add half the cheese and mix to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stuff. Fill each potato skin with the mashed potato filling and top with remaining shredded cheddar cheese and bacon bits (if any extra remain).
- Bake. Transfer baking sheet to the oven a bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh chopped chives, if desired. Enjoy!
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)