These are the BEST Twice Baked Potatoes! Loaded with fluffy mashed potatoes, gooey melted cheese, crumbly bacon, and fresh chives, they can be made ahead of time, frozen, and served whenever as a delicious side dish, appetizer, or satisfying meal.
Easy Twice Baked Potato Recipe
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 cheddar cheese, these potatoes are not only delicious but also super easy to make. They’re also easy to freeze, thaw, and enjoy later.
What is a Twice-Baked Potato?
A twice-baked potato is a whole 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.
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 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.
How Long to Cook Twice-Baked Potatoes?
It will take approximately 2 hours to prepare and cook twice-baked potatoes.
How to Make Twice Baked Potatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
2. Prepare the potatoes for baking: Gently scrub each potato under cold water using a vegetable brush. Dry thoroughly (this is super important for crispy skin). Use a dinner fork to carefully poke each potato several times on each side. Next, rub each potato with olive oil and coat it 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. The exact cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness 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 the bacon into small pieces and add it to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the bacon is hot and sizzling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally until 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 the inside of the 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 an 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 to act as a buffer.
Transfer 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 their delicious, fluffy texture.
6. Mash the potatoes: Add the butter, cooked bacon bits, milk, salt, and black pepper, and sour cream to the large 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.
You may also like: Learn how to make the best-ever mashed potatoes!
7. Stuff: Fill each potato skin with the mashed potato filling and top with the remaining cheese and bacon bits (if any extra remains).
8. Bake again: Place the stuffed potatoes on a large baking sheet and transfer them to the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are heated through. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh chopped chives or chopped green onions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Russet potatoes. Considered starchy potatoes, russet potatoes 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, they 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 it with the cheesy mashed potato mixture. A flimsy shell would fall apart.
The total baking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes but plan 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.
Yes, of course! 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 many ways to make it totally unique.
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.
Yes, 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 it 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.
Yes! This recipe is completely gluten-free (although you may want to double-check your bacon just to be extra safe).
The likely cause of runny potatoes is too much liquid. This can happen if you use small(ish) potatoes. To prevent this either purchase larger potatoes or, start with less milk and sour cream, adding more as needed. One reader did mention that she rescued her potatoes by adding some instant potatoes which is a great tip!
Can You Freeze Twice-Baked Potatoes?
Yes! You can do this one of two ways-
- After they’ve been twice baked: Allow the potatoes to cool completely before placing them on a small baking sheet in the freezer for one hour. Remove after one hour and wrap them in foil. Transfer to an airtight container or large freezer bag and transfer to the freezer.
- Before they’re twice baked: Stuff the potato shells and top with cheese or wait to top with cheese until just before baking. 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: Transfer the frozen potatoes to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Bake for approximately 20 minutes in a preheated 400 degrees F oven. Feel free to add more cheese to make them extra cheesy. If you’re reheating directly from frozen, place the 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 aluminum 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.
How to Serve
As a side dish, twice-baked potatoes are fantastic with beef, chicken, pork, and seafood. Try serving them with baked chicken breasts, chicken thighs, pork chops, lamb chops, or the perfect seared steak.
Or, enjoy them as the main course, serving them with all of your favorite veggie-filled side dishes including,
More Easy Potato Recipes,
- Baked Sweet Potato (How to Bake Sweet Potatoes)
- Easy Oven-Roasted Sausage and Potatoes Recipe
- Easy Herb and Brown Sugar Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Chicken with Potatoes Recipe
- Apple Butter Roasted Chicken with Potatoes
- Garlic Butter Boiled Potatoes
Have you tried this Twice Baked Potato Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Easy Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe
- 6 medium-large russet potatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- coarse salt
- 6 strips bacon - chopped
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 1.5 cups milk - whole milk or 2%
- 1 cup sour cream - (or Greek yogurt), plus more as needed
- salt and black pepper - to taste
- 2.5 cup sharp cheddar cheese - shredded
- ¼ cup fresh chives - chopped (more or less to taste)
- Preheat oven and prepare baking sheet. Preheat the 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 ensure your hand is protected by an oven mitt or towel). The 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 an approximately 1/8-1/4-inch thickness of skin and flesh in each shell. Transfer the 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.)