Twice Baked Potatoes are easier than you think and make an epic meal in themselves or a crowd pleasing side!
These Twice Potatoes are stuffed with creamy mashed potatoes, sour cream, cheese, green onions, bacon and seasonings for the ultimate indulgence. They are perfect for entertaining and the holidays (hello Valentines!) and always a hug hit! This Twice Baked Potato recipe is completely customizable and can be transformed into a complete meal with the addition of chicken, beef and or/veggies (I’ve included TONS of filling variations and topping ideas with this recipe as your guide). Twice Baked Potatoes can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen (instructions included) for an easy heat and eat side or dinner!
Twice Baked Potato Recipe
I could eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and I have. Mashed Potatoes, Gratin Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes, Potato Salad, French Fries – they are all divine – but the ULTIMATE comforting potatoes – Twice Baked Potatoes!
Twice Baked Potatoes are like crispy, salty potato skins stuffed with a cheesy, creamy mashed potato filling. Does it get any better?
Yes! While Twice Bake Potatoes look and taste like a fancy side, they are actually quite easy to make. They can also be made in stages or pre-made completely because they reheat fabulously well.
This means you can assemble your Twice Baked Potatoes and refrigerate them for up to five days and then just pop them in oven while you’re preparing the rest of dinner OR pull them out of the freezer for an easy dinner side or stress free entertaining dish.
I could devour this Twice Baked Potato recipe as written all day long but the creamy little boats are a vehicle to devour anything you want! You can add anything to the potato filling or pile on your favorite toppings and even make them your clean out-the-fridge vehicle.
You can stuff the crispy boats with spinach, broccoli, chicken, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. or create a toppings bar so everyone can make their favorite Twice Baked Potato.
What are twice baked potatoes?
Twice Baked Potatoes are potatoes that are baked twice at different stages. First, the potatoes are baked until tender. Next, they are sliced in half and the soft insides scooped out, leaving a hollow potato skin shell.
The fluffy inside potato pulp is then mixed with fillings such as butter, milk, sour cream, and cheese to virtually create thick mashed potatoes.
This potato mixture is then scooped back into the potato shell, and topped with more cheese and baked for the second time – earning the name, twice bake potatoes!
What Potatoes are Best for Twice Baked Potatoes?
Russet potatoes are the best potatoes for twice baked potatoes because:
- They have a great shape for slicing through the equator
- Half of a Russet potato is the perfect serving size
- Their skins are more sturdy so they hold their shape
- Their skins bake up crispier
- Their interiors mash up creamy instead of gummy
How to Make Twice Bake Potatoes
Step 1: Prep Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Scrub potatoes and dry very well. The drier the skins, the crispier they will become.
- Add potatoes to the foil and prick a few times with a fork so they don’t explode.
- Brush potatoes all over with olive oil.
- Sprinkle tops of the potatoes with half of the salt and pepper, rub to evenly distribute, flip and repeat.
Step 2: Bake Potatoes
- Bake potatoes at 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes OR until fork tender, turning the potatoes once or twice while baking. Larger potatoes may take closer to 75 minutes.
Step 3: Slice Potatoes in Half
- Let potatoes cool 5-10 minutes (do not turn off oven). When cool enough to handle, slice each potato in half lengthwise.
Step 4: Scoop out insides
- Scoop out most of the inside of the potatoes, leaving ¼” around the top edges and a little bit on the bottom and sides so the skin doesn’t tear. The shells will seem flimsy but will firm up when we roast them and stand up when the filling is added.
Step 5: Roast Shells
- Arrange now empty potato shells back on the baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Most recipes skip this step but it is CRUCIAL to help your potato skins firm up and crisp up.
Step 6: Make Filling
- While the potato skins are roasting, make the potato filling. It is crucial to make the filling while the potato insides are still warm, otherwise, you are more likely to get a gummy filling.
- Add all of the potato filling to a large bowl along with butter, sour cream, milk and seasonings. You may need more or less milk depending on the actual amount of potato pulp you extracted.
- Mash filling until smooth (I use a handheld electric mixer).
- Stir in green onions, half of the bacon and ¾ cup cheese. Add additional milk if needed to reach creamy consistency.
Step 7: Fill Potato Shells
- Evenly spoon mashed potato filling back into the potato skins. You may need to press the filling down firmly with the back of a spoon before adding more. I like to slightly mound my filling in the middle, purely for looks.
Step 8: More cheese
- Top the filling with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.
Step 9: Bake again
- Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Step 10: Toppings
- Top potatoes with remaining bacon and any desired toppings. Garnish with additional green onions and fresh parsley if desired. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt for added yum.
Tips for Perfect Twice Baked Potatoes
- Only use Russet potatoes for structure and the fluffiest filling.
- Line you baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Don’t use parchment paper or your potato skins won’t get as crispy.
- Prepare any filling ingredients while your potatoes are baking such as cooking meat, veggies, etc.
- Mix the filling when the potatoes are warm so it doesn’t get gummy.
- For fluffy filling, use a hand mixer but don’t overmix.
- Add milk to filling a little at time because you may need less depending on how much potato pulp was extracted.
- Bake the potato shells while you make the filling for crispier skins– hardly any recipes do this!
- Customize your Twice Baked Potatoes with any of my recipe ideas!
WHAT DO YOU PUT IN TWICE BAKED POTATOES?
Twice Bake Potatoes are only as good as the filling, and I’ve got you covered with a creamy, cheesy, flavorful mashed potato filling you will be eating by the spoonful!
The filling mixture is made with:
- potato flesh from inside of baked potatoes
- melted butter
- warm milk
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- spices: chives, garlic powder, paprika, dill weed, pepper, cayenne, salt, pepper
- green onions
Of course, this filling is completely customizable and a playground for you to customize with your favorite seasonings and add-ins, simply whatever you have on hand or are in the mood for! There are SO many possibilities, I’ve included just a few filling ideas below:
Twice Baked Potato Recipe Variations
- Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes: You can add chicken to my traditional twice baked potato recipe, any of the below ideas or anything you can dream up! You will stir in 1 to 1 ½ cups chopped chicken to the filling or you can top your potatoes with chicken.
- Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes: swap 1/2 cup of cheese out for 1/2 cup blue cheese.
- Spinach Twice Baked Potatoes: Stir 10 oz. frozen thawed spinach into the filling.
- Broccoli Twice Baked Potatoes: stir 1 ½ cups chopped broccoli into filling (small) or larger cooked broccoli.
- Buffalo Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes: replace some of the milk with hot sauce to taste, swap ½ cup cheese with ½ cup blue cheese and stir in 1 cup chopped chicken.
- Mexican Twice Baked Potatoes: stir in ½ cup black beans, ½ cup corn, replace some of the milk with salsa to taste and add (homemade) taco seasoning to taste and top with avocados, fresh tomatoes/salsa and sour cream.
- Greek Chicken Potatoes; replace some of the cheese with feta and add some Greek chicken, olives, roasted red bell peppers, etc to the filling and top with Greek Yogurt or tzatziki, and/or slivered almonds, olives, pickled red onions, etc.
- Chili Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes: Add some chili beans and hamburger to your filling with some extra chili spice and top with nacho cheese OR just top your Twice Bake Potatoes with chili and cheese.
- Leftover Twice Bake Potatoes: add leftover chicken/hamburger/steak (any protein) and a cup or so of leftover vegetables along with your favorite seasonings like Cajun, Taco, Curry, Ranch, Pesto etc.
TWICE BAKED POTATO TOPPINGS
This Twice Baked Potato Recipe creates a playground for toppings. I’ve kept it traditional with the popular favorites of cheese, bacon and green onions and sour cream, but the possibilities are endless!
You can even create a topping bar so everyone can pile their Twice Bake Potatoes with their favorites. Here are just a few topping ideas:
- Cheeses: nacho cheese, blue cheese, feta, sharp cheddar, mozzarella, Monterrey
- Chicken: Greek, Mexican, Buffalo, Chipotle, Lemon, Buffalo, Barbecue
- Meat: bacon, hamburger, BBQ Pulled Pork, Carnitas, Carne Asada
- Veggies: petite peas, avocados, tomatoes, roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower, roasted bell peppers
- Nuts: slivered almonds, crushed pistachios, chic peas
- Something creamy: sour cream or Greek yogurt, tzatziki
- Dressings: Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, Cilantro Lime, Tomatillo Avocado Ranch
How long can twice baked potatoes be refrigerated?
Twice Baked Potatoes should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Properly stored Twice Bake Potatoes will keep in the refrigerator for about five days.
If you think you aren’t going to eat your potatoes by then, you can freeze them instead.
Can you make twice baked potatoes ahead of time?
Yes! Twice Baked Potatoes taste just as good or better if prepared ahead of time. Reheating the potatoes is a great option for busy weeknights, meal prep or entertaining, or holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas!
All you have to do is pull the potatoes out of the fridge, top with cheese and bake for the second time for a quick and easy side any night of the week!
How To Make Twice Bake Potatoes Ahead of Time
- Fill potatoes with filling but do not top with cheese
- Tightly cover potatoes with foil or store in an airtight container.
- Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- When ready to serve, top potatoes with cheese.
- Bake potatoes at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes OR until heated through and cheese has completely melted.
How do I reheat twice baked potatoes?
Already baked Twice Baked Potatoes (leftovers) keep fabulously well and make great leftover snacks, lunches or heat up sides. I actually think they taste even better the next day as all the filling flavors develop and blend.
You can reheat your Twice Baked Potatoes in the microwave or oven. The microwave is quicker but you won’t get the same crispy sides that the oven gives you – but honestly, I usually don’t have patience for that!
How to Reheat Twice-Baked Potatoes in the OVEN
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the potatoes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until completely heated through.
How to Reheat Twice-Baked Potatoes in the Microwave
Place potatoes on a microwave-safe plate.
Microwave potatoes, uncovered, on high power for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
Can twice baked potatoes be frozen?
Yes! The Twice Potatoes can be frozen at two different stages: 1) Filled but not twice baked OR 2) completely assembled and twice baked.
The filled but not twice baked usually occurs if you are intentionally making the Twice Baked Potatoes ahead of time. This way you can omit the cheese on top and just add it when reheating the potatoes for a better cheese consistency.
Alternatively, you can freeze Twice Baked Potatoes with the cheese that have already been twice baked. This works great for leftovers or if you just want the potatoes completely ready to go.
How to Freeze Twice Baked Potatoes
- Cool Twice Baked Potatoes completely or cool filled but not twice bake potatoes completely.
- Place baking tray with potatoes in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 1 hour (omit cheese topping if not twice baked).
- Store potatoes in a freezer safe airtight container/freezer bag or wrap individual potatoes in plastic wrap or foil.
- Freeze potatoes for up to 3 months.
- When ready to eat, thaw potatoes in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Unwrap potatoes, top with cheese (if needed) and place on a baking sheet.
- OVEN: Bake at 350 degrees F until warmed through, about 20-25 minutes OR bake potatoes from frozen for about 1 hour.
- MICROWAVE: Place thawed potatoes on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high power for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
HOW LONG DO YOU COOK A TWICE BAKED POTATO IN THE OVEN?
Twice Baked Potatoes cook twice in the oven – or three times if you count the shells.
- First, bake the potatoes for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.
- While the filling is made, bake the potato shells for 10 minutes to firm up.
- Add filling mixture to potato shells and bake another 15 minutes.
Are Twice Baked Potatoes Gluten Free?
Yes! If you need a gluten free side for your family or for entertaining, then stick with this classic Twice Baked Potato Recipe. If you venture into different toppings, you will want to check to see if they are gluten free as well.
What can I serve with twice baked potatoes?
Twice Baked Potatoes can be a meal all in themselves if you top with chicken, beef or pork (see suggestions) or you can serve them as a show stopping side. Some of my favorite main courses to serve them with are:
- Nashville Hot Chicken
- Oven “Fried” Chicken
- Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs
- Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
- Beef Brisket Sandwiches
- Spice Rubbed Steaks with Herb Butter
- Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce
- Mom’s Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon
- Thanksgiving Turkey
- Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- Baked Ham with Cider Maple Glaze
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