These make-ahead Twice Baked Potatoes are an easy, delicious, and impressive-looking side dish. Once you know how to make twice baked potatoes, the crowd-pleasing recipe is sure to make a regular appearance on your family table. No one can resist the creamy mashed potato filling that's loaded with sour cream, bacon, cheese, and chives! Serve them with steak, with an Easter or Christmas ham, with grilled chicken, or with Thanksgiving turkey.
Make Ahead Twice Baked Potatoes
A twice baked potato is exactly what it sounds like: a potato that has been baked once, then mashed, stuffed, and baked again! Creamy twice baked mashed potatoes typically include cheese and other flavorful ingredients, making them a decadent addition to holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Not only do they look impressive with their fluffy, cheesy filling piled high on top of each crispy potato skin, but the easy stuffed potatoes are a convenient side dish that you can make ahead.
This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you'll need for the best twice baked potato recipe. As always, the specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- Russet potatoes: the ideal choice for twice baked potatoes. Russets have a thick skin, which gets nice and crispy in the oven, as well as a lot of starch, which creates a dry, fluffy interior.
- Vegetable oil: helps crisp the outside of the potato skins.
- Sour cream and butter: give the mashed potato filling a rich, creamy texture.
- Bacon: cook your own bacon until it's nice and crispy -- don't use store-bought bacon bits.
- Chives: add a fresh touch and a mild onion flavor. You can substitute with sliced green onions (scallions) if you can't find chives.
- Cheddar cheese: extra sharp cheddar is our preference for maximum flavor, but you can substitute with a mild cheddar or even a combination of cheddar, American, mozzarella, Gruyere, Colby, or Pepper Jack. Use a block of cheese that you grate by hand.
- Kosher salt and pepper: to enhance the flavors in the dish.
A Tip for the Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes
Bake potatoes that are all about the same size. I use potatoes that weigh about 6 ounces each. This way the potatoes cook evenly in the oven, giving you fluffy mashed potatoes for your loaded twice baked potatoes. If you're using larger potatoes, you might need to bake them longer. You might also need extra sour cream and butter to bring the filling together.
How to Make Twice Baked Potatoes
These make ahead twice baked potatoes are a convenient side dish that you can assemble in advance and then just bake for the second time when you're ready to serve them. They're perfect for busy holidays like Easter or Christmas!
- Bake the potatoes in a 400°F for about 1 hour, or until they're crisp on the outside and soft and fork-tender on the inside. Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them.
- Slice the top quarter lengthwise off of the 5 potatoes.
- Use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the tops into the bowl and discard the skins.
- Scoop the flesh from the potato bottoms, leaving a shell that's about ¼-inch thick.
- Arrange the 5 potato shells on a baking sheet.
- Mash the pulp in the bowl until smooth.
- Add sour cream, butter, bacon, chives, and cheese. Stir until completely combined, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mashed potato mixture evenly between the 5 hollow shells. Pile it on high!
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
- Bake in a 400°F oven until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 15-20 minutes.
- Garnish with extra chives and serve warm.
To prepare the dish in advance, assemble the twice baked potatoes, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking for the second time.
How to Freeze
The assembled potatoes can be frozen before baking for the second time. Tightly wrap with plastic and then with foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the potatoes in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
Leftover twice baked potatoes will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating Twice Baked Potatoes
To reheat leftover potatoes that have already been baked twice, place on a rimmed baking sheet and warm in a 350°F oven just until heated through (about 20 minutes). You can also reheat the leftovers in the microwave, but the skin will not stay quite as crispy.
What meat goes with easy twice baked potatoes?
From a holiday ham or turkey to a Sunday supper of roasted chicken, these versatile potatoes pair well with almost any of your favorite meat-based entrées. Here are some easy ideas to serve with the best twice baked potatoes:
- Beef: such as meatloaf, Swedish meatballs, BBQ meatballs, Mississippi pot roast, Dutch oven pot roast, red wine braised beef short ribs, braised beef with red wine and tomatoes, grilled steak, beef tenderloin, London Broil, steak tips, filet mignon, and flank steak.
- Chicken: such as crispy roast chicken, rosemary oven roasted chicken, fried chicken cutlets with country gravy, oven bbq chicken breast, crispy fried chicken, coq au vin, and grilled chicken.
- Pork: such as grilled pork chops, pork schnitzel, Dutch oven pork roast, grilled pork tenderloin, pulled pork, baked pork tenderloin, glazed ham, ham steaks, pork roast, oven fried pork chops, Virginia brown sugar baked ham, 5-ingredient baked ham with apricot glaze, and smothered pork chops and gravy.
- Turkey: such as maple-glazed roasted turkey breast, garlic and herb roast turkey breast, smoked turkey breast, turkey meatloaf, ground turkey stuffed peppers, or slow cooker turkey breast.
- Seafood: such as grilled salmon, blackened salmon, oven fried fish, grilled scallops, marinated grilled shrimp, and 5-ingredient parmesan crusted tilapia.
- Season the mashed potato filling with garlic powder, ranch seasoning, or other herbs and spices, such as parsley or thyme.
- Add extra bacon to the filling, or reserve some extra bacon to sprinkle on top at the end. Alternatively, you can omit the bacon altogether for a vegetarian side dish.
- Add some finely-chopped cooked broccoli florets to the filling. It will turn this side dish into a satisfying entrée!
- Garnish with a dash of paprika for extra color.
Tips for the Best Twice Baked Potato Recipe
- Don't over-cook the potatoes. Keep an eye on them and roast them just until they're fork tender (this will typically take about 1 hour, depending on the size of your potatoes). Overdone potatoes will have a wrinkly skin and the insides will appear gummy.
- Make sure that your sour cream and cheese are at room temperature. This will help them combine with the potatoes.
- I prefer to use cheddar cheese from a block that I grate by hand. It melts smoother into the potatoes.
More Potato Recipes to Try
- Aunt Bee's Cheesy Potato Casserole
- 3-Ingredient Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- Hash Brown Potato Casserole
- Crispy Seasoned Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Make Ahead Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Twice Baked Potatoes
- 5 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and dried
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or sliced green onions, divided
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, rub with oil, and arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Slice the top quarter lengthwise off of the potatoes. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the tops into the bowl and discard the skins. Use the same spoon to carefully scoop the flesh from the potato bottoms, leaving a shell about ¼-inch thick.
- Arrange the 5 potato shells on a baking sheet.
- Use a potato masher or a fork to mash the potato flesh in the large bowl until smooth. Add the sour cream, butter, bacon, 1 tablespoon of chives or green onions, and 1 cup of cheese. Stir until completely combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mashed potato mixture evenly between the potato shells (it will be piled high). Top with remaining 1 cup of grated cheese.
- Bake the potatoes in a 400°F oven until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with remaining chives or green onions just before serving.
This recipe was originally published in March, 2021. It was updated in March, 2022.