Photography Credit: Alison Bickel
Sometimes deciding what to make for dinner starts with the inspiration of just one ingredient. A friend of mine sent us some wonderful blue cheese this week and my father decided that he wanted to make twice baked potatoes with it.
Neither one of us has made stuffed potatoes in a while, so we ended up experimenting over several days with various combinations.
We settled on two — one a classic twice-baked potato mashed with some combination of sour cream, milk, and butter, and mixed in with crumbled bacon, green onions, and grated cheddar cheese.
The other combination uses our blue cheese with some chopped chives.
The best thing about this recipe is that it’s wonderfully flexible. The amounts shown are a guideline, but really it’s up to your own imagination and taste.
We like a creamy and fluffy potato stuffing, so we add cream and beat the potatoes with a hand mixer.
Any combination of topping ingredients will do. You could even stir in leftover meat like ground beef or chicken to make a more filling meal.
Russet potatoes are the best choice for making twice baked potatoes. Their shape and size works well for this purpose and one half of a stuffed Russet is a perfect single serving size (or eat two halves if you’re really hungry!)
The skins of Russet potatoes are also a little more sturdy than red potatoes or Yukon golds, which makes them easier to hollow out and stuff.
The name says it all, but just so we’re clear, here’s what you do:
Although most of the work to make these twice baked potatoes is hands off, it does end up being rather time-consuming for a weeknight.
To break up the work, you can roast, mash, and stuff your potatoes up to three days ahead and refrigerate them in an air-tight container for up to three days. Then just warm the stuffed potatoes in the oven when you’re ready to serve.
Think about doing this on a Sunday afternoon and then reheating your twice baked potatoes for a quick meal during the week.
Updated December 10, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe itself.
Choose either the cheddar and bacon stuffing or the blue cheese and chives stuffing; quantities are for a full batch of baked potatoes.
Stuffing Option 1: Cheddar and Bacon:
Stuffing Option 2: Blue Cheese and Chives:
1 Bake the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes clean under running water. Poke each potato in several places with the tines of a fork so that when the potatoes are cooking they don’t explode.
Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil. Place directly on the middle or top rack of the oven.
Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. They should give a little when pressed.
If short on time you can bake the potatoes in the microwave, 10 minutes on high heat for 2 potatoes, 15 minutes for 4 potatoes. The skins of microwave baked potatoes aren’t nearly as crispy, so you may want to rub a little olive oil on them and finish them in a conventional oven at 400°F for 10 minutes.
2 Cook the bacon if using: If you are including bacon as one of your mix-ins, while the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon strips in a frying pan on medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Let cool. Crumble.
3 Make potato “boats”: Allow the potatoes to cool to touch. Slice the top third lengthwise off the potato.
Use a spoon to scoop out the insides, forming a potato “canoe”, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the skin.
Alternatively, you can slice the potatoes in half, lengthwise. In this case you may want to bake an extra potato so that you will have more potato filling to mound into the potato boats.
4 Mash potato insides with sour cream, milk, butter: Place the scooped out potato insides, sour cream, milk, cream, and butter into a large bowl.
Mash with a potato masher. If you want a creamy texture, beat with an electric beater until desired consistency. Do not over-beat the potatoes! They can turn glue-y if you do.
5 Stuff potato shells with filling: Mix in the extras with the potato filling. Reserve some of the extras to sprinkle on the tops of the potatoes. Spoon fillings into the potato shells. Sprinkle with extra toppings.
6 Bake: Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Place potatoes on a roasting pan or baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.
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Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family’s recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.