Cheddar bacon twice baked potato is the ultimate comfort food side dish. Best of all, you can eat the entire potato, skin and all!
Ever have one of those days when everything seems to go awry?
Earlier this week, I accidentally washed a brand new bright red shirt with a bunch of light colored clothing. I don’t need to explain what happened there.
Then, I forgot that I had a pitcher of cold brew coffee that was supposed to be strained a day ago. To top it off, a new cake recipe didn’t work out.
Those kind of rough days require a ton of bacon, cheddar, and potatoes. That’s where these cheddar bacon twice baked potatoes come into play.
Loaded Twice Baked Potato
As the name indicates, these potatoes are baked twice. The initial bake softens the potato. The interior of the potato is scooped out and flavored. Then, the potato is stuffed with filling and baked a second time.
There is something so comforting about potatoes. It’s nearly impossible to be sad while eating potatoes, whether the potatoes are baked, fried, mashed, or smashed.
My love of twice baked potatoes stems from my mom’s famous twice baked ranch potatoes.
Ingredients: Variations and Substitutions
- Russet potatoes are best for this recipe. Idaho potatoes are great alternative. Ideally, you want to use a starchy potato. I recommend using small or medium sized Russet potatos. Small potatoes roughly weight about 5 oz (1/3 pound) each. Medium potatoes roughly weight 8 oz (1/2 pound each).
- Olive oil is a versatile cooking oil. It’s great for roasting. Other options: grape seed oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil. Rub the potatoes in oil and generously season with salt before baking.
- Garlic is the vanilla extract of the savory world. You can’t go wrong with adding a little extra garlic for flavor! I suggest starting with 4 garlic cloves, add more or less depending of your preferences. Roasted garlic is another way to really amp up the flavors.
- Unsalted butter allows you to control the saltiness of your baked potatoes. If you choose to use salted butter, season the potato filling mixture sparingly.
- Half & half is a combination of milk and cream. It’s a richer than whole milk, but not as rich as heavy cream. Swap in heavy cream for a more decadent, rich baked potato.
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese is ideal for this recipe. However, you may sub in your choice of cheese such as parmesan, colby, pepper jack, or gouda. For best results, shred your own cheese!
- Thick bacon slices adds a nice smoky flavor. It also provides a bit of crunch to this otherwise soft dish. For extra flavor, some rendered bacon fat is added to the smashed potato filling.
How to Make Twice Baked Potatoes
These start off like any other baked potato.
- Scrub the skins of the potato clean, pat dry, dock the potatoes a few times with a a fork, generously rub the potatoes with oil and season with salt. Bake until tender.
- Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a silt lengthwise on each potato. Scoop out insides and place in a large bowl.
- Gently smash potato chunks into smaller pieces. Don’t go overboard and accidentally make mashed potatoes.
- Add cooked bacon, reserved bacon fat (optional), butter, salt, and pepper, half & half, and cheese to potato chunks. Fold to combined.
- Spoon seasoned potato mixture back into empty potato skins. Sprinkle more shredded cheese over stuffed potatoes. Place stuffed potatoes back in the oven for another 15-25 minutes until warm throughout. Remove from oven. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, and bacon bits.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave in 45 second intervals until warmed throughout. Or, reheat in in a 400 degrees F oven for 15-20 minutes until heated throughout.
Once the potatoes are stuffed, they can be kept frozen for longer storage or kept in the fridge until ready to reheat to serve.
Cheddar Bacon Twice Baked Potato
- 3 pounds Russet potatoes, scrubbed and washed clean
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- kosher salt, as needed to season potato skins
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup half & half
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 thick slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Preheat oven to 450℉. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Scrub and rinse potatoes clean. Pat dry. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet. Rub potatoes with olive oil. Season generously with kosher salt. Pierce potato with a fork, to allow steam to escape during cooking process. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a knife.
- While potatoes are baking, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Crumble cooked bacon and set aside. Reserve 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Discard remaining render bacon fat, or save for another recipe.
- Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool. Lower oven temperature to 350℉.
- Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a slit lengthwise on each potato. Be careful, as potatoes will steam. Spoon out contents of potato and place in a large bowl. Gently smash into smaller chunks, but no need to make mashed potatoes.
- Add reserved bacon fat, butter, salt and pepper, half & half, ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, and half of bacon to potatoes. Fold to combine.
- Spoon potato mixture back into empty potato skins. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over stuffed potatoes. Place stuffed potatoes back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are warm and cheese has melted on top. Remove from oven and garnish with sour cream, additional cheese, and remaining bacon. Serve warm.
- 3 pounds of Russet potatoes is roughly 6 medium sized potatoes or 10-12 small sized potatoes. Recommended using small or medium potatoes of similar sizes.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave in 45 second intervals until warmed throughout. Or, reheat in in a 400℉ oven for 15-20 minutes until heated throughout.
- Once the potatoes are stuffed, they can be kept frozen for longer storage or kept in the fridge until ready to reheat to serve.