There are few things in this world as comforting as freshly made twice baked potatoes, just out of the oven, cheese golden and bubbling in a little pool all around them. Except maybe those same twice baked potatoes, topped with all your favorite toppings: tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, and even jalapeno for those who like to keep things spicy.
Serve these classic twice baked potatoes when you’re looking for some gooey, delicious comfort food, or whenever you’re in need of a good, filling side. Because there’s no day that can’t be made better with a cheesy twice baked potato.
Find more recipes from Ksenia Prints at At The Immigrants Table.
Which potatoes should you use for twice baked potatoes?
Before we dive into making these twice baked potatoes, there’s one age-old conundrum we have to solve: Which potatoes should you use for your twice baked potatoes? Or better yet, which potatoes are best for baking?
A visit to a typical grocery store will usually yield a few options for potatoes, including red potatoes, with light red taut skin and white flesh, white potatoes, which have an off-white skin and a very white flesh, yellow potatoes, with yellowish flesh and brown skin, and russet potatoes, which are larger in size than the other three, with a very brown skin and a white mealy flesh.
Out of these, russet potatoes are the best for baking, whether in the form of twice baked potatoes or just in a campfire or a barbecue. Their skin dries and crisps up beautifully at high heat, while the flesh becomes fluffy and creamy.
Idaho potatoes, which hail from their namesake state, are similar to russet potatoes but are a bit smaller. Yukon Gold are also great for baking.
Gather the ingredients for classic twice baked potatoes
Now that you know what potatoes to look for, it’s time to gather the rest of the ingredients for our classic twice baked potatoes.
Cheddar or marble cheese work best, but we’ve also had great results with Monterey Jack mozzarella (for its melting capabilities). Finely diced scallions (or green onions) provide a nice acidic contrast to all that cream, but you can substitute them for regular onion (a quarter of a large onion will do), or skip them altogether if you’re not a fan.
For topping our classic twice baked potatoes, we love using fresh tomatoes, fresh scallions, fresh cilantro, and jalapeno peppers for that little kick. We found it’s best to keep these ingredients fresh — they’re like a little refreshing salad on top of your creamy, gooey twice baked potato, providing a pop of color and a contrast in textures.
Bake potatoes for one hour
The longest part of making twice baked potatoes is their first sojourn in the oven. To produce that scoopable, delicious baked potato flesh that we’ll use in our filling, you’ll have to bake your potatoes for a full hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, the potatoes will also need some time to cool down so they can be handled safely, so take that into account when planning your cooking times.
To perfectly bake a potato, all you have to do is wash it well, pat it try, and lay it out on a baking sheet. There is not need to wrap it in tinfoil or prick it with a fork.
If you’re a bit short on time, you can even cut your potatoes in half, lengthwise, and lay them face-down on the baking sheet. That way, you’ll bake your potatoes in halves right from the start, which will shorten the cooking time a bit (start checking your potatoes for doneness after 40 minutes).
Prep your twice baked potatoes ingredients
While the potatoes are baking in the oven, it’s time to prep the other ingredients for your twice baked potatoes. Slice the scallions into rings. Grate your cheese. Finely dice the cilantro and jalapeno, if using. Cube the tomatoes.
You will also want to bring your sour cream, butter, and milk to room temperature. You can use either low-fat or full-fat sour cream and milk, though full-fat will yield the best results in terms of flavor and texture of the finished twice baked potato.
Hull out the potatoes
Once your potatoes have cooked and are very soft to the touch (a fork should easily slide into their flesh, and you should even be able to indent them with your fingers), you’ll want to let them cool for at least ten minutes, or even more if possible. This makes the potatoes easier to handle and the flesh softer.
You can even do this a day or two prior to making the rest of your potatoes.
Once your potatoes have cooled sufficiently, you will want to slice them in half lengthwise. Holding a potato in one hand, you’ll need to scoop out their flesh using a spoon. Try to take care not to rip the skin — you may want to leave a thin border of potato flesh all around the perimeter of the potato.
Make the filling for your twice baked potatoes
With your potatoes emptied of their yummy baked insides, it’s time to mix up the filling for our twice baked potatoes.
In a large bowl, mash the scooped out baked potato flesh with a fork or a potato masher for best results. Combine it with sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, cheese, and scallions. Continue mixing it with a fork, trying to blend it until it’s cohesive and creamy (though some lumps are okay). Taste and correct seasonings — the filling should taste good even before it’s baked. How could it not with all those tasty ingredients?
Stuff your twice baked potatoes
Once your twice baked potatoes filling is fully mashed and combined, we’re going to stuff it back into our baked potato skins. Spoon mixture back into potato skins, making nice, abundant mounds. Each potato should look like it has a little hill sitting on top of it — this isn’t the time to skimp on your fillings.
Arrange the stuffed potatoes on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a reusable silicone mat (but make sure you cover your sheet with something to catch all that melting cheese).
Top each stuffed potato with remaining cheese, and season with more freshly ground pepper.
Send in your twice baked potatoes for their second bake
When you’re ready to bake your potatoes for their final round, lower the heat of the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t want things to be quite so hot this time around, since the potatoes are already partially baked at this point.
Transfer the sheet with the arranged twice baked potatoes back into the oven. Bake the potatoes for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is fully melted, crisped around the edges, and bubbling. They’re going to look incredible when they’re done.
Top your twice baked potatoes with all your favorite toppings
Remove the potatoes from the oven very carefully. After all, we’re dealing with bubbling cheese and hot potatoes, and you definitely don’t want to burn yourself before you dig into these potatoes.
Once the twice baked potatoes are out of the oven from their second bake, pile on all those remaining toppings you love. Additional sour cream, tomatoes, and scallions are great. Finely chopped cilantro and/or jalapeno make nice additions as well, as do crispy bacon bits. It’s really up to you here to decide what would taste best on top of your twice baked potatoes, but these are all solid options.
Serve twice baked potatoes fresh from the oven
Twice baked potatoes are best fresh out of the oven, so you’ll want to serve them immediately. You can pair a potato half or two with a light side salad or a vegetable side like broccoli. Twice baked potatoes make a very filling meal, but if you’re really hungry, then they can go very well with roasted chicken or a side of shredded beef.
Twice baked potatoes will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for five days. They can be frozen as well, but without the additional fresh toppings — those can be added when reheating.
- 4 russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 8 scallions (green onions)
- 2 tomatoes
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, diced finely
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange potatoes on a large baking sheet. Bake potatoes for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Scoop out the potato flesh with a spoon, leaving a narrow perimeter of about ⅛ inch untouched and taking care not to cut through the skin. Mix potato flesh with sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, ½ cup cheese, and half the green onions. Mash well with a fork until well-blended and creamy (some lumps are okay). Spoon mixture back into potato skins, making nice, abundant mounds. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for an additional 15 to 20 mins until cheese is fully melted, crisped around the ends and bubbling.
- To serve, top with additional sour cream, tomatoes, and scallions. Add cilantro and/or jalapeno, if using.
- Twice baked potatoes will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for five days. They can be frozen as well, but without the scallions — those can be added when reheating.