Twice-baked potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes when I want something a bit more spruced up than standard mashed potatoes, but without any extra work. Packed with sour cream, butter, green onions, and fresh herbs, this twice-baked potato recipe will soon become a favorite in your house as well!
Jeff and I find ourselves having the same conversations more often than not when he gets home from work. “What’s for dinner?” he asks. My response is always the same. “I don’t know, what’s for dinner?”
We’re both very tired, and neither of us have put any thought into it. People often assume that because I work with food, there’s always dinner ready go. However, keep in mind that on many days I’m baking desserts.
I try to keep freezer meals ready to go for these days (like my homemade frozen pizza), but I don’t always succeed. If we have potatoes around, I know I can throw together a simple, brainless meal. Baked potatoes topped with leftover Cincinnati chili, for example.
These twice-baked potatoes take one extra step, but they’re still ridiculously easy, and they’re made up almost entirely from kitchen staples. If I don’t have sour cream, I’ll substitute yogurt (or a mix of yogurt and milk). The fresh herbs can be omitted or swapped for dry herbs (always use half the amount of dry herbs if you’re substituting for fresh, FYI).
It’s a very flexible, easy recipe, and yet it somehow feels a bit gourmet and fancy at the same time. I love it when that happens.
What are twice-baked potatoes?
Twice-baked potatoes are, quite literally, potatoes that go through two separate bakes: once to actually cook the potato, and then a second time to cook the filling after it has been combined with add-ins (often similar to what you might find in mashed potatoes). After the first bake, the filling is scooped into a bowl, mixed with additional ingredients, and then scooped back into the potatoes.
What is a good baking potato?
Starchy potatoes, like russet and Idaho potatoes, are best for baked potatoes and mashed potatoes. They’re fluffy, high in starch (obviously), and low in moisture, making them a great choice for baking, frying and boiling. The low moisture means they’re also very absorbent, which is why they work so well with butter and cream.
How long do you bake a potato?
At 425 degrees F (or similar), baked potatoes should be cooked through within 50-60 minutes.
How do you know if a baked potato is ready?
You can tell when the potatoes are done by look and feel. Fully cooked baked potatoes should appear wrinkly and papery on the outside, and when you squeeze them, they should give slightly. You can also test by inserting a small knife or toothpick into the center. It should go in easily.
How to bake potatoes in the microwave
If you want to cut down on the recipe cook time, you can microwave for the first bake instead of using the oven.
Lightly coat the potatoes with oil, and then prick numerous holes in each with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe dish and cook on HIGH power for 5 minutes. Carefully turn over the potatoes and microwave for an additional 3 to 6 minutes. If they still need additional time, microwave in one minute increments until fully cooked through.
Note: a microwave baked potato will have skins that are more tender and less crispy than if baked in the oven. I personally prefer taking the extra time to get crispy skins.
Looking for more easy side dishes?
- 4 medium to large russet potatoes approximately 2 pounds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions (chives may be substituted)
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- Place an oven rack on the center shelf, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Using a fork, prick numerous holes all over the potatoes, and rub with the olive oil. Bake until the skins are crisp but the potatoes are tender when gently pressed, approximately 55-60 minutes.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise using a serrated knife or sharp chef’s knife, taking care to avoid tearing the skin away from the sides (the potatoes will be used as cups to hold the filling).
Scoop the potato flesh into a medium-sized bowl. Add the sour cream, butter, green onions, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, using a spatula or potato masher to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
- Scoop the filling into 4 of the 8 potato skins (discard or save the remaining skins). Don’t pack too tightly to avoid breaking the skins.
- Raise the temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake on the same foil-lined baking sheet for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the filling is fluffy and hot, and tops are browning in spots and turning a bit crispy.
You can decrease the total time by initially cooking the potato in the microwave (this will result in less crispy skins). Rub the potatoes with the oil and prick numerous holes in each with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe dish, then microwave at HIGH power for 5 minutes. Turn over the potatoes and microwave for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. If they still need more time, microwave in one minute increments until cooked through.
You can cut back on the fat and calories in these by decreasing the amount of sour cream and butter slightly, or substituting greek yogurt for the sour cream.
Loosely adapted from Bon Appetit.
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About the Author
Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.