If I had a dollar for every baked potato that I’ve eaten in my life, I’d be rich. Baked potatoes are pretty much a perfect food in my opinion, so simple and ready to be adorned with whatever you want to add to them.
The problem is, I think we’ve gotten so accustomed to baking potatoes in the microwave, and while that’s okay when you want to make a baked potato for lunch at work, when you have the time to bake them in the oven it’s worth it to take the time. Microwaving potatoes causes the flesh to shrink away from the skin and changes the texture of the potato, while baking them leaves you with a wonderful fluffy potato and nice, slightly crunchy skins (which I happily devour) that are made even better by the addition of a little bit of coarse salt.
I don’t bother wrapping my potatoes in foil. It’s an unnecessary step that just serves to waste your time and actually affects the texture of the skin because it steams them. Just bake them on a baking sheet, or you can bake them directly on the rack if you aren’t using salt.
My first memory of “twice-baked potatoes” is some frozen Ore-Ida things that my mom used to buy, probably to feed my preteen obsession with baked potatoes (I used to eat them for breakfast!). They came in cheddar cheese and sour cream & chive flavor varieties, the flavored potato piped into a scooped out skin that you could bake in a little paper bowl in the microwave or you could put them in the oven if you had time for that (but who had time for that?). I loved those, but still not as much as I loved the potatoes I cooked myself in the microwave, topping them with melted Kraft singles, squeeze margarine, bacon “flavored” bits from a jar, and sour cream. My, how things change….
These days I make my twice-baked potatoes myself. At Christmas, I make these to go alongside the lovely medium-rare standing rib roast that my mom always serves, in addition to a seven-layer salad and some good bread. I love love LOVE rib roast, but in all honestly I look forward almost as much to these EASY twice-baked potatoes, and the advantage of those is that I can have them any day of the year, unlike the rib roast which is a bit, um, cost-prohibitive.
I guess most people count twice-baked potatoes as a side, but in my not-very-meatcentric household we are happy to eat these easy twice baked potatoes as a main dish. All you have to do is eat the entire potato instead of the half you’d (probably) eat if you were counting them as a side. We had these with Caesar salad, using the dressing my aunt made while she was here last week (I’m hoping to share the recipe with you soon!), big shreds of Grana Padano cheese that we made using our Y-peeler, and sunflower seeds since we didn’t have croutons.
These easy twice baked potatoes are a meal indeed!
Yield: 4 servings
20 minPrep Time:
1 hr, 25 Cook Time:
1 hr, 45 Total Time:
- 2 large baking (Russet) potatoes
- 2 teaspoons oil (canola, olive, coconut)
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons chives or chopped green onions (or a combination of the two)
- 3 Strips bacon (cooked and crumbled)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub and dry the potato(es). Poke several holes in the potato(es) with a fork. Rub lightly with oil. If you'd like, coat with salt. Place the potato(es) on a baking sheet. Bake for an hour.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly, 10-15 minutes.
- Slice the potatoes in half crosswise, taking care to not tear the skin. Scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl, leaving a thin layer in the skin so the skins will not be too fragile. Place the potato skins on a baking sheet.
- Mash the potato with a fork. Add the sour cream, cheese (leaving a little bit to sprinkle on the top), chives and/or green onions, butter (if using), bacon, and salt and pepper to taste and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the potato mixture among the potato skins. Top with remaining cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.