Looking for the perfect recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes with Bacon? Look no further! This one has everything you want. Crispy skin and fluffy filling loaded with cheesy goodness.
I partnered with the Idaho Potato Commission for this post to introduce you to the new book – Smashed Mashed, Boiled & Baked by Raghavan Iyer, however, the thoughts and opinions are always my own.
There’s something about a twice baked potato that gets me excited. I always think of them as a laborious side dish reserved for fancy restaurants and find myself never making them at home. But like most things, testing this recipe proved that putting the time in to make something from scratch has its rewards. By the time I was stuffing these spuds for the final bake, I was finding myself salivating at the meal to come. Loaded with bacon, cheese, and all that potato-y goodness, these Twice Baked Potatoes are the best of both creamy mashed potatoes, and the crisp skin of a perfectly baked potato. So good, these are perfect as a main dish – for fear they may just outshine the famous family roast recipe.
Whether you are making this as a side dish, or for a meal on their own, these twice baked potatoes can be started up to two days ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to bake. I also found that after baked, they keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days (perfect for making a few extra and having ready on the go for weekday lunches). Make sure to re-heat in an oven as microwaves will make that perfect potato skin mushy.
Now that you have this perfect recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes, think of the possibilities of what else you could stuff them with!
Be sure to check out the new all-potato cookbook Smashed Mashed, Boiled & Baked for even more potato inspiration! I personally bookmarked a sexy biscuit recipe and some homemade pierogies to try next!
Twice Baked Potatoes with Bacon
- Coarse sea or kosher salt for smothering the potatoes
- 4 large russet potatoes each about 1 pound
- 6 tablespoons ¾ stick salted butter (or 2 tablespoons if using the bacon fat; see Tater Tip)
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 4 large cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper stem, ribs, and seeds discarded, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup shredded cheese such as cheddar, Gruyère, pepper Jack, or fontina, or an assortment
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
- 6 strips bacon cooked until crisp, and crumbled
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread a thick layer of salt on a large plate.
Scrub the potatoes well under running water. While they are still wet, pierce them in multiple spots with a fork or knife to enable them to vent steam as they bake. Cake each damp potato all over with salt, forming a white-speckled blanket. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake them until tender, about 1 hour. If you wish, you may place a cookie sheet on the rack below if you have a fear that the salt will fall off—but it really won’t.
As the potatoes bake, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter foams, stir-fry the onion and garlic until they become light brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the pepper softens, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter or the fat saved from the cooked bacon.
Once the potatoes are done, transfer them to a cutting board and allow them to cool enough so you can handle them. Leave the oven on if you will be serving the potatoes soon. Slice off a ¼-inch-thick slice from the top along the length of each potato. (They’re for nibbling—the cook’s bonus as you finish the dish!) With a teaspoon, scoop out as much of the tender insides as you can without boring a hole through the potato, and set them aside in a medium-size bowl. (I usually leave a ¼-inch-thick layer of potatoes around the inside wall to avoid any possibility of leaks.) As you handle the potatoes, you will experience some of the salt crust falling apart on the board. Just save some of it for later inclusion.
Working in batches if necessary, place all the scooped-out whites in a ricer and push them through and back into the same bowl. (If you don’t have a ricer, use a potato masher and fluff them with a fork when completely mashed.) Scrape the pepper-onion medley over the fluffy potatoes and pour in the cream and buttermilk. Add about 1½ teaspoons of salt and the cheese, chives, and bacon, and fold it all until just mixed.
Spoon as much of the filling as you possibly can into each potato shell. (You will, in all likelihood, have filling left over. Do yourself a favor and save it for later! See Tater Tip for some ideas.) At this point you can refrigerate the potatoes, covered, and bake them in a day or two.
When you are about ready to serve the potatoes, make sure the oven is preheated to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the stuffed potatoes on it. Bake them until some of the filling oozes out onto the sides and the top is speckled brown, 35 to 45 minutes.
Slice each in half and serve hot.