Twice Baked Potatoes are the ultimate make-ahead side dish and a delicious indulgence with their fluffy white interior mixed with creamy butter, tangy sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and sweet and savory bacon.
But wait, did you know you can easily take the basic but oh-so-good Twice Baked Potato, add a few ingredients and have a yummy light entrée the whole family will love? If you love Twice Baked Potatoes, my guess is you will also love delicious Broccoli Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes, and Buffalo Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes. Either variation is very easy to make and yes, all can be made ahead and frozen, ready to reheat at a moment’s notice for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
I’ve been making Twice Baked Potatoes for over 40 years, and they are probably one of the first dishes I ever made. I can remember the day my Mom discovered how easy they were to prepare and would make them by the dozen and pop them in the freezer for a quick and light dinner or lunch. It is just as easy to make up a large batch of Twice Baked Potatoes as it is to make two.
Broccoli Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes are nothing more than the basic Twice Baked Potato recipe with broccoli florets mixed in, and Buffalo Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes contain a mixture of cooked chicken, a little buffalo sauce and a small amount of ranch or blue cheese dressing. Both are delicious in their own right, and both would make a grand lunch or light dinner.
This recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes was originally from my sister Chula at the Pudge Factor blog, but it is really more of a guide than an exact recipe. Depending on how many potatoes you are making and your family’s taste, you can add more or less of pretty much all of the ingredients and make them your own. And, speaking of making them, really all you do is bake the potatoes, scoop them out, mix all of the yummy ingredients up in a bowl, refill the potato shells and then bake to heat them up. Get it, twice baked potatoes? Pretty basic stuff! But sometimes in life, it’s the simplest things that are the best and Twice Baked Potatoes, no matter how you prepare them, are really simple!
When you are ready to prepare your Twice Baked Potatoes, preheat the oven to 375° F.
Wash and dry the potatoes. Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil or vegetable oil. Lightly sprinkle the potatoes on all sides with salt and pepper. Prick the potatoes in a few places with the tines of a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until the potatoes are soft when squeezed.
Let the potatoes cool just until you can handle them, do not let them cook completely.
Place the butter, sour cream, 1 Tbsp of heavy cream, half and half, or milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut the top off of each potato and carefully scoop out the pulp leaving about a 1/4 inch shell. Place the pulp in the bowl with the butter and sour cream mixture. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the potato mixture until it is fairly smooth and everything is well combined. If the mixture looks dry, add an additional tablespoon of heavy cream, half and half, or milk. Add the cheese and bacon bits and stir to combine.
Mound the potato mixture back into the potato shells and sprinkle with a little cheese.
If you are not going to serve the potatoes immediately, freeze in a single layer in the freezer. When frozen, place in a zip-lock freezer bag and return to the freezer. When ready to use, defrost in the refrigerator or the microwave until no longer frozen and follow the directions below for baking.
When you are ready to bake the Twice Baked Potatoes for the second time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake the potatoes for 30 minutes.
To make Broccoli Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes, follow the directions above and add 2 cups of frozen or fresh broccoli florets to the potato mixture before stuffing the potatoes and baking for the second time.
To make Buffalo Chicken Twice Baked Potatoes, follow the directions above and add 2 cups of cooked chicken, 2 Tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing and 2 Tbsp buffalo sauce to the potato mixture before stuffing the potatoes and baking for the second time.