Twice baked potatoes, filled with a delicious mix of cream cheese, spring onion and bacon, topped with bubbling cheddar, comfort food perfection.
Twice baked potatoes are a firm favourite on my family’s dinner table. This dish is something I make regularly, albeit that the ingredients change from time to time, the filling for any baked potato being driven by what I happen to have in the fridge and store cupboards.
At this time of year, as the weather starts to change and the temperature starts dropping, all thoughts turn to more comforting food. For me baked potatoes are the perfect comfort food, warming you from the inside out. Delicious loaded with other flavours, but also perfect straight from the oven with butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.
My family enjoy twice baked potatoes all year round, however they do remind me of Guy Fawkes. When I was a child we would always go to our local village bonfire and fireworks display. It involved a walk through down a very dark road to get there so you always needed a torch, which for kids was exciting!
When we arrived there was always homecooked hot food on offer, soup, hotdogs and baked potatoes. I think that remains to me my fondest memories of bonfire night, stood around a huge fire in the middle of a farmers field, tucking into a piping hot baked potato.
What are the best potatoes to use for baking?
The best potatoes for baking with are either a Maris Piper or a King Edward. They are brilliant for baking as they don’t fall apart and their skins crisp up nicely. This is really important, you want potatoes that bake well as you want the skin to stay intact while you scoop out the flesh.
If you live in the US, a Russet or Yukon Gold potato would be a great substitute.
If watching your carbohydrate intake, another suggestion would be to use sweet potatoes in place of the white baking potatoes. However, sweet potatoes do not take so long to bake, so reduce the baking time. Test the sweet potato after 45 minutes to see if it is soft, if not pop back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
These twice baked potatoes use garlic and herb cream cheese in the filling as it adds a lovely mild garlic flavour to the mixture. However, if you would prefer you can substitute with normal cream cheese, sour cream or creme fraiche. You are just looking to add a creamy element to mix through the potato.
Spring onions add a lovely freshness to the mix, however you can also use leeks or chives instead to achieve the same fresh flavour.
If feeding vegetarian diners leave out the bacon entirely and ensure that the cheese you are using is suitable for a vegetarian diet.
How to serve these potatoes?
This recipe uses large baking potatoes, so we have allowed one half per person as this is a rich dish. However, if you are using smaller baking potatoes allow one per person.
Twice baked potatoes are full of flavour with bacon and cheese so serve with a dressed mixed salad or some steamed vegetables, for example broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage. As the oven is already on you could also serve with roasted vegetables.
Alternative potato toppings?
Looking for some alternative potato toppings, then why not try some of thee suggestions:
- Sour cream, bacon and chive, topped with grated cheese
- Cream cheese, smoked sausage and tomato, topped with grated cheese and jalapeno chilli peppers
- Creme fraiche, leek, roasted red peppers, roasted courgette, sweetcorn, chilli and parsley, topped with grated cheese, leek and parsley
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
This is a great make ahead dish, ideal for busy families. Make the recipe up to step number 6 in the recipe card and then allow it to cool completely. Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours in advance. Prepare your potatoes one evening and enjoy them for dinner the following day.
When you are ready to enjoy remove the potatoes from the oven, top with the grated cheese and remaining spring onion and pop into the oven. It may need an extra 10 minutes to heat through.
Why bake the potatoes twice?
Loaded baked potatoes are a twice baked dish. The first bake cooks the potato. The second bake allows for the filling to be mixed together, heated up and melted together with a bubbling cheese topping. However, if short of time bake the potato, cut it and pile on the toppings.
The reason I like this twice baked method is that it allows me to prepare the dish in advance, either the night before on the morning I plan to enjoy them for dinner. As any busy parent will tell you, prep ahead meals are essential for family dining mid week.
Can you freeze twice baked potatoes after baked?
I prefer not to freeze potatoes as I find that the texture can become grainy. As you can prepare the first step of baking the potatoes ahead I find that preferable to freezing.
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Additional recipe suggestions:
If you enjoyed this recipe then try some of our other simple recipes:
- Loaded Classic Hot Dogs
- Sticky Sausage Tray Bake
- Cajun Chicken Tray Bake
- Easy Chicken Tacos
- Indian Cottage Pie
- Spicy Onion Rings
Twice Baked Potatoes
- 2 large baking potatoes (approx 450g per potato)
- 2 tsp olive oil (optional)
- 200 g garlic & herb cream cheese
- 4 rashers streaky bacon
- 5 spring onions (thinly sliced)
- 100 g cheddar cheese (grated)
- salt & pepper
- Place the potatoes onto a baking sheet and place 1tsp of oil on each, rub over the potato and season with a little salt. [You can leave off the oil if you wish].
- Now place the potatoes in the oven to bake at 200CFan for an hour, turning once after 30 minutes. After one hour check with a sharp knife to ensure the potato is soft and cooked through, if not return to the oven until cooked. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and cut it into smaller pieces.
- Place the cream cheese, bacon pieces and 2/3 of the spring onion into a large bowl.
- Once the potatoes have cooled, slice then in half lengthways. Take each potato half and gently scoop out the potato flesh, taking care to leave just a little potato around the inside of the potato skins. Place the potato flesh into the bowl with the cream cheese, season well with salt and pepper and using a fork mash it all together. You want to achieve a rough texture.
- Place the empty potato skins into an ovenproof dish and spoon the potato and cream cheese mixture equally into the 4 empty potato skins.
- Next mix the remaining spring onion with the grated cheddar cheese and sprinkle equally over the 4 potato halves.
- Turn the oven down to 180CFan and return the potatoes to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •