Last updated on February 8th, 2022 at 01:56 pm
This is one of the recipes that I am not sure of how or when I first encountered it. Most dishes bring memories from growing up or a specific restaurant, cookbook, friend, or something to tell me how I came in contact with it. Learning how to make twice baked potatoes apparently just happened at some point because I cannot recall. That’s not to say I don’t have great food memories of twice baked potatoes, but those mostly come from the get-togethers where they were eaten. Until they were all gone.
Cause they are irresistible.
At first thought, it seems strange to cook something twice. But there are actually some dishes that use multiple cooks – croutons, biscotti, toast, some methods for making french fries. As you can see by most of the items in the list, the main goal with a second cook is usually to get a good crunch or crisp. That is part of the goal with the twice baked potatoes. The other goal is to melt and combine all of the added ingredients.
So add these crispy-crunchy potato boats loaded with cheesy bacon potato filling to your cooking reportoire. It’s a side dish everyone will love. This is a delicious, inexpensive, easy crowd-pleaser that I use when making food for a gathering.
Prep Work for Twice Baked Potatoes
First of all, make sure to give the potatoes a hearty scrub. Get them nice and clean. A good, dedicated vegetable scrubber really helps out. Remember, potatoes are root vegetables. They grow in the dirt. Plus it is just good practice to scrub and wash your fruits and vegetables.
For this recipe, I don’t go into a whole ton of detail on the initial bake to get baked potatoes. If you want, feel free to follow my instructions for the perfect baked potato. When making baked potatoes to have as-is, that first bake is much more important. It is a little less of the focus when you are also mixing in other ingredients and cooking them again.
Bake the potatoes, cut them in half, and scoop out their insides. Make sure to keep all of the potato you are scooping. Leave just a bit of the potato on the inside of the skin so that it forms a kind of boat or bowl that we can fill back later. Gather the filling ingredients and mix it all together.
Now, scoop up the filling and load up those empty potato skins. And don’t be afraid to pile them high with filling. Then cook them for a second time until the outside is crispy, the bacon is sizzling, and the cheese is fully melted. Most of the time making twice baked potatoes is hands-off cooking, letting them sit for either the first or second bake until they are done. So I typically work on other parts of the meal while they are coming up to temp.
As always, feel free to mix whatever feels right into the filling for the potatoes. I typically do just this mix that is a traditional baked potato topping. But you could easily add some other protein, roasted garlic, powdered ranch dressing mix, nacho cheese, and more. The imagination’s the limit. Also what tastes good.
What’s My Secret?
I almost always do the second ‘bake’ on these twice baked potatoes on the grill. This is my great secret for making these the best they can be.
Doing the second potato cook on the grill while also grilling or smoking some chicken or ribs is awesome. Originally, I made this recipe by baking both times – hence the name twice baked. But now I generally do the second ‘bake’ one the grill or smoker because I think it adds a whole new depth of flavor to them. The bottoms of the potatoes can get that slight char. The flavor of those flames just adds something magical. I don’t know what it is exactly.
I think that I just happened to be grilling something the same time we planned on making twice-baked potatoes and that’s when the magic happened. Though it may have been because we lived in Arizona and wanted to cook and leave the heat outside rather than having the oven heat up the house. Cause it is too hot there.
The other secret is to have one or two extra potatoes in the first bake. Scoop those out, but do not refill them. This will leave more filling for the other potatoes. To really give them that overloaded baked potato feel. If you want, you can turn those few shells into potato skins which are kind of like a pared-back twice baked potato.
Fully-loaded twice baked potatoes. Try them next time you fire up the grill.
Twice Baked PotatoesCourse: Sides, AppetizersDifficulty: Moderate
Fully-loaded with cheese, bacon, and butter, these twice baked potatoes have a crisp crunch from cooking directly on the grill
8 large russet potatoes
1 3/4 cup cheddar jack cheese
1 stick butter, melted
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chopped, cooked bacon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped chives – optional for topping
- Bake the potatoes until tender using your preferred method (here’s mine)
- Let the potatoes cool slightly, slice them in half lengthwise, and let them cool until you can just start to handle them
- Use a spoon to scoop most of the inside of the potato out into a large mixing bowl, leaving the skin and a thin layer of potato intact
- Add the cheese, butter, cream, bacon, salt, and pepper into the mixing bowl with the scooped out potato
- Mix together everything in the bowl until thoroughly combined – a hand mixer works well for this
- Taste the filling and add more salt, pepper, cheese, bacon, butter, or cream to taste
- Preheat the grill (recommended) or oven to around 400°F (205°C)
- Scoop the filling up and load it into the potato skins from earlier, making sure each skin is full of the mixture
- If you are using the grill, place the filled potatoes directly onto the grill grates to cook – be careful of hot spots in your grill that may burn the bottoms of the potatoes
- If you are using the oven, place the filled potatoes onto a baking sheet and place them in the oven to cook
- Cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes until the outside is crispy, the cheese is fully melted and the top has started to brown