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Easy Twice-Baked Potatoes

This recipe serves as a general method or base version, but it leaves a lot of room to play around and make these your own, as evidenced by the long list of optional ingredients. Pro tip: The easiest way to switch up the flavor is to use a different cheese—gruyère, aged gouda, or blue cheese are all delicious.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: twice baked potatoes
Servings: 4
Author: Molly Watson


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot or smoked paprika optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper optional
  • 1/4 cup minced chives or green onions optional
  • 2 strips bacon cooked and crumbled (optional)


  • Preheat an oven to 400°F. Use a fork to poke several holes in the potatoes. Coat the potatoes with the canola oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
  • Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the cooked potatoes and put in a large bowl; be sure to leave a thin layer of potato so the skin holds together as a shell. If you have a ricer, push the potatoes through it into the bowl.
  • Add the butter, milk, and sour cream to the bowl, along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mash the potatoes with a large fork or potato masher if you didn’t rice them.
  • Stir in half the cheese. Stir in any of the optional ingredients you’re using. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Fill the potato skin shells with the mashed potato mixture, setting them on a baking sheet or in a baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake until heated through and the cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.


Can you do the first bake in a microwave? Sure. But but you won’t get the great texture on the skin, which is part of what twice-baked potatoes are all about.