These Loaded Baked Potatoes can almost make a meal on their own! Potato skins filled with creamy, cheesy potato mash and topped with all your favourite garnishes!
I had forgotten how much I used to like Potato Skins as an appetizer. I had a large bag of Russet potatoes, the best for baking because of their drier nature. I was trying to vary how I used them up when I remembered twice baked potatoes. That's where you bake the potato, scoop out the flesh and whip it up with butter and cheese etc. and then refill the skin. The 'loaded' part comes in with all the toppings you can add and toast on top.
I was serving these as a side dish so I limited my toppings to cheese and bacon bits and sour cream garnish. Green onions or caramelized onions would also be a nice addition.
If you were wanting to make a meal of it you could even consider pouring chili or Sloppy Joe mixture over the potato. Black beans along with some sour cream, shredded cheese and jalapenos would take this in a Mexican direction and retain the gluten free, vegetarian aspect of the dish.
You will want to really scrub your potatoes before baking to ensure you don't get have any earthy residue on your potatoes. My friend gave me a set of Potato gloves a few years ago and I love them. You just put them on and rub the potato all over. You can use your fingers to get into those little dimples! (Note if my enthusiasm leads you to purchase a pair via this affiliate link I may receive a small commission at no additional expense to you.)
Once your squeaky clean potatoes are baked you will need to leave them to cool a bit until you can handle them. But make sure to halve them and scoop out the flesh while they are still warm so your filling will have a smooth mashed texture.
Mash the flesh you have taken out and mix it with the butter, sour cream and cheese in a mixing bowl. Scoop out generous amounts to refill the skins. The additional volume of the mash and the cheese and sour cream will give you a generous mound to fill the skins.
Then top them with the toppings of your choice. I just added more cheese and bacon. You can assemble them to this point and hold them in the fridge even overnight. Then reheat them in the oven till they are hot through and toppings are melted and crispy.
If you want to turn your meal into a comfort-food-feast then try them with my Jazzed Up Meatloaf. Jazzed Up because it contains 2 unusual ingredients that make it tasty and moist!
Loaded Baked Potatoes
- 6 baking potatoes preferably Russets
- 3 Tbsps butter
- 1 cup light sour cream divided ½ and ½
- 8 oz grated cheese divided 6 oz and 2 oz
- 6 strips bacon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Baked potatoes until cooked through. Test potatoes for doneness with a fork after 45 minutes.
- While potatoes are baking, fry bacon until it is crisp. Remove strips to drain on a paper towel. Allow to cool and then roughly chop them into bits.
- When done remove potatoes from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. Cut potatoes in half as soon as you can handle them. Scoop out the cooked potato flesh and transfer to a mixing bowl. Leave the potato skin with a thin layer of potato flesh all over.
- Mash the flesh and stir in the butter, sour cream and 6 oz of the grated cheese. Stir well to combine.
- Mound the filling back into the potato skins. Top each half with 1/12 th of the remaining grated cheese and 1/12 th of the bacon bits. (If making ahead you can cover them and store in the fridge up to a day ahead)
- If serving immediately return potatoes to the oven till they are heated through and topping is melted (about 15-20 minutes).
- If making ahead remove them from the fridge about 15 minutes ahead and then reheat at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Serve with sour cream on the side.