Why Twice-Baked Potatoes Are Better Than Mashed

Why Twice-Baked Potatoes Are Better Than Mashed

Mashed potatoes are literal clouds of happiness. The potato, the butter, the cream, the salt. It’s like everything perfect in this world, in one fluffy form. A reasonable person wouldn’t eff around with such perfection, but I am not reasonable, so I’m here today to make a stand. You should make twice-baked potatoes instead.

Hear me out. Twice-baked potatoes are mashed potatoes. But also, crispy potato skins. Also, broiled cheesy goodness. And that’s just for the fans. As the person making dinner, twice-baked potatoes offer you an easy way to figure out how much potato to make–one large or two small per person. You can make them ahead and reheat them beautifully.

They give you a hundred more opportunities for individualization and diversification than a big plate of generic white mashed taters. Imagine if you have someone dairy free coming, you can easily separate theirs from the herd and make it with alternative fat instead. You can make some with bacon, and some without for vegetarian friends. You can vary the cheese from potato to potato, or go just absolutely bonkers and make a few with spicy cream cheese, for a kick. If you want to get fancy, you can pipe in completely smooth whipped potatoes, or just give them a manual mash and scoop them back into their crisp, starched jackets. The point is, you can switch things up and offer a veritable mélange of spud.

Carefully scoop out the inside.
Add mashed potatoes back to the potato skins.
Brown the potatoes under the broiler before adding cheese.
Each bite gets cheese, fluffy potato and crispy skin.

Also, while mashed potatoes are not by any stretch hard to make, these are easier. Really. You dunk them in melted butter or oil, bake them at 400 degrees for an hour, scoop ‘em out, mash the taters, and then scoop them back in. When ready to serve, broil those babies for a few minutes and then top them with cheese. I hear angels singing.

Twice-baked potatoes

(enough for four people)


  • 4 large or 8 small russet potatoes
  • 1.5 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • ½ cup of shaved gruyere cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (approx 200C) and place a rack in the top third of the oven, and another rack in the middle. Place a rimmed cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven.
  2. Wash the potatoes, dry them and then use a fork to pierce potatoes a few times on the top.
  3. Dunk the potatoes in the oil, making sure they’re completely covered. Now carefully place the potatoes, using a pair of tongs, on the top rack, directly over the cookie sheet, in case they drip.
  4. Cook for one hour, and then check that a knife will easily pierce the potatoes, going in through the top. If so, remove the potatoes and place them on a cookie sheet. If not, allow them to continue cooking until the knife does slip in easily.
  5. Allow the potatoes to cook enough to handle, but the hotter they are, the easier the mash will be. Carefully handle the potatoes, and slice the top third of the potato off, the long way, using a very sharp knife.
  6. Using a soup spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh of each potato into a bowl. The goal isn’t to get all the flesh out completely; it’s OK to leave ¼ inch or more of potatoes—but you do want to get out as much as you can without tearing the potato skins.
  7. Into the bowl, add your butter and then stir the potatoes until the butter is melted. Now add the cream, and with a fork, or potato masher or whisk, mix until the potatoes reach the consistency you like. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Using the same soup spoon, carefully scoop the mashed potatoes back into the skins, using the back of the spoon to press the potatoes into the skin. Distribute the mash evenly between the potatoes, and use the back of your spoon to neaten up the tops by swirling the spoon around.
  9. At this point, you can put the potatoes aside until you’re ready to reheat. At that point, turn the broiler on. Put the potatoes under the broiler until the tops are toasty brown.
  10. Divide the grated shaved cheese between the potatoes and put them back under the broiler until melted and bubbling.
  11. Garnish with herbs and sea salt, and serve while piping hot.

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