This Loaded Potato Casserole is a classic comfort food that is the perfect side dish for gatherings big and small! They are the best cheesy mashed potatoes with bacon baked until bubbly!
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Best Twice Baked Potato Casserole
There is nothing more comforting than a baked casserole! It always brings with it a little extra love to the table.
This easy potato casserole is no exception, and not just because it’s got all the components of the ultimate comfort that is a twice baked potato, like crispy bacon, gooey cheese, and mashed potatoes!
It’s because all of that gets baked in a casserole dish until golden, bubbly, and delicious and it warms you from the inside out!
Perfect for making ahead and freezing if needed which is great anytime you need the fill the freezer of a friend or neighbor. I often bring it to potlucks and serve it at family gatherings because it’s so easy to make and it’s a hearty side dish that basically goes with everything!
- Potatoes: These are pretty flexible. I use Russets, but Yukon gold potatoes, red potatoes, or white potatoes are good choices too. Peel them and cut them into 1-inch cubes. You also have the option of leaving the skin on, however, I wouldn’t do this with Russet potatoes.
- Butter: Mashed potatoes that are creamy and buttery are heaven. It helps with consistency and adds loads of flavor. Use salted or unsalted, it’s up to you. If using salted butter, start with a bit of added salt to season then add more to taste.
- Heavy cream & sour cream: Both will add richness and creaminess to the potatoes, and without them, mashed potatoes would have a starchy texture. The sour cream gives them a slight tang as well.
- Seasoning: Garlic powder, salt, and pepper are all you need for flavor.
- Cheese: Grated sharp cheddar cheese for inside the cheesy potatoes and then of course for on top as well. This is also flexible to whatever your favorite cheese is. I just happen to like the sharpness that cheddar delivers.
- Bacon bits: Bacon bits add a nice salty, smoky flavor which always pairs well with cheese. And potatoes. And everything. Cook them ahead to save time.
- Sliced Green onions: For garnish and a pop of color.
1. Swap the bacon for diced ham. A great way to use up leftover holiday ham!
2. You can also use cooked chicken to bulk it up and make it a meal! It’s easy to use a store-bought rotisserie chicken and toss in some shredded pieces.
3. Make a vegetarian version of a loaded potato casserole by avoiding meat completely.
4. Use whole milk or any other choice of milk instead of heavy cream for lower calories.
5. Add Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Gouda, or even Mozzarella if you prefer any of them over cheddar. I have even added little cream cheese too.
How to Make this Potato Casserole
This loaded potato casserole recipe will come together with just 10 minutes of prep time, then the oven does the rest!
Step 1: Place potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Step 2: Drain the potatoes and then place them back to the pot or in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or with an electric mixer. Do not over-mash or they will become gluey and overworked, but you can adjust the consistency to your liking. Smooth and creamy, or slightly chunky.
Step 3: Then, add the butter, sour cream, heavy cream, and seasoning. Stir well to combine. Fold in half of the shredded cheese and half of the bacon bits.
Step 4: Transfer the mashed potato mixture into a prepared casserole dish then top with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.
Step 5: Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the cheese has melted. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!
- Shred your own cheese. If you can, avoid using packaged shredded cheese because it comes with a coating that helps to avoid clumping. It doesn’t tend to melt as creamy as freshly grated cheese from a block.
- Mix in the green onions. If you’re a fan of green onions, you can mix some into the potatoes too.
- For quicker mashed potatoes, use the Instant Pot. Cover the potatoes and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Cooking the bacon. Either use real bacon that comes precooked or use the time it takes for your potatoes to boil to cook the strips on the stovetop or bake the bacon in the oven.
- Double the recipe and make two baked potato casseroles and freeze one!
- Use baked potatoes. Then slice them and scoop out the potato and mash.
Can I make a loaded potato casserole in advance?
Prepare and assemble it fully but don’t bake it. Allow it to cool and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days ahead. You can also wrap it in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and keep it frozen for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to bake it, remove any plastic wrap, place the dish in a cold oven and then turn the oven on and cook as directed. You may need to tack on a few minutes extra minutes to warm through if it’s straight out of the fridge.
This is a dish best eaten right away but you can keep them for up to 3 days in the fridge.
It is! Once completely cooled, you can portion it out into foil packets and transfer them to a freezer bag to stay frozen for up to 3 months.
If frozen, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Reheat the loaded potato casserole in the oven or microwave for smaller portions.
Loaded Potato Casserole
- 2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 4 tablespoons butter ½ stick
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded and divided
- 1 cup bacon bits divided
- ¼ cup green onion sliced for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350° F and grease an 8” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large pot, add the diced potatoes and cover them with water. Bring to a boil medium-high heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.2 pounds potatoes
- Drain the potatoes into a colander and then add them back to the pot.
- Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency. You can leave them chunky or mash them more to your liking. (be careful not to over-mash).
- Then add the butter, sour cream, heavy cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper and stir to blend well.4 tablespoons butter, ¼ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup sour cream, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Next, add one cup of the shredded cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the bacon bits and gently stir to combine.2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup bacon bits
- Pour the potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Top with the remaining shredded cheese and bacon crumbles.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
- Garnish with sliced green onions if desired.¼ cup green onion
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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