Recipe Review

This Irish Ingredient Is the Upgrade Your Twice-Baked Potatoes Need

published Oct 22, 2022
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Leite's Culinaria's twice-baked potatoes on a baking sheet
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

For anyone who spends a decent amount of time online looking at recipes, chances are you’ve stumbled upon Leite’s Culinaria. The site, founded by food writer David Leite, is filled with recipes, food writing, and cooking guides that are both inspiring and practical. It’s beloved by the food community and has even won a James Beard Award, so when I saw they had a recipe for twice-baked potatoes, I knew I needed to include it as part of my recipe showdown.

The recipe, adapted from the cookbook Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto, is simple, but has a few clever upgrades that elevate it. It calls for a combination of Irish cheddar and Parmesan in the base and the filling is piped into the shells to create a beautiful scalloped pattern. The recipe looked like a fancier version of the twice-baked potatoes I grew up eating, and I was eager to give it a try.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

How to Make Leite’s Twice-Baked Potatoes

Although this recipe feels a bit fancier than the other twice-baked potatoes I tested, it was actually one of the easiest ones to make. Start by cleaning some russet potatoes. Rub them with oil, pierce them with a fork, and bake them until tender. Let the potatoes cool and reduce the oven temperature.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then scoop out the flesh, taking care not to rip the skins. Pass the potatoes through a food mill or ricer, or smash them with a masher until smooth. Add half-and-half, sour cream, shredded Irish cheddar, scallions, melted butter, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the potato skins on an oiled baking sheet and spoon or pipe the filling into them. (I piped the filling using a large zip-top bag with the corner cut off.) Sprinkle the tops with more shredded cheddar and some Parmesan and bake until golden-brown. I enjoyed mine straight from the oven, but Leite’s notes that you can serve them with sour cream and additional scallions or chives.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Leite’s Twice-Baked Potatoes

This recipe was absolutely delicious and proof that a simple recipe can be elevated with quality ingredients. The Irish cheddar combined with the Parmesan gave these potatoes a bold savoriness, elevating them from a simple side dish to something special. The combination of half-and-half and sour cream added a rich dairy flavor and velvety texture that made them feel decadent. I also loved the addition of scallions. It added a pop of freshness that helped liven up the filling and prevent it from being overly rich. 

The only critique I can think of is that the filling felt a tad wet to me, but that could be because my potatoes skewed slightly medium in size versus large. That said, the potatoes were excellent and something I would happily eat again. It felt like a fancier version of the classic — yet still surprisingly simple to make.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

If You’re Making Leite’s Twice-Baked Potatoes Recipe, a Few Tips

Before you head into the kitchen to make this recipe, keep these tips in mind.

  • Splurge on a high-quality Irish cheddar: I used a Kerrygold cheddar and it was well worth the investment. The flavor shined through and took this potato from good to great. If you can get your hands on a nice Irish cheddar, this is the time to do so.
  • Take the time to pipe the filling into the shells: Not only does this make the potatoes look beautiful, but it also provides more surface area for the potatoes to brown — and more browning means more flavor!
  • Make sure to buy large russet potatoes: Leite’s recipe calls for using large potatoes, so make sure to buy ones that are big enough. Using smaller russet potatoes could affect the filling ratio and cause it to come out wet.

Rating: 9.5/10

Have you ever made Leite’s twice-baked potato recipe? Let us know in the comments!