If you love a loaded baked potato, have we got a casserole for you. It's the ultimate baked potato — but in a casserole for all to share. This is inspired by crispy stuffed baked potato skins and the pleasures of bacon-topped baked potatoes, bringing both together to create one dreamy, creamy, crowd-pleasing casserole.
Chill some beer, set out your favorite hot sauces, and get read to turn yesterday's potato scraps into a next-day meal worth planning for.
Turn Leftover Potatoes Into a Dreamy Casserole
The secret to this spectacular dish is leftover baked potatoes. If you made more baked potatoes than you ended up needing, then you're in luck — they are the key to this casserole. (Of course, you can microwave or bake potatoes just to make the casserole too.)
The interior of the baked potatoes becomes the mashed potato base, and the potato jackets are baked until shatteringly crispy for a topping intended to remind you of the best loaded potato skins.
When you scoop out the spuds, leave as little flesh attached to the skin as possible without breaking them too much. When they're nice and thin, they crisp up well without a fryer in sight.
Load It Up!
Broccoli, crumbled bacon, chives, and hot pepper flakes aren't here for decoration (although they are colorful). They bring a variety of tastes — from oniony and smoky, to grassy and hot — that make this dish more than gussied-up spuds. The bacon also adds crunch atop the skins and gooey cheese.
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
For the casserole:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6 large russet potatoes, baked (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 large bunch fresh chives, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, divided
For the toppings:
10 to 12 slices smoked bacon, cooked and cut or broken into 1/4-inch pieces
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; set aside.
If the baked potatoes have been refrigerated or are not hot, wrap in paper towels, removing any foil, and heat each one separately the microwave for 45 seconds, or until the potatoes are piping hot and you need to handle them with a kitchen towel.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out as much of the potato "flesh" into a large bowl as you can while keeping the skins intact as much as possible; set the skins aside.
Process the potato flesh through a ricer or food mill, or if you like rustic-style potatoes, roughly mash them. (Don't use a food processor or you will get gummy potatoes). Place the potatoes back in the bowl, add about half the melted butter (save the other half for drizzling at the end), 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Mix gently, just to incorporate. Do not overwork or your potatoes will become gluey! Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high until it melts and begins to foam. Add the flour, whisk to combine, and cook until the mixture becomes a blonde color, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, whisk until smooth, and cook until heated through. Add the sour cream, whisk to combine, and cook until heated through. Add the Parmesan cheese and 1 1/4 cups of the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 385°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Transfer half of the potato flesh into the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Arrange the broccoli evenly on top. Pour or scoop the cheese sauce over the broccoli to coat. Cover with the remaining potato flesh in an even layer. Top with the reserved potato skins, skin-side up.
Drizzle the potato skins with the remaining reserved melted butter, then spray them with cooking spray just to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, half of the chives, and remaining 1 1/4 cups cheddar. Bake until the cheese melts and the casserole is completely warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Top with the crumbled bacon, red pepper flakes, and remaining chives. Serve immediately.
- Make ahead: The potatoes can be baked up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. The bacon can be cooked and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.