Kitchn Love Letters

This Irish Grandma’s Secret for the Best Baked Potatoes of Your Life

published Mar 14, 2024
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twice baked colcannon potatoes on a baking sheet
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Never has an image haunted me as much as the photo of twice-baked colcannon potatoes. Just look at it. The toasty cheese spots! The crispy skin! The melty butter! Have you ever wanted to eat anything more? The recipe tastes even better than it looks. Buttery Irish mashed potatoes (aka colcannon) are loaded into baked potatoes, getting the absolute luxe treatment with lots of Irish sharp cheddar and a frozen butter pat that melts into an outrageously irresistible butter puddle after 30 minutes in the oven (more on that later). I’m sorry, but loaded twice-baked potatoes could never. 

This recipe comes from The Kitchn contributor Ivy Manning. “My grandma Manning served our favorite colcannon — buttery mashed potatoes with cabbage and green onions — with everything from leg of lamb to pork roast with apples, hiding a pat of ice-cold butter in the center, much to the glee of her grandchildren,” she says. These twice-baked potatoes are her riff on the classic, and I’ll forever be grateful for it. 

What Makes These Twice-Baked Potatoes So Good

What sets colcannon apart from the mashed potatoes you might serve at Thanksgiving are the greens. In both our colcannon and Ivy Manning’s twice-baked colcannon potatoes, we use a combo of Savoy cabbage and green onion. Manning says that by browning the cabbage and green onions, they take on “ a delicious sour cream and onion flavor.” 

The best part, according to Manning, though, is “plunging an ultra-cold tablespoon of butter into the center of each potato. You’ll leave the top of the butter exposed so it creates a buttery pool as the potatoes bake.” It’s this golden buttery pool that spoke to me most two years ago. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Why This Recipe Really Works

This potato recipe is filled with tips and tricks that could be applied to any twice-baked potato. (But really, why would you bother with another recipe?) The potato skins are properly oiled and seasoned so they get nice and crispy in the oven. Cabbage gets a punch of flavor from bay leaf and dried mustard — don’t skip them! And the secret for the smoothest, dreamiest mashed potato filling without any lumps? A potato ricer. (If you don’t have one, a potato masher will still get the job done, but if you do, now is the time to use it.)

Another smart trick I love is to rough up the tops of the potatoes with a fork before they go into the oven for the second time. This helps to create craggy edges that get super brown. The potatoes definitely don’t need bacon, but obviously some cooked and crumbly bits would taste amazing here. 

Get the recipe: Twice-Baked Colcannon Potatoes