These twice-baked sweet potatoes are an all-in-one creamy side dish served in their own jacked made sweet with maple syrup and savory with white cheddar and brown sugar bacon.
I’m no Southern belle, and being brought up in Utah, sweet potatoes were never much of a thing. Funeral potatoes casserole have been and will always be way more Utah’s style.
When roasted in the oven, baked sweet potatoes become so sweet and flavorful there’s not much need for adding anything else to them. But when special occasions like Thanksgiving (or any fall potluck party) comes around, dressing up the humble sweet potato with maple syrup, white cheddar cheese and brown sugar-laced bacon bits then baking them up twice is exactly what’s called for.
What’s In Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have long been known as the healthy cousin to the traditional white potato. They’re rich in fiber (so good for digestion) and the anti-oxidant beta carotene (even more than carrots).
The ingredients for these twice baked sweet potatoes are last for a while in the fridge and pantry, and made just right for keeping on hand. Here’s what you need:
- sweet potatoes: When stuffing, I look for more squat and robust than long and skinny
- light brown sugar
- melted butter
- half and half (or whole milk or cream)
- orange zest
- maple syrup
- white cheddar cheese (or other melty white cheese)
- kosher salt
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
Roasting potatoes in their skin jackets acts as a protector for the orange flesh within. Just like roasting any vegetable, the sweet potatoes become even sweeter and caramelized and super tender.
There are two methods for baking sweet potatoes:
- Wrap each of the potatoes in foil and bake.
- Place on a baking tray and leave to the wildness of the oven’s heat to do its thing.
Personally, I take the easy way out when it comes to baking sweet potatoes.
I don’t wrap. I don’t oil. I don’t salt.
I place the naked sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to pick up any juices that may escape) and bake at 400°F for 45 minutes or until pierced easily with a cake tester or a skewer. Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes every time.
How to Prepare Potatoes for Twice Baked Potatoes
The flesh of the sweet potatoes shrinks as it bakes and steams, pulling away from the skin. This makes it exceptionally easy to create sweet potato vessels or boats for your mashed potato mix to be served in.
Use a sharp paring knife (I like this one) to cut along the tops of the potatoes, peeling back the skin from the flesh.
Use a regular spoon to scoop out the insides of the potato, which should be soft and creamy and easy to lift.
Take care not to puncture or tear your potato skin boat. You don’t want any leaks in this ship of this side dish.
Place the cooked potato in a large bowl and set aside.
Make the Maple Bacon Crumble
Let’s take a step back to while the potatoes are baking…this is the waiting time to prep your sweet maple bacon crumble that will be creamed with the potato mash and also used as a crunchy topper.
Cut the bacon into ½ inch slices. I find it’s easiest to do after I’ve popped the bacon in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up and create clean slices.
Start the bacon in a cold, cast iron or non-stick skillet. Starting in a cold skillet reduces the shrinkage of the bacon as it cooks. Fry the bacon on medium heat until it’s about ¾ of the way done, with some still raw edges.
Stir in the brown sugar to the pan and drippings and cook for another minute or so, then remove from the heat. The residual heat will continue to cook the bacon and caramelize the brown sugar.
At this point, if you overcook the bacon and brown sugar, it will turn into a hardened, sugar-encased rock. Slower is better here. If you want to remove it from the pan, spread the bacon flat so it doesn’t clump as it dries.
How to Make the Creamy Sweet Potato Filling
Cream the cooked sweet potatoes with the melted butter (cooled, not hot or it will cook the egg!), half and half, egg, maple syrup, orange zest and kosher salt. I use a hand mixer so it’s nice and creamy.
The egg acts as a binder to make this mixture more solid and creamy by also adding a different level of fat. If you don’t want to use it, feel free to omit it.
TIP: To melt the butter in the microwave, add it to a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds, stir, then give it another blast for 15 seconds. If there is still a clump of unmelted butter in the bowl, stir until it melts into the melted butter around it, or, give it another quick blast.
Use a wooden spatula or spoon to fold in the bacon bits and cheddar cheese.
Taste for seasoning and smile with pleasure. Try not to eat it all now. It’s hard not to. I totally get it.
How to Pipe the Potato
At this point you could simply use a spoon and pile your creamed potato mixture into your awaiting potato skin jackets.
But you aren’t a heathen, so potato piping you will master! It’s super easy to to do.
- Take a plastic gallon size freezer bag and snip ½″ off one of the bottom corners of the bag.
- If you have an extra large piping tip, push it through the cut hole from the inside of the bag. If you don’t have a tip, don’t worry about it. You can do this without one too.
- Place the tipped edge of the bag ¾ of the way down in the middle of your left hand like the bottom of an ice cream cone, then fold the edges of the bag down around the outside of your hand. Fill the bag with half of the sweet potato mixture taking care to keep the top part of the inside of the bag clean. Twist the bag tight and release excess air.
- Pipe the potato into the bottom of the skin, then in one motion zig zag back and forth along the top.
How Long Do You Bake Twice Baked Potatoes
Because the sweet potatoes are already cooked and the fillings should still be somewhat warm (or at least at room temp) these potatoes need to be baked only until they warm and the cheese inside melts and the egg sets.
Bake the potatoes until hot, about 25 minutes. Top with more cheese and the bacon crumbles, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Drizzle with more maple syrup if desired, and serve.
More Sweet Potato Recipe Ideas
- Maple Buttered Sweet Potato Wedges
- Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Healthy Turkey And Sweet Potato Chili With Quinoa
- Sweet Potato And Black Bean Burritos
- Maple And Brown Sugar Oatmeal With Sweet Potato
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes With Maple Bacon
- 4 sweet potatoes , 12-14 ounces each
- 4 slices thick cut bacon , sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 tablespoons half and half at room temperature
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup , plus more for drizzling
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese
- Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook strips of bacon in a fry pan over medium heat until ¾ of the way done. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the bacon and cook to dissolve, stirring, about one minute. Remove from the heat and set aside where the bacon will continue to cook as it cools.
- Remove the cooked potatoes from the oven. While still warm but cool enough to handle, use a sharp paring knife to cut the top of the potato skin off the potato, peel it away, and discard. Carefully scoop out the cooked flesh from the potato, taking care not to puncture or tear the skin, leaving you a potato skin boat. Place the cooked potato in a large bowl, and repeat with the remaining potatoes.
- To the bowl with the potatoes, add the melted butter (cooled), half and half, egg, orange zest, maple syrup, and kosher salt. Use a hand mixer to blend until smooth. Fold ¾ cup of the white cheddar cheese and all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon chunks.
- Using a piping bag with a large star tip or a gallon size freezer bag with one corner trimmed at an angle about ¼ inch, fill the bag with the potato mixture, and pipe into the reserved skins.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and maple bacon and bake another 5 minutes or until melted. Drizzle with more maple syrup if desired, and serve warm.
More Potato-ish Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love
- How To Make The Best Mashed Potatoes
- Loaded Twice Baked Red Potatoes
- Mashed Cauliflower With Parmesan And Chives
- How To Make The Best Potato Salad
- Rosemary Garlic Butter Smashed Potatoes
- 21 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
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