twice-baked potatoes with kale

As I do every year, I woke up the morning after Thanksgiving with dueling urges to consume pie for breakfast as well as to repent with an endless sequence of brothy vegetable soups until I no longer dreamed of pumpkin cheesecake, cranberry caramel almond tarts and chocolate silk. I vowed make the wholesome side triumph this year, however, yet somewhere along my righteous path to eating kale salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I remembered that kale salad tastes absolutely nothing like pie and that was basically the end of that. By dinner that night, we were digging into terrifying heaps of spaghetti and meatballs at Carmine’s, followed by overstuffed chocolate cannolis. There wasn’t a ribbon of kale in sight.

three russets
i used chard, not kale, because it's what I had

By Sunday night, however, I’d found a happier medium between total submersion in butter, cream and chocolate and the kind of austerity measures that never quite cut it when it’s 33 degrees outside: the twice-baked potato, restuffed with not only the usual sour cream and cheese, but an entire bundle of greens. Greens make everything healthy, okay?

wilting the greens

all that's left after cooking and wringing
leeks, or, a leek

The inspiration came from a version on Food52 created by the blogger behind Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast who had served these, I think rather brilliantly, as a side to her family’s surf-and-turf Christmas Eve tradition. Of course, I ended up veering a bit off recipe, using less cheese (I hardly know myself, either) and sour cream, adding a softly cooked leek, using far fewer chile flakes (my heat wimpiness thus established) and then, although kale was supposed to be the theme, I actually had a bundle of Swiss chard ready to age out of the fridge and used that instead. You, too, can take liberties here: spinach would be welcome, or another green of your choice; you could use parmesan, goat cheese or cream cheese instead of the traditional cheddar or comté I used. If you’ve got a surplus of shallots or scallions instead of leeks after the holiday, you could use them instead.

ready to bake

But I do hope you make it because I cannot express loudly enough how much this hit the spot — toasty and a little decadent, but green enough that I didn’t even feel the need to make a salad on the side. It was the perfect light dinner cap on the end of a long weekend of heavy eating. Even the kid, suspect of all green things that are not steamed broccoli or cucumbers, ate one which means that this goes straight into the annals of weeknight favorites. Hallelujah.

twice-baked potatoes with kale and leeks
twice-baked potatoes with kale and leeks

This Thursday, 12/4/14: At the Food52 Holiday Market [168 Bowery, NYC], I’ll be demo-ing these Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Buns, one of my favorite festive winter recipes. The demo portion, 11 to noon, is ticketed ($10). The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook will also be for sale and I’ll be signing books between noon and 1pm; no ticket is required to attend the book signing. [Sign up, buy tickets and find more information on the Food52 Holiday Market site]

Signed Smitten Kitchen Cookbooks: Have you ever wanted to buy someone a Smitten Kitchen Cookbook but you wanted it to say something really specific, like Merry Christmas! or Congratulations on your engagement! (Now bake me some cookies.) or No matter what anyone else tells you, you’re my favorite reader. No seriously. It’s you. all of which have happened last year because you guys really are that funny and awesome. Well, you can! I work with McNally-Jackson, an independent bookstore in Soho to sign books; I sign them, they mail them out. This year, we have a hard deadline for Christmas shipping (i.e. you’d pay standard and not rushed shipping and the book will reach you by Christmas) of Monday, December 15th. [Order Custom Inscribed Smitten Kitchen Cookbooks from McNally Jackson]

One year ago: Cigarettes Russes Cookies
Two years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
Three years ago: Nutmeg-Maple Butter Cookies
Four years ago: Apple Latkes
Five years ago: Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake and Balsamic-Braised Brussels with Pancetta
Six years ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes, Cabbage Apple and Walnut Salad
Seven years ago: Tiramisu Cake and Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
Eight years ago: Apple Pie and Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Nancy’s Chopped Salad
1.5 Years Ago: Lobster and Potato Salad
2.5 Years Ago: Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing
3.5 Years Ago: Fudge Popsicles

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale
Adapted from Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast via Food52

I think these could also be good as a party appetizer, perhaps twice-baked little red potatoes? A little fussy, scooping and restuffing all of those little potatoes, but what delicious bites they’d be. A melon baller made easy, neat work of the scooping (also my favorite to remove halved apple cores).

Serves 6 as a side; 3 as a hearty main

3 russet potatoes (mine were 9 to 10 ounces each)
1 bundle lacinato kale (aka dinosaur, tuscan or black kale), swiss chard or spinach (10 ounces)
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar, gruyere or comté, 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino, or 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese or goat cheese, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

Heat oven to 400°F (205°C).

Cook potatoes the first time: Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel. Pierce all over with a fork so that steam escapes [raise your hand if you’ve forgotten to do this and had the pleasure of jumping three inches off the sofa due to an oven ka-pow!] Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center with a skewer. Leave oven on.

Alternatively, you could microwave fork-pierced potatoes for 10, turning them over halfway through to ensure even cooking. You could also boil the whole potato for 15 minutes.

While potatoes cook, prepare your filling: Tear kale, chard or spinach leaves from stems (you can save the stems for another use, such as a vegetable stock or juicing) and plunge leaves in cold water to remove any residual dirt or grit. No need to dry them when you’re done. Tear leaves into large chunks. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add greens and a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan with just the water clinging to the leaves until they wilt and collapse. Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, wring out any extra moisture in small fistfuls. On a cutting board, finely chop greens. You should have about a cup of wrung-out, well-chopped greens; don’t worry if you have a little more or less.

Trim leek down to just yellow and pale green part. Halve lengthwise — if it’s gritty inside, plunge it in cold water to remove grit, then pat dry. Cut leek halves lengthwise again, so that they’re in quarter-stalks, and thinly slice.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add butter and oil. Once both are warm, add leek and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until mostly tender and sweet, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try to avoid letting it brown. Add chopped greens back to skillet and warm with leeks, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl.

Prepare potatoes: When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness of skin and potato (essentially, you want to leave a shell inside for stability) and add potato filling to bowl with leeks and greens. Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet. Mash potatoes, leeks and greens together until smooth. Stir in the sour cream, 3/4 of cheese and more salt and pepper than you think you’ll need. Heap filling in prepared potato skins. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 of cheese.

Bake potatoes a second time: For 20 to 30 minutes, until bronzed and crisp on top.

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193 comments on twice-baked potatoes with kale

  1. Smitty

    I made this as stuffed potatoes once. Then I just started making it with peeled, boiled potatoes, with the same treatment but baked in a dish. Less fussy and even more delicious because the bottom and sides get crusty cheesy browned, too!

  2. It’s like baked spinach dip meets a potato skin…two favorite appetizers in one swoop. Along those lines, maybe an artichoke would be a welcome addition…

    1. deb

      blamesarah — It is! I mention this in the post and the recipe. I was going to call this “twice baked potatoes with greens” but I have found that this just leads many people asking me if they can make it with kale. :)

  3. Margaret

    Looks wonderful!!! Cheesy deliciousness. And I am with you on the OD on heavy food. Last night I made your chicken fajitas for dinner and was just pleased that there was no butter involved.

  4. Ariella

    This sounds delicious! I think you could potentially also mixed sausage into the stuffing, which would add both flavor and protein. I think I may put this together sometime this week…

  5. How was Di Fara? I didn’t really know too much about it until I read Molly W’s Delancey, but now it’s on my must-do list next time I’m back in the city. How bad were the lines? He makes each one himself, right?

  6. Susan

    This looked so familiar that I had to hunt through your recipe index. It’s similar to one of the fillings in your potato knish recipe, sans cream cheese. I think I used cabbage when I made the knish, so I imagine you could use cabbage here, too. This is going to stick in my head until I finally make it, so I might as well just go for it to save me from the haunting. I agree, it would make an excellent mini for an appetizer.

  7. Amy

    Wow, this looks like colcannon that died and went to heaven! I’ve become a big fan of mashing sauteed kale and scallions into potatoes (along with liberal lashings of butter and cream), but as usual you’ve taken it to the next level.

  8. Confessional

    I actually make a riff on this but with vinegar and kielbasa tucked in (Has to have meat or no male in the house will touch it). I knew our boys would have nothing to do with the chard so I named it “goose poop potatoes” because the greens do sorta look like goose poop in the snow (I use white cheese). I know that is not a very appealing mental visual but to 3, 5 and 9 yo boys it is heaven in a potato cup.

    I haven’t been to your blog in a while so I was shocked to see your little fella without his big ol’ curls and now is a little man. Made even ME sorta sad! Virtual hug to mama. I hate when that happens.

    1. Christina Manning

      Goose poop potatoes! HAHAHAHAHA! You rock, Mom! Brought to mind a question from my, then, 13 y.o. “What’s for dinner?” “Ratatouille.” Is that that regurgitated-lookin’ stuff that’s actually good?” Bingo!

  9. This is really embarrassing. I have been eating baked potato with kale for nearly every meal for the past 3 days (breakfast included). I am not sure what’s wrong with me! It’s just so easy to pop a potato in the oven. Maybe it’s that transitional comfort food quality? I haven’t tried twice baking them, though! Just steamed the kale and heaped it on top of the cheesy, peppery, buttery goodness. Preheating the oven…

  10. Katelyn

    This seems like a small thing but I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you giving the weight of things like potatoes. Small-medium-large, where potatoes and cut-your-own-Christmas-trees are concerned, is really in the eye of the beholder. I have my winter CSA pickup this week and I can’t wait to try this recipe with my potatoes and kale!

  11. blamesarah

    oh I am definitely going to start actually reading the posts in that case :) We just made twice baked potatoes and they were missing something. This looks like the perfect recipe. And I love chard.

  12. That’s a funny coincidence: I made baked potatoes last night (with broccoli topped with garlicky panko.) It was “cooking” without really cooking and I too couldn’t deal with any more pie or stuffing. OK I lied. I had pie after.

  13. karen on the coast

    Add a crispy fried egg on top and that takes care of breakfast (should there be any leftover potatoes from a previous meal — or extra ones made!).
    As I read this, I thought that tossing in a handful or two of frozen peas may work well, too; the other idea — re making these into appetizers — was to slice the potato halves lengthwise in half again and then into quarters or thirds, depending on the size of the potato, before tucking them into a stick-free or well oiled mini muffin pan. Could put a bit of the grated cheese in first — a la frico — and then bake…hm, maybe I ought to go and just do that right now, while my mouth is watering…:-)
    Loving the light in your pics here, plus the beautiful contrast provided by the dark cutting board. It really lifts up the the colour and details of the food. That is what sets Smitten Kitchen style apart from other presentations, glad to see it again!!
    Thoroughly enjoying your posts, it is the only blog I take time to follow consistently — even if I only post periodically — and to incorporate the recipes into my daily fare. Thanks Deb (and Alex and Jacob) for sharing your life with us.

    PS that pic of Jacob in the elevator has to be one of your all time best, I find the lighting, angle, composition and colour contrast stunning (let alone the expression on your sons face); and since the elevator goes from 0 to 60 in no time flat, there could have been no time for set up — this is one of those miracle pics that just happen out of living in the creative flow…lovely!

  14. Chad

    Deb, I could have sworn you described yourself as a “kale skeptic” during a recent NPR interview… Have you been converted by the righteous green light of this super food? Nonetheless, the potatoes do look delicious- even way out here in Idaho. I guess I may have to break down and also embrace the kale bandwagon. Thanks for the recipe.

  15. Kimberly

    Deb, this brought me straight back to my childhood. My parents were doing Meatless Monday’s before it was cool, and if my mom was running late or plain didn’t feel like cooking, my father would bake potatoes, steam broccoli or cauliflower, and make ‘loaded’ twice baked potatoes for dinner. It is a great way to use up other leftovers and the effort is perfect for a weekday night. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. barb

    This looks incredible and I will probably make them tonight. Do you think it would work with sweet potatoes? I’ve never tried to twice-bake them.

  17. I love how you used a melon baller to scoop these out. I usually just use that tool for fruit! What a good idea. And of course, this is the perfect potato comfort food side dish. Or main meal? Just add a little cheese. And then of course they’ll still be room for dessert =)

  18. What a great recipe. Altho I am back in my home country of The Netherlands now, I did spend a few years living in the East of England, where kale is a very popular and easy-to-get food. And since then, I love it and am always looking for new recipes. Thank you for this new addition to my recipe book. :)

  19. JIW

    These look great. I make a version of this I learned from Chef John who stole it from someone else, I can’t remember who. But anyway. Irish potato dish called “colcannon”. Made with mashed potatoes and cabbage. I made a version using kale and left the skin on my mashed potatoes. Less effort than scooping out the potato, but not as fun a presentation. But otherwise pretty much the same ingredients. and very good. But then potatoes always make a side dish….

  20. Leah

    Deb, I noticed you usually specify dinosaur kale. I confess that when I buy it at my local store, it’s just labeled “kale.” Is the flavor difference enough to justify seeking out lacinato/dinosaur/tuscan variety?

  21. deb

    Leah — I prefer the lacinato/dino/tuscan because it’s thinner and more tender. However, curly kale can definitely be used. I am trying to remember off the top of my head, but the last time I lined them up when recipe testing, the curly kale comes usually in heavier bundles but you get fewer leaves from them because it’s more stem-heavy. You’ll want to cook it a few more minutes to wilt it. You may not need to wring moisture from the kale at all, so use your discretion.

    JIW — I was thinking of colcannon! I wanted to experiment with cabbage, but succumbed to popular kale pressure. I hope I’m not getting dull in my advanced age.

    Chad — I have succumbed. I sometimes even eat it by choice. It may have been the kale Caesar-ish salad at Barbuto or this one, from The Smith, either of which I could eat by the bucketful. I remain ever the skeptic, though! I am suspicious of trendy foods and food fervor in general. Mostly, most of us are just trying to make dinner, right?

    She’s Poised — It’s totally transitional comfort food. And cheap. And classic.

    Confessional — It’s okay, my husband thinks this needs bacon. But what doesn’t? I, too, am devastated over the curls but I cannot do anything — and I have tried everything — to get them to come back. :(

    Mollie — I’d reheat them at 300 or 350 for 30 minutes. I actually made them around lunchtime, left them out on the stove, and reheated them at dinnertime but they weren’t fully chilled, it took 20 minutes. From the fridge, they could be wrapped in foil and mostly heated in the foil, then you can remove it for the last few minutes so it gets crispy again.

    Susan — I totally forgot about the knish! You’re so right. I’m always messing up perfectly delightfully unhealthy potatoes with greens.

    Molly — So, it was my only trip but the pizza is excellent. We’ve been wanting to go for years but the lines are nuts and there is no way my kid is going to wait in an hour or more line for some famous pizza either. It turns out, you can book private parties there! It definitely costs a bit more (about the price of a pie per person) but you get the whole place to yourself and he basically makes pizza until everyone is done eating, they just keep coming — you can BYOB, too. I have a friend who set it up. You need to plan far in advance; they’re usually booked up for 6 months. But I think doing it this way — no line, no throng of people at the counter — is perfect.
    karen — Thank you, for all of that. The elevator picture was a lucky catch. It helps to have your phone surgically attached to your hand. :) The cutting board, btw, is from the shop of another food blogger, 101 Cookbooks’ Quickeeto. It’s probably my favorite thing I bought this year. I oil it the way a car maniac might lovingly wax their car.

    zulkey — OMG, congraaaatulations!

  22. Jen H.

    It’s like you read my kitchen’s mind! We have tons of lacinato kale leftover from a Thanksgiving, which we’re madly trying to think of uses for, as well as russet potatoes, a stray leek, and unused scallions. Any tips about preparing parts of this dish in stages (i.e. baking potatoes the night before) and/or freezing these? How long do you think these will keep for in the fridge?

  23. Hi Deb–I seem to have everything on hands except leek! Could I use a very finely sliced regular white onion, or perhaps the white parts of a bunch of scallions? I have both of those. What do you think would work best, if one is leek-less? :)

  24. Catherine

    So I don’t think you’ve ever hit so incredibly perfectly the intersection of “what we have in the fridge/pantry”, ” what my seven year old will eat without complaining ” and “what I feel like making for dinner.” We all cleaned our plates, and that was subbing feta as the cheese and leaving out the leeks (didn’t have any.) Thank you for your perfectly timed post today!

  25. Jill Arden

    I ALWAYS eat pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. I didn’t hit the wall with pie until Sunday. Then I made soup with there turkey carcass. But these look really good. Especially with Swiss Chard. I’m just not a kale fan. (Are you allowed to say that on a food blog comment? I’m so not trendy.) Spinach, yum! Swiss Chard, good. Kale, not so much.

  26. Margit Van Schaick

    Kale, sautéed with olive oil and 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth added toward end of cooking, on medium heat until really, really tender is delicious, and so much easier to eat, either on it’s own or used with other elements, as in this wonderful recipe. My mother was born in Hungary and I learned from her to cook all vegetables until they are meltingly soft and utterly decandantly scrumptious. But, as to which I love most, kale or chard, chard it is! And, it cooks so much more quickly. Thanks for posting this very appealing recipe!!

  27. Meg

    Any ideas for the scooped out potato pieces? Mashed potatoes? Potato salad? This looks amazing, and reminds me of the sausage stuffed potatoes which were. so. good. Thank you!

  28. JP

    At #48, before commenting, it would help to read the blog. Deb clearly stated: “I actually had a bundle of Swiss chard… and used that instead”. Sheesh.

  29. Sarah in Oregon

    I made a dairy-free version tonight for dinner (we are vegan) and they were great!
    I used spinach instead of Kale because that’s what I had – And also used Yukon potatoes since I also had those – would certainly make again.

  30. evadee

    how about a mini versions of these for cocktail hour? With small red potatoes or some other bite size variety cut in half? Have u ever tried it or seen it? I’m always looking for hearty healthy vegetarian one or two bite (read no dishes) hors d’oeuvres.. thanks.

  31. Dahlink

    It amazes me how so many people only seem to “read” the photos. I make photo books of our travels, and I have noticed the same thing–people will often skip the captions. They could save themselves a lot of questions!

  32. deb

    Adrienne — The Chocolate Silk Pie is in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and I’m sure online in one version or another by now.

    evadee — I think it would be great; I mention this in the recipe’s headnotes.

  33. Gaynell

    My daughter actually did the little red potatoes for Thanksgiving as an appetizer, and they worked wonderfully. We always put broccoli and mushrooms in ours, but this year she skipped the broccoli because of how small those red potatoes are. They were a hit, we’re thinking we’ll have to include them every year now! lol

  34. Vickie S.

    Oh oh oh! This looks fantastic! I love kale so much, in fact I’m surprised my skin hasn’t turned green from all the kale I eat. Will definitely make this, thank you!

  35. Stephanie

    Your red potato idea is something we’ve made for a few years! It’s my husband’s Super Bowl snack request, and was something I based loosely on a Vegetarian Times recipe. My stuffing go-to is spinach, cheddar, cottage cheese and the potato innards (I also use the melon baller trick!). You top them with cumin & chile spiced sour cream and Bacos.

  36. Sally

    Making this right now – I assume that “if needed” is a typo so I’m slicing the leek – but you may want to fix this:

    Cut leek halves lengthwise again, so that they’re in quarter-stalks, and thinly slice. leek if needed.

  37. Jill

    We get a farm box each week and it has been overflowing with kale lately, and probably will the rest of the year. None of my kids will touch it and I’m running out of ideas for how to use it all up. Much as my husband is not a baked potato guy, this looks delicious and I think we’ll try them tonight.

  38. Marcia

    Perfect use for LO kale from T’giving (used most of the bunch to decorate turkey platter and then my official carver did the actual carving on a cutting board and no one but the two of us saw the beautiful presentation of turkey, kale leaves, and red and yellow cherry tomatoes. sigh…)

  39. Jess.

    I think you have officially made it as a food blogger when your fandom demands “this side of the world” recipe recommendations and “other side of the world” six-month alternatives. It could not have happened to anyone more deserving. superXOX

  40. Juliet

    Hi, Deb. You forgot to tag this recipe as gluten free. I’m not a nit picker but I do a lot of cooking for people with celiac disease and wouldn’t want anyone to miss out.

  41. YUM! I’m a huge fan of different types of potato dishes. Adding in kale & cheese just makes the dish that much more exciting. Your photos are always so incredible. Looking forward to making this.

  42. These look awesome. I, too, crave green vegetables after Thanksgiving (even if I did make Suzanne Goin’s amazing kale stuffing for the holiday). And I never get tired of the smell of sauteeing leeks.

  43. hamletta

    Healthy twice-baked potatoes! Genius! It really is like colcannon in a potato skin, which my late mother told me to eat to make my hair curly. Which leads me to…

    … the kid’s hair. Like me, he probably has hair-type Wavy, which means it comes out of his head straight, then curls after an inch or so, depending on length. Longer lengths pull out the curl more. The last time I got my hair cut short, I had no discernible curl, and the hairdresser gave me a perm at the crown just to fix the shape of her cut. (It was for a hair show.)

    IIRC, your husband’s hair is super-curly, as is my dad’s. The curl formation starts at the scalp. Curl can be different from our parents. My mom’s hair was baby-fine and Wavy, and my brother are at different points between.

    There’s a rabbit-hole of internet crazy around curly hair. I’m just guessing here. Maybe when school lets out you skip a haircut or two and see if the curls return.

  44. Annalisa

    This was perfect for the night before payday with nothing but bits and bobs leftover from an open house! I love a really flexible recipe; I made this with spinach, a dying shallot, pre-grated parmesan, greek yogurt, and medium red potatoes, and it was delicious. Plus, I used your ever handy rule of mealtimes: If you put a fried egg on top, it’s dinner! My family and I thank you.

  45. Christine H

    Just made these for dinner, loved them! Although, I hate waiting for potatoes to bake–in my oven, they take so long!–next time I think I will bake the potatoes on the weekend when I have something else in the oven, and then have them ready to make for dinner during the week.

  46. Hayley

    Tried this last night as respite from Thanksgiving leftovers (still!) using what I had on hand…beet greens and shallot instead of leek, aged sharp cheddar. Two people gobbled up the spoils! Excellente!

  47. Ellen

    Three teenage sons wolfed down my abbreviated version-a kale victory! I had smallish potatoes, cheddar, purple/green kale, scallions and three strips of crumbled bacon. Everyone was happy, thank you for a great dinner idea!

  48. CS

    Made these last night, doubled recipe so we could have leftovers. The family gave this one a thumbs up! For extra protein added mild Italian turkey sausage meat (no casings) to the sauteing leeks. Would have been easier to mash the potatoes on the side for smoother consistency, but the small chunks were kind of nice. Used combo of dino kale and rainbow chard, used half 0% yogurt and half sour cream, omitted cheese in the filling and only put it on top. Served it with some red salsa on the side. I also prepared it all in a large wok, no extra bowls to clean that way, other than the colander and cutting board. For the first time, mine turned out like the photo (usually my things turn out more “rustic” looking…)!

  49. Rena

    Would this work if I baked all the filing together in a baking dish rather than refill the potatoes? Looking to make this easier for a weeknight dinner.

  50. I love potato skins, especially sweet potato skins. You know what? I’m gonna try this recipe using sweet potatoes. I’ll let you know how they’ll turn out!

  51. Nat

    I made this with sweet potatoes, kale and coconut milk. It would have been 1,000 times better if I had had some cheese on-hand, but I actually really liked it as is. Looking forward to making your hot chocolate mix tonight!

  52. Alegz

    I used roasted garlic+spinach instead of leek+kale for the filling and it was very very tasty. Great base recipe for a lazy autumn/winter dinner.

  53. Gale

    This was the most delicious thing I’ve made in at least a month. I threw in some chopped prosciutto just because I had it on hand. They were great as a side with sautéed chicken for dinner, and as a main course for lunch the next day. My kids (ages 6 and 3) also gobbled them up. Thanks, Deb!

  54. Bev

    A neighbor brought me enchiladas so I had an container to return. These potatoes looked just right for filling that container. I had smaller potatoes so used about 2 lbs. worth. Still had lots of spinach and leeks from my CSA and a cheese drawer full of odds and ends. Ended up using a 5.2 oz. pkg. of boursin and a little parmesan and totally forgot to add the sour cream or any salt and pepper but the potatoes were wonderful without them.I added two links of Italian sausage to the leeks and cooked those together Also got a call from the neighbor since I put the potatoes in her refrigerator when she wasn’t home and left a note for her. She had taken her little boy to the doctor and was happy to have something to eat when she got home. She said that she and her husband had to arm wrestle over the last one. My husband says this flavor combination would be good as a soup.

  55. Susie Lou

    Twice-baked potatoes are a go-to meal. I make mine with broccoli, scallions and sharp cheddar, a little milk and butter and fresh nutmeg. I sprinkle smoked paprika on top. Your recipe looks wonderful and very eatable, and will make a few for myself. Kale will never pass my husband’s lips. Too bad for him!

  56. ariella

    Made this tonight and it was lovely. The kale flavor came through but wasn’t overbearing, and it was well-seasoned. Unfortunately, i fail at twice baked potatoes, so ended up cooking the mixture in an 8×8 glass pan. Worked like a charm.

    I made a couple changes – sweet potatoes instead of regular and i added two breasts’ worth of diced chicken to the mixture because i thought it needed protein. It came out very well, which just goes to show what a versatile recipe this is.

  57. Priscilla

    This is a delicious flavor combination! I didn’t have much luck with the boiling method, though. The skins started falling off the potatoes before the insides were done. Maybe I scrubbed them too much? I wound up dicing the under-cooked parts and lining a pan with the salvaged fragments of skin and just baking the whole thing. Tasted great-just wouldn’t recommend boiling if aesthetically-pleasing is a goal! Added a fried egg on top for protein.

  58. StephanieR

    We made these last night and they were delicious! We had spinach from the last gasp of our farmshare and combined it with Beecher’s flagship cheddar. It was SO good. Thank you for another incredible recipe!

  59. Liz

    I’m double checking- we use three kinds of cheese here, right? Cheddar or gruyere, as well as parm or pecorino, and also goat or cream cheese. Or, is it just one of the many delicous cheese options? (fingers are crossed for all three…)

  60. deb

    Actually, I was only suggesting one — either you could use 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar, gruyere or comté [OR] 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino [OR] 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese or goat cheese, softened, mostly listed separately because each type of cheese benefits from its own measurement for maximum impact, but I realize how confusingly this reads. That said, there’s not reason NOT to use more than one or a combination of three. Or more than I suggest. Nothing bad will come of this at all.

  61. JP

    Made this tonight, changing around the order on how things were done a bit, and using Monterey jack cheese. As others have done, just put it all in a dish to bake for 15 minutes until browned. Very yummy! I had never mixed kale and potatoes before and I am sold! Thanks, Deb.

  62. Lizzie

    The potatoes I had were too small to be stuffed like this, but I had all the ingredients, so I just smashed up the little potatoes with all of the filling ingredients and baked them in a dish with cheese on top. Delicious! Thanks!

  63. the gert

    Loved these. Loved them so much I made them FOR MYSELF for my birthday. Next time I would probably add bonus cheese and cream. Come to think of it extra cheese and cream would have been a pretty good birthday present. Next year.

  64. Nancy in Vancouver

    These turned out great! I substituted some and it all worked: beet greens (turned the potatoes pink- this was unexpected, but should not have been ;) ) + spinach, and I used a little bit of buttermilk instead of sour cream (b/c I didn’t have any). I always get called out for throwing handfuls of greens in every dish- some work better than others. This. This is a recipe built around the concept! Yay! Thanks, Deb! Weeknight favourite!

  65. They´re so delicious! I made them for the first time in my dolomites holidays and since then my family and I are crazy about them:-D

    Yummy….Can´t wait to eat them again:-)

  66. Jane

    Hi Deb, quick (hopefully not annoying question): Can I make the potatoes, but before doing the second bake, put in the fridge? I was thinking of making them up through that step a day ahead, then finishing the second bake the next night. I really want to make these for Christmas dinner, but it will be too much prep the day of. I need something I can just throw in the oven. Thanks!

  67. Rachael

    I loosely followed this recipe to make tiny twice baked potatoes with spinach, chives, cream cheese, cheddar, and the smallest potatoes I could find. I prepped everything up until the second bake the night before, then stored them in the fridge and baked them for the full amount of time the next day. They were a hit at book club!

  68. Rachel

    I just got done making these and they are absolutely delicious! I couldn’t find leeks at the store so I subbed in sweet vidalia onions, and I used sharp white cheddar as my choice of cheese. I’m definitely making these again.

  69. Laura

    Going to try these tonight. They look great!

    I also just wanted to say that I love the fact that the baking sheets you use (and photograph) look used. Mine are rough looking and I’m always a bit dismayed when I see perfectly shiny pans in photos on cooking blogs. What is their secret? I wonder to myself. I’m beginning to realize that there is no secret…pans that are used (and well loved) will look used.

  70. Heather L

    Yum! These were so so good. Ahem…even without the salt and paper which I forgot. We added it as we ate and it was delicious…I won’t forget next time! (Used kale, leek and both Gruyere and cheddar cheese.)

  71. Kathryn

    I think something went wrong. I boiled the potatoes for 15 minutes as directed (only because I didn’t have time to bake them for an hour), but the insides were still really undercooked and tough to scoop out, and also therefore were basically impossible to mash. The skins also peeled off when I was working with them and caused the potatoes to break into pieces. What should I do differently next time?

  72. I had some trouble scooping out the insides (I guess I should buy a melon baller!) so they ended up being a little unstable, but they were DELICIOUS. I left out the leek (mostly out of laziness), and used goat cheese. It was just perfect. I can’t wait to try it again w/ the leek, and to experiment w/ different kinds of cheese (the goat cheese was amazing, but this recipe is too good not to make multiple times and try out different cheeses, maybe a sharp cheddar)…

    You have totally become my favorite recipe blogger. Lots of sites have recipes that LOOK good, but yours are consistently out of this world. Every single time I make something from your blog, I love it and am excited to try it again. Thanks for being amazing!

  73. Claire

    I made these for my parents and sister a couple months ago (adding leftover ham) and they loved them and then I made them for a friend a few weeks ago. She said that she expected them to be good, but that they were practically life-changing. Like you, I used chard and cheddar (the sharper the better). My only note is that I used red chard once and the batch I got was really red and managed to dye the filling an odd shade of pink. They looked funny, but they still tasted good. Also, these are good with the addition of diced ham or crumbled bacon and reheat well.

  74. Dominika

    This recipe is the best new recipe I’ve tried all year. Pretty much life-changing.

    Please make this! It’s delicious. And perfect. Adaptable, make-ahead, can be a main dish or side dish, vegetarian, gluten-free. Seriously, these are killer!

    You can change things up to your liking, but I highly encourage the leeks (it really makes a difference). I used kale, sour cream, cheddar, and Parmesan. I had no problem scooping out the potatoes (baked them) and didn’t even really need to leave much behind – the skins were quite sturdy. I added a splash of milk to the mash just to loosen it a bit.

    Served it with roasted brussel sprouts and kielbasa. Perfection. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers. Thank you for this recipe!!!

  75. Jen H.

    How do you think these would freeze? I think I might make these this week and freeze a couple (after wrapping them in tin foil) before the second bake. We’re on a freezer kick lately. Thoughts?

  76. becki

    I made these for dinner, but I had a lot of sweet potatoes to use up, so I used those instead of regular potatoes. I added a little bit of bacon and used green onions instead of leeks – but so delicious! thank you for the inspiration!

  77. I made these this week as a Thanksgiving tester recipe and they were great! I’m thinking to make them Thursday at TGiving with smaller potatoes so they aren’t such a big (and filling) commitment. Here’s the question — I bought some beautiful purple, and pink potatoes at my local farmers market..but now I’m having second thoughts about using them. I know it’ll taste great, but will the dish look unappetizing once i’ve mashed the purple and pink taters together and added the greens?! They say the presentation of food is half the flavor…(or something like that!) In short, I love purple potatoes but have cold feet about using them for this dish!

  78. Lindsay

    These have become a weeknight staple. I can prep them (through the last step before baking) on Sunday afternoon and stash them in the frig for dinner later in the week. We add sausage and use a little sauteed onion instead of leeks. I’d love to try this method with sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and pecans.

  79. Kari

    Made these a couple weeks ago when I had a fridge full of potatoes and they were so good!! Yum! Do you think they would freeze well? Stocking up my freezer before baby #2 arrives in March! :)

  80. Laura in CA

    Solid recipe. Not too hard to make. I did spinach/kale mixture and cheddar. I’m eager to try it with parmesan for a sharper flavor and also eager to try goat cheese with sweet potatoes. We ate it 2x for leftovers.

  81. Dinah Forbes

    Now I know what we’re having for dinner tonight! Thanks. One trick I learned long ago is to shove a metal skewer lengthwise through each potato. It speeds up the cooking, not that I can now remember by how much.

  82. Dinah Forbes

    I’m making these for the second time, they are so good. I found that half a potato is more than enough for one person, but what doesn’t get eaten should freeze nicely for a later meal. I added a handful of chopped, cooked bacon because I started off doing the recipe from memory and was sure it was an ingredient. Maybe it should be!

  83. Kate

    Somehow I remembered this as a broccoli twice-baked potato rather than a kale one. We had both on hand and the hubs voted for broccoli. Subbed whole milk yogurt for the sour cream and shallot for the leek. Topped with paprika halfway through the second cooking. This one’s a keeper!
    Starting the potatoes in the microwave while the oven preheated worked well.

  84. Bea

    Just made this and it was delicious. Of course I started too late and then I had to carve the potatoes when they were still burning and not quite cooked, and I used 6 large potatoes cause it was going to be the main dish so it was a little hard to mash and mix, but nevertheless the result was excellent.

  85. Jamie

    I always make this with sweet potatoes and it is divine – sweet potato + goat cheese + greek yogurt is my favorite combo, but I’ve also used others kinds of cheese and it is always amazing.

  86. allisongibbs9

    Thanks for re-sharing this, Deb! It came on a perfect day. My husband and I just moved to Geneva, Switzerland from MN and I needed a recipe that was easy and cheap to make and that didn’t require anything fancy from a kitchen. Our furnished, rented apartment is very skimpy! We loved it!

  87. Rachel

    I realized that I don’t have quite as much kale as the recipe calls for…could I make up the rest of the weight with spinach?

  88. Ester

    Hi! Recipe looks fantastic, however, I am confused about the cheese. Does the re ipe ask for the shredded cheese AND parmesan AND cream cheese or are they the options? Many thanks.

  89. Elizabeth

    I wonder if it would be OK to make these day before, then do the final baking next day? I am having a big dinner party and would love to cut down on the “day of” stress?

  90. Janae

    You probably won’t get this in time, but can I fully prepare the potatoes up to the point of the second bake, but refrigerate instead until I need them? (Will bake same day, but trying to make as much as I can earlier in the day.) Thanks!

  91. Maeve

    I love this dish but always struggle with knowing whether it’s a whole meal or should be paired with something, and if so, what that something should be.
    Any ideas?

    1. Miriam

      I served these potatoes with additional sautéed kale and roasted eggplant. It was divine, and substantial enough for dinner.

  92. Samantha Maxwell

    Riffed the recipe you made to come up with a loaded baked potato casserole. Extra green onions amd leeks to use up all the produce in the fridge, a partial package of bacon, half a log of goat cheese, tail end of a quart of chicken broth. Tiny block of leftover swiss cheese, rest of a tub of Sour cream and a partial package of shredded parmesan. Garlic powder, “bacon salt” and salt and pepper. Basically what was left in the fridge at the end of the month. Boiled and roughly mashed the potatoes with everything above and a package of spinach! Yum!

  93. Florence

    I have always made a version of these from The Horn of the Moon Cafe Cookbook by Ginny Callan (with broccoli, mushrooms, onions, cheddar and sour cream). They have always been a favorite. I’m going to try this version with the last of my Lacinato kale from the garden. Thanks for the idea.

  94. Kathy

    WOW— what a hit these were! I tweaked them a little (green onions instead of leeks, added some turkey pepperoni, and I used Yukon golds), but they were sooooo good. This is destined to be a favorite around our house. My husband says thank you for the recipe!

  95. Bethany

    These are DELICIOUS. They’re perfect as a side, they’re perfect as a main. Put a crispy egg on one? You’ve got dinner. I tried them earlier this year for the first time and haven’t stopped making them since.

  96. Joanne

    Made this as mashed potatoes since I didn’t have any bakers. Used chard which made the potatoes a lovely peach color. I’ll add an egg to the leftovers and make crispy potato pancakes…. It was very good….can’t wait for the crispy pancakes!

  97. Joanna

    This was really yummy! I used the grated cheddar and sour cream, but spinach instead of kale (because it’s what I had on hand) with the leek. It’s slightly on the long and involved side for mid-week for me, but it was not hard. Will make this again!

  98. Raphaelle

    I don’t know how I serendipitously had all the ingredients for this during a pandemic, but I did and I cannot wait until they come out of the oven. Might’ve had two spoonfuls of the filling before I even stuck them in there, haha. Great flavors (I used cheddar cheese and made sure to add more salt than I normally do – potatoes love salt!).

  99. Ellen Considine

    I thought it was too many leeks when I mixed it all together and filled the shells, but I thought “this is Deb’s recipe so just trust her” and I’m so glad I did! Delicious!
    -Ellen in MN

  100. Quinn

    I’ve made this several timeS; it makes an excellent side dish when we host and people rave. One thing I’ve started doing differently is instead of filling individual potato shells, I mash the filling and pour it into a casserole dish, then sprinkle with the cheese and bake. So much easier!

  101. Madison Home Cooker

    This is delicious! Even when you cut all the corners and ignore all foodies by using instant mashed potatoes, this dish rocks! I didn’t have any potatoes so I made 5 servings of boxed mashed potatoes according to the directions on the box. Then I did the remainder of the recipe pretty much as is, but I didn’t have a leek so I chopped up about 1/2 cup of scallions and threw that in instead. Also, I only used about 2 cups of steamed kale, which was about half of the bunch that I had. This was just the right amount for us. I think it would have been too much if I’d added all the kale. And since my daughter and I are dys-lactic, I used about 2/3 cup of Violife vegan parmesan for the cheese and about 1 cup of lactose free (real dairy) sour cream. I also added 2 eggs, just because my Italian friend does that when she makes mashed potatoes with parmesan and prosciutto. Then I put everything in a greased 8″x8″ pan and baked it for 25-30 minutes until it was golden and not sloshing around. My husband, two teens and I loved it! You know when your 14 year old says that “it tastes exactly like sour cream and onion potato chips but in a good way”, you have a winning recipe! Hooray for a recipe that I can easily make lactose free and includes a decent serving of kale to boot. Thank you for a new dinnertime favorite! And hey– instant mashed potatoes work great for samosa filling, too. Just sayin’…

  102. janet trinkaus

    My mother and I and everyone in my family has never ever pierced or wrapped a potato in foil….ever….and never ever had any one of them explode.
    I never heard of exploding potatoes till I was an adult and saw no reason to change as my mother never pierced and never had any explosions.
    What gives?

  103. Karen

    Had all the ingredients on hand so I made this recipe for dinner tonight— it was wonderful. So many ways to change it up, too, thanks to all your followers’ s suggestions. My husband eagerly anticipated this meal and is looking forward to having another potato for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for this winning combination!

  104. Jen H

    Words cannot describe how good these are. My eight-year olds are vegetable-wary and they absolutely devoured these!
    I would caution people though that describing these as a “weeknight dish” is misleading. Although I admittedly doubled the recipe, they took me several hours from start to finish even though I followed the instructions to cook the filling while the potatoes were baking.

  105. Maura

    I made this. Delicious!

    I added mushrooms sautéed in butter and topped with paprika. I didn’t have leeks, so I caramelized onions. Leeks may be the better way to go, the caramelized onions got a little burnt on the bake.

    I would make this again.

  106. Rachel

    I checked to see if I have commented on this before and it seems I have back in 2015! I wanted to comment again to just say how amazing this recipe is as a technique/template that I have used so reliably over the years. The original recipe is fantastic and I make that often, however I am currently eating a sweet potato, kale, and parmesan version, and I’ve had success with both white and sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, or swiss chard, and many different types of cheese from cheddar to fontina to gruyere to parmesan. I have used leeks, onions, or shallot at various times, and I almost always use greek yogurt instead of sour cream since I always have that on hand. It always turns out comforting, and delicious. Thanks so much for all you do!

  107. Ariana

    Made this! It’s fantastic. Definitely could be a whole meal especially if you served it with a fried egg or some mushrooms. We had it as the accompaniment to a very good small steak and it was perfect. Substituted homemade whole-milk yogurt for the sour cream and it worked very well.

  108. DianaW

    The combination of kale, leeks and potato is a classic – think colcannon or rumbledethumps – but this way of presenting it sounds particularly delectable.

  109. Nancy Wallack

    Theses were terrific, and yes I’ll make them again. I used organic baby kale, which looked great in the store and was more tender and tasty than full grown kale.

  110. Madeleine

    I love this recipe so much. I usually cook a pound of crumbled chicken/turkey Italian sausage and add it to the filling. (I think you don’t need any extra salt if you’re adding salty sausage.) This is great, but then you will have too much filling to stuff into your potato shells. HOWEVER, you can keep the filling in the fridge and then use it the to make little turnovers using pie crust or frozen puff pastry. Same great taste, different carb-y wrapper. :)

  111. Katy

    I took this as inspiration for jacket potatoes – roasting the potatoes until perfectly squishy crunchy, cracking them open and then stuffing the kale mixture in. That made it a one-hour weeknight-appropriate meal, though the lack of golden crunchy-gooey cheese bits was a bit disappointing. The results were still absolutely delicious though, which is really what counts. This is absolutely going on the list for repeats.

  112. victoria

    We tried to make this tonight and it was unfortunately a big failure! I’m hoping you can help me figure out what I did wrong. I tried the boil for 15 minutes method. Unfortunately, that just left our potatoes with thin skins that slid off in our hands. We thought, well, we’ll just make this in ramekins then. But the cores of the potatoes were still nearly raw.

    Is it just that the boil-15-minutes method doesn’t work? Or is there some other trick to try? Thanks!

    1. Nancy

      Victoria – I read through the comments and saw several others had trouble with the boiling method of preparing the potatoes. I would go with either traditional oven baking or (surprisingly good) microwave them whole for about 10-11 minutes Then scoop out, fill, proceed. This is a great recipe and worth trying as least once more…

      1. victoria

        Thank you so much, Nancy! I will definitely try it with the baking instead of boiling. I’ve never had a smitten kitchen recipe fail me before, so I’m always down to try again.