The Secret To Emeril Lagasse's Overstuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

James Beard Award winner, restaurateur, and larger-than-life TV personality Emeril Lagasse is known for his decadent fusion of French and Creole cooking. Decades as a fine dining chef and restaurant owner have equipped Lagasse with plenty of tips on how to amp up any dish's extravagance. A case in point is the already luxurious twice-baked potato, which he manages to make even more indulgent with a simple trick.

In a recent submission to Food & Wine, Lagasse's overstuffed twice-baked potato recipe requires extra potato pulp to achieve a creamy, cheesy mashed potato filling that spills over the confines of a hollowed-out baked potato skin. To get more potato pulp, you'll need to bake more whole potatoes than servings ultimately yielded by the recipe; Lagasse's recipe uses five russet potatoes to make four overstuffed twice-baked potatoes. After baking all your potatoes in the oven, you hollow them out into a bowl to mix with butter, sour cream, and cheese. However, you'll discard one of the potato shells, so that there's a surplus of filling for the remaining shells. Lagasse also ups the proportions of mix-ins, further increasing the filling's volume and richness.

Twice-baked potatoes require more effort than baked potatoes alone, but if you're willing to go the extra mile, you're probably willing to add an extra potato to the baking sheet. More pillowy, earthy pulp with extra cream and cheese make overstuffed twice-baked potatoes the ultimate crowd-pleaser whether they're a side dish or the main event.

More twice-baked potato tips

Baking an extra potato is an easy enough secret to amp up flavor and volume, but there are a few additional tips to help twice-baked potatoes maintain their form. You can scoop out every ounce of filling from the extra potato, but you should leave a fourth of an inch of pulp in the potato shells you'll bake a second time. Since you'll be overstuffing them, that layer of pulp will help keep the skins intact. Another tip to fortify and make your skins even tastier is to rub them in olive oil and salt before baking them.

Because these are overstuffed baked potatoes, you're more liable to end up with filling spilling over the sides as they bake for a second time. While melted, bubbly cheese sticking to the sides of the potato skins is a happy accident, there's nothing more frustrating than scraping burnt cheese and starch off a baking sheet. So, covering the baking sheet in tin foil is the best way to safeguard against spillage.

While sour cream and butter are the main sources of creaminess for this recipe, you can substitute heavy cream, milk, or even cream cheese. You can add proteins or substantial ingredients other than the standard bacon bits and chives to make twice-baked potatoes more of a main course. Chopped barbecue brisket, crab meat, or sautéed mushrooms would all be delicious additions.