Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese are the perfect make ahead mashed potato recipe for your holiday gatherings. These cheesy loaded mashed potatoes are packed with sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream and then topped with a buttery bacon and herb bread crumb. Basically, they taste like a loaded baked potato in mashed potato casserole form. So good!
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese
If you don’t want the task of making our Creamy Dreamy Mashed Potatoes the day of Thanksgiving, or want something with a little bit more, for lack of a better word, stuff, in them, then Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese are for you!
Basically these taste like a loaded baked potato, but in mashed potato form.
The mashed potato part of the equation is packed with tangy (full-fat) sour cream, lots of whole milk for creaminess and of course, plenty of extra-sharp cheddar cheese. I also throw a whole egg in there so the mashed potatoes have a more souffle-like texture after baking. It’s a subtle addition you may not notice, but I do think it adds a little bit sturdiness to the baked mashed potatoes.
The topping, which may arguably be the best part of baked mashed potatoes is a buttery bacon and herb breadcrumb. I could literally eat this stuff by the spoonful.
Oh wait, I did.
I love the idea of baked mashed potatoes either in addition to or in place of regular mashed potatoes for those people who aren’t fans of mashed potatoes with gravy.
My husband is one of those crazy people. These are a side on their own and because they’re so flavorful, they require no gravy whatsoever, making it not only perfect for Thanksgiving but all the other holiday gathering you have planned. In fact, Baked Mashed Potatoes would be the PERFECT holiday dinner with a whole roasted beef tenderloin or a honey-baked ham.
The other wonderful thing about baked mashed potatoes is you could make them up to two days in advance (although I’d store the bacon bread crumb topping separately), cover them with plastic wrap and then bake them off the day of. And trust me, they taste just as delicious.
Ingredients in Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese
For the potatoes
Potatoes. I’m a firm believer that russet potatoes yield the fluffiest, creamiest potatoes. However, here you a bit more flexibility since a little texture isn’t a big deal. If you want to use a buttery Yukon gold potato here, that would be lovely.
Butter. Lots and lots of butter. It is the holidays after all. The butter makes an appearance both in the mashed potato bottom and the bacon bread crumb topping.
Whole Milk. I like to use whole milk for richness, but in this case, you can definitely swap out low-fat milk, half and half, or even cream if you want them extra rich.
Cheese. I use an extra-sharp cheddar cheese because that’s what I like on my baked potato. Use whatever your favorite cheese is. Just make sure it has plenty of flavor. Good options would be sharp cheddar, sharp provolone, parmesan, or a nutty gruyere.
Sour Cream. Sour cream adds a lovely tanginess and of course creaminess to the baked mashed potatoes. It’s also an ingredient that I must have in my baked potatoes, so that’s why I added it here.
Egg. As aforementioned, I add in an egg to add a little bit of richness and to bind the mashed potatoes together in a souffle/casserole-like form.
For the bacon breadcrumbs
Bacon. Your favorite bacon is all you need.
Garlic. LOTS of garlic for the breadcrumbs. I use one and half tablespoons which is about seven cloves of garlic depending on how big they are.
Bread crumbs. The real stuff here. I use good old bread that’s been dried out. I throw the bread in the food processor to turn it into crumbs. If you don’t have day-old bread, no big deal, just use fresh.
Parsley. For color and just a touch of freshness.
How to make Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese.
There are a few steps to making Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheese, but if you follow our instructions, everything will go fast and easy! So first:
Cook the bacon
While I always prefer to cook bacon on the stove, it’s messy, so for cleanliness and multi-tasking purposes, bake the bacon in the oven. I always line a large baking sheet with foil so clean up is super easy.
Boil the potatoes
While the bacon cooks, boil the potatoes. Add potatoes to a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and let them dry for 2-3 minutes. Shake off any excess moisture.
Make the topping
While the potatoes cook, make the topping. See the trend here? You’re multi-tasking while other elements are cooking, so that once the potatoes and bacon are done cooking, you can pop everything in the oven.
To make the baked potato topping: Add three tablespoons of butter to a medium skillet set over a medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic. Turn the heat down to medium low and saute the garlic. Saute until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not burn!
Add the fresh breadcrumbs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and turn the heat off. Cool slightly. Add the chopped bacon and parsley. Stir to combine and season to tastew with salt and pepper.
Mash the potatoes
Working in batches, transfer the potatoes to a ricer. Rice the potatoes into the same pot you cooked the potatoes in. If you don’t have a ricer, GET ONE! It is the single most important tool in making mashed potatoes and I can’t live without mine.
Add the milk, butter, sour cream, cheese, and remaining salt to the riced potatoes. Use a hand held mixer to whip the potatoes just until everything is smooth and mixed together. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in egg.
Bake the potatoes
Transfer the mashed potatoes to a greased baking dish, cover with the baked potato topping, and bake until golden brown and hot.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yes! In fact, I encourage you to do so no matter what. Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cheesy would be the perfect side to prep the day ahead. Make them up until baking, and if you want the breadcrumb topping to stay super crisp, store it separately. When you want to cook them, pull them out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you bake.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake as instructed. They may take a few more minutes to warm though, so if the breadcrumbs stat to get too brown, cover with foil.
How can I reheat baked mashed potatoes?
If you’re reheating them after baking, cover with foil and reheat in a 375-degree oven. In the last five minutes of cooking, remove the foil so the breadcrumbs crisp up again.
Do I have to add an egg?
If you really want to leave it out, feel free. I like the texture it gives the mashed potatoes, but it’s definitely not necessary.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Be careful to read the instructions for the recipe all the way through. The order in which you do the steps ensures these baked mashed potatoes with cheese are made in a timely matter. Every step has a purpose in the order!
- Don’t overwork the potatoes! The number one way to ruin mashed potatoes is to mix them too much. Rice them and the whip them JUST until they are creamy. Stop there. GENTLY fold in the egg in the end.
- If the breadcrumb topping starts to get too brown, cover with foil.
- Use whole-wheat breadcrumbs if you wish.
- Parmesan cheese would be a lovely addition to the baked potato topping.
- 3 slices bacon
- 3 lbs russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2-inch pieces
- 9 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 5 tsp minced garlic (about 6-7 garlic cloves)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (see note)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg
- stock pot
- Baking dish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add bacon. Cook until brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and chop. Grease a 9x9 or 8x9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
- Add potatoes to a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and let them dry for 2-3 minutes. Shake off any excess moisture.
- While the potatoes cook, make the baked potato topping. Add three tablespoons of butter to a medium skillet set over a medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic. Turn the heat down to medium low and saute the garlic. Saute until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Do not burn! Add the fresh breadcrumbs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and turn the heat off. Cool slightly. Add the chopped bacon and parsley. Stir to combine and season to tastew with salt and pepper.
- While the potatoes dry out a bit, add milk and remaining six tablespoons butter to a liquid measuring cup. Microwave in one minute increments until the milk is hot and the butter has melted.
- Working in batches, transfer the potatoes to a ricer. Rice the potatoes into the same pot you cooked the potatoes in. Add hot milk, butter, sour cream, cheese, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Use a hand held mixer to whip the potatoes just until everything is smooth and mixed together. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in egg.
- Transfer the potatoes to the prepared dish. Sprinkle with baked potato topping. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the potatoes are hot, about 20-25 minutes. If the topping starts to get too brown and crisp, cover with foil.