The baked potatoes get sliced in half, baked in the oven and then loaded with bacon, broccoli and homemade cheese sauce. A super, easy family favorite dish on your table in 30 minutes.
Loaded baked potatoes are a very popular in our house. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon, broccoli, and cheese stuffed in a baked potato? It’s a glorious combination we just can’t get enough of. It’s also an easy dinner option to feed the family or to feed a crowd. I’d like to know if there’s one person out there who hasn’t had a baked potato bar at a family reunion, girls’ camp, scout camp, church function, etc. You get the point! Cheesy baked potatoes just make people happy!
What Do I Need to Make Baked Potatoes?
One of the best things about baked potatoes is that they only take 4 ingredients to make, and they are failproof! Here is what you will need for the potatoes:
- Russet Potatoes – wash them well, and slice them half
- Olive Oil – rub it all over the potatoes, this helps them get so nice and crispy
- Salt and Pepper – adds flavor
Ingredients for Homemade Cheese Sauce
You won’t believe how simple it is to make cheese sauce at home. The ingredients for the base sauce are most likely items you already have at home and the things you add to it are totally up to you…though broccoli and bacon are a dream team with this cheese sauce! Here is what you will need:
- Whole Milk – it has to be whole milk, don’t use any other type of milk
- Butter – unsalted, adds flavor and richness
- Flour – just simple all-purpose works great
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – sharp cheddar adds that bold cheesy flavor that shines in this sauce
- Hot Sauce – adds a just a hint of heat and flavor you don’t want to miss
- Cayenne Pepper – feel free to add more if you want the cheese to be more spicy
- Broccoli – steamed and chopped into very small pieces
- Bacon – cooked until crispy and chopped into small bits
- Salt and Pepper – add flavor
The measurements for each ingredient and instructions for making this recipe can all be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
What Potatoes Are Best For Baking?
Starchy potatoes such as Russet and sweet potatoes are best for baking or roasting. They work the best for the dry heat of an oven and end up with a fluffy center after baking.
Potatoes with higher moisture like red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes do better with wet heat which is what you get when you steam or boil potatoes.
What Kind of Cheese Do You Use in Cheese Sauce?
Sharp cheddar is what we use in this recipe but you can really use any cheese you love. Gouda, Swiss, provolone, pepper jack cheeses all work well in cheese sauce.
How to Make Baked Potatoes
This is not your typical baked potato recipe. We have a post on how to make a traditional oven baked potato, so head there if that’s what you are after. For this recipe, we are going to slice the potatoes in half, place them face down and bake them that way. This will speed up the baking time and make that front surface extra crispy. You will just want to brush the halved potatoes on all sides with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
How to Make Homemade Cheese Sauce
While the potatoes are baking, make the cheese sauce. Making cheese sauce at home is not difficult. It’s actually one of the easiest and quickest little recipes around. There is no excuse to buy anything from a can or from a jar. Homemade cheese sauce, made from real sharp cheddar cheese, milk, flour, and butter, is the only way to go. Plus, it tastes better than anything you can get at a grocery store.
After the base sauce is made, we load it up with finely chopped broccoli and crumbled bacon.
The only thing that’s left to do is spoon it over your baked potatoes while it’s still hot!
Other Toppings for Baked Potatoes
If the cheese sauce, broccoli and bacon aren’t enough for you, here are a few other ideas for toppings:
- Diced red onions
- Sour cream
What to Eat with Baked Potatoes
These are hearty and filling enough to be served as the main dish, but you could also serve it with grilled chicken or steak for extra protein. They make a great side dish for just about any protein whether it’s something on the grill, in the smoker or in the slow cooker.
How Long Do Baked Potatoes Keep?
The potatoes and cheese sauce are best when served immediately after preparing, when it’s nice and hot. But this cheese sauce and baked potatoes will keep if they are tightly covered in the refrigerator for about 1 week. I would store them separately and top the potatoes with the loaded cheese sauce right before serving. Just heat it both up before serving – it’s a great item to make ahead before the guests arrive.
Potatoes are delicious in any way, shape or form (imho). If you know me at all, you know that my favorite food ever is hot and salty french fries. There’s just nothing better! This baked potato recipe is another crazy good way to eat potatoes and you won’t believe how glorious the homemade cheese sauce is!
More Irresistible Potato Recipes
- Smoky Steak and Potato Recipe
- Herb and Garlic Roasted Potatoes
- Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes
- Oven Baked Potatoes with Crispy Skins
- Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Green Beans and Potatoes
- Potato Casserole
- Scalloped Potatoes
Loaded Baked Potatoes with Homemade Cheese Sauce
For the Potatoes:
- 6 Russet Potatoes, medium size
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
For the Loaded Cheese Sauce:
- 2 Cups Whole Milk, no substitutions
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (not pre shredded)
- 2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 1/4 Cups Broccoli Florets, steamed and chopped into very small pieces and then measured
- 4 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
To make the potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse and scrub potatoes and cut in half length wise. This helps speed up baking time.6 Russet Potatoes
- Rub the potatoes on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper
- Place face down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
To make the cheese sauce:
- In a small sauce pan, heat the milk over medium heat until you see bubbles forming at the top.2 Cups Whole Milk
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat.1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
- Sprinkle the flour over the top, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes.1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- Slowly add the warm milk to the flour and butter paste in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
- Continue cooking, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. It should be thick but still pourable.
- Add the cheese, whisking constantly until it is melted.2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Add the hot sauce and cayenne.2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce, 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- Stir in the broccoli and bacon.1 1/4 Cups Broccoli Florets, 4 slices Bacon
- Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste.Salt and Pepper
- Add more cayenne and/or hot sauce if preferred.
- If the mixture is too thick, you can add a little bit more milk until desired consistency.
- Spoon hot cheese sauce over baked potatoes and serve immediately.