I wanted to spruce up our potato side dish for Thanksgiving, just in case you’re anything like me and find comfort in reinventing old classics. These Pimento Twice Baked Potatoes are a combination of two of my favorite recipes. You start off by making homemade pimento cheese—which is so easy because the food processor does all the work for you—then you mash it into potato filling, stuff it back into the potato, top it with more cheese and cracker crumbs and bake until golden brown and melted. They’re the perfect holiday appetizer or side dish and can be made ahead of time without much stress. After all, isn’t that what we all want for Thanksgiving…less stress?
In a food processor, combine the cubed cheddar, pepper jack, mayonnaise, scallions, dill pickle, pimientos, and a small pinch of salt and pepper.
**Note: Make sure you drain and pat dry your jarred pimientos really well because if you don’t you’ll add too much moisture to the spread and it won’t combine evenly!**
Pulse until combined and spreadable. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
**Tip: If you don’t want to fully breakdown the pimientos, you can leave them out at the beginning, pulse everything else first until combined, then add them and pulse one or two times to just incorporate somewhat. Then you’ll be able to see them in the dip more.**
At this stage you have the best tasting pimento dip that you can use for this recipe or double it and keep it in the fridge for snacking or for sandwiches etc. It’s a great thing to keep on hand, especially for parties, potlucks or family dinners.
Let’s talk potatoes. I’m using small Yukon gold for these because I want them to be appetizer/side dish size. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and carefully place directly on the oven rack. Bake at 425° F until just tender, about 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
Cut the cooled cooked potatoes and then scoop out the insides with a spoon. Place in a bowl along with the sour cream, pimento cheese, chives, granulated garlic, onion, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mash until combined and somewhat smooth.
**Tip: When scooping out the potatoes, you want to leave a border inside still (if that makes sense) as this will help the potatoes stay sturdy and keep the shape to the shells, making it easier to fill and eat.**
Fill each potato shell with the pimento/potato mixture and then top with the shredded cheeses and crushed crackers (if using).
**Tip: I like to eat pimento cheese with Ritz crackers and so I wanted to add that flavor to this dish by sprinkling them on top. It’s optional, but does provide an added crunch. You could also just sprinkle the tops with a bit of breadcrumbs if you have that on hand.**
Return pan to oven and bake until golden brown and the melted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with chives before serving.
These are best served hot from the oven, as the cheese is perfectly melty at this point. The good news is that you can totally make them ahead of time. Just prepare up to the stage before baking. Sprinkle with the cheese and crumbs and then just cover and place in the fridge. Then all you have to do is bake them off right before you plan on serving them.
If you’re looking to spruce things up this year for your Thanksgiving feast, then I hope you’ll give these potatoes a chance. They’re great as an appetizer before the main meal, but would also make for a great side dish. You can make them with larger potatoes if you wish to serve them as a side. Let me know what you think below. Thank you for reading and following along!
Pimento Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes
- Mixing Bowls
- Food Processor
- Potato masher
- Baking Sheet
- 6 small Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed
- 4 ounces sharp yellow Cheddar cheese cubed
- 2 ounces pepper Jack cheese cubed
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 small dill pickle
- 1 4 (ounce) jar pimientos drained and dried
- Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese shredded
- 4 to 6 butter crackers crushed (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and carefully place directly on the oven rack. Bake until just tender, about 30 to 45 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
- In the meantime, in a food processor, combine the cubed cheddar, pepper jack, mayonnaise, scallions, dill pickle, pimientos, and a small pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until combined and spreadable. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, carefully transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly, but keep the oven on. When cooled enough to handle, use a serrated knife to cut them each in half, lengthwise.
- Carefully scoop out the flesh of the potatoes with a spoon, transferring the insides to a large bowl. You want to leave somewhat of a border inside each potato to make them stable.
- Add the sour cream, pimento cheese, chives, granulated garlic, onion, a pinch of salt and pepper, and mash until combined and somewhat smooth. Fill each potato shell with the pimento mixture and then top with shredded cheeses and crushed crackers (if using). Return pan to oven and bake until golden brown and the melted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with chives before serving. Enjoy!