Move over Cheesy Potato Casserole, this easy Loaded Potato Casserole recipe is filled with bacon, garlic, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, green onion and sour cream. A no-fuss side dish that’s perfect for a holiday meal. These potatoes are the best side dish at a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner.
Loaded potato casserole can be made ahead, which leaves you with more time to clean, decorate and visit with family. You can bet this loaded potato dish will be on my table for the holidays, an easy side dish the whole family will love.
If easy potato recipes are what you want then then try my Sweet Potato Pudding recipe. Whipped sweet potatoes, brown butter, sage and marshmallow. Heck, even make both of these dishes; a little sweet potato and a little savory potato.
- Russet Potatoes – Using Russet potatoes or, Idaho potatoes, gives this loaded potato casserole recipe a great texture and makes it the perfect side dish.
- Bacon – Use your favorite type of bacon.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic cloves are best for this potato recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese – I like using a medium cheddar cheese.
- Milk – Whole milk gives the best flavor.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter so you can control the salt level yourself.
- Sour Cream – Sour cream adds a nice flavor, similar to a loaded baked potato.
- Green Onions – I use green onions but chives will also work.
- Kosher Salt – I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If you’re using Morton’s, then use only 75% of the amount called for in the recipe.
- Cream Cheese – Full-fat cream cheese gives the best flavor.
- Black Pepper – I like coarse ground black pepper.
How To Make Loaded Potato Casserole
Making loaded potato casserole has never been easier. Who doesn’t love an easy recipe, especially during the holiday season, right?! Follow these simple instructions and enjoy this simple side dish.
- Step 1: Peel and cut Russet potatoes into large chunks then add them to a large pot of cold water, at least 2 inches over the top of the potatoes. Salt the water with 2 tbsp of kosher salt. Boil until for tender then drain thoroughly.
- Step 2: Preheat oven to 400°F and spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. While potatoes are boiling, cook bacon in a large skillet then place on a paper towel to drain. Heat milk and butter in a medium sauce pot over low-medium heat while bacon cooks, do not boil. Once milk is just about to simmer, turn heat off.
- Step 3: Blend potatoes using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer and large bowl until smooth. Alternatively, a potato masher will work but may not get the potatoes as smooth. Add milk mixture along with salt and pepper, mix in fully.
- Step 4: Mix in the rest of the ingredients, reserving a small amount of cheddar cheese. Transfer loaded mashed potato casserole into prepared casserole dish or large baking dish. Top with remaining cheese then bake for 10 minutes. Serve loaded baked potato casserole while hot.
It’s loaded mashed potatoes in casserole form. These cheesy potatoes are sure to be one of your favorite recipes this holiday season!
Substitutions & Variations
Make this loaded potato casserole recipe is one of our favorite side dish recipes. Substitute ingredients to meet your dietary needs or just to fit what you have on hand in your kitchen.
- Potatoes – Use skin-on Yukon gold potatoes instead of a Russet potato, or even a mixture of both.
- Cheese – Use a sharp cheddar cheese, white or yellow cheddar, smoked gouda or Boursin cheese as a variation.
- Bacon – Use turkey bacon, chicken bacon, pancetta, smoked pork butt or smoked brisket as the protein. Veggie bacon works as a meatless option.
- Green Onions – Use chives or top this loaded potato casserole with fried onions. Store-bought or homemade.
- Sour Cream – I really love sour cream with my loaded mashed potatoes but Greek yogurt is an option here too.
- Milk – Use a plant based milk if desired.
- Garlic – Garlic powder or granulated garlic can be substituted in place of garlic cloves if needed.
Tips For The Best Loaded Potato Casserole
- Don’t over mix your loaded potatoes. Overmixing can give mashed potatoes a gluey texture.
- Using Russet potatoes gives the best texture. If you like a light and fluffy, cloud-like mashed potato then a Russet, or Idaho potato, is the best option.
- Yukon potatoes are the best option if you like a skin-on mashed potato. You can use all Yukon potato or do a half/half mixture of Yukon potato and Russet.
- Use leftover mashed potatoes to make loaded mashed potatoes.
- Crispy bacon or floppy bacon works, it’s a personal preference. Mix all the bacon into the loaded mashed potatoes or reserve half of the bacon for sprinkling over the top as garnish.
- Room temperature cream cheese and cheddar cheese blend much easier into this loaded potato casserole recipe.
What To Serve With This Loaded Potato Casserole Recipe
It’s the perfect dish to serve when Air Fryer Ribeye Steak is your main dish. In the summer months, I love this loaded potatoes recipe with some of my husband’s smoked brisket. Zach handles everything in the smoker department.
Leftover Loaded Potato Casserole can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container or tightly covered in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.
These loaded mashed potatoes freeze well too. Transfer the potato mixture to an airtight container then to the freezer for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Loaded potato casserole can be reheated in the microwave or covered with aluminum foil in the oven at 350°F until warm in the center.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is naturally gluten free. This makes it an exceptionally good choice for a holiday meal or potluck. Potatoes are gluten free.
Heating up the milk and butter for mashed potatoes or this loaded potato casserole reduces the mixing time to get a smooth potato. Warm milk is more easily absorbed by the potatoes. Having a lower blending time results in smooth, creamy, light mashed potatoes rather than thick and gluey. It also keeps your potato mixture warm, which keeps you from having to reheat the potatoes before serving.
Easy Loaded Potato Casserole Recipe
- 1 stock pot
- 1 stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- 1 medium skillet
- 1 cutting board
- 1 sharp knife
- 5 lbs Idaho potatoes peeled
- 2 tbsp kosher salt added to water to boiling water
- 6 oz bacon cooked crispy and rough chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup milk warmed
- 8 oz cream cheese room temp
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup green onion thin sliced
- 8 oz medium cheddar cheese shredded
Peel & Cook Potatoes
- Peel Idaho potatoes, cut into large chunks then boil in a large stock pot of salted water until potatoes are fork tender. Drain well then add potatoes back to pot
- While the potatoes are boiling, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crispy. Turn off heat then add minced garlic, stir around for 20 seconds then drain grease
- Heat milk and butter in a medium sauce pot over low-medium heat while bacon cooks. Heat just until warm, do not boil or simmer. Turn off heat and set aside
- Use a stand mixer or a bowl with electric hand mixer to mash potatoes on medium speed until smooth.
- Add salt, pepper, milk and butter then mix until smooth
- Mix in the bacon, garlic, cream cheese, sour cream and green onion. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese
- Transfer mixture to baking dish, top with remaining cheddar then bake at 350°F until cheese is melted, 10 minutes