This twice-baked potatoes recipe combines the best of two worlds: a perfectly pillowy mashed potato filling and crispy potato shells. Russets, also known as Idaho potatoes, are the best potatoes—and only potatoes—to use here, thanks to their firm skins and soft flesh. (Read more about their merits here.) Look for large ones without blemishes and give them a good rinse, then dry thoroughly with a kitchen or paper towel. Making several pricks with a fork before you heat them prevents potato implosion, and a good rubbing of olive oil lends flavor and helps the skins crisp up.
While cooking potatoes in a microwave is a well-loved time-saving option, baking the spuds in a hot oven yields a creamier texture. After roasting them whole for about an hour, the potato flesh will be fork-tender, so there’s no need for a potato masher or hand mixer here. (In fact, using any extra machinery will make the final result gummy.) Simply mash them with a fork and stir in the butter, sour cream, chives, and tarragon. To help the potato mixture remain light and fluffy, pile it high into the shells before placing them back into the oven for the second time. While they roast, enjoy the extra potato skins as a snack.
They’re pretty perfect as is, but we wouldn’t say no to a little extra garnish of scallions, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, or more sour cream.