Mashed potatoes are great on their own but just wait until you try this loaded mashed potato casserole with lots of cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions. It’s the best!
Why you’ll love it: This casserole makes ordinary mashed potatoes extraordinarily delicious!
How long it takes: 20 minutes to prep, 50 minutes in the oven
Equipment you’ll need: large bowl, cheese grater, large baking dish
Loaded mashed potato casserole may be the ultimate comfort food. Creamy whipped potatoes are loaded with some of the best things in life: smoky bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, tangy sour cream, and green onions.
I love twice baked potatoes. The problem is they are a hassle to make: bake the potatoes, try to scoop out the insides while leaving a presentable shell, mash them, and then refill the potato skin you just emptied out. Then it’s back in the oven for awhile before you can actually serve them.
This homemade casserole incorporates all the things you love about twice baked potatoes, sans the peelings and all the hassle. Another wonderful thing I love about mashed potato casserole is that it can be made a day ahead and baked when you’re ready.
This recipe is a family favorite and always welcome at potlucks. The casserole is large and serves at least ten as a side dish, so it’s perfect for entertaining.
About This Recipe
Most of the recipes for mashed potato casserole include sour cream and you’ll find it in this casserole as well. I add one “secret” ingredient that I think really makes a difference: cream cheese.
Why cream cheese? My mom always made a super good mashed potato casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. It was always creamy, light, and perfect. She liked it because it could be made a day ahead and it didn’t taste like leftover mashed potatoes. You know what I mean, right? Leftover mashed potatoes just seem to have a different flavor.
I asked her about the recipe and found that it was pretty simple, just basic mashed potato ingredients, with one addition: cream cheese. I knew then that I had to add cream cheese to my loaded baked potato casserole and I’m so glad I did. The texture and flavor is amazing.
You’re going to love this recipe!
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and give you helpful tips. Look for full instructions with measurements and nutrition information on the recipe card below.
What you’ll need
- Mashed Potatoes: This recipe calls for six cups of mashed potatoes. You’ll need about 3 pounds of russet potatoes, cooked and mashed with milk and butter. Make Instant Pot mashed potatoes. It’s easy and no fuss. You can use leftover mashed potatoes, too. Slow cooker mashed potatoes are a great choice, too.
- Cream Cheese: Either full fat or reduced fat cream cheese will work. Make sure you take it out of the refrigerator an hour or two ahead of time to soften.
- Sour Cream: Again, either regular or reduced fat sour cream is fine. If you prefer to make your casserole without sour cream, substitute full fat plain Greek yogurt.
- Eggs: A couple of eggs help bind the casserole and give it richness.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese: For best results, buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese has additives to prevent clumping but the additives also affect the way the cheese melts.
- Bacon: The recipe calls for a half cup of crumbled cooked bacon. You can certainly add more if you like (or omit it).
- Green Onions: Otherwise known as scallions, green onion have a mild onion flavor. The green bits also make the casserole more visually appealing.
- Garlic Powder & Ground Black Pepper: Simple seasonings that you’ll have in your pantry. Increase the garlic powder if you’re a garlic fan. For something different, try a few cloves of roasted garlic.
How to make This Recipe
Before we get started, you’ve probably noticed that a couple of the ingredients need to be prepped ahead of time. To begin with, you’ll need mashed potatoes. You can use leftover potatoes, make the potatoes a day or two in advance, purchase mashed potatoes, or make them right now.
You’ll also need cooked bacon. I like to cook a whole package of bacon at once. It can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and it’s all ready to use for recipes like this one. Have you tried baked bacon? It’s a very easy way to cook a whole pound of bacon. Air fryer bacon is also perfect for this recipe if you don’t want to cook an entire pound of bacon.
Once you have these two ingredients prepped, this casserole is really simple. Just mix everything together and bake it.
Preheat your oven and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with a light misting of nonstick spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, softened cream cheese, sour cream, beaten eggs, and seasoning.
Use an electric mixer to really blend everything together. It should be smooth and creamy.
Fold in the bacon pieces, most of the shredded cheese (save some for the top), and the chopped green onions.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Put the dish into the oven and bake the casserole until it’s hot and lightly browned. It will take about 50 minutes. Garnish with toppings! I always think toppings are the best part.
Wondering what to serve with loaded mashed potato casserole?
It goes with any type of meat main course. Serve it with chicken: air fryer chicken breasts or grilled marinated chicken. Try with crispy breaded pork chops or homemade classic meatloaf. Serving a crowd? Make a big batch of meatballs or slow cooker ribs.
Use Russet or Yukon gold potatoes for classic mashed potatoes. Their buttery flavor and higher starch content are the best for fluffy mashed potatoes.
However, if you are going to just lightly mash the potatoes, thin-skinned varieties like red skin or new potatoes will work. Try leaving them unpeeled and mash them with the skins on.
Make It Your Own
- Have some leftover mashed potatoes but not 6 cups? Cut the recipe in half and use a smaller baking dish.
- Make a vegetarian version of loaded mashed potatoes. Simply omit the bacon or use a plant-based bacon instead. If you want to add smoky flavor without bacon, sprinkle smoked paprika on top of the casserole before baking or mix it into the potatoes.
- Looking for a different vegetable casserole? Try my homemade green bean casserole (it has bacon and cheese, too!). A lot of people really love this cheesy Brussels sprouts au gratin hot dish or scalloped sweet potatoes with bacon and Gruyère.
One thing you’ll really love that this is one of the best make ahead casseroles. It’s perfect for holiday get-togethers. Prep it a day ahead but don’t bake it. Cover and refrigerate.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, take it out of the fridge while the oven preheats. Once it’s preheated, bake the casserole as directed. Add five to ten minutes to the baking time since the casserole is chilled.
Another alternative is to divide the casserole into two equal portions and freeze one to bake later. It will keep for a couple of months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.
I also have a couple of make-ahead tips to expedite the casserole making process. The next time you make mashed potatoes, make a double batch and set aside some to use for this casserole. You can freeze them if you like. Bake a pound of bacon and store it in the fridge or freezer, to use later for recipes or for breakfast.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover mashed potato casserole can be refrigerated for four days or frozen for a couple of months. Cool, wrap tightly, and label before freezing.
To reheat, gently warm up individual portions in the microwave until heated. Larger amounts can be heated in the oven at 350℉. Cover the dish with foil to prevent the potatoes from drying out.
If you have a couple cups of potato casserole leftover, make potato patties. Mix in a half cup flour, form into patties and fry in butter or oil until golden brown. No additional seasonings or cheese need to be added because it’s all in there already.
- 6 cups prepared mashed potatoes (about 3 lbs. Russet potatoes made with 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter, ¾ teaspoon salt)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- ½ cup crumbled cooked bacon (5 strips center cut bacon)
- ½ cup chopped green onions (or chives)
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Prepare large baking dish (9×13 inches) by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, beaten eggs, cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, and pepper. With electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.
- Fold in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions.
- Spread potato mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese.
- Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.