Perhaps no holiday is more enjoyable to Americans than Thanksgiving. In addition to kicking off the holiday season, Thanksgiving gives families a chance to reconnect over a good meal and possibly even a little football, be it on the television or in the front yard.

Thanksgiving menus often vary from family to family, but there are some staples that seem to make the list each and every year. Turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, and, of course, potatoes are all popular choices for the Thanksgiving dinner table. Potatoes are especially fun for Thanksgiving, as they afford cooks the opportunity to experiment in a myriad of ways, including the following recipe for “Auntie Stellie’s Twice-Baked Thanksgiving Potatoes” from Marlena Spieler’s “Yummy Potatoes” (Chronicle Books).

Serves 4-6


• 4 to 6 medium-size, creamy-fleshed baking potatoes (5 to 6 inches long, 6 ounces each)

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 6 to 8 tablespoons creme fraiche

• 6 to 7 green onions, thinly sliced

• 6 to 8 ounces Double Gloucester or mature cheddar, shredded

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Paprika, for sprinkling on top


1. Before baking, make a hole or two in each potato so they don’t explode. To bake the potatoes, place them in a hot oven preheated to 425 F. If the potatoes are larger, try an hour and a half; if the potatoes are smaller, less time. The potatoes are ready when you can pierce them with a fork or sharp skewer. For a thick, crunchy skin, let the potatoes cool in the oven after you have turned off the heat.

2. When cool enough to handle, use a teaspoon to scoop out their insides, leaving a perimeter of potato flesh next to the skin all the way around.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

4. Coarsely mash all the potato flesh in a bowl, then add the butter, creme fraiche and green onions and mix together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the potatoes, then arrange in a single layer in a baking pan and sprinkle with the cheese. Top with a pinch of paprika on each, then bake for about 10 minutes, or long enough to melt and sizzle the cheese on top of the potatoes and warm the potatoes all the way through.