In a large skillet, cook bacon until browned and crisp. Drain, let cool, and chop or crumble and set aside. Cut the baked potatoes in half lengthwise and then in half again. Gently scoop out the potato while reserving the skins for later.
In a stockpot, heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
Stir in flour and gradually add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes, thyme, basil, and smoked paprika. Cook for 5 to 10 more minutes and then turn off the heat.
Add the green onions, cheeses, milk, and bacon. Stir until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with extra cheese or bacon.
If desired, place the potato skins on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and top each with a thin pat of butter. Place the sheet pan under the broiler for a few minutes until skins are crisp. Serve as a garnish with the soup.
Vegetarian option: substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth, omit the bacon, and use smoked cheddar cheese. Garnish with bac’un bits when serving.