How to Make the Perfect Baked Potato
Bake a potato and you’re not far from a side dish or an easy dinner (loaded baked potatoes anyone?), and let’s not forget twice-baked potatoes and potato skins. The question is, what’s the best way to bake a potato? Read on.
by Pamela Killeen
I easily ate baked potatoes once a week while growing up and for a good many years of my adult life. But these days, I’ve fallen off the spuds wagon. However, when I do eat a baked potato, I’m quite particular about how to cook baked potatoes – and we’ve heard that many of you are curious how best to bake potatoes, so I’m going to give you a little tutorial – leaning towards baking them the way I like – with creamy, fluffy flesh and crackling skins – for the perfect baked potato.
Pick your potato:
The best potato for baking is a russet. Its high starch and low water content gives it a fluffy interior. Pick potatoes that are firm with taut skin and no bruises, “eyes,” or green tint. They should also be similar in size so they cook at the same rate. A 10-12 oz. potato will bake in about an hour; adjust the time if needed. Store them in a cool, dark area and use within a week of purchase for optimum texture.
Preheat, Prep, and Pierce:
Preheat your oven to 450-degrees. Yup, that’s right. These spuds are more roasted than baked, but the high heat will yield the cream interior and crispy skins we’re looking for. And don’t even think about microwaving them or wrapping them in foil – you won’t get that crispy skin we’re seeking.
Scrub potatoes under cool water to remove excess dirt, then dry thoroughly. After that, pierce a few holes all over the potatoes with a fork or knife, so steam can escape, preventing the potatoes from bursting open while baking.
Then, rub the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.
Bake and Serve:
Arrange potatoes directly on the oven rack; bake until they’re completely soft inside when pierced with a knife or skewer. The skin should be crisp and brittle. Split and serve them quickly or the skin will soften as a result of the steam inside.
And, yes, I eat the skin. It’s arguably my favorite part. Plus, it’s where most of the nutrients are.
One Potato, Two Potatoes, Three Potatoes … More:
If you’re looking for topping ideas (or ideas for filling skins) and more, check out these recipes:
- Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Baked Potato
- Sweet Potato Skins with Soy Chorizo & Black Beans
- Fully Loaded Potato Skins
- Smoky Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Reuben-Stuffed Potatoes
Equipment/Special Ingredients Needed
Want to give this technique a try?
Check out our recommendations for the necessary equipment and ingredients to make this recipe. All products featured on Cuisine at Home are independently selected by our editors; we may earn an affiliate commission from qualifying purchases through our links.