I hope I am not the only that considers a baked potato to be a whole meal. I mean, when paired with a steak it is certainly an expectable side dish, but I am not complaining with a spud alone.
This is the perfect baked potato in the oven has a crispy skin with fluffy inside. Top with butter, sour cream and chives!
Baked potatoes in the oven are a wondrous things. Crispy outside with a soft, fluffy inside. When cut open they are a blank canvas waiting to be painted with anything from a sprinkle of salt to leftover pulled pork.
Jacket potatoes is another common term for a baked potato. They are typically served “loaded” which means topped with butter, sour cream, bacon and chives. Some places would also argue this means cheese too.
They are versatile and pair with nearly any entrée. I can make them ahead of time, seeing they take a while, and reheat in the oven for perfectly crispy skin all over again when I am ready to serve.
PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to eat potato skins. There are tons of nutrients there!
And one last reason I make baked potatoes all the time: my daughter demands them. I know people are tired of hearing about bloggers personal stories, so I’ll keep this one to two sentences.
My 2-year old calls her old school Mr. Potato Head a “baked potato” and she is obsessed with the thing. She often requests baked potatoes for dinner and since she is quite the foodie, she also prefers a crunchy skin.
What are the best potatoes for baked potatoes?
Russet Potatoes are the best for baking. The skins are thicker and the starchy interior has a sweet flavor and fluffy texture.
They are hardy and can hold lots of toppings (or none at all). Russet potatoes are also fairly large, so one can suffice for a whole meal or a solid side dish.
Other types of potatoes can be baked, but they have less starchy flesh or a thinner skin that makes them not as ideal.
Do I need to wrap my baked potato in foil?
If you want a softer skin on your baked potato, wrap them in foil and skip the potato nail. You won’t get a crispy skin because the skin steams instead of crisps.
But you are rubbing and seasoning your potato, this helps to really get those flavors to sink in.
How Long To Bake A Potato?
There are several variables about how long it takes to bake a potato. First is size, second is type of potato and third is the temperature of the oven.
On average, a medium size Russet potato will take 45-60 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.
The great thing about baked potatoes is they can be baked at any temperature and don’t need a dish, so they are easy to make alongside other dishes cooking in the oven too.
Cooking Times for medium Russet Potatoes:
- 350°F 60 to 75 minutes
- 375°F 50 to 60 minutes
- 400°F 40 to 50 minutes
Microwave Baked Potatoes:
First, let’s say this technically isn’t baked if you nuke it. But sometimes you have a craving and need a potato FAST!
The second warning I will give you is that the skin will not be crispy. There is no trick or secret. Microwaved potatoes do not have crispy skin.
Do not wrap your potato in foil or use potato nails if you plan to microwave it.
Here is how you bake a potato in the microwave:
- Scrub the potato, pat it dry and pierce it with a fork.
- Wrap it loosely in a paper towel and place it on a plate.
- Microwave it on HIGH for 5 minutes.
- Turn it over, and microwave it for 3-5 minutes longer or until fork-tender.
How do I make baked potatoes on the grill?
If you plan to make baked potatoes on the grill you will need to wrap them in foil to protect the skin from burning to ash while cooking. It takes the same amount of time as baking at the same temperature.
The perks are that it won’t heat up your kitchen in the middle of the summer and can be cooked alongside anything else you grilling up.
- Preheat the oven to 375-400 degrees.
- Prep your potatoes and wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil. Rub with oil and seasonings, if desired.
- Bake with lid closed for 50-60 minutes, turning once while cooking.
- Remove and enjoy!
What are the best baked potato toppings?
Of course the usual: butter, shredded cheese, chives or scallions, crumbed bacon and sour cream. But what are some others that are perfect for a baked potato bar?
- Pulled Pork
- Shredded Chicken
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Broccoli (with cheddar)
- Leftover Green Bean Casserole
- French Fried Onions
- Corn & Black Beans with Taco Seasoning
- Hummus & Olives
- Fried egg and hot sauce
- Plain Greek yogurt
We’d love to hear about your favorite baked potato toppings- leave them in the comments!
Questions you might have about how to bake a potato:
Do I need to use olive oil, salt and pepper on the skins? Some people do, but I have never found it necessary. If you do want to, rub with a small amount of olive oil and season generously in step #3.
Do I need potato nails for baking? No. In fact I am pretty sure most people don’t use them and they can be hard to find. My mother always used them so I tend to as well. They get hot and heat the interior, helping it cook just a tad faster.
What happens if I don’t pierce my potatoes? They will explode. Trust me, I’ve done this before by accident.
Here are some quick meals to serve with your baked potatoes:
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Baked Potatoes in the Oven
- 4 large Russet potatoes , scrubbed clean and patted dry
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Trim any blemishes with a paring knife.
- Pierce the potatoes in a few places with the tines of a fork. This allows steam to escape from the baking potato. If you are using potatoes nails, skewer them here.
- Bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, turning them once or twice. Exact cooking time will depend on the size of your potatoes. Pierce them with a sharp knife or fork to determine doneness.
- Remove potatoes. Serve and dress immediately.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!