One potato, two potato… let’s bake the best ever Baked Potato! In this post I’m sharing all my tips to bake the perfect, fluffy potato, including topping inspiration and what to serve with them (hint: they are good with everything).
The first pierce of a perfectly done baked potato gives way to a plume of steam, revealing the tender fluff of potato goodness incased in crispy skin.
It’s a beautiful sight. And even more beautiful taste.
This isn’t my first potato rodeo.
- If you don’t have the oven space available or want to keep the heat in your kitchen to a minimum, you can make an equally crispy-outside, fluffy-inside baked potato in the air fryer with my Air Fryer Baked Potato.
- If you are a Crock Pot Queen, they can also be prepared in the slow cooker with Crock Pot Baked Potatoes.
The Best Method for Making a Baked Potato
How to best bake this humble root vegetable is surrounded by different methods and questions.
It must be delivered without lumps or mush, boast an appropriately crispy exterior, and no guests should even think to utter, “Well, we are never eating at their house again; those potatoes were BLAND.”
Do you wrap them in foil? Prick holes? Bake high or low? Just ask your mom?
I’ve tested it all and have got you covered.
My Top Baked Potato Secrets
- Dry thoroughly. After rinsing and scrubbing your potatoes, pat them completely dry. Excess moisture on your potato will seep into the skin and prevent it from getting that crispy peel we desire.
- Bake on a wire rack. Bake the potatoes on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet (or lay straight on the oven rack if you don’t have cooling racks). This will help the potato crisp up and bake on all sides evenly.
- Bake at high heat. The best temperature for baking baked potatoes is 450 degrees F (HOT, I know!) This will make the peel crispy.
- Check internal temperature for doneness, not the clock. Rather than focusing on the timer, check potatoes for doneness by giving them a squeeze and checking their internal temperature. Potatoes are ready for the final step (coating with melted butter or oil and returning to the oven for a final finish) when their internal temperature at the largest part of the largest potato reaches 205 degrees F, they feel soft when squeezed, and pierce easily with a fork.
- Coat with melted butter or oil towards the end of baking. The best baked potato has a crispy, salty exterior with light and fluffy interior. We achieve a delightfully crispy peel by coating the potato in oil or butter at the end of baking, and then returning to oven for 10 more minutes.
- Cut right away. To keep the inside fluffy, don’t let it sit uncut after it is done baking, as the potato will trap the steam and continue cooking. Instead, cut it after it comes out of the oven.
- Top them off! Potatoes on their own are bland by nature. Properly season with salt, pepper, butter, and your toppings of choice.
How to Make a Baked Potato in the Oven
Follow these steps for making the perfect baked potato.
- Potatoes. The star! I recommended russet potatoes.
What Are the Best Potatoes for Baked Potatoes?
- Russet. These potatoes will yield the fluffiest potato due to their high starch content and are what I recommend.
- Yukon gold. These are denser and more buttery in flavor. They won’t be as light and fluffy as a russet but are still delicious.
- Save red potatoes for Oven Roasted Potatoes; they are too small and waxy for baked potatoes.
- Butter or oil. The potatoes will be roasted at 450 degrees F, so you will need to use an oil that has a high smoke point, such as avocado, vegetable, peanut, light/pure olive oil, or canola oil, or ghee. Do NOT use extra virgin olive oil in this case. Melted butter is also an excellent option to give more flavor.
- Salt. Use kosher salt or sea salt for a delightful salty crunch on the peel.
- Pepper. Got to have the P to go with the S.
To best slice a baked potato, cut an X over the top of the potato with a paring knife, and then squeeze sides to push it open. This will allow you to really get in there to fluff the flesh and add toppings. BE CAREFUL. It’s hot!
- Scrub and dry potatoes. Prink skins.
- Place potatoes on wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Bake potatoes at 450 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until center of the largest potato is 205 degrees F.
The potatoes should feel soft when squeezed and easily pierce with a fork.
- Brush with melted butter or oil. Sprinkle outsides with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes more to crisp the skin.
- Cut open potatoes upon removing from the oven. Fluff, season, and top as desired. ENJOY!
Baked Potato Topping Ideas
You are going to want to make baked potatoes on repeat to try all these combinations.
These are classic baked potato toppings. Use them all for “loaded”:
- Butter (salted or unsalted)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Chopped chives or green onions
- Cooked, crumbled bacon (see Air Fryer Bacon and Bacon Bacon in the Oven for easy cooking methods)
The Step Up
For a little more flair:
The Full Meal
Make your potato a complete meal by topping with chili or other flavorful proteins:
Entertaining Idea: Baked Potato Bar
- Make baked potatoes the meal itself and let guests choose their destiny with a “Baked Potato Bar.”
- Arrange a variety of toppings in separate bowls (see Baked Potato Topping Ideas above), and have each guest prepare their own.
- Include at least one protein and two vegetables, along with cheese, butter, salt, and pepper.
- You could make it an entire chili-themed baked potato bar, with Instant Pot Chili along with traditional chili fixin’s.
- To Store. Refrigerate baked potatoes in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftover baked potatoes in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze baked potatoes in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Note that frozen baked potatoes are likely to become mealy.
What to Serve with a Baked Potato
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Wire Cooling Racks are Versatile
Wire cooling racks are not only great for cooling baked goods, but also for baking and roasting.
The secrets are all out now, phew.
Enjoy your perfectly baked potato!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, I recommend poking holes in the potatoes before baking. This will allow some steam to escape while baking, preventing the potato from potentially exploding (and no one wants that mess in the oven!).
Some people like to wrap their baked potatoes in foil while baking. This may speed along the baking process because it traps in heat. With my method, the potatoes are not wrapped so as to deliver a crispy-as-possible peel—if you wrap them, the skin won’t get as crisp. It’s worth the time!
My method (a.ka., the best baked potato recipe) calls for baking baked potatoes at 450 degrees F, until the potato pierces easily with a fork and feels soft when squeezed.
Of course. Just as you can cook chicken fingers in the microwave but will be left with a soggy nugget, the convenience of cooking potatoes in the microwave does sacrifice the texture of the baked potato.
For the Baked Potatoes
- 4 small/medium russet potatoes about 8 to 10 ounces each
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For Topping (optional)
- Butter salted or unsalted
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Chopped chives
- Cooked crumbled bacon (see Air Fryer Bacon and Baked Bacon for easy cooking methods)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
Scrub the potatoes, then with a paper or kitchen towel, pat very dry. Prick the skins all over with the tines of a fork.
Set an oven safe wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Place potatoes on top of. If you don’t have a wire rack, you can bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack (place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips).
Bake potatoes for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the center of the largest potato is 205 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. The potatoes should feel soft when squeezed and easily pierce with a fork.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Brush the outsides all over with melted butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more.
As soon as the potatoes come out of the oven, cut a slit in them to allow the steam to escape (this keeps them fluffy). Gently press the ends of the potatoes to push them open. Fluff and enjoy with salt, butter, and other toppings of choice.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate baked potatoes in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftover baked potatoes in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze baked potatoes in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1 potatoCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 5gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 8mgPotassium: 892mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 91IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 2mg
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