How to Bake a Perfect Potato in the Oven
The best way to make baked potatoes in the oven! This easy baked potato recipe makes potatoes with salty, crispy skin and tender, fluffy insides!
A Perfect Baked Potato Recipe
Do you like baked potatoes with salty, crispy skin and fluffy insides?
Yes? Me, too! That’s pretty much my description of the best baked potato possible.
Well, I have an easy recipe for creating this kind of potato at home. No need to make a reservation at a fancy steakhouse!
Just grab some potatoes and a few common ingredients, and I’ll show you my easy method for making baked potatoes.
Should I Wrap Potatoes in Foil Before Baking?
I grew up with baked potatoes wrapped in foil. While I will certainly still eat a potato made this way – because, hey, I just love baked potatoes – I’d much prefer the method I’m sharing in this post. Hands down, this is my favorite baked potato recipe.
So what’s the difference?
Wrapping potatoes in foil gives you potatoes with a softer, steamed skin. And foil does keep them hot for longer once they come out of the oven, which can be a convenience in certain situations.
Baking potatoes without foil gives you potatoes with delightfully crispy skin, a much more fork-and-knife experience. I adore the contrast from crispy, textured outsides to tender, fluffy insides. You can bet that I leave no crispy potato skin behind!
Besides potatoes, this easy recipe uses just four other ingredients:
- Large Russet potatoes – And when I say “large”, I use potatoes that weigh about 1 pound each. If they’re not eaten in one sitting, leftover potatoes are one of my favorite kinds of leftovers!
- Olive oil
- Coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper – I prefer to coarsely grind it, for even more texture.
- Garlic powder – I include just a smidgen. It’s magical!
What Kinds of Potatoes are Best for Baking?
For the best baked potato experience, grab yourself some Russet potatoes (often referred to as Idaho potatoes). This potato variety is your best friend for baking.
The Russet potato has a reddish-brown (russet) skin that’s thicker than other potatoes. This is key in getting that extra-toothsome, crispy baked skin.
The flesh is white, and very dry and starchy. This texture makes them fluffy and absorbent once baked – the perfect canvas for soaking up butter and sour cream!
How to Bake a Potato
This is one of the easiest recipes ever. With just a few simple ingredients, Baked Potato Heaven is at every potato lover’s fingertips!
Here’s how to cook potatoes in the oven:
- Scrub and dry potatoes.
- Poke potatoes with a fork.
- Rub olive oil and coarse salt all over potatoes.
- Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder over potatoes.
- Bake for about 55 minutes at 425° Fahrenheit.
Tips for the Best Baked Potatoes
- When cooking multiple potatoes at once, look for ones with uniform shapes and sizes. They will cook more evenly and get done at the same time.
- Be sure to scrub the potatoes very well. Because you’ll be eating that crispy, flavorful skin. Right?!
- Poke the potatoes with a fork. This allows the moisture inside the potatoes to escape, leaving the middles soft and fluffy without being mushy. Also, if you don’t poke the potatoes, there is a risk of them exploding in the oven. And that would be messy. #nothankyou
- Use a generous amount of olive oil and coarse salt. One might think that the amounts called for in the recipe are too much, but you need to remember that we’re using BIG potatoes here. And the ample amounts of oil and salt are what gives the potatoes that fabulous texture and flavor that makes you want to eat the skin. Also, there is alot of unseasoned potato inside those skins that want some of that salty goodness!
What is the Best Temperature to Bake Potatoes?
When crispy skin is a priority, you want to use a higher oven temperature. I think 425° Fahrenheit is just right.
What to do With Leftovers
Ooooohhhhh, how I love knowing that there are leftover baked potatoes in our fridge! This baked potato recipe is so easy I often make a couple batches at once just to have the leftovers. True story.
Most often, I like to make breakfast eggs and potatoes. I chunk the potatoes up a bit and add them to a hot buttered fry pan. This livens up the skin and gets it all crispy and yummy again. When the potatoes are golden to my liking, I scoot them off to the side of the pan and add a couple eggs to the center. Best. Breakfast. Ever.
A quick meat and veggies hash is wonderful, too. Just cut the potatoes into chunks and fry them with chopped onions and peppers in a well oiled skillet. Add in slices of good country sausage or pieces of leftover ham, bacon, or steak, and you’ve got a great comfort meal.
And don’t forget about twice baked potatoes!
Another really wonderful thing about baked potatoes?
There are SO MANY WAYS to dress them up!
Loaded Baked Potato Topping Ideas
No baked potato recipe would be complete without fixing ideas. Baked potatoes provide the perfect backdrop for a variety of toppings. And have you ever enjoyed a baked potato bar? They are so fun!
Most often, we eat baked potatoes with just butter, sour cream, chives or green onions, salt, and pepper.
But some chopped bacon and shredded cheddar makes everyone around here extra happy. I like to grab some double-smoked, thick-cut bacon from our local butcher for the best bacon, cheddar, and potato meal!
Here are more ways to top baked potatoes:
- Chili – this Slow Cooker Chili is our favorite
- Sloppy Joes
- Carnitas (so awesome good!) or other taco meats
- Pizza toppings – like pesto or red sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, and pepperoni!
- Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and chopped bacon
- Smoky Salsa and black beans
- Steamed broccoli and shredded cheddar
- a fried egg and Sriracha
Baked Potato FAQ
How long to bake a potato?
I want to preface this by saying that baking time will depend on potato weight and shape (some potatoes are long and thin; others are plump through the middle). Also, the actual temperature of individual ovens will vary.
I have included three different sizes for Russet potatoes, all baked at 425° Fahrenheit. The time stated is average baking time. You should allow 5 minutes on either side – they might be done a little earlier than that, or a bit later, depending on the different factors.
- 8 ounces = 35 minutes
- 12 ounces = 45 minutes
- 16 ounces = 55 minutes
How do I know when my potato is done baking?
Poke the middle of the potato with a fork. If the fork slides in easily and there is no resistance when pulling it back out, you know it’s soft inside. If there is any resistance at all, have a little patience and bake it a little longer. A perfectly fluffy potato is worth the wait!
I personally like the fork-poking method best, but you can also do the squeeze test. With oven mitts on, gently squeeze the potato at the middle. If the center gives easily under pressure, the potato is done.
Can I bake a potato in the microwave?
For a super quick baked potato fix, you can absolutely use the microwave!
But please know that while the insides will be fluffy and tender, the skin does not cook the same as when using the oven. If you want that crispier skin texture, definitely use the oven method.
How to microwave a potato: Prepare the potato just like you would for the oven method. Place the potato on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for half the time listed below, per potato weight. Turn potato over and cook for remaining time. Always be sure to test for doneness and adjust cooking time as needed. And take care when removing the plate from the microwave – it might be hot to the touch; use oven mitts!
- 8 ounces = 5 minutes total
- 12 ounces = 6 minutes total
- 16 ounces = 8 minutes total
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- 4 large Russet potatoes, weighing 1 pound each
- 1-1/2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. coarse kosher salt
- several coarse grinds black pepper per potato
- a tiny sprinkle of garlic powder per potato
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easiest clean-up (optional); set pan aside.
- Scrub potatoes well and then dry them.
- Pierce each large potato 8 to 10 times with a fork.
- Place potatoes on baking sheet and rub oil all over potatoes.
- Rub salt all over potatoes. Use every last bit of the tablespoon of kosher salt for four 1-pound potatoes.
- Sprinkle the smallest bit of garlic powder over the skin of each potato. Do not overwhelm the potato with garlic flavor - aim for the slightest hint of garlic.
- Place baking sheet of potatoes in center of oven and bake for about 55 minutes. Potatoes should be tender when pierced with a fork - and the fork should slide back out easily, with no resistance. If there is any resistance at all, bake a bit longer.
- Remove potatoes from the oven. Cut a slit across the top of each potato with a sharp knife. Gently squeeze in each end of the potato towards the middle to pop open. Loosen up the fluffy white interior from the skin with a fork.
- Serve hot - with butter, sour cream, chives, and any of your favorite toppings!
from a farmgirl's dabbles
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1800mgCarbohydrates: 92gFiber: 10gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g
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