A close up of a doughnut

How to Make a Perfect Baked Potato in the Oven

If you’ve ever wondered how some restaurants turn out such perfectly baked potatoes with salty, crispy skin—potatoes that are super fluffy inside and so delicious, you’re about to discover the secrets. And don’t be surprised when once you have the technique down, your family will be all in when you announce that potatoes are what’s for dinner!

A close up of food, with Baked potato

Potatoes—they’re nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. And as they come from the oven, they’re gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan, too.

How to bake a potato

The perfect baked potato is crispy on the outside and soft-as-a-pillow in the middle. Baking a potato in the oven does take more time than the microwave, but the results cannot be compared. If you want the ultimate baked potato, allow the time to do it right.

What is the best type of potato for baking?

Russet potatoes, also referred to as Idaho potatoes in the U.S, are best for baking. A russet’s skin or “jacket” is thicker than other types of potatoes, so it holds together well during baking. The inside of a russet is starchy, sweet, and makes for a fluffy texture once baked. Russets are usually large (6 to 8 ounces), making them perfectly sized for a side dish—or one large russet per person makes a meal on its own.

Do I need to wash a potato before baking?

Yes, and it needs to be scrubbed well under running water. Use a good vegetable brush like this cute OXO Good Grips Brush (affiliate link).

Should a baked potato be wrapped in foil?

It depends on how you want your baked potato to come out. If you like a crisp, salty jacket that you will eat right to the last delicious morsel, no foil. Bake it naked. However, if you prefer a soft, “steamed” skin on your baked potato, prepare it then wrap it in foil shiny side up and proceed as instructed.

Do I have to poke holes in a baked potato?

It’s optional, however, you’d be smart to do that to preclude a big mess in the oven. Simply pricking the potato’s skin with the tip of a knife or fork is all that’s necessary to give the steam that will build up inside the potato an easy way to leave quietly.

At what temperature should I bake a potato?

425 F. is the ideal temperature. Because your oven may not be perfectly calibrated, check several times during the baking process by piercing the potato with a fork to test for doneness.

How do I bake a potato in the oven at a high altitude?

When baking a potato at altitudes 3,000 feet above sea level or higher, it’s going to take longer to reach your desired doneness. That’s because the air is drier; lower oxygen levels and atmospheric pressure are lower too than at sea level.

All of these things have an effect on cooking and baking efforts. Start checking at 50 minutes in the oven. If you’re baking jumbo-size potatoes it could take up to 15 or even 30 minutes longer, depending on the altitude over 3,000 feet. I live at 5,280 ft. and find I need to add about 15 minutes, depending on the potato size.

A close up of a doughnut

How to Bake a Potato

Potatoes are nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive. As they come from the oven, they're gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan, too. Eat them plain or dress them up, there's just nothing quite as satisfying as a perfectly oven-baked potato.
4 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 159kcal
Cost: $.61

Equipment

  • fork
  • paring knife

Ingredients

  • 1 potato per person
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil per potato
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper, ground

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • While waiting for the oven to reach temperature, wash the potato, scrubbing it well to remove any and all sediment and dirt.
  • With a paring knife, trim away protruding "eyes," and visible blemishes, if any.
  • Pat potato dry with a cloth or paper towel.
  • Using a fork, prick the potato all over, to create escapes for steam that will build up as the potato bakes. Failure to do this could create a mess in the oven as the potato will blow off steam breaking through its jacket.
  • Rub potato with olive oil, making sure it is liberally coated in oil.
  • Sprinkle oily potato liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Place potato directly on oven rack that is set to the middle of the oven.
  • Bake for 60 minutes. After 50 minutes, check for doneness by piercing the potato with a fork. The potato is done when its skin is dry and the inside feels completely soft when pierced, which is approximately 210 F. when using an instant-read food thermometer.
  • Optional: Serve with butter, sour cream, chives, cheese, bacon bits—all of your favorite toppings.

Notes

1. Russet potatoes, also known in the U.S. as Idaho potatoes, are ideal for baking. Their skin is thicker so they hold up well to baking. Their interior is starchy and sweet, yielding a fluffy, delicious result. You'll find russets from medium in size to jumbo, which makes them ideal as either a side dish or the main course.
2. Potato "eyes" are the buds for roots should that potato be planted for propagation. Sometimes the eyes begin to grow those roots while sitting in the pantry or another cool place. This is not a problem! If they're short and super immature just trim them flat with a paring knife. There is no need to dig out the eyes. If however, they've begun to grow into a tangled mess, that potato is too old for consumption and should be discarded (or planted?) 
3. To reduce the baking time, microwave the potato for 3 to 4 minutes, just prior to placing it into the oven. Begin checking for doneness every 20 minutes. Expect a slightly less crisp result.
4. If you prefer a baked potato with a soft, rather than a crisp jacket, wrap it in aluminum foil before baking. 

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 880mg | Fiber: 5g | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 7mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

Original: 1-14-20; Revised & Updated 10-31-20

More from Mary's Everyday Cheapskate

A plate of food and a cup of coffee
Homemade Hot Butternut Squash Soup
chinese brown sauce
Three shiny red apples a day
Food supplies crisis food stock for quarantine isolation period. Different glass jars with grains, pasta, cans of canned food, toilet paper, chalkboard handwritten chalk lettering Stay home and relax.
homechef displayed on countertop
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
7 replies
  1. Sue says:

    I think mmichael’s comment was unnecessary. If you’re afraid, stay home. Don’t force others to comply to your fear. Love your posts, Mary!

    Reply
  2. MMichael says:

    Was sad you opened your post with the information that you are attending a gathering for Halloween. I’m sure you’re taking precautions but not all who are meeting in even small groups are, and meeting in groups spreads COVID 19. I’m sad that so many are missing personal interaction with friends but if you are going to mention on your widely spread newsletter that you are attending a gathering in these times, please add the safety measures you are taking. So many people just don’t think and for those who don’t care, they don’t need encouragement.

    Reply
  3. Martha Heagany says:

    4 stars
    I have used your recipe before and it is very good as we love baked potatoes crispy outside and fluffy inside. A couple of months ago I ran across this recipe, you just might want to try it. Both are very good but if you have the time this one is excellent. Thanks Mary.

    Reply
    • Gladys Ellenberg Jones says:

      I love the British jacket potatoes! I lived there years ago and also loved the meals they made with jacket potato topped with grated cheese, or chili con carne for a great meal. They are often on cafes’ menus as a light meal.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How was it?