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Learn how to bake Perfect Baked Potatoes. It’s easy, but you just have to know a few tips and tricks!

Perfect Baked Potatoes

There’s nothing better than a perfectly-baked potato served alongside a perfectly-cooked steak at a  steak house restaurant. Turns out, it very easy to make the same Perfect Baked Potatoes at home – and today we’re telling you exactly how to do it.

Choose russet potatoes for Perfect Baked Potatoes

That’s right – using the right kind of potato makes all of the difference in the world when cooking a baked potato!

Russet potatoes are some of largest potatoes you’ll find at the supermarket, with a thick, dark brown and almost dusty-looking skin.

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Perfect Baked Potatoes

When you bake russets, the inside becomes white and dry, and it fluffs easily with a fork – a perfect place for all of your favorite baked potato toppings.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

The best way to bake Perfect Baked Potatoes

Perfect Baked Potatoes need high oven heat and good air circulation.  Start by placing one oven rack in the center of the oven, with the other rack directly below it. Place a large piece of foil on the lower of the two racks. Then, preheat your oven to a high heat or around 425 degrees F.

While some people like to wrap their russets in foil to bake, we recommend baking them without wrapping them in foil so the heat of the oven circulates around the potato and really crisps the skin – that’s why we have you place that foil on the lower rack.

Scrub your potatoes to clean, then dry with a paper towel. Coat your russet potatoes in olive oil, then season the skin all over with kosher salt.

When the oven is up to temperature, place the potatoes right on the top centered rack. Make sure the potatoes are not touching each other. Also make sure that the piece of foil is below the potatoes – that will catch any oil drips as the russets bake in the oven.

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Perfect Baked Potatoes

How can I tell when my Baked Potato is cooked through?

A baked potato will be fully cooked when the internal temperature is 210 degrees F. (Use an instant read thermometer to test.) An average-sized russet potato will take about an hour to reach 210 degrees.

You can also squeeze the potato (carefully – it’s hot!) to see if the inside feels soft. This method isn’t as accurate however, because sometimes the outer flesh feels soft but the inside is still undercooked.

Once the inside of the potato is cooked through – if you prefer your baked potatoes to be nice and crispy on the outside (like my husband Jack) – leave the potatoes in the oven for longer. But don’t go more than 30 minutes longer – otherwise, the inside of the potato could start to overcook and dry out.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

How to serve Perfect Baked Potatoes?

A perfectly-done baked potato is very delicious served right out of the oven – and we like a combination of butter, sour cream, and a sprinkle salt and pepper.

You can, of course, load your baked potatoes up with many more kinds of toppings such as chopped chives, shredded cheese, chili, bacon, and more!

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Do I eat the skin of a baked potato or not?

My husband Jack always eats the skin of his baked potatoes – and he’s definitely on to something! This article here talks about nutritional value of baked potato skins vs the flesh of a baked potato. The skin has lots of fiber and nutrients – so your best bet is to eat both!

You may like these other Potato recipes:

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Perfect Baked Potatoes

Perfect Baked Potatoes

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Category: side dish, vegetable
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Russet potatoes

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Toppings

Butter

Sour cream

Optional: Chives, shredded cheese, chili, chopped bacon, or other favorite toppings.


Instructions

High heat is needed with open air flow so preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place two racks in oven, one in center and one just below the first. On the bottom rack, place a piece of foil large enough to catch drips from above.

Scrub potatoes under cold water, rubbing with your hands. Dry completely with paper towels.

Place potatoes on a tray and rub all over with olive oil, then sprinkle all over with kosher salt.

Once the oven is hot, place the potatoes directly onto the center rack (no pan, right on the rack) so that any drips, drip down to the foil.

The potato is done when the center reaches 210 degrees F which usually takes about an hour, depending on the thickness of the potato. However, this is where you can change the outside texture by continuing to bake longer.

Jack says: I like my outside skin to be crispy so I leave the potato in for another 30 minutes after it reaches 210 degrees F. The crispy outside skin is actually my favorite part of the potato. This does not hurt or overcook the inside, it stays at about 210 F and restaurants do this all the time. But at some point, they will overcook and dry out so you shouldn’t go more than a total of 1 ½ hours. If you like the outside skin soft, by all means, remove at 210 degrees at about the one-hour mark.

You can also tell when they are done by squeezing the center. If it gives, it is done. If it doesn’t then they need to cook longer.

Slit the top and with a fork, mash up the inside and add pats of butter, a dollop of sour cream, salt and pepper or any of your other favorite toppings.


Keywords: perfect baked potato, how to bake a potato

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Perfect Baked Potatoes

Perfect Baked Potatoes

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    Comments

  • Beverly wrote:

    This is exactly how I bake mine but I prick them with a fork so they don’t explode in my oven. People say this isn’t necessary but I have had this happen and it’s a big mess.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion Beverly! We actually did some research on this before posting – and while we suspect that any exploding happens when too much moisture builds up under the skin, it was unclear why that happens. (Could be that the potatoes weren’t cured properly, older potatoes are less likely to explode because they are drier, others say that older potatoes build up more starch and those explode, etc.) Everyone seems to have a different opinion as to why it happens. I guess we’re one of the lucky ones who have never had the potatoes explode in the oven – but it certainly won’t hurt to poke them with a fork before hand. Thanks for writing to us today.

  • Linda R wrote:

    Martha,
    I realize not everyone thinks they need a baked potato recipe, however, the perfect steak needs a perfectly baked potato!!!!
    It’s the little extra effort that takes it to the next level. I sent this pin to all my grandchildren, they will thank me!!!!
    Wishing you lots of beautiful foliage this fall. It’s my favorite time of year,
    Linda

    • Martha wrote:

      I totally agree Linda! I first learned how to bake a potato (by my parents) wrapped in foil, but think this oiled, foil-less method is so much better! (It’s my favorite time of year too – the leaves are *just* starting to turn a little…it’s coming!)

  • Daniel Sochacki wrote:

    Pierce potato with fork all around wrap in wet paper towel set microwave 3minutes longer if needed

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Daniel – We sometimes microwave potatoes too when we’re short on time. But (in our opinion) the texture of the inside just isn’t the same and you won’t get the same crispy skin either.

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