How to Bake a Potato

5 from 4 votes

Learn how to bake a potato with this easy step-by-step method and perfect cook time in the oven- includes baking tips and loaded potato ideas

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Master how to bake a potato, and dinner will never be side-less again. Learn the simple tricks that make potatoes come out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside every single time. Easy to make – even in a toaster oven – baked potatoes are tasty plain or topped a zillion different ways.

Russel potatoes in a baking dish before baking

A russet potato (especially with its skin) is a nutritional heavy hitter. And it contains less starch than other typical side dish carbs like rice or pasta. The average spud offers up significant servings of vitamin C, fiber, and iron! And before toppings, it is very low in fat.

How to bake a potato

  1. Wash the potatoes well, scrubbing off dirt with a brush or your fingers.
  2. Dry with a paper towel.
  3. Use your fingers, a brush, or a paper towel to coat with olive oil and season to taste.
  4. Prick the skin with a fork in several places.
4 image collage to show how to prepare the potato
  • Bake until the skin crisps and puffs and the potatoes are easily pierced. This will depend on the potato size.
3 potatoes in a dish before baking
  • When you remove the baked potato from the oven, make sure to let it cool before cutting open.
Slicing baked potato in half after baking

Tips for baking potatoes

  1. Thoroughly dry your potato. It might seem unnecessary as your potato is going right in the hot oven, but again, more moisture equals a soggy potato.
  2. Always prick the potato in several spots. This allows moisture to escape which creates the lovely fluffy texture of a perfect baked potato and prevents the potato from potentially exploding in the oven.
  3. Forget the foil. Ditch the foil wrapper. It traps moisture making the inside soggy and preventing crisp skin. If you need to keep your spud hot for over 15 minutes, wrap it in foil after it leaves the oven.
  4. Put the potato directly on your oven’s wire rack, as opposed to setting it on a sheet pan. This allows the maximum amount of hot air to circulate around the potato, cooking it evenly.

Loaded baked potato ideas:

  • Sour cream (or low-fat Greek yogurt) and minced chives
  • Chili of any sort, like this vegan lentil chili
  • Oven-roasted Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil
  • Greens like kale and spinach stir fried with garlic and oil
  • Steamed broccoli or spinach
  • Broccoli and cheddar cheese
  • Salsa
  • Scrambled eggs (try it with salsa and cheese)
  • Beans, especially black beans, or lentils
  • And, always, butter, salt, and pepper

What to pair with baked potatoes

Frequently asked questions

What is the best potato to use for baked potatoes?

Russet potatoes, as seen here, are universally acknowledged to make the fluffiest baked potatoes due to their high starch content.

Can I bake a potato in the microwave?

Yes, but it will not have the same texture nor crisp skin. Prepare with olive oil and salt and pepper as above. Remember to prick all over, because microwaved potatoes explode very easily. Start with 5 minutes. Check for doneness. If your potato needs more time, turn and cook for 1 to 3 minutes more.

Can I start in the microwave and crisp in the oven for a few minutes?

This is a great time saver. Cook for the usual amount in the microwave and then move to a 425°F oven for about 10 minutes to crisp up the skin.

Two baked potatoes with butter on top

Tasty, warming, and nutritious, baked potatoes are unprocessed, home-cooked food at its best. Simple and satisfying.

For more cooking tutorials, check out:

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How to Bake a Potato

Learn how to bake a potato with this easy step-by-step method and perfect cook time in the oven- includes baking tips and loaded potato ideas
5 from 4 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Calories 261
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Wash the potatoes well, dry with a paper towel, and rub (or use a brush) with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  • Prick the skins of the potatoes with a fork.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the skin crisps and puffs and the potatoes are easily pierced.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting open. Serve as desired.

Notes

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezing Instructions: Freeze cool baked potatoes solid before wrapping in foil and placing it a freezer bag. They will keep well for up to 3 months.
Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use. 
Photo Credit: Erin Jensen

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 18mg, Potassium: 888mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Two baked potatoes with butter on top

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