The Perfect Baked Potato
My all-time favorite baked potato recipe — perfectly crispy and flavorful on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and totally easy to make.
Ever since we arrived home from New Zealand, I have been making up for lost time with friends and family by scheduling about 1.2 million happy hours, coffee dates, brunches, lunches and dinners galore to catch up with everyone. Which has been awesome, and much-needed, because I miss my people so much when I’m away. But after an uber-social week, after what was also an uber-social vacation, I realized it was also high time to recharge my introverted batteries.
So this weekend, I did just that.
I cleared my calendar. I stocked my fridge with all of my favorite ingredients. I settled in with my comfiest yoga clothes and new favorite candle (affiliate link, love this one). And I did blissfully nothing all weekend except three things:
- Snuggle and go for long walks with my pup.
- Binge-watch the entire new season of House Of Cards.
- Conquer the art of making the absolute perfect baked potato.
Since I can’t share Henry or the HoC spoilers with you, I figured we should at least discuss this perfect potato today. :)
Perfect Baked Potato Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Because here’s the thing: I’ve never been really satisfied with my homemade baked potatoes in the past.
The skins have never been crispy enough. The insides aren’t always evenly cooked. The flavor can sometimes be a little bland. And — I don’t know — I’ve just always thought they could be better.
So I took to my stash of cookbooks and the internet to do some spud-sy research. And after a few hours, I had collected a handful of new tips and methods that seemed promising. So! Between episodes, I decided to put them to the test.
And 8 baked potatoes later, I’m happy to report that I have settled upon my favorite method and recipe. It’s so easy!
Oven-Baked Potato Ingredients:
First off, let’s talk ingredients. To make the perfect baked potato, you’ll need:
- Russet potatoes: I love all kinds of different potatoes for all different kinds of recipes. But when it comes to a classic baked potato, I’m Team Russets all the way. The skins are nice and thick, which are perfect for crisping up in the oven. The insides are super starchy, which make for an extra fluffy and sweet filling. And they’re also the cheapest spuds at the grocery store, which is extra-great for entertaining or a cheap dinner. ;)
- Butter or olive oil: I prefer the flavor of butter here, but olive oil will also work.
- Kosher salt: I like mine fairly coarse, which will add a bit of a crunch to the crispy skins.
- Freshly-ground black pepper: You can either sprinkle this on the potato skin before baking, or do what I do, and add a few generous cracks of black pepper to the fluffy inside of the potato once it is fully baked.
How To Bake A Potato:
Next, let’s talk about how to actually bake a potato. Here are the steps:
- Heat oven to 450°F. Yep, we want your oven super-toasty to begin so that it can get those skins nice and crispy.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. This will make for much easier cleanup. Note though: most brands of parchment paper do not withstand heat quite that hot, so if in doubt, go with foil.
- Poke your potato all over with a fork. Because no one wants to deal with exploding potatoes. ;)
- Bake! (Round 1) Yep, just pop your potatoe straight in the oven at this point and bake for about 25 minutes, until the skin starts to feel dry and slightly wrinkly. This is good!!! It will help your baked potato be even crispier in the end. But we’ve gotta give it some oil to help finish the process. So…
- Brush the outside of the potato with olive oil or melted butter. I recommend doing this with a pastry brush, and be sure to brush it evenly on all sides. Then sprinkle the potato with a generous pinch of Kosher salt (I like mine fairly coarse so that you get a bit of a crunch), and place the potato back on the baking sheet upside down so that it can cook evenly on both sides.
- Bake! (Round 2) Return your baked potato to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Check for doneness by squeezing the potato (using an oven mitt since it’s a hot potato!). If the insides are nice and soft and give under pressure, remove the potato from the oven. Otherwise, continue cooking in 5-minute increments until the potato is done. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes. But I’d say on average they will take 45-55 minutes total to cook.
- Cut, squeeze, fluff, season and serve! Then slice the potato open lengthwise with a paring knife, give it a good squeeze to open it up, fluff it up with a fork, add your favorite seasonings or toppings and…
This perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-fluffy-on-the-inside, and oh-so-delicious baked potato is now yours to enjoy.
You can either go the simple route and just serve it with a pat of butter and some salt and pepper, or get fancy and load it up with the works. Up to you!
Oven Baked Potato Toppings:
Speaking of toppings, here are a few ideas:
- Classic: cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, green onions
- Chili: love this 5-ingredient chili (or the vegetarian version), plus classic toppings
- Guacamole: mega fan of this perfect guacamole, maybe with some extra jalapeños, cheese and crumbled tortilla chips
- Broccoli cheese: I often use this slightly-healthier broccoli cheese recipe (minus the rice) for baked potato toppings
The sky is the (topping) limit here, so have fun and go with whatever sounds good to you!
Hope you enjoy, friends! Happy potato baking. :)
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The Perfect Baked Potato
Learn how to make the perfect baked potato using this step-by-step tutorial and recipe. So easy and delicious!
- 1 medium-to-large Russet potato, scrubbed clean of any dirt
- olive oil or melted butter
- Kosher salt
- freshly-cracked black pepper
- Heat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.**
- Using a dinner fork or a small paring knife, poke the potato multiple times on all sides.
- Place the potato on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the outside of the potato with olive oil or melted butter until it is completely coated on all sides. Sprinkle the potato with a generous pinch of Kosher salt, and place the potato back on the baking sheet upside down so that it can cook evenly on both sides.
- Return to oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Check for doneness by squeezing the potato (using an oven mitt since it’s a hot potato!). If the insides are nice and soft and give under pressure, remove the potato from the oven. Otherwise, continue cooking in 5-minute increments until the potato is done.
- Use a small paring knife to cut down the middle of the potato, and then give it a squeeze to open. Serve immediately, with your desired toppings.
*For super-even cooking, you can alternately cook the potato either directly on the oven racks. Or you can also place a small cooling rack directly on top of your baking sheet, and place the potato on that. For either of those methods, you can (obviously) skip the parchment paper or aluminum foil.
**If using parchment paper, make sure your paper can tolerate 450 degree heat (Reynolds brand only tolerates up to 425 degrees), as you want to make sure the paper doesn’t burn! You can also use aluminum foil.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!