The best baked potato recipe — perfectly crispy and flavorful on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and so flavorful and delicious.
Today, I thought we could go back to the basics and review a simple skill that every good cook should master…
…how to bake a potato. ♡
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally came to appreciate for myself the difference between a good baked potato and a greatbaked potato. You know what I’m talking about. Those baked potatoes whose skins are irresistibly golden and crispy, with a satisfying hint of crunchy salt in each bite. Those baked potatoes whose insides are perfectly light and fluffy and steamy, ready to enjoy with a dash of fresh chives or maybe loaded up with all of your favorite toppings. Those baked potatoes that taste like pure, nostalgic, comforting carbohydrate magic, and remind you how satisfying a simple potato can be.
That’s what we’re talking about today. And the good news for us all is that perfectly baked potatoes are actually incredibly easy to make. The secret lies 100% in this method below. All you need are 4 easy ingredients, a few minutes of active prep time and a piping hot oven. Then before you know it, the best baked potatoes of your life will be ready to serve and load up with your favorite toppings in no time.
Let’s bake some potatoes!
Perfect Baked Potato Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Oven Baked Potato Ingredients:
Alright first, let’s talk ingredients. To make this easy baked potato recipe, you will need:
Russet potatoes: Technically, you can make baked potatoes with any type of potatoes. But to make the best baked potatoes, I strongly believe that Russets are the way to go. The skins of Russet potatoes are nice and thick, which allow them to crisp up perfectly in the oven. And the insides are starchy, which make for an extra fluffy and sweet filling.
Butter or olive oil: I also strongly recommend using butter to crisp up your potato skins, which adds so much flavor and helps the skins get extra golden. But if you prefer not to cook with butter, you could sub in whatever type of high-heat cooking oil you prefer. (I would recommend avocado oil or regular olive oil, not extra-virgin.)
Kosher salt: I recommend using coarse Kosher salt, in order to add a bit of a crunch to the potato skins.
Freshly-ground black pepper: You can sprinkle black pepper on the potato skin before baking and/or add a few generous cracks of black pepper to the fluffy insides of the potatoes once they have fully baked.
Detailed ingredient amounts and instructions listed below.
How To Bake A Potato:
Here is my tried and true best method for how to make baked potatoes in the oven…
Heat oven to 450°F. Yep, you read the temperature right. The oven needs to be extra hot, so that the potato skins will crisp up quickly.
Prepare your baking sheet. If you happen to own a wire cooling rack, I highly recommend placing one on top of a baking sheet, so that the potatoes can cook evenly on all sides. Or if you don’t own a wire rack, you can either place the potatoes directly on the oven racks (with a baking sheet below, to catch any drips) or you can just bake the potatoes on a foil-lined (or parchment-lined, at your own risk) baking sheet.
Poke your potato all over with a fork. Because no one wants to deal with exploding potatoes. ;)
First bake. My best advice for how long to bake a potato — in two rounds! For the first round, bake for about 25 minutes, until the skin starts to feel dry and slightly wrinkly.
Brush the potato with melted butter (or oil). Next, carefully remove the potato from the oven. Use a pastry brush to brush the potato with melted butter (or oil) evenly on all sides. Sprinkle the potato with a generous pinch of Kosher salt. (I like mine fairly coarse so that you get a bit of a crunch.) Then place the potato back on the baking sheet, opposite side up, so that the potato can cook evenly on both sides.
Second bake. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Then very carefully, use an oven mitt to squeeze the potato (it will be hot) to check for doneness. 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 ready to go. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes, but on average, they typically take 45-55 minutes to cook.
Cut, squeeze, fluff, season and serve! Finally, slice the potato open lengthwise with a paring knife, give it a good squeeze to open it up, fluff the insides with a fork, add your favorite seasonings or toppings. Then a perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-fluffy-on-the-inside, and oh-so-delicious baked potato will now be yours to enjoy!
Baked Potato FAQ:
Here are some answers to a few of the most popular questions we have received over the years about how to make baked potatoes…
Can I make vegan baked potatoes? Definitely, just use vegan butter or a high-heat cooking oil (in place of butter).
Can I make microwave baked potatoes? You can use the same ingredients to make a microwave baked potato, but it will not have the same crispy skin and fluffy insides. I highly recommend the oven method instead.
Can I make Instant Pot baked potatoes? You can, but they also will not have the same crispy skin and fluffy insides that the oven method yields.
Can you make baked sweet potatoes with the same method? You can! Although baked sweet potatoes may have a slightly different cooking time, depending on the size/type of the potatoes.
Do I need to wrap the potatoes in foil? Nope, the potatoes need to stay uncovered with this method so that their skins can get extra-crispy.
What if I don’t have coarse Kosher salt? No worries, just sprinkle on some fine sea salt instead. I also occasionally use old-school seasoned salt on my potato skins and it is delicious!
Loaded Baked Potato Toppings:
Want to load your baked potatoes up with some fun toppings? Here are a few of my favorite ingredient combos for loaded baked potatoes…
Classic loaded baked potato: topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and/or green onions
Heat the oven. Heat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil (or parchment*), and if you happen to own a wire cooling rack, place it on top of the baking sheet.
Prep the potato. Using a dinner fork or a small paring knife, poke the potato at least 10 times on all sides. Place the potato on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake (round one). Bake for 25 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven.
Brush with butter (or oil). Using a pastry brush, brush the outside of the potato with melted butter or olive oil 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 reverse-side-up, so that it can cook evenly on both sides.
Bake (round two). Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Using an oven mitt, carefully squeeze the potato to check for doneness. If the insides are soft and give under pressure, remove the potato from the oven. Otherwise, continue cooking in 5-minute increments until the potato is soft.
Cut the potato. Using a small paring knife, slice halfway through the potato lengthwise. Then give it a gentle squeeze to open.
Serve. Serve immediately, with your desired toppings.
*Baking sheet: You can either bake the potatoes (1) directly on the oven racks themselves, with an extra baking sheet on a rack below to catch any drippings (2) on a baking sheet, which I recommend covering with foil or parchment paper (at your own risk) for easy cleanup.
Now that is one PERFECTION of a baked potato! I could so go for this on the dinner menu tonight! Thanks girl!
Thank you so much Taylor! :)
This is such a thoughtful post for you to share Ali! Baked potatoes are always a winner so it’s really important to get them down. Thanks for the awesome tips that are totally going to save me in all my future bake-potatoing!
Thanks Tori! We hope you love these! :)
Hi Ali, can you tell me what the best way to keep these warm would be. Low oven, crock pot? I’m doing a chili cook off at my house this weekend with a bunch of families and thought having baked potatoes on hand would be a great serving options in addition to corn bread, etc. I would love to have the perfectly cooked potato, but don’t want them to get over cooked or cold while waiting for people to eat. Thanks!
Wheww, that looks amazing. Love the fact that you just took the weekend for yourself – so many people are too scared of offending someone they never say they need some time for themselves! Love this recipe, too. Great share.
Yum. Broccoli Cheese Potatoes are some of my favorites! Including salt when cooking potatoes always, always makes them taste 100x better, but I’ve never tried them in the oven before – next time around for sure.
Love your site. Spent much of the weekend reading up on your photography practices– thanks for all the advice. I can’t have potatoes at the moment, so enjoyed living vicariously through this post! They look DELICIOUS!
All the best!
Thanks, we’re glad you’re here! :)
I don’t make baked potatoes often but when I do, I love them loaded with butter and served beside some bbq!
That sounds like heaven to us! :)
This may sound very strange but I’ve been trying to prefect basic meals, only recently have found the PERFECT way to make french toast. Seriously, I’ve never been told I’m a master at something but I sure am at french toast now! I’m testing this out soon because I need to continue to master the basics! Haha, love this!!
That’s awesome Erin (we LOOOOOVE French toast)! :)
Yummy! Looks delish!
It never ceases to amaze me that the baked potato can steal the show and just become dinner in itself. Followed by a hot fudge sundae of course.
This is so helpful!! My baked potatoes always end up just short of “perfect”, but now they will be! Thanks for sharing <3
We’re glad to hear that Marina! :)
Ali – You may want to nix parchment at 475 F. Most parchment that folks can buy in the grocery store is only safe to about 425 F. (Reynolds). I’d rather have a potato bomb than a fire in my oven. The foil of course, is fine.
Hi Trish! Thanks for bringing this to our attention! We will include a note in the recipe.
Great post! And, so much better than microwaving. Just a note, forget the oven mitts, use an instant read thermometer and remove the potatoes at 210F. I do them in a convection oven, directly on the rack, no need to turn them due to the air circulation.
Thanks and keep up the great posts!
Thanks Robert, and we appreciate your tips! :)
These look mouth watering and are ironically on the menu for dinner tonight. Bacon, cheese and brocolli!
I usually oil, salt and pepper potatoes before baking. Does doing this midway through make them crispier?
Awesome! And yes, we think it does! :) We hope you enjoy.
I remember my mom used to use aluminum baking nails when baking potatoes (at least I think she did; I was just a kid). Have you ever seen/used them? I’m curious if they would have an effect on the even-ness of the inside of the potato.
But the more I think about it, aluminum is a terrible conductor of heat. Why weren’t there cast iron baking nails?
Sorry to assign you more homework but your followers will need to know more about this.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for sharing this with us Jack — we hadn’t heard of aluminum baking nails — very intriguing though!
I’ve always oiled and salted my baked potatoes but I do it right at the beginning. Is there a reason you did it halfway? BTW your potatoes look better than mine so I might have answered my question.
These potatoes look great. I’m definitely adding some cheese and of course with the butter in combination with the potatoes. It’s a dream. I have only one question – do you turn the fan of the oven on? I think my oven bakes more evenly with it, but i’m not really sure how this will effect that particular recipe.
Thanks Johnny! We didn’t use a fan in the oven, but if you’ve had good luck before with it helping bake things evenly, then you might want to give it a shot! :)
awesome but could the potatoes be boil then baked?
We haven’t tried that Shanese, but we don’t think it’s necessary. We hope you enjoy! :)
This is really awesome ???nice one .Thanks for sharing
Thanks Sherly, we hope you enjoy! :)
Woow! This looks so good, Definitely going on my list of things to make!
Thanks Jennai — we hope you enjoy! :)
I used this recipe when I had to make 10 lb of baked potatoes. They were perfect and delicious. Then I used the leftovers to make potato salad. In the future, I will always bake potatoes instead of boil them for potato salad – perfect texture, not waterlogged, and no burned fingers.
Thanks for sharing Xena — we’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe! And wow, 10 lbs is a lot of potatoes!
Is there any way you cook these ahead of time & keep them warm, without losing the integrity of the recipe? To keep warm in foil would probably make the skin soggy, right?
Hi Heather! Hmmm, we haven’t tried cooking them ahead of time and keeping them warm without reheating, so we can’t say for sure. However, we feel like the skin would likely get soggy.
I always though that there is the self-made man mechanics in popping these potatoes. I always looked at these photos and was stunned. I tried the baking at the microoven but unfortunately my potatoes were just boring. They were regular boring coach potatoes. I was sitting on the sofa and think about the preparation process. I guessed that possibly there is a trick of perfect recipe. I thought that it is particular kind of potatoes. I was thinking where I can find this type of potatoes and can pop up by themselves in the oven. But in Your Precious article I find the very very simply solution. You are suggesting to make the cut in the middle of the potatoes and smash from the both side of it. It is so funny solution. I did it early but I was eager trying to find the right kind or type of potatoes that can simply pop up like a special kind of popcorn that can only pop up if you add butter. Thank You All very very much!!!! It was fun to know something about this particular story of pretty hot looking potato in this special situation in this special occasion. I wish You All prosperity and Great Happiness!!! Good Luck and Stay Healthy and in the Great Shape!!!
Thank you Irina — we’re happy you found this method helpful!
This is the first time I’ve ever wrote a recipe review.. these were that good! Simple tips but they took the average baked potato to a whole other level. I added a little butter, s&p & parsley.. perfect indeed. Thanks y’all!
Thank you for your comment Emily — we’re so glad you loved this! :)
I was interested in your best baked potatoe post.. so I read on.
I do a couple other things and thought I’d pass those on to you or anyone else.
1) Wash the outside skins and don’t dry them or very little
2) Then poke with a fork or knife. I often use a knife because its sharper and takes less force.
3) I spray real good with olive oil or cooking spray and then wrap in foil or microwavable wrap if your in a hurry and would prefer to do the quick method. My family always comments on how good they turn out. I think washing them and not drying adds some moisture to the pototoe while they bake which could help the fluffiness of the inside. I really don’t know that forsure but I wrap mine wet. Also I spray the foil or microwavable wrap so the oil doesn’t just roll off. So there is moisture from washing and from the oil. You can poke after or before. Hope that makes sense.
I actually prefer the old style way my mother did hers…red potatoes, oven baked covered with crisco. Makes a delicious outer skin…if you like potatoe skins…and of course lots of butter! Yum!! Just caught a childhood memory with that last sentence:-)
Hi Lorrie! Thanks for sharing your tips with us, we appreciate it — that’s an interesting theory about washing them and not drying them. We might need to give that a try next time!
This baked potato was so delicious! I have only made” baked” potatoes that I can put in the microwave using a bag but I wanted to actually try baking the potato and after reading all of the reviews, I decided I wanted to try it out. I typically force myself to eat the skin of a potato because I know it’s good for you but with this recipe I did not have to force myself, it was one of my favorite parts. I topped it with shredded BBQ chicken and it made for a easy, simple delicious dinner!
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Shicka — thanks for giving the recipe a try! Also, we think that BBQ chicken sounds like a fantastic thing to have with it! :)
I never finished an entire huge russet baked potato until I made it your way. I’m doing them a second time tonight. CAN’T WAIT!
Thank you!! <3
AWESOME, so glad to hear it! :)
All claims made by the author are verified by my own experience. I have now tried this basic recipe 4 times in a row, and every time this has resulted in the perfect fluffy baked potato. The olive oil step @ 25 minutes or so might be as claimed as the essential step. I ran this as a foiled Idaho baked potato for 25 minutes, then applied the olive oil and pepper as specified followed by 30 minutes. After the 25 minutes of foil, the foil is removed for the rest of the baking cycle. When the potato can be pierced by a fork to the center with minimal pressure, it’s done, and done perfectly. The skin is a delectable crusty result, the identifying mark of any great baked potato. Thanks for this very repeatable great result that works, every time.
We’re glad you enjoy this method, Robert! :)
I was looking for a good baked spud to go with Carne Asada tonight. Found IT! I LOVE eating the skin and the inside is just a bonus. Thank you ??Have a lovely weekend!
I’m making these for the third time tonight. They come out perfectly every time! I didn’t even like baked potatoes before having these crunchy skinned ones!
We’re so happy you enjoy this method, Sam! :)
I’m trying to use potato skins instead of taco shells to make chicken taco’s since I went (no grain) I haven’t seen any online. I’m probably going to be the first. Most are using romaine lettuce as a shell but I’m not a big fan of lettuce. I’m hoping to just put the oil on at the beginning to make crispy shells, did you know potatoes are number one cause for diabetes however there are several ways to lower the potato’s glycemic levels. This first one is to cool your potatoes, somehow they found it lowers the glycemic level even if you reheat them. Eat them with plenty of good fat like olive oil is another, also vinegar lowers glycemic levels. Guess what ketchup has in it ? I like to nuke a potato, then slice it into 1/4 inch coin shaped portions. I drip olive oil on them (it’s easiest to just poke a hole in your olive oil pull handle after you take the cap off) If you don’t pull that stopper out and just poke a hole in it you can just drip out what you want. Then I salt them and take the backside of a spoon and spread it around so the oil and salt soaks into the flesh. Refrigerate until they are cool, reheat and drop a load of ketchup on them for some quick healthy fries.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Gregg!
I found that using a corn cob holder a much easier way to poke the holes in the potatoes than a fork!
Best baked potato ever! I always messed them up until now!
We’re so glad you found this helpful, Brittney!
How will the timing change if you are baking multiple (say 4-5) potatoes at once?
Hi Irene! If the potatoes are all pretty much the same size, the timing should be the same (but test them for doneness to be sure, as they could take a little longer). We hope you enjoy!
I’ve always struggled with making the perfect baked potato. This worked absolutely perfectly for me. Yummy crispy skin and super creamy and fluffy inside. Yum yum yum! THANK YOU!
Thanks, Hayley — we’re so glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks so much for this recipe. these sound just delicious. Simon
Thank you for the great recipe.
FYI, Parchment paper is only made to withstand temperatures up to 420, otherwise it burns. I did not know this until I used it and I could smell it burning and then checked the parchment paper labeling. I’m glad I was in the kitchen or else I could’ve had a fire.
We’re glad you enjoyed it! And oh no, that’s good to know, thanks for the heads up!
Does this work for Sweet Potatoes too???
Hi Laura! For sweet potatoes, we’ve found they’re a bit easier. You can just put them directly on your oven rack (no need to wrap in foil or prick with a fork), and just place a baking sheet or sheet of foil on the rack below, to catch any juices that drip. Usually 400 degrees for 45 minutes or so does the trick.
I love this recipe! I have made the potatoes several times, and it has become my go to baked potato recipe.
We’re so glad to hear that, Antonia!
I’m trying these tonight with a slowcooker buffalo chicken! We tried it with the sweet potatoes recommended and the flavor was off, but russets I think will be better. I think together they will be great
Had a genius idea to make homemade sloppy joes and Smoked Gouda filled baked potatoes, but the way I make baked potatoes would just not work for that situation… these came out exactly how I needed them to and everything was AMAZING! I am not usually a big baked potato fan, but this may have opened my eyes a bit to the idea of bringing them into my monthly arsenal of deliciousness. Skin was crispy but not dry, and the insides held together with a creamy consistency. Ten stars on a scale one 5 when it comes to an oven baked potato. Thank you! P.s. People, use some melted butter with the salt mixed in… less cleanup and better flavor than just oil!(even though it is bad for you. Haha)
Ooooh, we think that sounds fantastic! We’re so glad the potatoes came out so well for you, thanks for sharing!
Just a side note . . . Wilton’s parchment paper is good up to 450 degrees. ?
Thank you, Cheri, that’s good to know!
Just a side note . . . Wilton’s parchment paper is good up to 450 degrees. :)
An awesome way to have potatoes with skin. My family loves a little bit more flavour. After the basic baking as given in the recipe and slitting in the middle with a paring knife I stuffed the potatoes with some caramelized onions. Made a topping with sour cream, pepper powder, nutmeg powder and salt. After stuffing the caramelized onions, I topped with the sour cream mixture and spread some spring onions on top. Baked it again but at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Voila!! Tasty baked potatoes with yummy stuffing vanished in a snap.
Thanks for sharing with us, Arthi — we’re so happy you enjoyed them, and the way you prepared them sounds incredible! :)
Perfect baked potatoes every time. And no 90 minute baking because who can wait that long to eat when you’re hungry?
Thanks, Alyssa, we’re so happy you enjoy this method! :)
Best baked potato I have ever eaten.
Thank you, Laurence, we’re so glad you loved it!
I love jacket potatoes, as we call them in New Zealand. I smoosh some cottage cheese with chopped chives into the fluffy cooked middle and have it for lunch on a wintery day when I want something hot and filling. It’s good plain hearty food :-)
Oooh, we think that sounds so yummy, Lynne — we’ll have to give that a try! :)
This is the only baked potato recipe I follow, the potatoes come out absolutely PERFECT every time! Thank you SO much for breaking down such a simple (yet delicious) recipe!
This looks delish! My husband and i were experimenting grill potatoes on the outside grill and discovered an amazing theory. We peeled the potatoes, covered in oil salt pepper and Mrs. Dash, then wrapped in foil and grilled them for 20 minutes. Talk about AMAZING!