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.