How to bake the best baked potato: Guess which appliance you don’t need!

How to Bake the Best Baked Potato

Growing up, I saw no shortage of baked potatoes. Cheap, easy, kid-friendly, and versatile. A mother’s dream food!

My mom grew up in a “meat and potatoes” home where, as you may have guessed, dinner was required to have each component on the table. It was the 50s and 60s – vegetarianism was virtually unheard of.

I imagine that potatoes were mostly boiled during that time with maybe some surprise breakfast potatoes on the weekend. Blah.

Years later, my grandma never lost sight of potatoes and the bar food trend of the 90s overjoyed her when she found out that loaded potato skins were a thing. I guess I’m a product of my genetics (shocking, right?) because I could seriously eat a baked potato a few times a week.

I don’t need the meat to go with them but a butter-tender medium-rare grilled steak is not something I’ll turn down a couple times a year.

So enter these baked potatoes! I was actually on the hunt recently for how to bake the best baked potato and lo! Cook’s Country came to my aid, yet again.

The Key to the Perfect Baked Potato

Turns out, the key to the perfect baked potato is to be patient. In an effort to speed up the baking time, for years I was pre-baking the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes and then popping them in the oven. This resulted in unevenly baked potatoes, microwave-tasting skins, and an overall sense of dissatisfaction. More blah!

How to Bake the Best Baked Potato

Cook’s Country went straight for the oven here. After you wash the potatoes of dirt, they get tossed in a salt brine. Then you’ll bake them in a super hot oven for nearly an hour, brush them with some oil, and bake ’em again.

The potatoes emerge as piping hot pockets of buttery, fluffy, perfectly tender, and evenly cooked potatoes. Drooool!

The skins are pure crispy perfection and this was the first time I have ever seen Kyle eat the potato skin. We loaded these potatoes up for lunch two weekends in a row for a fantastic and filling meal, and I even popped a few extra potatoes in the oven to guarantee lunch for me during the week.

Win-Win-Win!

How about some recipes to use these baked potatoes?

Chorizo Roasted Broccoli Cheddar Overstuffed Baked Potatoes
chorizo roasted broccoli cheddar overstuffed baked potatoes
roasted vegetable stuffed potato
roasted vegetable stuffed potato

How to Bake the Best Baked Potato

  • Prep Time: 5min
  • Cook Time: 55min to 1hr 10min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 (7 to 9oz) Russet or Idaho potatoes, washed and poked a few times on each side with a fork
½ cup warm tap water
2 tbsp table salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • 01

    Preheat oven to 450° F. In a large bowl, stir the water and salt together until the salt is dissolved. Roll the potatoes in the water until well-coated; pat dry and place them on a wire rack set atop a large baking sheet.

  • 02

    Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the inside temperature reads 205° F (smaller potatoes will need around 45-50 minutes). Remove the potatoes from the oven, brush the tops and sides with the oil, and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes to allow the skins to become crispy.

  • 03

    Remove the potatoes from the oven and slice them open right away with an “X” in the center to avoid them steaming and thus, softening the skins. Squeeze the potatoes open and load ’em up with plenty of salt, pepper, butter, and/or your favorite toppings.

adapted from Cook’s Country

we love to see what you make!

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@smellslikehomeblog
  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
    March 10, 2016 at 9:38 AM

    oooooh these sound amazing! I totally need to try this method (and attempt to be patient :P)

  • Ashley
    March 10, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    This is great! I hate unevenly cooked potatoes and have never been happy with any of the “fast” methods anyways. Will have to try this!

  • March 10, 2016 at 6:08 PM

    I am so with you! This is how I bake my potatoes because I HATED how my Mum did them when I was younger. Somehow she just manages to make them soggy and blah because she pre-cooks them in the microwave and then I don’t know what she does from there, haha!

    • March 11, 2016 at 8:40 AM

      lol! Too funny! I remember my mom fully cooking them in the microwave sometimes. It doesn’t get worse than that!

  • Sassy Lady
    May 6, 2017 at 12:56 PM

    Has anyone tried this using sweet potatoes ? I’d like to know how they turned out.

    • Tara
      May 13, 2017 at 9:51 AM

      I haven’t tried sweet potatoes but I’m sure they would work fine here. And I think the slightly salty skins would be an incredible complement to the sweet potato flesh. Yum!! Let me know if you try this!!

  • Mary Pierce
    May 16, 2017 at 9:30 PM

    My Mum just set potatoes in the oven with whatever roast she was cooking at 375 for the time it took to cook
    The meat always over an hour at least.potatoes always had crusty yummy skins. Oh large potatoes!

  • Neil
    December 1, 2017 at 9:32 PM

    With all due respect, you changed a key item in the process, and left out another.
    Do NOT pat the RUSSET (NOT Idaho) potatoes dry, as this will remove the brine from the outside of the potato…which is intended to dry on the potato in the oven, leaving a fine salty crust on the skin.
    Additionally, the absolute key, is to cook the potatoes by temperature, and NOT by time. Remove the potatoes at 205°F, to apply VEGETABLE (NOT olive) oil to the skin, and return to the oven until they register 212°F. The times are too imprecise as potatoes carry not only in weight, but in shape. Two potatoes of the same weight will cook differently if one is long and thin, and the other is short & round.

    • Neil
      December 1, 2017 at 9:36 PM

      Excuse me, I meant to say potatoes VARY too much in weight and shape. Not, “carry” too much in weight & shape. Most of us humans do that…never mind the potatoes.

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