How to bake the best baked potato in the oven: Here are the keys to crispy skins and perfectly fluffy baked potatoes!
Growing up, I saw no shortage of baked potatoes. Baked potatoes are 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 with the leftovers from the week. Blah.
Years later, my grandma never lost sight of potatoes with her meals. In fact, 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 in the Oven
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.
Cook’s Country went straight for the oven here with this baked potato recipe. After you wash the potatoes of dirt, they get tossed in a salt brine.
How Long to Bake Potatoes in the Oven
You’ll bake the potatoes in a super hot oven (450° F) for nearly an hour, brush them with some oil, and bake ’em again. Yes, baked potatoes definitely need a long time to bake since they are so dense. Keep in mind that smaller baked potatoes will probably need a little less time to bake.
Baking them for this long is needed to ensure you get those perfectly fluffy and evenly cooked potato centers.
The potatoes emerge as piping hot pockets of potato ready to be loaded up with butter, sour cream, bacon, and any of your other favorite baked potato toppings. Drooool!
The skins are pure crispy perfection and this was the first time I have ever seen Kyle eat the potato skin.
Creative Ways to Use Baked Potatoes
If you’re bored with plain baked potatoes, let me suggest a few other ways. 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 with some BBQ compound butter.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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