We love potatoes in every form, but oven-baked potatoes will forever hold a special place in our heart. They’re perfect both in their simplicity and their versatility. They really don't need anything else besides a bit of butter and salt to be a stellar side, but you can also top them with anything you can dream up to turn them into a meal (we’re partial to a bacon, cheese, and sour cream-loaded potato, personally). Read on for our top tips to make perfect baked potatoes every time:
Prepare Your Potatoes (And Their Skin!)
First things first, we think Russet potatoes make the best baked potatoes because of their thick skin and starchy, fluffy interior (once baked, of course). Speaking of that skin, it’s where all the flavor is at, so you’re going to want to take a little extra care with it. After you give the potatoes a really good scrub (they came from the ground, after all), make sure to dry them thoroughly with a clean dish towel. You'll also want to coat them with a good amount of olive oil. Not only does it help the skin crisp up even more, but it makes it taste better. Rub the potatoes all over before baking, then season generously with salt and pepper. You might be wondering, where’s the foil? No need! Wrapping your taters in foil actually keeps the moisture in, leaving you with soggy skin instead of the crispy exterior we want.
How High & How Long To Bake (Or Air Fry?)
High heat and a long bake makes all the difference in the world. We’re talking 450° high and for about 1 hour. Any lower than that, and you’ll likely be tucking into leathery, crinkly skin and tough potato. To get a really good gauge when they’re done, measure the internal temperature. A fully cooked baked potato should register 200°-205°. Once cooked, slice them open immediately to release steam (and therefore avoid gumminess).You could also air fry your baked potatoes. Prep the potatoes the same way you would for the oven, then place them in the basket of an air fryer at 400° for 40 minutes. It’s one of our longer air fryer recipes, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to use your oven (or need the oven space, for Thanksgiving perhaps?).
Storing Leftovers Baked potatoes taste best straight from the oven, but if you want to make them ahead of time, slice them in half and let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Do not store them in foil as experts warn that this has been linked to botulism. To reheat the potato, take it out of the refrigerator and let it get back to room temperature. Then, bake at 350° until it's warmed through, about 15 minutes. Made these? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
russet potatoes, scrubbed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper