Learning how to make baked potatoes is a skill everyone can use. In this recipe, we make them with slightly crispy skin and the perfect fluffy interior!
How to make baked potatoes perfectly
You might think knowing how to make baked potatoes is easy. After all, it only requires turning on an oven and properly cleaning and preparing the potatoes. Right? Well, in part, that’s true.
So, if this is the case, why are there so many restaurants and home cooks serving mushy baked potatoes?
It’s likely one or more of these reasons:
- Wrong ingredients.
- Improper preparation of the skin.
- Over cooking them.
- Improper “holding” technique after baking.
The ingredients can make or break the perfect baked potato recipe.
What type of potato is best?
The heat of an oven and a long cook time can cause potatoes with thin skins (like red potatoes) to break down a bit. As a result, they may become mushy.
Just because a potato is large in size does not mean it’s suitable become a baked potato.
For best results, use russet potatoes, sometimes known as Idaho potatoes.
In addition to spuds, you will also need:
- Fat – The fat will become a casing for the potato to keep the moisture inside, Also, it adds flavor and helps the skin to become crispy. It can be any type of fat you like; olive oil, butter, or my personal favorite, bacon fat.
- Salt – Do not use ordinary table salt! You want to use a large grain, coarse salt, such as Kosher or sea salt.
How do you prepare potatoes for baking?
One important step in knowing how to make baked potatoes perfectly is knowing how to prepare them properly.
- Wash each potato under running water. Then, use a vegetable brush to scrub the skins of any dirt and debris. Lastly, use a clean kitchen towel to thoroughly dry them.
- Pierce the potatoes several times all over with the tines of a fork or the tip of a sharp knife. This helps steam to escape, preventing them from being too soggy on the inside. Also, if you skip this step, your potato might explode from the build up of pressure during baking.
- Rub the skins with oil and then roll them in sea salt.
How to test for The Perfect Baked Potato?
The center of the baked potato needs to be 205°F when you insert an instant read thermometer. This will ensure a uniform, fluffy interior!
Keeping potatoes warm
If you won’t be serving them immediately, you can keep the potatoes warm by wrapping them in aluminum foil, although the skin will lose crispness.
However, the easiest way to do this is to use the oven after you turn it off after baking. There should be plenty of residual heat in the oven to keep the potatoes warm for at least an hour.
How to Make Baked Potatoes
- 2 Large Russet Potatoes
- olive oil or bacon fat
- Adjust the rack in your oven to the middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
- Rinse and scrub each potato. Dry each potato thoroughly with a clean towel.
- Pierce each potato with a fork or sharp knife four (4) times on each side. This will allow steam to escape during the baking.
- Rub the outside of the potato with bacon fat, olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter then sprinkle the potatoes all over in kosher or sea salt before baking.
- Don't wrap your potato, you'll be "steaming, not baking" it for the desired crispy skin and light fluffy insides.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes (depending on size) on a rack lined baking sheet until the outside is crisp and the potato gives a little when lightly squeezed.
- Carefully cut each potato open and add your favorite seasonings and toppings like butter, sour cream, chives, etc.