How to Bake Potatoes

Five Methods:PreparationConventional OvenAluminum FoilMicrowaveSlow Cooker

Baked potatoes are an easy and inexpensive side dish to make. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and manganese.[1] Because potatoes are so versatile, there are numerous ways to cook them. Below are several easy ways to make baked potatoes. (Sticklers beware, not all of the methods involve traditional "baking.") Pick the method that looks most enticing to you, or experiment a little!

Ingredients

  • Baking potatoes, 6 to 8 ounces each — russet or red potatoes, depending on personal taste
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Chives (optional)
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Butter (optional)
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Dill (optional)

Method 1
Preparation

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    Scrub potatoes and rinse well with cold water.
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    Remove excess moisture by drying potatoes with a clean tea towel or white paper towels, if baking in a conventional oven.
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    Remove the "eyes" from the potatoes.
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    Cut off any bruised or bad spots, if required.
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    Pierce the potatoes once or twice with a fork. This will allow for faster, more even cooking.

Method 2
Conventional Oven

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    Rub the potatoes with olive oil to coat evenly. (optional). Season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on a baking tray or roasting dish (optional). (Some people prefer to put the potato directly onto the wire rack.)
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    Bake potatoes at 425 degrees F (220 C) for 45 to 60 minutes.[2][3] Potatoes are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.
    • Potatoes may also be baked at lower temperatures for longer times. This process tends to give the outside of the spud a crisper skin.[2] 350 degrees F (175 C) for approximately 1 and a 1/2 hours or 375 °F (191 °C) for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes is a good guideline.
    • Cooking times will vary. Not all potatoes are uniform in size and mass, making these cooking times a guideline, not a rule. Perform the fork test to figure out if the potato has reached the doneness you want.
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    Season and garnish as necessary. Some classic combinations include:
    • Sour cream and chive
    • Butter and salt
    • Cheese

Method 3
Aluminum Foil

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    Season the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper (optional). If you're not going to do anything with the baked potato after it's cooked, seasoning it with olive oil, salt and pepper might be a good idea.
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    Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil. Aluminum foil is a good conductor of heat, meaning that the cooking time on baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil will probably go down. If you like baked potatoes with crispy skins, however, look out: wrapping in aluminum foil creates a potato with skin that is more steamed than crispy.[4]
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    Bake at 425 °F (218 °C) for ~45 to 60 minutes, or 400 °F (204 °C) for 60 to 70 minutes. Slower-cooked baked potatoes often have a creamier center.
    • Check the potato for doneness slightly before you think it may be finished cooking. Because the aluminum foil accelerates the cooking, you may want to check early to avoid an overdone potato.
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    Garnish as necessary.

Method 4
Microwave

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    Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
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    Turn the potatoes over and microwave for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
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    Check for doneness. If potato is still not fully cooked, continue microwaving potato in 1 minute intervals until fully cooked.
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    Garnish as necessary.

Method 5
Slow Cooker

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    Scrub potatoes but do not dry. A little moisture will make for a better baked potato after it has finished cooking.
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    Place in slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until tender. This method will produce the softest-skinned, lightest potato. Cooking at very low heat for longer times will minimize the risk of overcooking.
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    Garnish as necessary.

Tips

  • Traditional toppings to serve with a baked potato include butter, cheese, sour cream, chives, bacon bits.
  • Many people enjoy eating baked potatoes with steak.
  • Some people like to wrap their baked potatoes in foil before baking them in a conventional oven. This steams the potato rather than baking it. It all depends on the cook.
  • The cooking time may be sped up a bit by using the microwave oven. Place the cleaned baking potatoes on a microwave-safe dish and heat until warm, just a couple of minutes per potato. Do not cook them all the way through. Immediately finish baking them in the conventional oven. Using a slow cooker is not recommended for this variation.
  • Baked potatoes may be baked between 325 to 425 degrees F (165-220 C). Of course the lower heat means a bit longer baking, but this also means the potatoes maybe baked alongside such things as meat loaf or other baked main dishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Vegetable scrubbing brush
  • Paring knife to remove potato eyes or bruises

Article Info

Categories: Basic Cooking Skills