Perfect Basic Baked Potato

How to Make the Perfect Baked Potato

Baked potatoes have long been a signature side dish of steakhouses across America, loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, and chives. But the perfect basic baked potato is really a blank canvas – and one that doesn't have to be relegated to the sidelines. Baked potatoes make a great foundation for the main course and are easily adaptable for vegetarian or vegan options. Have a variety of tastes you're trying to please? Set out an array of toppings and let each person create their own new favorite!

Ingredients:

  • Idaho® potatoes
  • Oil
  • Salt

Directions:

Conventional Oven Method:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F. Wash and dry potatoes.
  2. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each potato 2 or 3 times.
  3. Rub each potato with a little oil (just enough to lightly coat) and salt generously.
  4. Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Microwave Method:
  1. Wash and dry potatoes.
  2. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each potato 2 or 3 times.
  3. Rub each potato with a little oil (just enough to lightly coat) and salt generously.
  4. Place potatoes in a circle on a paper towel, leaving a 1-inch space between each potato.
  5. Cook on HIGH for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork, turning once during cooking and removing any that are done after 15 minutes.
  6. Let potatoes stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Air Fryer Method:

  1. Heat air fryer to 400°F. 
  2. Wash and dry potatoes, making sure that skin is really dry. 
  3. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each potato 2 or 3 times.
  4. Rub each potato with a little oil (just enough to lightly coat) and salt generously.
  5. Air fry for 30-40 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork or internal temperature reaches 210°. Time will depend on your appliance, the size of your potatoes and how many you are cooking at once. 

Instant Pot Method:

  1. Place 1 cup water in the bottom of an Instant pot or pressure cooker. Place a rack or steamer basket over the water (water level should be lower than the rack).
  2. Wash and dry potatoes.
  3. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each potato 2 or 3 times.
  4. Rub each potato with a little oil (just enough to lightly coat) and salt generously.
  5. Place the potatoes in the steamer basket and set pressure cook setting to high. Pressure cook on high for 16 minutes. If your potatoes are larger than 14 ounces, pressure cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Let pressure release naturally for best results.
  7. Optional: To crisp the skin, place potatoes directly on the rack in a hot oven, convection oven or toaster oven for a few minutes.
  8. Notes: Make sure potatoes do not touch the water or they will get mushy instead of fluffy. Do not attempt to make this without water – pressure cookers need liquid to get pressurized.

 

Potato 101: Making Baked Potatoes

How to Pop a Baked Potato

How to Bake an Idaho Potato

Potato 101: Tips for Cleaning Potatoes

Instant Pot Idaho® Potatoes

Potato 101: Making a Baked Potato

7 Tips to Make Baked Potatoes Like a Pro

  1. Always start with Idaho® potatoes. Russets are the best because of their high starch content. This is how you get a nice fluffy interior.
  2. After you wash the potatoes, make sure the skin is really dry. This helps to get crispy skin.
  3. Pierce the potato several times on all sides with a fork.
  4. Never wrap your potatoes in foil to bake them! The typical Idaho russet is about 80% water, and wrapping in foil traps the moisture which steams the potato. This often makes the interior next to the skin overcooked and brown while the outside wrinkles.
  5. That being said, if you need to hold potatoes for more than a few minutes before serving you can wrap them hot from the oven in foil and keep at 180°F.
  6. The best way to know your potato is done is when the internal temperature reaches 210°.

Baked Potato Toppings

Now that you have the perfect baked potato, what should you put on top? From healthy to decadent there are lots of options!

  • Dairy: Butter, sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Meat: Bacon bits, cooked hamburger, sausage crumbles, shrimp, cubed chicken or meat substitutes
  • Fresh herbs like chives, basil, cilantro or parsley
  • Cheese: Shredded mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or cheddar or try blue cheese crumbles, feta or Parmesan
  • Salsa
  • Veggies: Broccoli, caramelized onions, roasted corn, peppers (mild or hot), avocado, mushrooms
  • Beans: Black or pinto
  • Chili or your favorite stew

Get even more ideas here!

And for a different twist on the traditional baked potato, try Hasselback potatoes. 

Still have baked potato questions? Looking for more recipes?
We've got you covered with All Things Baked Potatoes!

Print Recipe

Calories: 120
Sodium: 5 mg
Fat: 0
Protein: 3 g
Cholesterol: 0

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