Easily achieve a restaurant-style baked potato with that crispy skin and fluffy interior that everyone loves!
Baking a potato is one of the easiest foods you can make, and requires no skill, but there is a mediocre way to make a baked potato…and a fantastic way to make one. So, there’s no shame if you’re here and want to know how. I was in my late 30’s before I discovered the best way to make a baked potato. Better late than never, as they say!
If you love those baked potatoes you get at steak houses and other restaurants, with the crispy skin and fluffy interior, here’s how to achieve that with perfect results every time.
What type of potato is best for baked potatoes?
Russet potatoes are the most commonly used for making baked potatoes, because of their high starch content, which lends to a light and fluffy texture once baked. You can use other types of potatoes, but they won’t render the same results.
Do you wrap a baked potato in foil or not?
Many people wrap their potatoes in foil before baking, and sure, it works fine. But that actually steams the potato. To achieve an awesome crispy skin, ditch the foil!
How long to bake a potato for?
There are so many different opinions on what the ideal oven temperature is for making baked potatoes – some say low and slow, others say high. I’m in the high camp! A higher baking temperature prevents leathery skin.
I bake mine at 425 degrees F. A large Russet potato will take between 45-60 minutes, depending on the exact size and if your oven runs hot. Simply poke the potato with a fork to make sure the inside is soft. If you want to get technical, the Idaho Potato Commission has declared that a perfect baked potato is 210 degrees F on the inside.
For exact instructions, scroll to the printable recipe.
How to bake a potato
For exact instructions, scroll down to the printable recipe!
1. Wash and scrub – Russet potatoes grow in the ground, so you’ll want to wash and scrub them thoroughly to remove any dirt.
2. Dry them – after washing the potatoes, you’ll want to dry them with a clean dish towel. Dry skin=crispy baked skin.
3. Rub them with oil or bacon grease – oil helps the skin get crispy and makes them flavorful, of course. Here’s the best part – I coat mine with bacon grease. And it’s amazing. Rub the potatoes all over before baking, so they’re slippery.
4. Season generously with salt – don’t skimp on the seasoning. The salt (and grease) are what make you want to eat the skin! I prefer to use coarse sea salt or kosher salt, but table salt is fine too.
5. Poke holes – ever heard your baked potato whistle? It’s from not poking holes. Supposedly, they can explode, although I’ve never actually witnessed this! Poking holes helps the steam escape. Using a fork, poke about 6 holes all around.
6. Cut them open right after baking – if you let them sit after baking, the interior will steam and the potato can become heavy. Using a sharp knife, make a long slit in the top of the cooked potato, then squeeze it open using a clean dish towel.
7. Use potatoes uniform in size – if you are baking multiple potatoes at once, make sure they are all approximately the same size, so they cook the same way.
The perfect baked potato barely needs any toppings, but I like a dab of butter, sour cream, and scallions on mine. My kids love theirs with cheddar cheese. And we all love bacon crumbles!
other potato recipes we love
How To Make The Best Baked Potatoes
- 4 large Russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup bacon grease (or olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (or kosher salt)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Wash, scrub, and dry the potatoes thoroughly.
- Rub bacon grease (or olive oil) all over the potatoes.
- Rub salt all over the potatoes.
- Using a fork, poke about 5-6 holes all around each potato.
- Place the potatoes directly on a baking sheet; bake for about 45-60 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, make a long slit in the top of the cooked potato, then squeeze it open using a clean dish towel.
- Enjoy as is, or serve with your favorite toppings!
- The exact baking time will depend on how large the potatoes are. The potato should be tender inside if you poke a fork into it.
- Next time you cook up some bacon, save the grease in a clean plastic bottle. Then us it to rub on the potato skins before baking.
- Please read the entire article for tips!