A Perfect Baked Potato has a crispy flavorful outside and a soft and fluffy inside. Learn my easy no-fail method for baking potatoes and serve filled with all your favorite toppings like butter, sour cream, and chives.
Perfect Oven-Baked Potato Recipe
Potatoes were an all-around family favorite.
Easy, economical, and fantastic leftover, they’re also naturally gluten-free and vegan. It’s no wonder potatoes are a popular dinnertime staple.
But, for most of my life, I had no idea how to actually bake my own. Should I wrap them in foil? What temperature should they be baked at? Can they be cooked in the microwave?
If you find yourself asking some of these same questions, you’re in luck! I did some research and testing and found my favorite go-to, no-fail baked potato recipe.
But first, let’s start with the basics…
How Long Does It Take To Bake A Potato?
In general, a medium to large russet potato will take approximately 45-55 minutes to cook in a 425 degrees F oven. If you need to cook at a lower temperature, no problem, simply adjust the timing accordingly.
- 350 degrees F – approx 75-85 minutes
- 375 degrees F – approx 65-75 minutes
- 400 degrees F – approx 55-65 minutes
What Type of Potato is Best for Baking?
Russet potatoes (or Idaho potatoes), hands down. Considered a starchy potato, they are low in moisture and have a fluffy, crumbly, soft interior after they’ve been baked. They are also fantastic absorbers for all our favorite toppings including butter and sour cream. They are also popular in mashed potatoes and french fries.
Waxier potatoes (red potatoes and baby potatoes) can also be baked. However, they will have a denser texture. I love using these potatoes for roasting, potato salads, and casseroles.
Learn more here: Waxy vs. Starchy Potatoes: Which One to Use?
How to Bake a Potato (Perfectly!)
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Set your oven rack to the middle position.
2. Get your potatoes ready for baking. First, place potatoes under running water and scrub them clean using a vegetable scrubber or potato brush. Dry them completely.
3. Grab a dinner fork and poke the potato several times on each side.
4. Rub each potato with extra virgin olive oil and generously coat the outside with coarse salt – this is what helps make the skin extra crispy. I didn’t add an exact amount for both the olive oil and the salt intentionally since total amounts will vary depending on potato size. As long as they’ve been covered, you’re good to go.
5. Transfer potatoes to your sheet pan and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until the inside is soft.
- How can I check for doneness? Gently squeeze the potato, BUT, first, make sure your hand is protected by an oven mitt or towel as the potatoes will be hot! If the potato is soft and tender, you know it’s done cooking.
Exact baking time will vary on the size of the potatoes.
6. Remove from the oven and carefully cut down the middle using a small paring knife. Squeeze and top with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
Super easy, right?
Should I Bake Potatoes in Foil?
You can if you want to.
It’s convenient if you’re entertaining a large group and want to make a whole bunch of potatoes to hand out individually. In general, however, it’s a waste of resources. Besides, when you wrap them in foil, you’re actually steaming, rather than baking them.
Baked Potato Toppings
Choosing what you want to put on top of your baked potatoes is the best part! Create a baked potato bar with baked potatoes and all your favorite toppings and allow friends, family, or guests to fill their own spuds.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Chopped chives, green onions, parsley
- Shredded cheese
- Bacon or Bacon bits
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Pico de Gallo, homemade salsa, and guacamole – make it a fiesta
- Chili – steak chili, chili verde, or my favorite chili
How to Cook a Baked Potato in the Microwave
Is it possible to cook a potato in the microwave? Yes! Totally. It will take you approximately 10 minutes or so rather than forty-five minutes plus. Keep in mind, however, that microwaving potatoes will not have the crispy skin that you get from baking them in the oven.
To cook a potato in the microwave:
- Prepare potatoes. Scrub your potatoes using a vegetable brush. Once they’ve been scrubbed, dry completely. Then, use a dinner fork to poke the potato several times on each side. Transfer to a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave. Cook potatoes at full power for 5 minutes before flipping over and continuing to cook for an additional 5 minutes. If the potato is soft, remove from the microwave. If it is not quite ready, continue to cook at 1-2 minute increments (depending on how close or how far it is from being ready).
- Serve. Remove from the microwave and carefully cut down the middle using a small paring knife. Squeeze and top with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
How to Reheat Leftovers
The easiest way to reheat a baked potato is in the microwave. I like to cut my potato in half (or sometimes in quarters if it’s especially large) and microwave for 1-minute followed by 30-second increments (if needed). Remember to never place aluminum foil in the microwave.
If you’re not a fan of the microwave OR you don’t own one, that’s ok. You can also reheat a baked potato in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and transfer your whole potato to the center oven rack (you can also wrap in foil if preferred). Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until warmed through.
Baked Potato Calories
How many calories actually come in a potato?
One medium (173 grams or 6.1 ounces) Russet baked potato with skin and flesh (no toppings): (source)
- Calories: 168
- Fat: 0 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 37 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
- Sodium: 24 milligrams
- Vitamin C: 37% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 31% of the RDI
- Potassium: 27% of the RDI
- Manganese: 20% of the RDI
Overall, baked potatoes are quite healthy. They are also packed with potassium and vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and Magnesium.
Toppings, on the other hand, not as much. For example:
- 2 tbsp butter – 204 calories
- 2 tbsp sour cream – 46 calories
- 1-ounce cheddar cheese – 70-100 calories
More Potato Recipes,
If you try making your own Perfect Baked Potatoes, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Perfect Baked Potato
- 4 large russet potatoes
- olive oil
- flaky sea salt
- Optional toppings - (butter, salt, pepper, shredded cheese, or sour cream.)
- Preheat oven and prepare baking sheet. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Prepare potatoes. Scrub potatoes under cold water with a vegetable brush. Dry completely. Use a dinner fork to poke the potato several times, and on each side. Rub each potato with olive oil and coat generously with coarse salt.
- Bake. Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until the inside is soft (you can check for doneness by squeezing the potato-just take care and make sure your hand is protected by an oven mitt or towel). Exact cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Serve. Remove from the oven and carefully cut down the middle using a small paring knife. Squeeze and top with butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
- Nutrition information will vary depending on the size of your potatoes and types/amount of toppings included.
- As written this recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)