The basic baked potato, of course, is the ideal side dish for a steak meal and filling enough to serve as the main course. It just takes one time to learn how to bake a potato to know you’ll have a simple, economical side dish ready to load with butter, sour cream, and the rest of your favorite baked potato toppings. Continue reading for a step-by-step guide on baking potatoes correctly, including how long to bake a potato to eliminate any guessing or burnt fingers in the process.

Step 1: Preparing The Potatoes For Baking

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub potatoes well under cold running water with a sharp vegetable brush to eliminate any dirt. With the tip of a potato peeler or a tiny knife, remove any sprouts (also known as eyes) and green patches. With a fork, prick the potatoes on both sides. This allows steam to escape while the potatoes roast.

If you like softer skins, massage the potatoes all over with shortening, butter, or cooking oil before baking, then cover each potato separately in foil.

Step 2: Bake The Potatoes

You may now bake the potatoes in the oven, either on a sheet pan or directly on the oven rack. Bake the potatoes until they are soft. When a fork or knife easily pierces the baked potato in oven, it’s done.

Step 3: Allow Baked Potatoes To Cool And Fluff

Allow potatoes to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil if the dish was baked in it. Roll each potato gently under a clean tea towel to loosen and slightly crush the flesh. Cut an X into the top of each potato using a sharp knife. Press in and up on the ends of each roasted potato with your fingers at the same time. Now you have a wonderfully fluffed potato ready to be topped whichever you choose.

Step 4: Serve Baked Potato With Toppings.

When served as a side dish, the standard baked potato toppings are butter, sour cream, and chives. Consider any of the following topping choices to make the baked potatoes:

  • Warmed chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and green onions sliced
  • Blue cheese crumbles sour cream, chopped fresh chives, and crumbled cooked bacon
  • Steaming broccoli, steamed ham, and shredded Gouda or Swiss cheese
  • Sautéed sliced onion, bell pepper strips, mushrooms, and zucchini slices
  • Sour cream, salsa, and fresh cilantro chopped

In A Slow Cooker, Bake Potatoes

Lightly coat cleaned potatoes in olive oil. Fill a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker halfway with potatoes (4 potatoes in a 4-quart or 8 potatoes in a 6-quart). Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, or until potatoes get soft.

The Best Baking Potatoes

Creating memorable baked potatoes begins with selecting the best potatoes for the job. Russet potatoes (sometimes known as Idaho or baking potatoes) are excellent for baking. The rough, thick, reddish-brown skin that provides a strong jacket for a baked potato gives this variety its name. The white inside is starchy, mealy, and dry, but when cooked, it turns fluffy and airy. Select potatoes with smooth, undamaged skins and a solid firmness. Russets have an oblong form and can grow to be fairly enormous. Avoid potatoes with green peel, which can have a harsh taste and be dangerous in big quantities.