You know you have the perfect baked potato when your potato has crispy skin and a light and fluffy texture on the inside.
Making the perfect baked potato is easy to do. Just follow these 7 Secrets To A Perfect Baked Potato and the results will speak for themselves.
7 Secrets To A Perfect Baked Potato
1. Pick The Right Potato
Not all potatoes are the same. When you want to make a baked potato it is best to use large Russet potatoes. They have a higher starch content which makes them the star of baking potatoes. Once baked they have a unique creamy center that holds up well and the large size is perfect to accommodate additional toppings such as sour cream, cheese, and bacon.
If baking more than one potato, it is also important to use potatoes that are the same size. Smaller potatoes will cook faster than larger potatoes and will result in a dried out center if left to cook alongside the bigger counterparts.
2. Ditch the Microwave
For those that use a microwave, you may wonder why you should stop making ‘baked’ potatoes in it when it takes a fraction of the time that it takes for traditional baking.
Take one bite into a traditional baked potato and you will have your answer! Microwaved potatoes are actually par-baked and result in a decreased quality in regards to the texture of the skin and a less than ideal center as compared to baked potatoes made in the oven.
Whenever possible make baked potatoes in the oven – it is well worth the extra time that it takes!
3. No Foil, No Foil, No Foil…..
When you go to a chain restaurant and order a large baked potato, you may see that it comes in its own foil packet. These potatoes are prepared that way due to the large amounts of potatoes served and are most likely made on a grill.
When potatoes are wrapped in aluminum foil, they are actually being steamed, rather than baked. No need for foil when you are wanting to make the perfect baked potato in your oven at home.
4. Bake It Directly On The Oven Rack
Dishes are the worst part of every homemade meal, right?? No need to dirty up a sheet pan or baking dish when baking your potato. Using one actually traps the moisture to the bottom of the potato and results in a mushy exterior.
Place your oven rack in the middle of the oven and put your potatoes directly on the rack. Your potato skin will thank you!
5. Oil and Salt Prior To Baking
If you are wanting that crispy skinned baked potato that you find in the high-end restaurants than you must oil and salt prior to putting them in the oven.
After scrubbing your potato in cool water, pierce with a fork or knife 4 times on each side. Rub olive oil over the entire potato and sprinkle each side with Kosher or Himalayan Sea Salt.
This trick is the key to achieve the perfect baked potato crispy skin!
6. When To Know When They Are Perfectly Baked
With the oven preheated to 350 degrees F, most Russet potatoes will be ready to eat in 60 minutes. However, depending on the size of your potatoes and the condition of your oven, you may need to adjust the cooking time to ensure that you have the perfect baked potato.
In order to determine if your potato is done, use an oven mitt and lightly squeeze the ends of the each potato. If the potato has a little give in it, then it is ready. If they feel firm or offer any resistance to the light squeeze then they need to continue to bake.
7. Cutting The Baked Potato – It Does Matter
Now that you have perfected the actual baking of the potato, take it one step further and learn how to properly cut open your perfect baked potato.
Before diving in with a knife, lightly massage the potato with your hands to loosen the insides away from the skin. Believe me, this may sound weird, but it makes all the difference in the texture of the inside of your potato. Otherwise you will end up with a tight and compact interior, like you would if you were steaming your potatoes.
After massaging you will cut the center of your potato, starting about 3/4 inch from each end. Using your thumb and forefinger, gently squeeze open the potato by pushing in and down to allow the center to bulge upward.
Dress your potato with the toppings of your choice.
Mary and Jim
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How To Bake The Perfect Baked Potato
- Russet Baking Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Wash potatoes in cool water and dry.
- Prick with a fork or knife 4 times on each side of each potato.
- Rub olive oil all over each potato and sprinkle Kosher salt all over the skins.
- Place in preheated oven directly on a rack placed in the middle of your oven.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Test for doneness by gently squeezing the ends of potato towards the center. If it easily gives it is done, if it is hard or provides resistance to the squeezing continue to bake until done.
- Remove from oven and make a cut in the top, starting 3/4 inch from each edge.
- With your thumb and forefinger squeeze the ends of the potato by pushing in and down, while the center begins to come through the cut.
- Serve with desired toppings.