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How to Bake a Potato

You can bake a potato in the oven, crockpot, toaster oven and microwave. Learn how to get that crispy, flavorful skin and fluffy middle. If you ever wondered how to bake a potato, you’ve landed in the right spot.

Oil poured over potato on foil.

What potatoes are best for baking?

This can be personal preference but the general consensus is that the starchy potatoes like the Idaho and Russet are the best for baked potatoes.  Their high starch content makes the inside more fluffy and has a softer bite.  The carbohydrate molecules separate when heated and causes the insides to be lighter and fluffier.

I have baked them all and I really enjoy the different characteristics of each potato variety.

The lower starch potatoes like red, Maine and Yukon, are considered waxy potatoes and hold their shape better.  When used as a baked potato, they have a firmer bite and mouth feel.  These potatoes are best for fried recipes and potato salads.  The don’t fall apart as easily as a Russet or Idaho.  So in a nutshell, for baking, Idaho and Russets are generally preferred and for frying or potato salads, waxy potatoes are popular.

Three potatoes wrapped in foil in oven.

What is the best way to bake a potato?

That depends on what you need and how you like your baked potatoes.  There are a bajillion ways to ‘bake’ a potato and there isn’t necessarily the ‘best’ or ‘perfect’ method for baking potatoes.

  • Do you need it fast? – ‘Bake’ in the microwave.
  • Do you love yours super moist? – Wrap in foil and bake.
  • Do you want it done as soon as you walk in the door on a weeknight? – Wrap in foil and ‘bake’ in a crockpot on low.
  • Do you like super flavorful skin? – Rub with oil, butter or bacon fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper then bake uncovered.
  • Do you only have a toaster oven? – Baked potato in a toaster oven is easy! Prepare potato as usual and bake in your toaster oven.
Baked potatoes on a cutting board.

How to bake a potato in a microwave.

  1. Wash your potato very well and poke with a fork all over.
  2. Place in microwave and cook on high until fork tender, about 8-12 minutes.
  3. Remove, cut and top with your favorite toppings.

How to bake a potato in foil.

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash your potato very well and poke with a fork all over.
  3. Rub oil, butter or bacon fat on it, sprinkle with salt and wrap in foil.
  4. Bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes for medium sized potatoes and 50-55 for large potatoes.
  5. Remove, cut and top with your favorite toppings.

How to bake a potato in a crockpot.

  1. Wash your potato very well and poke with a fork all over.
  2. Rub oil, butter or bacon fat on it, sprinkle with salt and wrap in foil.
  3. Place in crockpot and cook on low for 8-ish hours.
  4. Remove, cut and top with your favorite toppings.

How to get flavorful, crispy skin on a baked potato.

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash your potato very well and poke with a fork all over.
  3. Rub oil, butter or bacon fat on it.  Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake uncovered until fork tender, about 45 minutes for medium sized potatoes and 50-55 for large potatoes.
  5. Remove, cut and top with your favorite toppings.

How to bake a potato in a toaster oven.

  1. Preheat toaster oven to 400F.
  2. Wash your potato very well and poke with a fork all over.
  3. Rub oil, butter or bacon fat on it.  Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake directly on the toaster oven rack, uncovered for about 45 minutes for medium sized potatoes and 50-55 for large potatoes.
  5. Remove, cut and top with your favorite toppings.

A baked potato

Baked potatoes are blank canvasses.  Whether you like your baked potato wrapped in foil or not, the toppings are where it’s really at.  For my list of baked potato toppings, I went around the world and scoured my library of cookbooks for creative toppings.

What is your favorite baked potato topping?  Leave a comment.

Baked Potato Toppings

  • Classic – butter, sour cream, chives
  • The 50’s – cheddar cheese sauce and broccoli
  • The Pizza – marinara sauce, mozzarella, black olives, green peppers, mushrooms
  • Buffalo Style – buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, celery, bleu cheese
  • Mexican – Check out this recipe for Chicken Tinga Loaded Baked Potato
  • Nacho – shredded mexican cheese blend, pickled jalapeño slices
  • Veggie Taco – black beans, salsa, avocado, sour cream
  • Greek – feta cheese, pitted kalamata olives, diced tomatoes, olive oil and a sprinkle of Greek Seasoning Blend
  • The Texan – chopped smoked brisket, BBQ sauce
  • Chili Classic – chili, cheddar, sour cream, chives
  • Alfredo – alfredo sauce, parmesan, parsley
  • Italian – pesto, pine nuts
  • Morrocan – harissa paste
  • Welsh – rarebit cheese sauce, chives
  • The Argentina – steak strips, chimichurri rojo
  • The Serb – ajvar sauce

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A baked potato

How to Bake a Potato

Yield: 1 potato
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

You can bake a potato in the oven, crockpot, toaster oven and microwave. Learn how to get that crispy, flavorful skin and fluffy middle.

Ingredients

  • Idaho or Russet potatoes
  • bacon fat, olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Rub your favorite fat all over the potato and prick all over with a fork
  3. Rub salt and pepper on the outside
  4. Bake on a baking sheet, uncovered for 45-55 minutes, or until fork tender
  5. Remove from oven, slice open lengthwise, smush open by applying pressure to each end, top with your favorite toppings.

Notes

  • You can line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easier clean-up.
  • Top with your favorite toppings, see list above.
  • I have kept fully cooked baked potatoes in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Make a big batch and serve all week with different toppings for easy weeknight meals.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 potato
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 418mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Elder D Weems

Saturday 8th of May 2021

My favorite toppings are sour cream and butter bacon cream cheeses broccoli and tostitos medium salsa omg‼️

Tina

Sunday 9th of May 2021

WOW!! That sounds fantastic, I have never put that flavor combo together before, sounds grand:) With all of the possibilities, I could have baked potato everyday and not get tired of it. Thanks for sharing.

Bea

Thursday 18th of October 2018

This is super helpful. I didn't know there were so many ways to bake a potato, seriously. Crockpot? That's genius. I love the list of topping too, that's perfect for anybody who lacks imagination like myself. Thanks for this, going to send this to my daughter. She loves potatoes and she will love all of these hacks.

Bianca

Monday 15th of October 2018

This makes so much sense to me. I have read so many articles on which is the best and there is so much conflicting opinions. Thanks so much for breaking this down, and I LOVE the topping choices. Super excited to start trying all of these.

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