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Perfect Baked Potatoes

A baked potato is a simple yet super-versatile dish. Delicious as a side, or wonderful as a meal, they are filling and a great source of vitamins. While you could throw any old potato in the oven, there are some do's and don'ts when it comes to baking potatoes. For my tips on perfecting the baked potato,


  • The best baked potatoes are flaky and fluffy when served. Mature, baking russet potatoes are ideal for maximum flakiness.
  • Boiling and all-purpose potatoes require less baking time.
  • Never wrap the potatoes in foil. Too much moisture is retained, which will restrict fluffiness.
  • To remove moisture from potatoes, bake on a bed of rock salt.
  • Don't scrub the potatoes.
  • When microwaving potatoes, be sure to turn often so the skins don't get crispy or burn.
  • Scrumptious toppings include: sour cream, cheese (cheddar, goat, blue, ricotta, Parmesan, feta), crumbled bacon, cubed ham, pepperoni, spinach, green onions, chives, parsley, black beans, smoked salmon, butter, ketchup, salsa, olive oil, salt, pepper, broccoli, ranch, roasted garlic, chili.

Got a tip for making the perfect baked potato? Please share it with us below!

Join The Conversation
Segat1 Segat1 9 years
What a waste of energy, cooking a potato for three hours? The only simple way to do this is in the microwave. Pierce the skin, wrap in paper kitchen towel and cook for about 4 mins on high, then turn and do the other side for 4 mins. If not done, repeat for 1 min on each side. Then recycle your kitchen paper by using it to clean your windows with vinegar. Simple.
fashionplate525 fashionplate525 9 years
I love all kinds of potatoes but yams are definitely my favorite! Add a bit of healthy smart balance butter and it's simply heavenly.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
humm, i not only scrub, i soak mine first to help get rid of the dirt. we like them this way, but maybe i'll try it yums way and compare. why does fluffy have to mean not moist?
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 9 years
the best way to eat is full of cheese, butter, sour cream and chives! mmmmmmmmm
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 9 years
angelle321 angelle321 9 years
I've never thought about putting hummus on a baked potato. Sounds good!
reinphall reinphall 9 years
I always put Olive Oil in bowl and mix some Garlic Herb seasoning and then roll the potato all in it so the skin is nice and seasoned.
ikimashokie ikimashokie 9 years
Apparently I'm a weirdo, I like my potato freshly baked, but with nothing on it. I have no qualms with getting a potato, asking for it not to be cut, and walking around with it taking chomps and getting stared at like I am crazy. I'm going to try my hand at baking sweet potatoes, and hope that they can be eaten the same way.
guinnevere guinnevere 9 years
gotta agree with jenehur- alton brown makes the BEST baked potatoes and they only take an hour and come out with PERFECT skins.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I'm with Emalove. I prefer a baked sweet potato, too. Or a baked yam. Generally, I don't eat white potatoes.
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
Nothing like a great potato :)
Daisie Daisie 9 years
Yes, thanks for all the tips Sugar users! Sorry Yum, but I can't go with you on this one....I HAVE to scrub the tater...skins are yummy!!!
ladypenguin ladypenguin 9 years
Ooo, thanks for the Alton Brown link--I love him. We usually stick ours in the over for about 2 hours...but I don't think they come out perfect. I'll try out some of these tips!
kothmia kothmia 9 years
the 3 hour thing really does result in yummy potatoes! You have to remember to oil the outside of the potato, but you end up with very fluffy, flaky, almost nutty tasting flesh, and the skins are good and crispy. It's the only way I do potatoes any more, but then, I live by myself. It DOES require a bit more planning, but the results are worth it.
caryatid caryatid 9 years
mmm, i know what i'm having tomorrow. i made a black bean/diced tomato/red onion mixture for tacos yesterday and i bet it would be absurdly delicious with a little cheese on top of a hot potato!
emalove emalove 9 years
This is my favorite way to eat potatoes...I'd actually rather have a baked sweet potato, but the regular ones are great too!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 9 years
i once stuck a potato in the microwave with the foil on. I was 12. I can never seem to get the potatoes done correctly. I'll try to stick them in the oven next time.
popcornjones popcornjones 9 years
Hummus --- hummus is awesome on baked potatoes. A bit of soy sauce, a big dollop of hummus, a sprinkling of sunflower seeds . . . heaven. AND nutritious.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Please do not use PAM or any cooking spray. Instead, Sautee that yellow onion and zucchini in a little olive oil.
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
NO PLASTIC WRAP IN THE MICROWAVE!!! The chemicals have been known to leech out of the plastic and INTO your yummy potato. I love me some taters. I actually eat a baked potato every day for lunch. If not for lunch then dinner. My favorite way to serve (I generally microwave for times sake...yes ideally low and slow makes them best and I HAVE heard of looooooong cook times) is: Saute half a yellow onion and half a zucchini in PAM. Open and fluff your potato. Spritz a little butter spray, and sprinkle with a LITTLE horseradish cheddar, salt & pepper. Cover with ALL the veggies. You will be so full of potato-y goodness you won't know what to do with yourself. It's a whole meal's worth!
bellaraquela bellaraquela 9 years
try wrapping the potato in plastic wrap before sticking it in the microwave - fast and good!
jenehfur jenehfur 9 years,,FOOD_9936_13948,00.html go here and read about how to cook a potato from alton brown, best baked potato i've ever eaten. yummy!
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
I have never heard of baking a potato for three hours, so that's new to me. I don't think I will be trying it though. To hurry up the baking process, I stick potatoes (with fork holes of course) in the microwave for about four to seven minutes. It depends how big they are and how many I am making. Then I will stick them in the oven at 350 until soft, fluffy, and yummy.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
wow. my friend and i JUST had a conversation about them and we basically do the opposite of these tips. why wouldn't you scrub them?!!!! They are covered in DIRT. And the skin is the healthiest part so you have to eat it! Also, I disagree with the aluminum foil moisture claim. They always come out perfect. And seasoning the skin wasn't even mentioned! Okay, Microwave: Scrub your potato, cover it in olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, stab it with a fork a couple times, wrap it in a paper towel and put it in the microwave for 7-10 minutes until soft Okay, Microwave/Oven: Scrub your potato, stab it with a fork, put it in the microwave about 5 minutes. While that is in there, take a piece of aluminum foil and put olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper on it. When the potato is out of the microwave, wrap it in the aluminum foil and put it in a toaster oven for a few more minutes.
Marseeah Marseeah 9 years
Why no scrubbing?
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