The perfect baked potato is crispy on the outside and pillowy in the middle. Cracked open and still steaming, it's ready to receive anything from a sprinkle of cheese to last night's stew. Here's how to make them. Baking a potato in the oven does require a little more time zapping it in the microwave, but it's mostly hands off time. You can walk in the door, throw a few potatoes in oven while it's still warming up, and carry on with your after-work routine until they're ready to eat. Just don't forget to set a timer!
Russets are the best for baking like this. The skins are thicker and the starchy interior has a sweet flavor and fluffy texture when baked. Russets are also typically fairly large. One of them per person makes a good side dish or meal on its own.
How to Bake a Potato
What You Need
One russet potato per person
A baking sheet covered in foil
1. Heat the Oven to 425°F - Turn on the oven while you're preparing the potatoes.
2. Scrub the Potatoes - Scrub the potatoes thoroughly under running water and pat them dry. You don't have to remove the eyes, but trim away any blemishes with a paring knife.
3. Season the Potatoes - Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil. It's easiest to use your hands, but a pastry brush also works fine. Generously sprinkle the potatoes on all sides with salt and pepper.
4. Prick with a Fork - Prick the potatoes in a few places with the tines of a fork. This allows steam to escape from the baking potato.
5. Bake the Potatoes - You can bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack, or you can place them a few inches apart on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake the potatoes for 50-60 minutes. Flip them over every 20 minutes or so and check them for doneness by piercing them with a fork. Potatoes are done when the skins are dry and the insides feel completely soft when pierced.
• To cut down the baking time, microwave the potatoes for 3-4 minutes in the microwave before baking.
• For softer skins, wrap the potatoes in foil before baking.
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(Images: Emma Christensen)