How To Bake a Potato in the Oven

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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 one.

Baking a potato in the oven does require a little more time than 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


1 russet potato per person
Olive Oil


A fork
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 clean: 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. Rub the potatoes with olive oil: Rub the potatoes all over with a little olive oil. It's easiest to use your hands, but a pastry brush also works fine.
  4. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper: Generously sprinkle the potatoes on all sides with salt and pepper.
  5. Prick all over 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.
  6. 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 to 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.

Recipe Notes

  • To cut down the baking time, microwave the potatoes for 3 to 4 minutes in the microwave before baking.
  • For softer skins, wrap the potatoes in foil before baking.

(Image credits: Emma Christensen)