Each day, thousands of people search “how to bake potatoes.” So please, do not be embarrassed to be here, you are definitely not alone. Though the only kitchen skill you might need is how to set your oven’s timer, there are still a lot of ways you can go wrong. Here are our top baked potato tips for perfect results every time:

The Best Types Of Baking Potatoes

Russet potatoes make the best baked potatoes because of their thick skin and starchy, fluffy interior (once baked, of course). Leave the waxy potatoes for halving and roasting with some rosemary.

Why You Need To Scrub Them

Those Russets you’re about to eat came from the ground and are probably still covered in a considerable amount of dirt. Give’em a rinse, people!

The Key To Crispy Skin

Dry skin = crispy baked skin, and you definitely want to eat the skin. It’s got all the flavor. After you give the potatoes a good scrub, make sure to dry them thoroughly with a clean dish towel. Moisture will result in soggy sadness. You’ll also want to coat them with olive oil. Not only does it help the skin crisp up even more but it makes it taste better. Rub the potatoes all over before baking, then season generously. Without enough salt, they’ll taste boring and plain.

And high heat makes all the difference in the world. We’re talking 450° high. Any lower than that, and you’ll likely be tucking into leathery, crinkly skin.

How Long To Bake Potatoes In The Oven

One hour is about right; you may have to go a bit longer. BUT, to get a really good gauge when they’re done, measure the internal temperature. A fully cooked baked potato should register 200°-205°. You want to turn to your instant read thermometer for this. Just insert it right into the middle of the potato. And once cooked, slice them open immediately to release steam (and therefore to avoid gumminess).

To Rack Or Not To Rack

If you have an oven-safe rack that fits inside a baking sheet, cook the potatoes on it. The greater the circulation under the potatoes, the better the results.

Break Out The Air Fryer!

It may be one of the longer air fryer cook times we have, but it’s a little shorter than the oven if you need to save some time. Prep the potatoes the same way you would for the oven by scrubbing them clean, patting dry, and poking holes all over with a fork. Place them in the basket of an air fryer at 400° for 40 minutes and you’ll have tender, potatoes with a crisp skin!

Storing Leftovers

Baked potatoes taste best straight from the oven. But if you want to make them ahead of time, slice them in half then let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Do not store them in foil as experts warn that this has been linked to botulism. To reheat the potato, take it out of the refrigerate and let it get back to room temperature. Then bake at 350° until it’s warmed through, about 15 minutes.

Are you into grilling potatoes? And speaking of baked potatoes, why not do a casserole? Let us know how things go in the comments below.

This recipe was updated on May 8, 2022, to include more information about the recipe.

Yields: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins

Calories per Serving: 322

Ingredients

  • 4russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Rub with oil and season generously with salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet, or on an oven-safe rack inserted inside a baking sheet.
  2. Bake until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.