Ask any person on the street, and 9 out of 10 of them would respond positively when asked if they like eating potatoes. I am no different!
Potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods, no matter how they’re prepared. Be it baked, fried, sauteed, mashed– you name it.
This is because potatoes are excellent and flexible foods and perhaps, one of the children’s favorite vegetables. You can pop and hop them anywhere or make snacks and dishes out of them at home.
Now we’re on the topic of potatoes; let me share with you how to cook a baked potato, one of my favorite potato dishes of all time.
How to Make a Baked Potato
A baked potato is a method of preparing a potato. Simple as that. It’s not as grandiose as you may expect it because it is what it is– baking a potato.
However, the secret in making baked potatoes is choosing the right potato, learning how long to cook a baked potato, and the variety of fillings and toppings you can incorporate with a simple baked potato.
The perfect baked potato should have golden and crisp skin but light, fluffy and steamy insides. Here are the steps on how to make a baked potato in the oven.
Choose your potato. Technically, you can enjoy a baked potato using any potato, but I recommend using Russet potatoes to make the best possible baked potatoes. Why? They are the best for oven baking as they are thicker, allowing them to cook just right in the oven, and the insides are very starchy, making fluffier insides than any other potato.
They are also usually larger, at about 6 to 8 ounces each, so that you can serve a heap with just one piece of Russet potato.
Clean the potato. Using a vegetable brush, clean the potato thoroughly under running water and then pat them dry. Trim away blemished using a knife. Remember that you’ll have to eat the potato’s skin, so clean it as thoroughly as you can.
Preheat the oven. I prefer to make the oven extra super hot to crisp up the skin quickly. I like it 400°F to 450°F at most.
Prepare the potatoes. Place your potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil inside the oven rack. We recommend using a wire cooling rack, so the potatoes cook evenly. Slather olive oil over the potato and sprinkle salt. You can also use melted butter for the extra delicious smell.
Remember to stab the potatoes with a fork so as to lessen the chances of the potato exploding unexpectedly.
Start baking. Put the potatoes in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on the doneness and the size of the potato.
Take out and serve immediately. You might want to serve the potato immediately after taking them out of the oven to maintain the crispiness and fluffiness at the first bite.
After taking out the potato, give it a few minutes to rest, slice lengthwise with a knife, squeeze to open, and gently ruffle the insides with a fork. Take whatever toppings you like and put it on top of the baked potato, and you now have the treat to enjoy!
You can also cook a baked potato in a microwave oven. To know how to make a baked potato in the microwave, simply follow the same process.
Put your potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and pop into the microwave for 5 minutes, open, flip, and then microwave for another 5 minutes. You can keep microwaving the potato until you reach your desired softness.
How Long to Cook a Baked Potato
As I mentioned above, it usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to cook a baked potato. However, another method is by doing the first bake for 20 minutes, taking it out of the oven, slathering with oil and salt, and then putting it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.
Cooking times may extend depending on the doneness of the potato, so you may want to grab an oven mitt to feel if the potato is soft enough to your liking.
Baked Potato Toppings
To make the experience of baked potatoes even more satisfying, you can mix and match every and any kind of toppings you want. Here are some ideas:
- Butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper
- Pulled pork, melted cheese, and barbecue sauce
- Tuna and cheese
- Chorizo, white beans, kidney beans, paprika
- Bacon and cheddar cheese
- Pesto or tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, and chopped tomatoes
- Hummus, olives, tomatoes
- Chickpeas and curry powder
- Steamed broccoli, cheddar cheese
- Fried egg and sriracha
There’s an infinite combination of dishes, seasonings, and sauces that goes well with potatoes. What’s excellent about baked potatoes is that you can top every single one with different kinds of toppings so the elder ones can get a spiced barbecue topping while the kids can get a cheesy topping with a mushy fried egg.
Learning how to bake a baked potato is straightforward. You won’t have much trouble with the technicalities of cooking as you can use both a microwave and an oven to create a baked potato. Just make sure to check as often as possible that the potatoes are soft enough to your liking.
What’s more? Don’t forget to be creative with your toppings! Treat a baked potato like a blank canvas and experiment with it however you want!