How to Bake a Potato

Get perfectly crispy potato skins and fluffy interiors by using this key technique.

Most days, I like a classic baked potato with its crisp, salted skin, fluffy, tender potato, butter, salt, pepper, and sour cream—a little dash of chopped parsley or chives to make things pop. Occasionally I like to load mine down further with cheese and bacon. And some days there is nothing better than a potato topped with cheese and broccoli. There are delis that serve baked potatoes doused in chili.
 
All these kinds of potatoes are terrific! To make a baked potato, first we have to master the baking part.
 

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1 Get Ready

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Scrub your potato under running water to remove any lingering dirt from the skin. There are tools you can buy with soft plastic bristles that are perfect for potato scrubbing, but warm water will also do. Pat the potatoes dry and pierce them all over with a fork.
 

TIP
Store your potatoes in a dark environment at about 45 to 50-degrees Fahrenheit, but do not refrigerate them. Potatoes at warmer or more humid temperatures will go bad or start sprouting.
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2 Oil and Salt

Rub each potato all over with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack (set at the middle position).
 

3 Bake

Bake your potatoes for about an hour. How long to bake a potato depends on the size, so cook the potato until the skin on the outside feels firm and crisp to the touch, but the inside is soft when you squeeze it.

If you don't have an oven or much time to bake potatoes, use a microwave instead. Check this recipe to learn how to bake a potato in the microwave.

Slice, fluff, and serve. Top in all the delicious ways we talked about earlier! And tell me about your favorite potato toppings; I’m sure there is uncharted territory I need to explore!
 

About Heather T.

Heather, who runs SugarDishMe.com, has been making messes in the kitchen since she was a little kid when her mom handed her a cook book and told her, “If you can read, you can cook.” Today she serves up fresh, healthy eats, easy weeknight meals and decadent sweet treats.