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Baked Potatoes in the Oven – Tips and Tricks

Baking potatoes isn’t tricky; wash, poke, and bake them. But that just means there is plenty of room for improvisation. The best baked potatoes in the oven are the ones you make that aren’t the usual. We just need some tips for baked potatoes to take them to the next level.

Making baked potatoes in the oven may seem simple, but with a few tips and tricks, you can elevate the texture and flavor. Tips for Making Baked Potatoes | How to Cook Baked Potatoes | Best Baked Potatoes in the Oven | Easy Side Dish Recipes | How to Bake Potatoes | Baked Potatoes in Oven with Foil | Tips for Loaded Baked Potatoes | Side Dish Recipes

Making baked potatoes in the oven may seem simple, but with a few tips and tricks, you can elevate the texture and flavor. There are a few rules we all follow when we make baked potatoes. The first step is to wash them.

Potatoes grow in the ground, which means they are naturally dirty. But we want to keep that skin there; it adds fiber and has a bit of crunchiness in the end results. Scrubbing the potatoes is the best way to ensure they are clean enough to consume; the oven will take care of the stuff we can’t wash off.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of Freshly Picked Potatoes

Potatoes are starchy balls of moisture enclosed in a skin. Heating that moisture up will cause it to become steam, and built-up steam in an enclosed space will explode. No one wants to scrub potatoes off the inside of their oven.

This is why we poke holes in the potatoes before we toss them in the oven. The steam will be released from those holes, allowing the potato to cook rather than explode.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of a Bowl of Potatoes

That’s all you need to know to make a basic baked potato. But when things get this simple, we tend to want more, so we turn to new ways to make baked potatoes in the oven.

Ways that will enhance the flavor and give us something we can use to impress ourselves and others with every bite. We already know many toppings we can use to increase our enjoyment of baked potatoes.

However, any good cook will tell you the flavoring of any ingredient starts with the prep process.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of Russet Potatoes in Different Sizes

Baked Potatoes in the Oven

The first step is picking the right type of potato. There are more than 200 types of potatoes, but Americans really only focus on a few, including Russet, Red, Yukon Gold, Fingerling, and Sweet potatoes.

Yukon Gold potatoes are best for mashed potatoes. Yukons have a medium starch content, are dense, and have a naturally buttery flavor. But they also have thin skin, which makes them terrible for baked potatoes.

Russets are the potatoes to use for baked potatoes. Russets have thick skin, which means a crunchier bite. The higher starch content also means a fluffy texture, so we get a crunchy, fluffy bite.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of Potatoes

Picking Each Potato

Baked potatoes in the oven require picking the right potato, not just the right type. Approach this just like you would an avocado for guacamole. We want no bruises and unbroken skin.

We can also tell that a potato is past its prime if it is growing eyes. Potato eyes are roots you see starting to grow out of the potato. There’s nothing wrong with them, and they can still be eaten.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of a Baked Potato Cut in Half Topped with Sour Cream and Chives on Foil

However, if a potato at a store already has eyes, it is already aging quickly and will go bad soon. Lastly, we want to pick potatoes that are roughly the same size and similar in shape.

Each potato’s cooking time is determined by its size. A small potato will cook much faster than a larger one.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven a Baking Sheet Lined with Parchment Paper and Baked Potatoes Cut in Half with Cheese and Bacon

Dry the Potatoes

We already know we want to scrub potatoes clean, but we also want them dry. Be sure to use a paper towel or kitchen towel to dry the outside of the potatoes. Drying the skin will allow it to crisp up more easily.

That crispy skin may just be the best part of the baked potato. Too much moisture will take longer to dry off and make for softer skin. Of course, this does come down to preference.

But crispy baked potato skin is the best, according to everyone, everywhere. Want to ensure you get that crisp? Wash your potatoes in the morning and let them sit out on the counter, out of direct sunlight, to air dry even further.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven a baking Dish of Baked Potatoes on a Wooden Table

No Foil for Baked Potatoes

Ditch the foil. Many recipes online call for buttering and wrapping potatoes in foil before placing them in the oven. However, we want that crispy skin!

The foil will serve as a barrier, locking in the moisture and preventing the skin from crisping. If you wrap the inside in foil, it will also be more mushy. This is because the moisture is locked in, and the steam from the inside of the potatoes will stay inside.

There is a time and a place for foil-wrapped potatoes, that’s on the grill. Side note: foil does not speed up the cooking process.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of Baked Potatoes on Paper

Season the Potatoes

We can add one step to the prep process to make baked potatoes in the oven more flavorful. Remember, dryness is the name of the game. However, potatoes absorb a lot quickly.

So, in the first step, wash the potatoes, stab them, dry them, and dunk them in salt water for about 5 seconds. You could leave them in the salt water for longer if you’d like. But 5 seconds is all they need.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven Close Up of Small Baked Potatoes

Then, pat dry again with a paper towel and toss in the oven. This will add a salty flavor that takes them to the next level. You can also oil the skin of the potatoes toward the end of the cooking time.

This will make for flavorful skin. You don’t want to oil them before putting them in the oven because the oil will trap some water, leading to soggy potatoes. Wait until they have a few minutes left before brushing the skin with olive oil.

That’s how you get the best baked potatoes in the oven. Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings or explore different toppings you haven’t thought of yet.

Making baked potatoes in the oven may seem simple, but with a few tips and tricks, you can elevate the texture and flavor. Tips for Making Baked Potatoes | How to Cook Baked Potatoes | Best Baked Potatoes in the Oven | Easy Side Dish Recipes | How to Bake Potatoes | Baked Potatoes in Oven with Foil | Tips for Loaded Baked Potatoes | Side Dish Recipes

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