How To Make A Baked Potato

Plate of baked potatoes

I’m always surprised to find how many people don’t know how to make a baked potato. It is such a basic skill and something that can be served with a variety of meals. In case you’re not sure how to do this, let me assure you it is simple and I’ll teach you a few different ways to cook your potato.

If you are one of the lucky ones who’s already mastered this skill, I encourage you to quickly read through this. You may pick up a few new ideas.

Let’s take a look at the different ways to make a baked potato. Baking them in the oven is the most common way to do it, but not the only one. Let’s go ahead and start with that one though.

Baking Potatoes In the Oven

Start by giving your potatoes a good scrubbing. Then use a fork to put a few holes in them all around. If you’d like you can rub them with a little oil at this point. I also like to roll them in a little coarse salt (after rubbing oil on them to help the salt stick), especially if I’m making baked potatoes for company.

Preheat your oven to 400F and put your potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake them for about 45 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes), turning them a few times during the baking process.

I don’t wrap my potatoes in foil when I bake them in the oven. We like the skin kind of crisp. If you prefer baked potatoes with a soft skin, wrap them before you put them in the oven and proceed as before.

Baking Potatoes In The Microwave

If you’re short on time, you can also bake your potatoes right in the microwave. Scrub them as before and then use a fork to poke holes in it all around. This will allow the steam to escape while they are cooking (preventing a potato explosion which is a mess to clean up).

I microwave my potatoes on high on a large plate in 5 minute intervals. Actual cooking time will depend on the size of the potato and your particular microwave oven. Just check them every 5 minutes, turning them as you go. When they’re soft, they’re done.

Another thing I do is give potatoes a head start in the microwave and then stick them in the oven (or toaster oven) for 10 minutes at the end to give them more of that “oven” taste and texture.

Baking Potatoes in the Toaster Oven

I do this regularly when I don’t want to heat up the house to much in the summer time. It also comes in handy when you’re just cooking one or two potatoes to save power or when you’re oven is busy baking something else (like a yummy homemade cake for example).

Cut your potatoes in half length-wise and wrap them in foil. Turn the toaster oven to 350F and bake them for about 30 to 40 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, give your potatoes a head start in the microwave and then finish them off in the toaster oven.

I cut my potatoes in half so they don’t get too close to the heating elements in the top of my toaster oven (which tends to burn them).

Baking Potatoes on the Grill

Wash them and put some holes in them as with the other methods. Rub some oil on your potatoes and then wrap them in aluminum foil. We like to cook ours off to the side (away from the most intense heat) and with the grill cover closed.

Depending on how hot the grill is and how big the potatoes are, they will take about 45 to 60 minutes to cook all the way through. Turn them every 15 to 20 minutes and start checking for doneness about 40 minutes into the grilling process.

Baking Potatoes in the Fire

This works great for camping. Poke some holes into a clean potato and rub some oil or butter on it. Wrap it in a double layer of aluminum foil and then bury it in the hot coals of your fire. Check it regularly for doneness. The potato should be tender after 30 to 60 minutes.

Plate of baked potatoes

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JeannaMO - September 15, 2009

I have discovered two good ways for making baked potatoes.

The first is that I save any and all paper lunch bags (like even from fast food restaurants., i.e., happy meals, etc.) I wash my potatoes, prick with a fork a few times, and put the potatoes (even up to 5 or so at a time) and fold the bag over a couple of times. Cook in the microwave as usual but they always turn out “done” this way. Sometimes the bag will get a little steamy so watch taking it out as the bottom might give way. More sturdy bags can be reused a couple of times.

The other way I have discovered is that I put some chicken in the crockpot the other (kind of like rotisserie chicken in that I didn’t use a sauce, just some seasonings). I washed my potatoes, wrapped them in foil, and then placed the foil wrapped potatoes on top of the uncooked chicken in the crockpot, put the lid on, turned the crockpot on low and cooked all day (at least 8 hours for me cause I work a little ways from home). When I got home, not only was the chicken done, but so were the potatoes. I just made a quick vege and dinner was on the table! I did place a square of foil between my chicken and the potatoes so that I didn’t have chicken juice on my foiled wrapped potatoes.

I think this would work if you had any sauce on your meat (pork chops, BBQ chicken, etc.)

I don’t know why it took me so long to try this but it works like a charm! The potatoes were very well cooked and done all the way through which is very important to my bunch!

Gabbi - September 15, 2009

I love baked potatoes! When baking them in the oven, I actually prefer to put them directly on the rack. I read that in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I learned from an Idahoan that if you make an impression in the top of the baked potato with your thumb, breaking its skin, you can then grasp the potato with both hands and squeeze it so that the meal of the potato blossoms out of the hole in the skin. I still haven’t perfected it, but that’s how you get it to look like they do in commercials and cookbooks.

Christy - September 15, 2009

We just had wonderful baked potatoes tonight straight from the crockpot. All
I had to do was wash the potatoes, them put them into the crockpot, no water, nothing else added. Closed the lid, baked them on high for 4 hours.
Perfect baked potatoes without having to heat my oven. A friend gave me this tip about 6 months ago, and now this is our favorite way to do our baked potatoes.

Karen - September 15, 2009

-You can put potatoes, pricked with a fork, right in the crockpot (wrapped in tin foil or not) without any other foods. Expect it to take a good 8 hours, but they’re great!
-I haven’t perfected the “look” yet, either, but another way is to make a small cross across the potato with a sharp knife and then squeeze the potato. Works nice, too. =)
-I like to “prepare” my baked potatoes sometimes. We like them crispy skinned, too, so I don’t always do them this way, but it’s still good. I slice them almost in half – not all the way through the potato. I then tuck a teaspoon of butter, and some salt and pepper and dill (fresh or dried) in the crack. Wrap it up in tinfoil and bake until soft. Soooo yummy! You can also tuck a slice or two of fresh garlic in there.
-We also LOVE to BBQ potatoes, but do it a little differently. Grease two pieces of tinfoil (size depends on the amount you want to put it in; two pieces because you’re going to create a pocket). Chop enough potatoes for your family (you can peel them or not) and place them in the center of the tinfoil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, dill and any other spices you like, cover with second piece of tinfoil and fold edges together to make a sturdy pocket. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t take as long as grilling a whole potato (more like 20-30 minutes) Make two smaller packs rather than one huge one if you’re in more of a hurry to get things cooked. Also, you can add carrots, onion, garlic, sweet potato, peppers… whatever! So so so so good. If I’m putting meat on the grill anyway, this is a certain accompaniment.

Carol - September 15, 2009

I also bake the potatoes by placing them directly on the rack of the oven.
When they are done, I wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze them gently a few times. This makes the inside of the potato softer while leaving the skins crisp. Place them on your plate and squeeze both ends toward the center and the potato comes through the skin easily and makes eating easier.

Lynne Sargent - September 15, 2009

When baking potatoes in the microwave, I simply slit them lengthwise (not all the way through, just part-way) instead of poking them with a fork. We usually have 4 to 6 potatoes per meal, so I arrange the slit potatoes in a circle on the revolving microwave tray and cook them for 10 minutes on High. No need to turn them over…..even the large potatoes are soft & ready to eat at the end of the 10 minutes!

Pamela - September 15, 2009

I put my potatoes in the crockpot and let them cook all day long. I also have an electric roasting pan I throw my meat in from chickens, pork loin, or brisket and I pile the potatoes on top of the raw meat. They turn out to be the best moist potatoes from the steam from the meat. We have a big family so at some get togethers we can put up to 10 lbs of potatoes in the roasting pan and by late afternoon they are done. Yum yum!!

nanasknoll - September 15, 2009

When using a microwave I bake my potatoes in home sewn MICROWAVE POTATO COOKING BAG. They come out more fluffy. Also they do not get that hard and tough on one end and soft on the other or so wet.
This is also great for breads, and tortillas.
There are [INSTRUCTIONS] on my blog for making these bags. Just look for


Lacey - September 15, 2009

I use crockpot for potatoes all the time. I add some olive oil, spray on butter, or other fat and season them well. Leave on low all day and they are awesome. The season and oil actually season the potatoes and they are soft and good!
PS Will try the chicken idea, never thought of it before!!!

T. R. R. - September 15, 2009

When I use the oven to bake potatoes I like to put them on a bed of rock salt (unwrapped) in a low sided cookie pan.

One variation I do when I want something a little different is to slice the raw potato in half long ways then put a bay leaf (or rosemary, etc.) in the middle and wrap it tightly together with aluminum foil. Then bake however you like. You can tie it together with trussing twine for the microwave.

Gayle - September 15, 2009

I bake my potatoes in the crockpot. It saves energy and doesn’t heat up the house. Wrap your potatoes in foil and pack them into the crockpot. That’s it! No need to add anything else to crockpot. Cook 4 – 5 hours on high or all day on low.

Alice - September 15, 2009

About baking in the microwave — after preparing the potatos as above –I wrap the potatoes in wet paper towels and put them on a plate. Unless the ‘taters are very large, the cooking time can be cut in half-without the skin getting all dry and yuky. I also add butter (margarine) to the skin before I wrap them.

jerry - September 16, 2009

When I make baked potatoes, I cut them in half, place them on a square of aluminum foil, on one side add a large pat of butter and sprinkle with onion soup mix. Then put the other half back on and wrap tightly in the foil and bake as you would normally. They are all pre-seasoned and delicious!

Sandra Johnson - September 16, 2009

I try to only batch bake potatoes in the oven, then scooping out the flesh and mashing well with seasoning and butter for half the batch and cheese for the rest, then either spooning or piping back into the skins, before freezing when cold,

I bake the jacket potatoes along side a casserole and may be apples filled with sweet mincemeat, to make full use of the oven.

has any one tried cooking the potatoes in a slow crock-pot ??

sherry in idaho - September 16, 2009

Wrapping the potatoes in foil will not give you baked potatoes–it will give you steamed potatoes and there really is a difference. When the potato is done, cut a cross in the top and squeeze HARD. All that wonderful potato will come out, ready for the butter and salt and pepper. A bit of sour cream doesn’t hurt.

Jo in Colorado - September 16, 2009

I was interested in checking out the micro potato bag that was referred to above. I tried to enter http// but the website does not seem to be available. Maybe I did something wrong?


Alison - September 19, 2009

I bake my potatoes directly on the oven rack. But I don’t oil the skins – that makes the skins soft. Since I like them really crispy, I scrub the potatoes and put them in the oven WET. Works really well!

Angelin Nicholson - September 26, 2009

Having worked in a restaurant kitchen, here’s how you get “the look”: simply grab a dinner fork and use it to make a giant zigzag across the top of the potato- you’ll want to stab it at least halfway through (depth-wise) and make your zigzag from one end to the other on the top. When you’re done, press the ends inward, and poof, the potato opens right up!

Chris Daniels - October 3, 2009

During the winter, I often wrap up some potatoes with a little salt and oil and place them on the floor of my wood burning fireplace. Depending on where Put them in there, the faster they cook, and since they are wrapped in foil I don’t worry about the ashes. This works the same at a camp fire.

AlohaHousewife - October 14, 2009

I LOVE baked potatoes. I’ll eat them for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I don’t even have to buy anything to go on top of them. I use leftover cooked vegetables and whatever condiments I have on hand to top the potato. For example, cheese, broccoli and a spoonful of mayo. Or taco meat, cheese and chopped tomatoes. 5 and 10 pound bags of potatoes are always on sale.

Judith - October 15, 2009

Of all the ways there are to prepare potatoes, baked potatoes remain our favorite. You’ve shared some ideas that are new to me….and I thought I was the expert! I would be honored if you would share a recipe on the Best Potato Recipes site:

Katelyn - January 18, 2010

I LOVE LOVE LOVE potato wedges! However, I am also very lazy at times. I wanted some soooooooo bad the other night, but I didn’t want to have to work for it or wait for em. We had a left-over baked tater in the fridge, and I heated it up, put some of my vegan margerine on, and sprinkled pre-bought seasoning. Yummy! All the goodness, none of the work involved.

Jean - March 4, 2015

I bake my potatoes cut lengthwise. Just spray the pan with cooking spray, prepare potatoes and place in pan. Then spray the tops of the potatoes.

Sandy - November 17, 2015

We used to bake potatoes in a camp fire. They were the best baked potatoes I ever ate.

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