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.