Simple and satisfying, the best baked potato needs little more than a pat of good butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Here’s how to bake potatoes perfectly, with only the fluffiest results.

Four whole baked potatoes on a silver baking sheet.
Table of Contents
  1. Ingredient notes
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. Recipe tips and variations
  4. How to Bake Potatoes Recipe

Ingredient notes

  • Potatoes: Technically, you can bake any potato. But for the ultimate baked potato, choose a russet which has a higher starch content and makes a fluffier potato. Sweet potatoes work, too.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. With a fork or skewer, poke some holes in each potato to let moisture escape while it cooks.
Three whole potatoes being poked with a fork.
  1. Rub the potatoes all over with a light coating of olive oil, and season them with some salt and pepper. This is a crucial step for salty, perfectly seasoned potato skin.
Four whole baked potatoes on a silver baking sheet.
  1. When the oven is hot, place the seasoned, oiled potatoes directly on the oven rack. Place a baking sheet underneath the rack to catch any oil, if you’re worried about drips.
Four potatoes baking in an oven.
  1. Bake the potatoes for 50 to 60 minutes, until they’re tender and can be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife. The skin should feel crisp, but the flesh underneath should be soft.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Baking potatoes at any temp: All things being equal, 400 degrees is a great temperature for potatoes and roasting vegetables because it results in a crispy skin you won’t leave on the plate. But if you’re juggling other dishes, you can tweak the temp. Depending on the size of the potato and the oven’s temp, you may have to cook it longer or pull them out early.
  • Skip the foil: While it’s okay to bake potatoes wrapped in foil, you should never store them or refrigerate them in foil. This creates the ideal environment for food-borne illness.
  • Microwave: For a quicker baked potato, start it in the microwave. Poke holes in your potatoes so they don’t explode, then microwave on HIGH power for 8 to 12 minutes. Flip them halfway through the cooking time so they cook evenly. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and coat with olive oil and give them a good sprinkling with salt and pepper. Finish in a 450-degree oven until the skin is crispy, about 20 minutes longer.
  • Air-fryer: Lightly coat the potatoes with oil and season them with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in the air fryer basket. Cook the potatoes in the air fryer for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. You should flip the potatoes over with some tongs after about 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.
A plate with twice baked potatoes on it.

More delicious potato recipes

Four whole baked potatoes on a silver baking sheet.

How to Bake Potatoes

Simple and satisfying, the best baked potato needs little more than a pat of good butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. But don’t let that stop you from piling on all your favorite toppings, either. Here’s how to bake potatoes perfectly, with only the fluffiest results.
5 from 19 votes
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 241

Ingredients 

  • 4 large russet potatoes scrubbed and dried (2 pounds, see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

To cook potatoes quickly (about 30 minutes):

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Poke a few holes in each potato with a fork.
  • Microwave potatoes on HIGH until slightly softened to the touch, about 8 to 12 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
  • Rub each potato all over with olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer potatoes to preheated oven and bake directly on oven rack until tender when pierced with a small knife, about 20 minutes.

To bake potatoes traditionally (about 60 minutes):

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke a few holes in each potato with a fork.
  • Rub each potato all over with olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer potatoes to preheated oven and bake directly on oven rack until tender when pierced with a small knife, about 1 hour.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Potatoes: Technically, you can bake any potato. But for the ultimate baked potato, choose a russet which has a higher starch content and makes a fluffier potato. Sweet potatoes work, too.
  2. Baking potatoes at any temp: All things being equal, 400 degrees is a great temperature for potatoes and roasting vegetables because it results in a crispy skin you won’t leave on the plate. But if you’re juggling other dishes, you can tweak the temp. Depending on the size of the potato and the oven’s temp, you may have to cook it longer or pull them out early.
  3. Skip the foil: While it’s okay to bake potatoes wrapped in foil, you should never store them or refrigerate them in foil. This creates the ideal environment for food-borne illness.
  4. Microwave: For a quicker baked potato, start it in the microwave. Poke holes in your potatoes so they don’t explode, then microwave on HIGH power for 8 to 12 minutes. Flip them halfway through the cooking time so they cook evenly. Remove the potatoes from the microwave and coat with olive oil and give them a good sprinkling with salt and pepper. Finish in a 450-degree oven until the skin is crispy, about 20 minutes longer.
  5. Air-fryer: Lightly coat the potatoes with oil and season them with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in the air fryer basket. Cook the potatoes in the air fryer for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. You should flip the potatoes over with some tongs after about 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1potatoCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 11mgPotassium: 946mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Culinary School Secrets

Subscribe for emails and receive pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. excellent instructions as a retired professional chef and instructor, I appreciate good instructions something I always encouraged on my students, great recipes here.
    Chef Ernest5 stars