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A plate with a baked potato topped with sour cream, a steak topped with butter, and a bowl of balsamic mushrooms on a plate.

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. Here’s how to bake potatoes perfectly, with only the fluffiest results.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings (1 potato each)
Calories 241kcal


  • 4 large russet potatoes scrubbed and dried (2 pounds, see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter for topping, optional
  • Sour cream and sliced chives, for topping, optional


  • 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.
  • Slice open each potato, fluff with a fork, and add your favorite toppings such as butter, sour cream, chives, salt, and pepper.



  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. Yield: This recipe makes 4 baked potatoes.
  3. Storage: Store leftover baked potatoes in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Slice up leftover baked potatoes and fry in bacon fat, add to scrambled eggs, or make a small batch of potato salad.
  4. Microwave shortcut: 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.


Serving: 1potato | Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 946mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg