What makes the perfect baked potato? Crispy cracklin’ skin with a light fluffy interior, right? Thankfully, making perfect baked potatoes is quite easy to do. Just follow the steps below and you’ll see for yourself.
1. Pick the right tater
Did you know not all potatoes are the same? Russet potatoes make the best baked potatoes due to their high starch content. After they are baked, russet potatoes have a creamy center that holds up well to the toppings we love to load them up with, such as sour cream, butter, bacon and cheese.
When baking more than one potato, remember to choose potatoes that are close to the same size; this ensures the potatoes all bake consistently.
2. Use your oven rack, not that dang microwave
Yes, I realize it requires a bit more time and planning, but the outcome is so worth it! Baking your potatoes right on the oven rack is what makes their skins ultra-crispy. Microwaved potatoes are speedy, but so less than ideal when it comes to a really good baked potato.
3. Just say no to foil
Potatoes wrapped in foil don’t actually bake, they steam – big difference when you’re talking potatoes. Opt out of foil if you desire the perfect baked potato with a crispy skin. (And I’m telling you, you do.)
4. Keep it simple
After scrubbing your potato, pierce it with a fork on all four sides. Then, generously rub that sucker with a good coating of vegetable oil, followed by a generous sprinkling of kosher salt. Your potato is now ready to be baked!
5. Give it the squeeze test
When baking Russet potatoes, they will generally be ready in about 60 minutes when baked in a 350-degree F. oven. Because doneness can vary from time to time, the squeeze test is recommended: using an oven mitt, lightly squeeze at the center of the potato. If the potato “gives” to your touch, it’s ready. If it resists your squeeze, you know it needs to continue to bake.
6. Bring out your inner masseuse
Your potato passed the oven squeeze test, but before diving in with your fork and knife, gently give your potato a quick massage with your hands. I know it sounds crazy, but this technique actually pulls the insides away from the skin, causing the potato flesh to loosen up…this is a good thing, people.
Next, starting approximately 1/2″ away from the end, cut your potato open down the center, 1/2″ away from the other end. Now gently squeeze open the potato by pushing the ends toward each other, causing the center to bulge upwards. And, now it’s time to dress your potato with all the toppings your wee heart desires!
Let’s Get You Cookin’,
This article was originally featured in Kansas Living Magazine. Sign up now to receive inspiration in your inbox!