There aren’t many things better than a perfect Baked Potato. This is our go-to method for how to bake potatoes with crisp salty skin and a tender and creamy center.

We love baked potatoes and make them in all sorts of different ways, from Instant Pot Baked Potatoes to Air Fryer Baked Potatoes. Follow this easy step-by-step for the best oven-baked potatoes!

Close up view of a perfect baked potato topped with sour cream, bacon, and chives.

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We eat a lot of potatoes in this family. From Potato Pancakes to Au Gratin Potatoes, and Creamy Mashed Potatoes, we’re always turning the humble potato into the main character of any meal.

The Best Baked Potato Recipe

Our simple method for baking a potato in the oven never fails. These salt-crusted baked potatoes are crisp and flavorful on the outside and hot and fluffy on the inside. Enjoy these potatoes as a side dish with butter and sour cream, or load them up with toppings to make it a meal. Here’s why you’ll love this method:

  • Simple – There’s nothing fancy about this method, but the potatoes always come out tasting great. You’ll never want to bake a potato in the oven any other way.
  • Flavorful – Coating the outsides of your potatoes with a “crust” of oil and salt makes a world of a difference in terms of flavor. 
  • Perfect Every Time – We’ve consistently had the best results using this oven-baked method. The potatoes come out tender and creamy, with flavorful crispy skins.
  • Make-ahead Friendly. The oven-baked potato is the best for making a large batch and feeding a crowd, and for making a little bit ahead.
Baked potatoes on a blue plate, topped with sour cream, bacon, and chives.

Ingredients

Below are the ingredients you’ll need to make the perfect baked potatoes. You’ll find the full recipe details available in the recipe card.

  • Potatoes – We love baking Russet potatoes, also called Idaho potatoes as they have the creamiest texture. Make sure your potatoes are roughly the same size so that they’ll bake evenly. 
  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil gets the outsides of the baked potatoes extra crispy in high heat.
  • Salt and Pepper – You’ll sprinkle the outside of your potatoes with kosher salt prior to baking. You’ll also need additional salt and pepper for seasoning to taste.
  • Butter – Butter makes everything better! You can use salted or unsalted butter.
The ingredients for perfect baked potatoes.

Pro Tip: To avoid exploding potatoes, remember to pierce the potatoes all over with a fork so that the steam can escape.

How to Bake a Potato in the Oven

Here’s how easy it is to make a hot, crispy, and fluffy oven-baked potato:

  1. Prep – Give the potatoes a good rinse and a scrub before you start, then dry them well. Use a fork to pierce the potato all over.
  2. Rub the outside of the potatoes with a bit of olive oil, and coat them generously with salt.
  3. Bake on a rack or baking sheet and bake at 450ºF for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.
  4. Serve – Cut the potatoes, add a pat of butter, and your desired toppings (see the section further on for easy topping ideas).
Photo collage showing how to bake a potato in the oven.

Pro Tip: Be sure to dry the potatoes thoroughly after rinsing, so that the skins crisp up in the oven.

How to Cut a Baked Potato

Cutting a baked potato is easy and leaves plenty of room for all your favorite toppings:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit down the middle of the potato (but not all the way through)
  2. Gently press the ends of the potato to open it up. Use a fork to fluff the center.
Side-by-side photos showing how to cut open a baked potato.

Common Questions

Can I substitute different potatoes?

Russets are the best potatoes for baking, with their thick skins and high starch content. However, if you’re looking for an alternative, I’d recommend a Baked Sweet Potato

Should I poke holes in potatoes before baking?

Yes. This is necessary to let the steam escape while the potatoes are baking so that they don’t burst in the oven.

Should baked potatoes be wrapped in foil?

No. Wrapping potatoes in foil will make the skins soft instead of crisp. The best way to get crispy skins is to bake potatoes evenly spaced on a baking sheet or rack, to allow for airflow.

How do I know when a baked potato is done?

Your potatoes are baked when they can be easily pierced with a fork, and the internal temperature reaches 210ºF on an instant-read thermometer.

Checking baked potato with thermometer

Classic Baked Potato Toppings

These potatoes are delicious as is, and you can never go wrong with a little butter on a hot-from-the-oven baked potato. If you’d like to kick the toppings up a notch, try these easy ideas:

  • Sour Cream – Along with butter, sour cream is another favorite potato topping.
  • Cheese – We love shredded Mexican cheese or grated cheddar.
  • Bacon – Either cooked and crumbled Air Fryer Bacon or Baked Bacon.
  • Chives – Or green onion, to garnish.

How to Serve

We love serving a perfect baked potato as a side dish, or as its own light meal piled with toppings (see above). Here are some more ways to serve a baked potato:

A perfect baked potato on a plate topped with sour cream, bacon, and chives.

Can I Make Baked Potatoes Ahead of Time?

Baked potatoes are always at their best when enjoyed right away, but if you need to, storing and reheating is a breeze. You can even freeze baked potatoes for another meal.

  • To keep your potatoes hot: wrap each one in foil to keep warm in the oven with the residual heat. Or, you can place the wrapped potatoes inside your instant pot or slow cooker on the lowest heat or ‘keep warm’ setting. The skins will start to wrinkle and you may notice some browning after an hour or so. 
  • To Store: Allow the baked potatoes to cool completely, and then cover and refrigerate them for up to 4 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat baked potatoes uncovered in the oven at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes to crisp the skins up again. You can also reheat potatoes in the air fryer until warmed through, as we do with our Air Fryer Baked Potatoes.
  • To Freeze: Once your baked potatoes have cooled, pre-freeze the baked potatoes on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag and freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Potatoes wrapped in foil keeping warm inside the oven.

Ways to Use Leftover Baked Potatoes

One more thing we love about potatoes is that they’re the best for leftovers. We never run out of ways to use up leftover baked potatoes in our house:

  • Twice Baked Potatoes – Love baked potatoes? Mash them and then bake them again, this time topped with cheese and bacon.
  • Potato Wedges – Make thick-cut wedges similar to our Baked Potato Wedges, only much faster using leftover baked potatoes. Cut your baked potatoes into wedges, brush them with oil or melted butter, season with salt and pepper, and air fry at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown in spots and heated through.
  • Potato Salad – Scoop out the flesh from the potato skins (but don’t throw them out! See below) and dice up the potatoes for a Potato Salad.
  • Baked Potato Skins – Crispy potato skins make an easy snack or appetizer. Scoop out the potato skins as you would if you were making twice-baked potatoes. Then, brush the skins inside and out with melted butter or olive oil. Place them on a lined baking sheet and bake at 450ºF for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Afterward, top them with sour cream and bacon.
A baked potato sliced open to reveal the fluffy insides.

Once you’ve tried this method for baking a potato in the oven, you’ll discover the difference between a good baked potato and a GREAT one. You’ll love the salty, crispy skins, and how the creamy centers of these potatoes just melt in your mouth. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

More Easy Potato Recipes

If you love this baked potato recipe, here are more delicious ways to use potatoes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Perfect Baked Potato Recipe

5 from 17 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Close up view of a perfect baked potato topped with sour cream, bacon, and chives.
Make the perfect baked potato with crisp salty skin and a tender, creamy center. This is our go-to method for how to bake potatoes in the oven, and it never fails.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 servings

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 ̊F. If you have a wire rack, set it over a baking sheet to promote even cooking all around the potato.
  • Scrub the potatoes clean under running water then dry thoroughly with a towel. Poke holes in the potato all over, about 5-6 times with a fork.
  • Rub the potato skins with a little olive oil and sprinkle generously all over with kosher salt.
  • Set the potatoes on a rack or baking sheet, keeping the potatoes at least an inch apart, and bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes, or until easily pierced with a fork. They should reach 210 ̊F in the center on an instant-read thermometer).
  • To serve, use a knife to cut a slit down the center of your potato (don’t cut all the way through) and push in the sides of the potato to open up the potato and fluff the center. Add a tablespoon of butter to melt into the center of the hot potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or serve with desired toppings.

Nutrition Per Serving

269kcal Calories38g Carbs5g Protein12g Fat7g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat3g Monounsaturated Fat0.5g Trans Fat30mg Cholesterol12mg Sodium892mg Potassium3g Fiber1g Sugar352IU Vitamin A12mg Vitamin C31mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Perfect Baked Potato Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
269
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
12
g
18
%
Saturated Fat
 
7
g
44
%
Trans Fat
 
0.5
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Cholesterol
 
30
mg
10
%
Sodium
 
12
mg
1
%
Potassium
 
892
mg
25
%
Carbohydrates
 
38
g
13
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
352
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
12
mg
15
%
Calcium
 
31
mg
3
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked potato, best baked potato recipe, how to cook a baked potato
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 269

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Terri Lewis
    August 7, 2023

    Ive done this several times with great results.
    Used to wash the potatoes, oil them, wrap in foil and bake.
    Natasha, your method is so much better.
    Thank you.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 7, 2023

      That’s great to hear, Terri!

      Reply

  • Susan
    May 18, 2023

    Can these be baked in a toaster oven? I would much rather use this in the warmer months. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 18, 2023

      Hello Susan, I haven’t really tested that to advise. If you happen to do an experiment, we’d love to know how it goes!

      Reply

  • George Honer
    May 2, 2023

    Hi Natasha,

    I bake 400 potatoes every Friday and they come out perfect with out splitting and my skins are crisp. We never pierce a potato. What we do is very similar to what you do with a slight variation since I bake them and they are kept in serving warmers for up to 5 hours.
    Scrub every potato well and air dry for an hour. Every potato is well oiled with olive oil while it sits on a foil square. Sea Salt generously each one and with a spray bottle one light spray of water onto the potato. Wrap tight and place on baking sheet with folds up so the oil does not drip out. We bake them at 350 in a convection oven for one hour and remove them and they go into our coolers stacked on top of each other at 2:00 pm. until we plate them from 4:00 to 8:00. We get about 80 in each cooler.

    Our baked potatoes requests to fries are 65 to 35 since we started doing this four years ago.
    Try it and let me know what you think.

    Chef George CEC

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 2, 2023

      Thanks a lot for sharing! It is so helpful for us all here.

      Reply

  • Valli Feldman
    May 1, 2023

    I have always used a fork to cut open the potato, makes a fluffy cut.

    Reply

  • Sarah Jane
    March 26, 2023

    One of my favorite dish! ❤️
    Thank you for the recipe Natasha!
    I love watching your cooking! More power to you & more new recipes!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 26, 2023

      I’m so glad you love it, Sarah! You’re very welcome.

      Reply

  • Cathy
    March 16, 2023

    I usually wrap each potato in foil do you think it is better to not wrap while cooking?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 16, 2023

      Hi Cathy, I addressed that in the recipe post under the “Common Questions -Should baked potatoes be wrapped in foil?” section! I hope that helps!

      Reply

    • Natasha
      March 16, 2023

      Hi Cathy, I don’t wrap the potatoes because it prevents them from getting crispy skin. Wrapping is a good idea after they are baked if you want to store them and keep them warm for a bit before serving.

      Reply

  • Carol Doctor
    March 14, 2023

    These are great for parties. Bake them. Put them in a insulated cooler. I line it first with aluminum foil. And put a piece of foil over the top of the potatoes. They stay hot and moist and delish for hours!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 14, 2023

      Hi Carol! Thank you for that wonderful feedback. 🙂

      Reply

  • Kristyn
    March 14, 2023

    Baked potatoes are my favorite!! This makes the perfect potato! Baked potato bars are fun to do, also! Everyone loves them!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 14, 2023

      So glad you loved this recipe! 🙂

      Reply

  • Jessica
    March 14, 2023

    This was the perfect tutorial for a potato! I hadn’t made any in so long, I wasn’t sure where to start. Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 14, 2023

      You’re very welcome, Jessica! I’m glad it was helpful.

      Reply

  • Abeer
    March 14, 2023

    That temperature check hack is genius. I never did that before and I could clearly see the difference when I did. These had the best texture ever!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 14, 2023

      That’s wonderful! I’m glad it was helpful. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Valli Feldman
    March 14, 2023

    I’ve always cut the baked potato with a fork because it keeps it fluffy.

    Reply

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