Perfect Baked Potato Recipe
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!
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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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Rub the outside of the potatoes with a bit of olive oil, and coat them generously with salt.
- Bake on a rack or baking sheet and bake at 450ºF for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Serve – Cut the potatoes, add a pat of butter, and your desired toppings (see the section further on for easy topping ideas).
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:
- Using a sharp knife, cut a slit down the middle of the potato (but not all the way through)
- Gently press the ends of the potato to open it up. Use a fork to fluff the center.
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.
Yes. This is necessary to let the steam escape while the potatoes are baking so that they don’t burst in the oven.
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.
Your potatoes are baked when they can be easily pierced with a fork, and the internal temperature reaches 210ºF on an instant-read 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:
- Steak – Baked potatoes are a classic side to meaty dinners, whether it’s Pan-Seared Steak, or Grilled Steak.
- Chicken – a baked potato is delicious with Spatchcock Chicken or juicy Baked Chicken Breast.
- Chili – Topping a baked potato with our Chili Recipe is a comforting combination.
- Vegetables – Serve as a side with Roasted Broccoli or Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
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.
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.
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:
- Perfect Roasted Potatoes
- Smashed Potatoes
- Boiled Potatoes
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Au Gratin Potatoes
- Loaded Potato Soup
Perfect Baked Potato Recipe
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.
- 8 medium russet baking potatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, to serve
- Freshly ground black pepper, to serve, optional
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.
Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review
One of my favorite dish! ❤️
Thank you for the recipe Natasha!
I love watching your cooking! More power to you & more new recipes!
I’m so glad you love it, Sarah! You’re very welcome.
I usually wrap each potato in foil do you think it is better to not wrap while cooking?
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!
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.
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!
Hi Carol! Thank you for that wonderful feedback. 🙂
Baked potatoes are my favorite!! This makes the perfect potato! Baked potato bars are fun to do, also! Everyone loves them!
So glad you loved this recipe! 🙂
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!
You’re very welcome, Jessica! I’m glad it was helpful.
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!
That’s wonderful! I’m glad it was helpful. Thank you for sharing.
I’ve always cut the baked potato with a fork because it keeps it fluffy.