I know some of you reading this will have made hundreds of baked potatoes in your lives, and will already be completely happy with you potato technique. If that’s the case, congratulations! And feel free to skip this one.
But judging by the popularity of my ‘how to make perfect roast potatoes‘ post (which is somehow one of the most popular posts on this blog!), I also know that you might be quite new to cooking for yourself. Or, maybe you’ve just never ventured into the world of baked potatoes before (you’re going to love it). Or maybe you’re just nosey and you want to see how I make mine. In which case, hello fellow nosey person! Read on.
In the UK, we call baked potatoes ‘jacket potatoes’ because they’re soft and fluffy in the middle, with a crispy jacket surrounding them. It’s one of the more adorable food terms we have, and possibly the one that makes most sense (it certainly beats ‘toad in the hole‘, anyway). I really do think that baked potatoes are underrated – they’re not exactly haute cuisine, but they make a brilliant easy dinner, either served alongside something else, or on their own with some kind of topping. My personal favourite is butter and cheddar cheese – when something is so perfect, why complicate it?
I feel I should add a little disclaimer here (I know you guys are all lovely, but you’d be surprised how many people enjoy complaining on the Internet) – this is just one way to make a baked potato. If you use a different method, great! But personally I think my way of making a baked potato is the perfect way to get a fluffy middle and a crispy skin. Yum.
So, without further ado…
How to make a perfect baked potato
1. Choose the right potato
In the UK, bags of potatoes often tell you what they’re best for – great for mashing, roasting, baking, etc. If you’re not lucky enough to have things spelled out for you quite this clearly, try Maris Pipers, King Edwards, Yukon Golds, or Rooster potatoes. You can find out lots more about different potato varieties here! Choose quite a large potato for optimum baked potato-ness, and remove any eyes or sprouts.
2. Wash thoroughly and prick with a fork
Piercing the potato’s skin with a fork will stop it from splitting when it cooks. You don’t need to pierce it deeply – just a few times all over is fine.
3. Cook in the microwave until the centre is almost soft
Part-cooking in the microwave is my baked potato’s dirty little secret. You can just put your raw potato straight into the oven if you like, but they can take ages to bake – sometimes a good hour or more – and ain’t nobody got time for that. Plus, I’ve found that pre-cooking them in the microwave helps to give a really soft and fluffy middle, without ending up with a really hard and thick skin.
Cook the potato in the microwave for around 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of your potato), or until the centre is almost entirely soft (poke it with a fork or sharp knife to test it). Turn the potato over halfway to ensure even cooking. When it’s ready, the skin should be just starting to wrinkle.
4. Lightly drizzle with oil
I never used to oil my jacket potatoes, but it makes such a difference to getting a super crispy skin, and will make your baked potato taste amazing too. Just drizzle over a tiny amount of oil, and rub it all over the skin of the potato. You can also add a little sprinkle of salt at this stage too.
Finally, you can actually bake your baked potato. Since the potato is already mostly cooked, you can bake it for as long as you like really – anything from ten minutes to half an hour – to get the skin to your desired crispiness.
And then it’s just time to cut it open and stuff! In my opinion, a dollop of butter is a must. Just watch it melt…
And then it’s just time to add your toppings! As you can probably tell from the abundance of cheese recipes on this site, I’m partial to a bit of grated cheddar (and potentially a little heavy handed with it too…), but the options are endless. Baked beans, sweetcorn, and coleslaw are some of my favourites – feel free to leave your ideas in the comments!
So there you have it – how to make a perfect baked potato, Becca-style. What’s your favourite technique?
- 1 large potato
- 1/2 tsp oil
Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
Thoroughly wash the potato, and remove any eyes or sprouts. Prick a few times all over with a fork.
Place on a microwave-safe plate, and cook in the microwave for around 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of the potato), until the centre is almost entirely cooked and the skin is just starting to wrinkle. Turn over halfway through cooking.
Drizzle the potato lightly with oil, and rub it all over the skin.
Bake the potato until the skin has reached your desired level of crispiness - anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1 large potato baked with oil, not including toppings.