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Oven-Baked Potatoes

posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetables and Beans by Kathy Maister

Potatoes baked in the oven taste much better than potatoes baked in the microwave (video). From the oven they develop a sort of crispy skin with a really fluffy center. Today I am going to talk about the oven version.

The oven needs to be really hot, 400 degrees hot, when you stick the potatoes in it. So before we go any further, go turn the oven on to 400 degrees to preheat. (This could take up to 15 minutes, maybe even longer depending on your oven.)

All potatoes need to get washed first. A vegetable scrub brush works beautifully.

Or you could just use your hands.

With a small sharp knife or a fork, puncture about 4 or 5 holes in the potato. If you don’t the potato may explode from the steam developing inside the potato! (Not a good thing!)

I then rub about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil all over the potato.

You may be tempted to wrap a potato in tin foil. DON’T! You’ll end up with the potato getting steamed in the foil instead of just baked. You may as well just cook it in the microwave.

Place the potato directly on the oven rack. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the size of the potato.

Potatoes are as hard as a brick when they are raw. By the time it’s cooked you’ll be able to squeeze it. Test it to see if it is tender by inserting a knife into the potato. The knife should slide in easily.

Remove the potato from the oven with an oven mitt. (It drives me nuts when people on TV use a dish towel instead of pot holders! If the dish towel is at all wet, you’ll get burned! But, I digress.)

You can just slice the top of an oven baked potato…

and give it a squeeze; it should be nice and fluffy.

Now it’s time to add your favorite topping. In addition to butter, sour cream and bacon, you could try salsa, cottage cheese, baked beans, chili or plain yogurt. What are your favorite toppings?


Oven Baked Potatoes Ingredients:

(4 Servings)

  • 4 medium baking potatoes
  • 4 teaspoons of oil

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Marla Nesbitt-Laws said:

I like to sprinkle grated chese on baked potato. For a low calorie meal at lunch or dinner, I put salsa on a baked potato or salsa and cheese. By the way, most of the nutrients in potatoes are in the skin which is delicious.

Gale Quenneville said:

Kathy, Just had a chance to check out your site and it’s great.Great basic info for the new homemaker or an old timer like me. Looking forward to reading and learning more. Best of luck. Gale

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Gale, welcome to!

Curt McAdams said:

We have baked potatoes about once a week as a meal… My favorite to rub on the potatoes before cooking is brisket drippings from smoking brisket, or bacon grease if I’m out of brisket drippings.

Kathy Maister said:

WOW! Curt that sound soooooo good! I want to come to your house for dinner! :)

Sherri said:

I am new to this site, & I am a working mom who is returning to the kitchen! Thanks for the tip about not wrapping the potatoes in foil, I use to do that.

Kathy Maister said:

Welcome Sherri! They often use tine foil in restaurants! If I’m going to take the time to do it in the oven, I like the skin to get a bit crispy! Cheers!

Stacy said:

Thank you for all these wonderful ideas! I just love to cook but sometimes don’t know how…….now I can continue on my baked potato journey!

Jack Daman said:

I am roasting a leg of lamb (325degrees) and baked potatoes (400 degrees). How do I handle the difference in temperatures? Jack

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Jack, how do you feel about Mashed Potatoes?
This is a problem all cooks face, particularly when cooking a big holiday meal.

Once meat is cooked, it should rest about 20 minutes before slicing into it. That still is not enough time to oven bake the potatoes. I would bake the potatoes in the microwave or choose another potato recipe. You could make baked stuffed potatoes in advance and finish cooking them while the meat is resting. I have not tried any of these 20 recipes at Epicurious but they look good!


Just learning to cook for myself (divorced)really needed the info. thanks

Kathy Maister said:

Good Luck Harold!
One of my favorite ways to eat a baked potato is with non-fat yogurt and salsa. It is so satisfying – It feels like a decadent meal when in fact it is quite healthy!

Kelly said:

I always do exactly what you said to do, but they still come out hard. What else should I do?

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Kelly, your oven may not be calibrated correctly. At the grocery store they sell thermometers that you place in the oven which will tell you if your oven is heating properly. They usually cost about $5. and are worth the investment.
Also remember that each time you open the oven door to check if the potatoes are cooked, it can take up to 10 minutes for the oven to get back to the correct cooking temperature.
Good Luck!

Ann said:

We eat baked potatoes for dinner once every two weeks. We love to eat ours baked in the oven and topped with cooked veggies and cheese. My 3 kids love potato night (they are 12, 3 and 1). Every time I cook potatoes, I forget what the oven should be set at, so I often come to this page for a reminder. Thanks!

Eric said:

Potatoes… I think bread and potatoes are the two food items I eat the most. Great post!

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Ann, that sounds like great fun!

Eric, I totally agree! (But I would also have to add ice-cream to the list!)

BTW I went to a party recently where they had a “baked potato bar” for dinner. Everyone had a ball dressing their own baked potato with their favorite toppings!

mitch said:

Is olive oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, bacon drippings or is any of those types of oil better than the other?

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Mitch, Olive oil.

Lacey said:

ooowwww thank you! very helpful! now my fiance and I can enjoy home cooked baked potatos

Deborah said:

I am cooking 20 potatoes, in a regular oven, how long will it take?? Does the number of potatoes addd to the time?

Thjanks, Deborah

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Deborah,
20 potatoes, spaced out in the oven, should not take extra time to cook. Be sure not to put them too close to the walls of the oven. Halfway through cooking time you should rotate the baking sheet.
Good Luck!

Billiam said:

I love baked potatos and normally nuke them. First time to your site and realize that I love them better baked, but have gotten used to the “steamed” one in most restaurants. Will be baking a bunch for Christmas dinner today. That is why I’m here, By the way, I pour A-1 sause on mine instead of butter. The tang adds something that gets to my taste buds.

Anonymous said:

Ron said:

I did as you said but I found a teaspoon of oil a bit much. I had oil all over the bottom of the oven and had to clean the oven afterwards. Are you sure you meant that much??

Sara Guevara said:

I’m a full time student, work two jobs, and Salsa dancer. I love this site!!! I learn so much that I can come home and make a nice dinner for my boyfriend and my self. Thank you so much you are so great.

startcooking said:

Billiam, you sound just like my husband – he pours steak sauce on everything!

Ron, 1 measured teaspoon for a large baking potato is the norm. If you have smaller potatoes then I would definitely cut back on that amount. Sorry about your oven :(

Thanks Sara! That is great to hear!


Kathy said:

OH..hey Kathy..its funny we share the same name…anyways..I was just admiring this recipe..but I’m thinking 1 hour of cooking might be to much time for me to cook the potatoes….that’s because…well I’m not really the richest person. So I think that’s a lot of money for my electricity bill…any ideas to cook this recipe without such along time using the oven….thanks for you time

startcooking said:

How about trying mashed or microwaved potatoes instead?
Potatoes – Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes – Microwave Baked (video)


Sarah said:

Hi! This sounds like it will work wonderfully, and the directions are so clear&simple, and the pictures are helpful too! Thanks!!

Grey Anderson said:

This is a really great site. I don’t have much time to cook so I appreciate all the tips you have here. My main thing is being slightly afraid to cook since it lloks compliacted at time, but you make me feel like I can do it. Thanks a bunch!

startcooking said:

Thanks Grey!
My 60 videos and 250 photo-tutorials are all designed for the beginner cook.
Happy Cooking!

Allen Rosenberg said:

Might I suggest that for a different taste that you mash the baked potato in the skin and then add your favorite salad dressing ?

startcooking said:

Brilliant! Now why didn’t I think of that!

Mairi said:

Hi, I am cooking 6 baked potatoes. I’m going to do it in the microwave and then the electric oven to save time. How long should I put them in the microwave for? And how long should I put them into the oven for and what temperature?

startcooking said:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Scrub the potatoes clean and pierce with a knife.

Rub the potatoes with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Microwave your 6 potatoes for about 8 minutes on full power.

Then put them in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Check to see if they are cooked through by sliding a paring knife into the potato.

Lori Eagle said:

Great site. I am baking giant 1 lb. potatoes, 20 of them any suggestions for time and temperature

startcooking said:

Yikes! Each potato weighs 1 lb? That’s a BIG potato.

You might want to begin cooking them in the microwave. Do it in batches of three – four. Rub them with oil and sprinkle them with salt. Cook them in the microwave for about 10 minutes for each batch. Then put them in the oven. It will still take a good 45 minutes (if not more!) to cook the potatoes.

You can put them directly on the oven rack. Be sure to not crowd them in the oven.

Test them after about 35 minutes to see how they are doing.

Good Luck!

Mary Frances Stoecklin said:

I found ths site via Google and LOVE it! The recipes and step- by- steps easy to understand and awfully good! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I don’t like frozen dinners but I didn’t know how ( or was too embarassed to ask anyone) how to cook.

startcooking said:

Thanks Mary Frances!
Happy cooking…

lenny said:

good afternoon

i recently had baked roasted potatoes and was told that the method was to bake the baking potato until done in a 450 oven until done then cut into wedges then oil and salt for another 5-10 min at 450-they were perfect…….can one do this in a way without the potato falling apart when you cut into wedges??


startcooking said:

Lenny, have a look at my roasted potato recipe. I think that will get the results you are looking for.

ashley councillor said:

hi i have never made baked potatoes before so this is my first time. i bought potatoes that were already wrapped in foil n stuff can i stick those in the oven or are those suppose to be for a bbq? please let me know! thanks

startcooking said:

Hi Ashley,

There are probably some directions written on the potato telling you how to cook it.

My guess is that your ready wrapped potato is ready to go into a preheated oven and bake it until it is tender.

Good Luck!

wario said:

THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!! awsome instructions keep up the good work!!!!

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