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Mar 28, 2007 11:21 AM

The Perfect Baked Potato

I admit, I have no idea how to cook a PERFECT baked potato! I mean, the type you get at fancy restaurants that are all pillowy and melty. So good all you need is butter and pepper and you can even eat the crisp skin... Mine always come out a little dry and burt on one end and always TAKE so darn long! :P

So tonight I want... no NEED this baked potato. What are some of your tips and hints to get that restaurant quality one? A certain technique? Temp? Potato type?

Also, what should I make as a main to go with my my baked beauty? I had meatloaf last night, so that's out...


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  1. I have never mastered the perfect baked potato either. I tend to always order them out because they are so much better. But with my potato, I always want a perfect rare steak.

    1. Here's what I do to get my version of perfect for me and my DH: I nuke 3 Idahos for 3 mins, just to get them started. Then into a pre-heated 425 oven for one hour. Very crisp skin, dry fluffy interior...DH loves the crisp skins so much, that he eats 2 potatoes, skin only....I eat one potato, insides + skin....simple but perfect!

      PS: I save the scooped-out insides and save them for another night. I put the rough chunks into a oval gratin, dress with olive oil, s&p, rosemary & roast for about 40 mins at 375...they come out light, crispy & delicious...

      Serve with just about any simple main...roasted/baked chicken, meat or fish...also very good with hamburgers....

      14 Replies
      1. re: fauchon

        Don't you have to pierce the skin first? Otherwise, I'd think the potato would explode in the 'wave.

        1. re: mojoeater

          thanks...forgot to include that I pierce the Idahos with a fork before nuking...

          1. re: fauchon

            If you think a burst potato in the microwave is bad - you should see it in the oven. I once forgot to pierce it before baking and they exploded inside the oven. Yikes. It was EVERYWHERE. Took me hours to clean up. And it made quite the noise when it happened too but I didn't put 2 and 2 together fast enough. I didn't realize at first what was going on until I smelled an unusual earthy odor and smoke started filling up the house.

            1. re: sivyaleah

              Hmm...when I make a baked potato in the oven, I never pierce the skin and they have never exploded. I only pierce them if I'm in a hurry and have to microwave them first to get them started.

              1. re: sivyaleah

                That's odd, I have never had one explode in the oven, and I just started piercing them a few years ago...I was told it was to let the steam out so the skins would remain crisp and not steam from within...I guess I got lucky.

          2. re: fauchon

            Do exactly the same... par bake in the microwave, then put in the toaster or oven to bake... ActuallyI think I prefer the toaster, as it gives a great crisp skin.

            1. re: Emme

              After years of making them in the oven and never understanding why they didn't come out how I like them, I learned that they come out better in my toaster oven. It was just coincidental since my oven was filled with other stuff and I had no place to cook the potatoes. Lo and behold, they come out so much better in my toaster oven. Haven't made them in the regular oven since.

              1. re: valerie

                Holy cow! Maybe I can cook them up here at work! How long does it take?


                1. re: Dommy

                  Same amount of time, maybe a little less. About an hour. But as Emme said above, you can cook them for a bit in the microwave and then put them in the toaster oven to finish.

                  1. re: valerie

                    Yes, I use a toaster oven to finish off my baked potatoes as well. Makes the skin perfect.

                    One thing no ones mentioned yet (perhaps it's too gauche nowadays?!) is to rub the skin liberally before cooking with...CRISCO. My Grandmother did this, and they were always good, nice crisp skin as well.

                    Do people even use Cristco anymore!? *ponders*

                    1. re: Honeychan

                      I rub mine with bacon grease, I just don't usually tell anyone.

                      1. re: coll

                        Ohhhhhh..*drools* THAT sounds like a great idea! (your secret's safe with me!)

                        1. re: Honeychan

                          I know, I used to use Whirl or some type of buttery sauce but this might even be a little healthier ;-) I do like to mound some kosher salt on top before baking too. With all that flavor you hardly need butter or sour cream.

                  2. re: Dommy

                    I was thinking the same thing Dommy. I have a toaster oven here at the office and microwave and the room all to myself.

            2. Of course, you should use a Russett Burbank, or other good Idaho-type potato. Scrub, dry, pierce with a sharp knife and rub with soft butter. Bake on a bed of coarse salt (this prevents the scorched, tough area on one side) at 400 degrees for 1 hour (a bit longer for a truly huge potato). Excellent Russetts will have a dark, almost pebbly -- rather than smooth -- skin. If you can find these, they are invariably fluffier and sweeter than other baking potatoes. If you live in the right part of the country, you might be able to find some excellent heirloom varietites at a farmers' market or stand.

              In my book, just about anything goes with a good baked potato, but aside from the obvious steak, I really like a juicy piece of swordfish!

              7 Replies
              1. re: pikawicca

                Whenever I've buttered baking potatoes, the skin doesn't come out super I doing something wrong....

                1. re: fauchon

                  I agree - I never butter/oil the skin.

                  I also put the potato directly onto the racks - never on a baking pan. That way they get even heat all around.

                  1. re: sivyaleah

                    So do I...the potatoes go right on the racks, never on a pan of any kind....ah, so many details in the pursuit of perfection! I've been using "my" method for so many years, I half forget the details when I go to write it down!

                  2. re: fauchon

                    I wonder if it might have something to do with temperatire. When I butter potatoes and put them on my Kamado grill, they come out nice and crispy. But I usually start it out around 550 degrees and then bring it back down after about 15 minutes to around 350.

                    I also like to put coarse salt on the outside of the potatoes. The best way I've found is to put the buttered raw potato in a plastic bag with the salt and then manually push the salt into the potato skin through the bag.

                    As they cook, I baste them with melted butter. Sometimes with 50/50 melted butter and Texas Pete hot sauce.

                    1. re: fauchon

                      I think that if you're going for super crispy, almost brittle, you shouldn't butter the skin at all. I like a mode tender skin.

                    2. re: pikawicca

                      I also butter the skin well and always use russetts. My only addition to this is get to a kitchen shop and get some potato nails. They are aluminum spikes with a loop at one end and are about 6" long. You insert the spiked end all the way into the potato prior to baking and leave it there until they are done. The help cook the insides more evenly and quickly.

                      1. re: Candy

                        I know this is a very old thread, but you don't have to buy "potato nails". I have some old metal skewers that I put the potatoes on for the same effect. And because they're long grilling skewers, I can fit 2 potatoes on 1 skewer. The skewers are flat, so the potatoes don't spin and they have a loop at the end as well.

                    3. I wish I could offer some advice but I too have not been able to master this. My latest idea was to boil a skin-on potato for maybe 10 minutes to try to get the inside partially soft and then bake it at a high temp to finish it but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

                      I had a perfect baked potato in Dominican Republic this past December - at an all-inclusive resort. No kidding. It had the perfect texture and taste. I emailed the resort after my stay to get their recipe but haven't heard back, as I'm sure they think I'm a complete nut. But if they do share their recipe I promise to post it here.

                      1. I use a russet baking potato, and wash the potato, and allow to dry. I then pierce the skin in a couple of spots with a wood skewer, and then rub the potato down with vegetable shortning. I season with kosher salt, and put in the oven on a rack on a cookie sheet. I cook in the pre heated convection oven @ 375-degrees for about an hour.

                        I alos enjoy baked potatos with steak, or a nice piece of grilled fish.