HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


How to eat a baked potato/jacket potato

1) Do you use your fingers to 'push open' the potato once it has been divided?

2) Do you put the fixings on top or mix them in?

3) Do you scoop out the flesh and fixings first and save the skin for last?

4) Do you slice a piece off and eat the flesh and skin at the same time?

5) Do you eat the skin? Even at a 'formal' dinner?

I generally watch the host or hostess and follow their lead, and I've seen and done all the above. I'd rather do 3, but 4 seems more civilized, and I would prefer to eat the skin unless it is terribly over cooked, but if my hosts treat it as 'wrapping paper' so do I.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Why wouldn't you eat the skin at a formal dinner? Unless of course the skin is over cooked or you don't like the skin.

    I quarter my potato, eat the flesh with the fixing on top, and a little smushed in and maybe eat some of the skin too.

    1. I would eat it however comes naturally. How do you know there aren't people looking to you to set the standard?

      If I was your hostess, I would want you to do whatever suited you best and would probably feel a bit self conscious if you were taking the lead from me.

      My strategy? I cut a cross in the top, open it up, add fixings, and slather it with sour cream and then option 4, bit of flesh and skin, along with fixings and sour cream.

      1. Slice down the top, use my hands to separate, add toppings, eat the flesh. Once flesh is consumed , butter the inside of the skins and eat.

        Not sure what you mean by "formal"? I have never been served a baked potato at black tie event but assume I would eat it the same way.

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          If I do it this way, I fill the skins with sour cream instead of butter. Then pick it up and eat it like a hot dog.
          Alternately, I simply cut chunks off, each bite including its skin.

          1. re: jmcarthur8

            If its a small potato i've been known to do the hot dog style myself, but only when I'm alone... :-)

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Yeah, that is definitely a kitchen-table habit.

        2. Depends on the dinner. I assume if the host was serving baked skin-on potatoes they figure whoever wants to eat the skin is welcome to. It also depends on whether the skins have obviously been scrubbed/dried and rubbed with OO.

          1. 1) Yes
            2) Top
            3) Last
            4) Sometimes
            5) Always

            Funny, I've been working on the "perfect" baked potato recently. I think I get the best results when I start in a low heat 300-325 oven then go to 400 to crisp the skin. So fluffy inside and so crunchy outside. I had actually been thinking about starting a thread on the (often) lowly baked spud.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MGZ

              so what is your perfect baking time?

              1. re: MGZ

                I've finally perfected the baked potato (in my mind at least!). I wash, pierce, rub the outside with olive oil and sea salt. Then, I bake it directly on the oven rack (no pan, foil, etc.). I just adjust the temp and baking time for how long I want them in the oven. I generally tend toward the "more well done" side because I **hate** underdone baked potatoes. So...if I'm in a hurry, it'll be 400-425 for about an hour. If I want it to go longer for some reason, I'll doo 300-325 for 90 minutes or so (or some mix in between)...

                1. re: jbsiegel

                  I don't use oil or salt, but I do go directly on the rack.

                  BiscuitBoy - I'm still working on the timing (and size matters). I'd say on average I'm doing the low heat for an hour to an hour fifteen followed by ten to fifteen minutes on high heat. As I said, I'm still trying to perfect it and I'm open to hearing the thoughts of others who have tried different techniques.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    You're right about the size thing. Definitely important to buy your potatoes all the same size. I would guess that in general, a lower heat followed by that high heat seems like a good way to go. Maybe an hour at 325 and then 15 minutes at 425? (Assuming it takes a little while to actually get to 425...)

              2. 1. Frequently
                2. Mix
                3. Yes
                4. No
                5. Sure. Why not?

                1. 1. Yes, at home. At restaurants the potato comes out usually "pushed open", so the insides are kinda out (LOL!).
                  2. On top, never mixed with flesh so it resembles mashed potato.
                  3. Yes, and I make sure I leave some toppings to eat with skin.
                  4. See 3 - flesh 1st, skin last (coz it's the vest part!).
                  5. Yes - again, it's the best part!

                  1. 1) No. I cut it into quarters lengthwise.

                    2) I put the toppings (usually butter, sour cream and pepper) on top, not mixed in.
                    3) No
                    4) Yes. That's why I slice it the way I do, so I can get skin and flesh together.
                    5) I do eat the skin. Can't recall ever being served baked potatoes at a "formal" dinner, but I'd eat the skin if I were.

                    1. I usually cut the X in the top and push open with my fingers. I then push the cubes of butter into the flesh and let it melt, then mash it around with my fork. I'll scoop the flesh out of the skin with my fork as much as possible.

                      If I'm eating one at my own home, I'll then cut the skin with a knife and fork and eat it. However, if I'm at a restaurant, I usually won't, because I'm just never sure how carefully they've washed the skin on the potato.

                      1. My late DH used to swear there was no such thing as an overcooked baked potato, at least until he ate some his son-in-law cooked in the coals, which he happily called "Charles Addams potatoes" (as in The Addams Family), blackened within an inch of their lives. We both loved crisp skin, and I've baked them at different temps for different times depending on what else was in the oven. And I have had them - once - explode because I didn't poke them to let steam out. It all worked as long as they were baked long enough.

                        I privately prefer to cut them in half the short way, dig out the contents, and throw some butter in the skins, to be set aside for later. Mash flesh with a fork and plenty of butter and eat. My mother gave me this when I was a kid and sick in bed, so it's nostalgia food. The skins (save the best for last!) are nibbled carefully, excess flesh squeezed out. Sorry. My dirty little habit.

                        1. I stopped eating the skins about the time potato skins became this trendy fern-bar "treat." I also read a magazine article on potatoes, which quoted a nutrition expert as saying that if there's any part of the potato you shouldn't eat, that's it. But the main reason was I realized I'd never really liked them.

                          I do push the potato open, mix the additives very thoroughly (within the range of not making a big deal out of it), and then either scoop out the innards and set the skin aside or not, depending on how much plate space I have. If not I dig the stuff out as completely as manners allow.

                          1. First off - I don't see why it matters whatsoever how someone enjoys eating a baked potato. Would you look down on someone who didn't eat their potato the way you feel they should be eaten?

                            I simply add my butter, toppings, whatever, to the split potato, eat the topping & innards, & then slice up & eat the skin.

                            1. If I'm alone, I pick up the spud and treat it like one big french fry, dipping it in ketchup and taking bites out of it (with skin on).

                              If I'm with company, or not dining with other Neanderthals, I simply eat it like I would a steak, slicing pieces of it and eating with knife and fork. No split, no toppings. A bit of salt maybe. Maybe.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                That's one austere baked potato, ipse!!
                                I split mine and mash w/ butter, salt and pepper. Not thoroughly, because I like the little veins of butter, and lumpy is okay here. Then I absolutely slather the top w/ the best smetane or crema I can find, and add more salt and pepper as I go. It's not particularly polite, but it is delicious. I don't think I've had a baked potato at a formal dinner, but I'd eat the skin, just slicing as I go and perhaps not being as gross with the toppings. :)

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  OK, im curious . . . what is smetane? Google has nothing. And perhaps my use of the word 'formal' was misleading. Call it a nice dinner. Going out with company or clients, or invited to someone's house where it is more than family style.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    It's a cream sauce, usually sour cream-y, in Czech language anyways. Maybe in other slavic languages it's something more specific?
                                    There's a random bit of knowledge :)

                                    1. re: alliegator

                                      Smetana is the Russian word for sour cream. It also happens to be the surname of an ingenious Czech composer.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Thanks, PK. My knowledge of Russian does not extend beyond knowing the alphabet and recognizing words that sound the same in Czech.

                                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                                      Really good sour cream; very thick and if you're lucky, cultured a bit more than industrial sour cream. Sometimes spelled "smitane."
                                      And as you describe it, okay, I sure have had baked potatoes at events like that, and I ate the skins as described. But again, I didn't go commando with the toppings....

                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                        It was also for a while in the late 20th century in St. Louis a brand nae of a cultured topping that was lower in fat than sour cream. Tasty; I used to put it on hamburgers with fried onions.

                                  2. 1. Yes
                                    2. I usually put the fixings on top and then mix it all around. I like them pretty well mixed in so will go at it until it's in between just on top and as mixed as it would be for twice baked potatoes.
                                    3. I eat the meat of the potato with the mixed in fixings but I always leave 1 cm or so of potato attached to the inside of the skin and then use a knife to cut off chunks of potato with skin
                                    4. See #3
                                    5. Love the skin, always eat it! It's often the best part.

                                    I guess I don't usually pay attention to the host or hostess with my potato approach though in public I am probably more refined with my mixing then at home but it's generally the same procedure. I'm eating the skin whether my host does or not :)

                                    1. I remember running across the term 'jacket potato' just a couple of years ago. I know it's a British term, but I looked it up on Wikipedia anyway. The entry describes baked potatoes and the sides served with them in several countries. Sometimes I wonder who writes/edits these kinds of Wikipedia pages because sour cream was not mentioned at all.

                                      1. 1- it's usually too hot, so no.
                                        2- Mix them in.
                                        3- Yes
                                        4- Sometimes
                                        5- Never had them at a formal dinner, but I probably would

                                        1. I realized that I rarely eat the skin in public (either at someone's home or in a restaurant) because for some reason, I prefer to eat the skin with my fingers and it just wouldn't be the same, I guess?

                                          Kind of odd, but I've always been a "nibbler."

                                          1. 1) Yes, more opening for more toppings
                                            2) On top of the opening, and then mix it with the interior parts
                                            3-4-5) I will only eat the skin if it's been salted, otherwise only the flesh gets eaten. If I eat the skin it will be at the same time as the flesh

                                            1. 1) It's usually too hot, I just kind of mash the flesh a bit with my fork.
                                              2) mix in-I like butter and chives best
                                              3) yes
                                              4) no
                                              5) If I'm full, I'll pass on the skin. Room left, I'll eat it.

                                              1. I made Baked Potato Soup last night. Baked the potatoes, let them cool to "handling" temp. When scooping the potatoes out to add to the roux & milk, there was a lot of potato still clinging to the skin.

                                                I ate a lot of that leavings.

                                                So...when the soup was ready (and it WAS tasty) I could only eat a half bowl. My bad (my good).