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baked russet potatoes: what is the function of oil and foil?

I see some baked russet potato recipies that call for coating the potato in oil before baking, while others say to coat the potato in foil. Some recipies call for both.

What effect do each of these components, oil and foil, have on the potato?

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  1. I love to eat the skin, so I always wrap my potatoes in foil before baking them. The foil makes the skins a little softer. Without the foil, the skins get harder and dried out. I've never tried rubbing the potatoes in butter or oil.

    2 Replies
    1. re: brandygirl

      It turns baked potatoes into steamed potatoes.

      1. re: rjbh20

        I love to eat the skin so I never wrap my potatoes. I give them a rub with oil and nice salt and bake and the skin is perfect for eating.

    2. the skin and outer layers will start to dry out if you do not remove the potato once it is done. I don't like to waste aluminum, so I don't do that. If i want a baked potato without it getting crusty I microwave it.

      1. I coat with oil and bake plain. I love the skin and his makes it a nice texture, I have only used foil when cooking potatoes in embers, which is great .

        1. I rub the skin with olive oil and sea salt because I eat the skin. Foil-wrapped potatoes are steamed, not baked. A baked potato should be dry with a mealy texture and you can only achieve that by letting the moisture out, not holding it in with foil.

          1. I love eating the skins, but unlike some others posting here (and nothing wrong with their choice) I like the skins crispy. So no foil for me. Occasionally some sort of fat (butter, oil) but usually I just bake them as they are and then scoop out the innards and eat the skins with either butter or sour cream and s/p.

            6 Replies
            1. re: LulusMom

              Yes, the skins are delicious without oiling, and foil defeats the purpose of baking a spud, IMO, unless it's directly in coals.

              1. re: LulusMom

                I think the skins are best oiled with bacon fat and lightly salted before baking.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I find rubbing them with olive oil and some sea salt (even adding crushed rosemary) leaves the skins with a richer taste than the dry baking does while achieving a crispy skin. I too love adding butter and /or sour cream and s/p the only way to eat the skins, the best part of the potato.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    <...I just bake them as they are and then scoop out the innards and eat the skins with either butter or sour cream and s/p.>

                    And may I add....YUM!!

                    Best. Skins. Ever. As a kid, I preferred these over the 'tater guts, and used to swap anyone who'd give up their skin.