Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 18, 2014 03:14 PM

EXPLODING baked potatoes??

Have had this happen 3-4 times over past year or 2... and not like I do baked potatoes weekly?? Can't remember EVER having on explode growing up. Don't know if we poked them THEN, but I ALWAYS poke now. Put one in oven when I got home from school... for a stuffed potato with chil and cheese for lunch tomorrow. About 1/3 of the GUTS are all over inside of oven!?!

WHAT makes potatoes explode in oven??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. As you know, baked potatoes explode when the steam inside them builds up to such a degree that it has to find a way to release itself. That's why it's important to always prick holes in a potato before putting it in the oven to bake. A fork does this job just fine. But it's also important to make sure that you prick the potato deeply enough and enough times so that you make holes into the potato and not just its skin.
    Plenty of us who thought they had pricked their potatoes have been surprised by an explosion when they merely pierced the skin, but didn't make an indent deep enough.

    10 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Next baked potato will be stabbed to DEATH!!

      1. re: kseiverd

        I stick a long metal shish ka bob rod through the entire length of a potato about mid body and lay the rods directly on the oven rack. No more taking chances!

          1. re: HillJ

            My mother always did that, HillJ

            1. re: HillJ

              I use metal skewers, too, for poking potatoes and testing baked goods.

              1. re: HillJ

                I go Vincent Price on a baked potato with a paring knife.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Love the visual! With a side of Edward Scissorhands?

              2. re: kseiverd

                You are learning. Same with chestnuts. They explode like little hand grenades.

              3. re: HillJ

                Good to know that luck has been on my side. I think I'm a light pricker by nature.

              4. Funny.. same thing happens with snails in the microwave but that is another story.

                Poke lots of holes and pretty deep too.

                After i poke holes in them, I like to put them in a plastic bag and drizzle olive oil and some kosher salt on them and roll em around to get each potato covered. then I take them out with tongs and put them in the oven just like that.. no foil. Then I throw the plastic bag away and I didn't even get my lilly white hands oily.

                14 Replies
                  1. re: tcamp

                    I like bacon fat even better! Wipe it all over and top the potato with a mound of kosher salt. I do it barehanded as I consider bacon grease a form of hand softener.

                    Never pricked them but no explosions yet; just lucky I guess. Like others here, Mom was big on impaling them with a giant nail (sold for that purpose) she truly believed it made them cook quicker. I have my reservations, unfounded as they may be. Her skin never got crispy enough for my tastes.

                    1. re: coll

                      I like a crispy skin too. What I do after the metal rod has taken care of the baking is remove it and place the potatoes back in the oven for a few extra minutes so that the avocado oil does it thing on the skin.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Am I then reading that the nail (or rod, or whatever) inhibits the skin from crisping? Or is it just that the potato cooks so quickly that the outside doesn't crisp up? Or what? I'd love for the interior of my potatoes to get fluffier quicker but I'd hate to give up that crispy skin.

                        1. re: nokitchen

                          I still get crispy skin with the potato nail inside. And I don't oil my potato. It gets scrubbed, dried with paper towels, pricked with a fork, and the nail stuck in the eye at one end.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            I thought the nail thing was supposed to make them cook faster.

                            1. re: grampart

                              The nail thing is so that the potatoes won't explode, not so that they will cook faster (which they may or may not do -- never have checked that out).

                              1. re: jmnewel

                                "Savvy home cooks long ago observed that a potato with a long nail driven through it cooked more quickly than it otherwise would. Potato nails are a commercial product intended for this specific use, manufactured from food-safe metals. Most are made of either aluminum or stainless steel, each of which has its advantages. Aluminum is much better at transferring heat and tends to cook potatoes more quickly. On the other hand, stainless steel nails won't discolor the potato's flesh as aluminum nails will."


                              2. re: grampart

                                Both. The nail helps conduct heat to the inside, and the potato cooks both from the inside out and the outside in.

                            2. re: nokitchen

                              In my experience the skewers prevent the exploding potato! It's why I use it. But if the skins (depends on the tater) isn't crisp enough I'll do what I said above. Best of both worlds!

                              1. re: HillJ

                                My Mom used them because of the cooking faster theory. I'm pretty sure that's how they were marketed.

                                1. re: coll

                                  Yes, that's how I remember it too. Those nail rods were sold like four in a pack and there was one that sort of worked like a carousel and you could stick four small potatoes at once on it and place in the oven.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Oh that's the exact one she had, the multi potato version, I didn't know how to describe it. Since there were so many of us, at some point a whole bunch of really long, single, nails were added to the picture. I remember all of these devices being packaged for sale specifically for potato baking.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      That's what I have - the 4 to a pack kind. Takes up a helluva lot of less space than the version where you can bake 4 at a time!

                      2. After poking the potatoes, we used to stab the fork right in the middle and leave it there. The idea was that the fork would conduct the heat and cook the potato more evenly. Anyone do this or seen it done? Is it more kitchen mythology or does it work? The potatoes never exploded.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: seamunky

                          Same principle as HillJ's skewer, upthread, or the large building nails people use to conduct heat to the center. Legitimate procedure. There's also a similar metal thing - larger, and hollow - that is supposed to go into the stuffing inside a turkey. Oven heat enters the hollow tube, heating the metal, to cook the stuffing faster and hotter.

                        2. Some posts from others who've had the problem on this thread:

                          It happens often enough to merit a name. Spudetonation? Blowtatoes? Detonatoes?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: greygarious

                            Splat-taeto? Explotato?

                            Never happened to me, but i usually go at it with a paring knife not a fork...

                            1. re: alkapal

                              Good for reds, but for Russets and Idahos, don't you like a little crispy on your baked?