A fluffy baked potato is one of those comfort foods that can always be adjusted to your current mood.
Feeling spicy? Add some hot salsa. Feeling classy? Top with butter, sour cream, chives, and salt. Feeling adventurous? Keep reading and I’ll reveal my new favorite topping.
🥔 What kind of potato and how to prep it?
Russet Potatoes (aka Idaho or baking potatoes), are my go-to spuds. Actually, it’s kind of like everybody’s spud. McDonald’s uses them for their French fries too. They have the right amount of starch, a skin that gets beautifully crispy when oiled, are almost always available, and they’re friendly on the budget.
⭐ Tip: Regardless of what potatoes you’re buying, don’t wash them until just before using. Washing (scrubbing) them in advance will take away their natural protection (including dirt) from getting moldy. It can also leave moisture in the “eyes,” which can lead to a moldy smell. And washing them with just cold water is fine.
Once you’re ready to start baking, brush your potatoes and put them on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
In our house, we eat the skin. So we want crispy skin. The following instructions will make the potato skin super crispy. I guess if you don’t like crispy potato skins, you can skip the rest of this paragraph.
First, poke the potato with a fork, about five times all around. The reason for this is to prevent the spud from building up too much steam and bursting open.
On top of the potato, with a sharp knife, carve a ½” deep X across it. This also prevents the spud from going BOOM and is part of the fluff-up trick.
Next, pour some olive oil into the palms of your hands and rub the potatoes. You could also use a pastry (or paint) brush, but there’s something satisfying about rubbing the spuds with your hands.
⭐ Tip: If you're lucky enough to have duck fat handy, use it instead of olive oil...
Finally, sprinkle with some kosher sea salt all over. Potatoes love salt.
⭐ Tip: Rubbing oil and sprinkling salt on the potato skin will help create a crispy, delicious skin.
⏲️ How to make the best baked potato
For the two of us, we normally use the toaster oven.
Put aluminum foil on the oven rack and preheat to about 425°F (if you use the convention function, I’ve read that the temperature should be set about 25°F lower, but I haven’t tried this so I don’t know if it works this way).
I don’t believe that the little temperature dial on the toaster oven is as accurate as the digital temperature preset on our regular oven. In other words, baked potato oven temp and times may vary to make the perfect baked potato. But I said vary and not worry. Cooking is certainly a science, but it is also an art.
So while science is doing its thing with heat and starches and skin and oil and salt and whatnot, a fork will tell you when the science is done and your artistry takes over.
🕜 How long to cook it
After 30 minutes, turn them. After 50 minutes, stick your fork into the thickest part of the potato. If there’s no resistance, science has done its job and the potato is done baking. If there is resistance, leave it in there and check again in ten minutes. And so on. Don’t worry, you won’t overbake your spud.
⭐ Tip: If you want to stick with science to find out when your potato is ready: stick a food thermometer into the thickest part of the potato; when it reads 209℉, it’s done.
Carefully remove the very hot potato and let sit for a couple minutes.
🍴 How to make a baked potato super fluffy
The same way that we made the skin crispy - with your hands. Once the potato has cooled off enough to be handled (or use a kitchen towel if your hands are heat sensitive), start massaging the potato. Gently press on all sides and repeat for a minute or so, until you feel the inside of the potato start to loosen up.
Remember the X slashed on the top of the potato? By massaging the potato, this X will nicely open, letting the steam escape, and giving room for the newly fluffed-up potato. When you're done massaging, use a small fork and stir up the inside of the potatoes even more. You’ll know when you’re done.
And that’s how to make a baked potato super fluffy. Every time.
⭐ Note: I tried this same recipe for a baked sweet potato and the results were fantastic as well.
🧈 Baked potato toppings - What’s your favorite topping? (and I’ll tell you mine)
I guess it's because my favorite ice cream is plain vanilla, my favorite baked potato topping is butter, flaky sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper.
Once my chives start growing in the herb garden, I’ll switch to sour cream, salt, and tons of chopped chives.
My favorite topping: Anchovy butter
Recently, I got a little more adventurous. I had an open jar of anchovy fillets in the fridge and felt like making a compound butter (learn how to make compound butter).
Anchovies are one of those must-have pantry items. Even if you don’t like them. No worries, you’re not eating them right out of the jar. Anchovies are best used to add depth and umami to a dish.
Combined with butter, chopped garlic, paprika, and lemon juice, it’s a compound butter you’ll want to put on everything, including a baked potato!
Love delicious recipes? Check out a few more of our recipes now:
- Garlic Herb Compound Butter
- Crispy Buttery Hash Browns Recipe
- Super Easy Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil
- Essentials for the Kitchen
And learn how to grow potatoes in your home garden too, with video tutorials!
Did you make this recipe for Baked Potatoes? What toppings did you use? Let us know in the comments below!
How To Make Fluffy Baked Potatoes
Baked Potato Ingredients
- Two 10 ounce Russet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Anchovy Butter Ingredients
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt to taste
Baked Potato Preparation
- Line cooking rack with aluminum foil
- Preheat toaster oven to 425℉
- Scrub potatoes clean and pat dry
- With a fork, puncture potatoes on all sides, about 5 times total
- With a knife, carve an X on the top, about ½ inch deep
- Pour olive oil in your palms and rub potatoes
- Sprinkle kosher sea salt all over potato skins
- Bake for 30 minutes, turn them over, then bake for another 20 minutes
- Stick a fork into the thickest part of the potato. They’re done when there’s no resistance. If there is resistance, leave it in there and check again in ten minutes. And so on. Don’t worry, you won’t overbake your spud.
- Let cool for a couple minutes
- Gently massage potato with your hands to fluff up the inside. Gently press on all sides and repeat for a minute or so, until you feel the inside of the potato start to loosen up.
- Use a small fork to finish fluffing the inside
- Serve with your favorite toppings
Anchovy Butter Preparation
- Mash the softened butter in a bowl with a fork
- Add anchovy fillets, garlic, paprika, and lemon juice, and mix together with butter using a fork
- Taste and add salt if needed
- Spoon the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper
- Roll into a log and twist the ends
- Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge (or in the freezer for a few minutes)
- Note: If you have a mortar and pestle, then use it to make this butter
- Washing potatoes: Regardless of what potatoes you’re buying, don’t wash them until just before using. Washing (scrubbing) them in advance will take away their natural protection (including dirt) from getting moldy. It can also leave moisture in the “eyes,” which can lead to a moldy smell. And washing them with just cold water is fine.
- Crispy potato skin: Rubbing oil and sprinkling salt on the potato skin will help create a crispy, delicious skin. If you're lucky enough to have duck fat handy, use it instead of olive oil.
- Baking: If you want to stick with science to find out when your potato is ready: stick a food thermometer into the thickest part of the potato; when it reads 209℉, it’s done.
- Sweet potatoes: I tried this same recipe for a baked sweet potato and the results were fantastic as well.
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