There are few sides as satisfying as a baked potato. These fluffy, warm, cosy delights are well-loved by foodies all over, so mastering the art of cooking them is a truly valuable skill.
In order to deliver on this task, however, you’ll need a couple of things. A love of taters, patience and a good amount of time.
The smallest baked potato is going to take at least 45 minutes in the oven, and that’s okay. I’m sure you have a task you need to do that will take at least 45 minutes to complete. Besides chilling the eff out and letting your oven do its thing, I have a few other principles for making the best baked potato.
Here they are:
Pick an absolute unit of a potato
I don’t mess with small potatoes. If you are intending to fully load it, and I suspect you are, a tiny spud isn’t going to be equipped to handle all you throw at it. Though a large potato might take longer than a little potato to cook, you’re looking at an extra 10 minutes or so, and an extra 10 minutes of waiting is worth extra potato.
Slather your baked potato in fat and coat it in salt
Members of the Crispy Skin Club know that fat is key. If you “don’t eat the skin,” it’s probably because you haven’t been slathering it in enough schmaltz. Nothing wrong with using vegetable or olive oil, but duck fat, chicken schmaltz, and bacon grease lend a nice smoky flavour that screams “steakhouse.” Once that’s done, coat it in salt. One teaspoon per potato is the minimum.
Chill the eff out
The key to cooking patiently is rebranding “waiting for food” as “me time.” You don’t need to watch your potato bake, so have a cocktail in the tub, stalk someone on the internet, or sous vide a steak. You can also use this time to prep the things you would like to stuff into your hot potato, so fry some bacon, grate some cheese, and chop some chives. (Oh, and set some butter out so it can come to room temperature.)
With these guiding principle firmly in mind, you are ready to bake a potato. To do so, you will need:
- 1 very large Russet potato
- 1 tablespoon of duck fat, chicken schmaltz, bacon grease, or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- Any and all potato fixings you enjoy
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C and give your potato a good scrub under cold running water. Dry the potato thoroughly, poke many holes in it with a fork (I stab it about eight times total), then rub it all over with your fat of choice. Assault it with salt, then place it directly on the centre rack of your oven.
Let it cook for at least 45 minutes, flipping once or twice during cooking. Most potatoes will take an hour; you’ll know they’re done when the skin is crisp and the insides feel completely soft when you stick a fork into the potato. Remove your potato from the oven, let cool for five minutes, then slice open with a sharp knife and load it up.
Want more potato hacks? We have an entire bible of them here.
This story has been updated since its original publication.