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This easy baked potato recipe is the definitive technique for how to make the best baked potato! All you need is three everyday ingredients for this simple method.
For another basic recipe that’s easy to master, try my Garlic Mashed Potatoes next.
Why you’ll love it
Is there anything better than a soft on the inside, beautifully salted and crispy on the outside, restaurant-style baked potato? Chances are you’ve seen a similar method to this one, and I’m here to guide you through it since I’ve used it for as long as I can remember. The microwaving step gets it on your table faster!
Baked potatoes are actually full of nutrients and goodness, but you’re welcome to load ’em up with all your favorite toppings to make it a meal. This simple baked potato recipe is a classic budget-friendly choice that goes with nearly every main course. Elevate the humble potato into an irresistible side dish.
What you’ll need
- Potatoes – use Russet potatoes (sometimes labeled as baking potatoes or Idaho potatoes). They have the perfect texture for baking! Typically the larger ones we want for baked potatoes are sold individually in grocery stores, and the ones in bags are a bit smaller. It’s best to use similar size potatoes so they cook at the same rate.
- Olive oil – use a good-quality one to get that crisp exterior and irresistible sheen
- Salt – sea salt or kosher salt are best for cooking. I have a sea salt grinder (the one pictured is from Crate & Barrel) and use it for all my recipes, including this one. Salt draws out the water from the potato, making it fluffier, and it tastes amazing too.
- Don’t get too hung up on timing since it’s hard for a baked potato to not be delicious (even if you cook it a little too long). As ovens, potato size, and microwave wattages all vary, cooking time is just a guideline. If you have an instant read thermometer, 210F is the sweet spot for a perfectly cooked baked potato.
- Baked potatoes should never be cooked in foil since that traps in moisture. The result would be a steamed potato rather than a crisped up and soft, fluffy one.
How to bake a potato
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Scrub and dry, pierce, microwave, coat in olive oil, season, and pop in the oven! Easy peasy. See the recipe card for essential information on quantities and weight, temperature and timing.
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- We’re cooking these directly on the oven rack, but a half sheet baking sheet is great for catching any debris.
- A digital kitchen scale is a handy little tool to keep in your kitchen if you’re unsure how much your potatoes weigh!
- An inexpensive instant read thermometer to check for that perfect 210F.
- I use kitchen tongs to transfer to the hot potatoes to and from the oven.
Substitutions and variations
- Since this is (in my opinion) a perfect baked potato recipe as-is, I definitely recommend trying the method as written first.
- If you have some leftover bacon grease, though, you can rub the potato with it instead of the olive oil for a little more savory flavor!
What to serve with baked potatoes
- My personal favorite is full fat sour cream, chives or scallions, and some Tony Chachere’s seasoning. Some prefer to keep it simple with a pat or two of butter, and some love to load ’em up with sour cream, chives, grated cheddar, and some bacon! Others love to enjoy a baked potato with Chili.
- Baked potatoes go with any number of main dishes such as my Crockpot Pork Tenderloin, Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken, or Easy Hamburger Gravy.
Leftovers and storage
- Oven baked potatoes can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days.
- Nothing beats a freshly baked potato, so I don’t recommend making these ahead of time. If you do happen to have leftovers, you can reheat them directly on the oven rack at 350F for about 20 minutes or until they’re hot and the skin crisps up a bit again.
- Don’t freeze leftovers. Just don’t even think about it.
I hope you agree this is the ideal way to make baked potatoes! Let me know in the comments below if you made this recipe. You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Baked Potato
- 2 large Russet potatoes 12-14 oz each
- Olive oil to taste
- Salt (I use a sea salt grinder) to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position. Rinse the potatoes and scrub them (I just use my hands), then dry them off using paper towel.
- Poke a fork in the potatoes a few times to prevent them from bursting, and then put them on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes on high.
- Take the potatoes out of the microwave and coat them with some olive oil (careful – they will be hot), and then generously season them with salt.
- Place each potato directly on the oven rack (air circulation all around your potato = a better baked potato). Cooking tongs can be helpful for moving the hot potatoes. I suggest putting a lined baking sheet on a rack below them to catch any fallout.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (or longer if your potatoes are huge). For much smaller potatoes, test after 30 minutes. To test, a sharp knife should easily glide through each potato. If you have an instant read thermometer, they're ready when their internal temperature is 210F.
- You can skip the microwave step, but then the potatoes will take longer (large potatoes will likely take up to 90 minutes). Do keep in mind that that long in the oven can make the skin a bit too crisp, however.
- If doubling the recipe and you want to microwave 4 potatoes at a time, increase the time to 10 minutes or so or just do two batches.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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