Baked potatoes offer a satisfying, versatile midweek meal. But they do take a while to bake. We're going to find out just how long right here.
Medium or large potatoes take around 45 to 60 minutes to bake at 450°F. Of course, potato size isn't the only factor affecting this — your oven plays a role too. Every model is different, so always check for doneness at 45 minutes by using an oven mitt to squeeze the potatoes. It should be soft and yield to the pressure. If not, keep cooking in five-minute increments to avoid overbaking.
In the rest of this article, we'll explore how to speed up the process, help you choose the best potato types, and discover how to store and reheat them. We're even giving away one of the tastiest, easiest baked potato recipes!
How to Quicken the Potato Baking Process
You can use a microwave to speed up the baking process. While many purists believe in letting the oven do all the work, the microwave is a valuable tool when you don't have much time.
Here are the steps:
- Heat your oven to 450°F.
- Poke holes in your potatoes.
- Microwave on high power for four to six minutes.
- Flip them.
- Microwave on high power for four to six minutes.
- Remove the potatoes from the microwave.
- Coat with melted butter or olive oil.
- Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
- Finish in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
- Enjoy your speedy baked potato!
What Type of Potatoes Are Best for Baking?
Russet or sweet potatoes are best for baking. However, the former is the type you'll generally use.
Otherwise known as "starchy" potatoes, they'll ensure a fluffy texture when baked. This is in contrast to "waxy" potatoes like Yukon gold, fingering, and red potatoes — these are best for mashing and roasting.
As for sweet potatoes, they have a bit more fiber and a variety of different vitamins. Plus, they come with a delightfully sweet flavor that can ramp up many baked potato recipes.
Storing Baked Potatoes: 3 Easy Methods
Cooked food is more likely to rot than raw food. Why? Because baking it adds a high moisture content and acid range. Combine that with a high temperature and it creates the perfect location for mold and bacteria.
Nevertheless, you can safely store baked potatoes using these three straightforward methods.
Airtight Plastic Bags
The longer you leave your baked potatoes exposed to the elements, the faster it will "go bad."
Use airtight plastic bags (e.g., Ziploc) to store them. Ideally, you'll need to eliminate all the air before placing them in the refrigerator. To do this:
- Put the baked potatoes in the bag.
- Insert a straw, leaving its tip outside the bag.
- Close the bag.
- Put your mouth on the straw tip.
- Take in air.
- Pull the straw out as you suck in the air.
- Close the bag quickly and it will stick to the potatoes without wayward air bubbles.
Don't have any bags? Not a problem. Use an airtight container instead.
If you want your baked potatoes to last for a long time, you should freeze them.
All you need to do is put them on a tray and place them in the freezer. After a few hours, remove the potatoes and store them in plastic bags, keeping them separated for best results. That way, you can defrost them separately.
This method works the same as airtight plastic bags. Just make sure there aren't any air bubbles inside and you're good to go. We prefer adding another layer of plastic wrap for complete protection.
You can store these in the fridge or the refrigerator.
Extra Storage Tips
With the storage methods down to a T, we've got some quick tips and trips before we move on to reheating:
- Five days maximum — Preferably, you should only keep baked potatoes in the fridge for three days. Five days is the absolute maximum.
- No aluminum foil when storing — Foil can cause the growth of Clostridium botulinum. In other words, the leading cause of botulism, a disease causing paralysis, and even death.
- Let them cool before storage — When hot, salmonella bacteria stand a higher chance of spoiling the potatoes. Wait until they're at room temperature before placing them in the fridge.
Reheating Baked Potatoes: 2 Straightforward Methods
You aren't storing your baked potatoes just to let them turn less-than-appealing. But you must reheat them properly if they're to retain their tastiness.
Don't be tempted to reheat the potatoes at the same temperature at 450°F. Instead, preheat your oven to 350°F and let your potatoes return to room temperature before popping them in.
As soon as the oven is hot, heat them on a baking tray for 20 minutes. After that, they'll be ready to eat!
This probably wasn't the first method that comes to mind, but it's quicker than the oven if you're in a rush.
Start by cutting the potatoes in halves or quarters. Then, add a spoonful of olive oil to a skillet and allow it to heat over a medium heat. Finally, put the potato pieces in, cover the skillet, and let it fry for three to four minutes before flipping them and repeating.
The Perfect (and Easiest) Baked Potato Recipe
- 2 medium to large Russet potatoes
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 pinches coarse Kosher salt
- 2 pinches freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Scrub the potatoes clean of all dirt.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Place a wire cooling rack on top of the baking sheet.
- Use a small paring knife or a dinner fork to poke holes all over the potatoes. Do it at least ten times.
- Put the potatoes on the wire rack on the prepared baking sheet.
- Put the potatoes in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove them from the oven.
- Melt the butter.
- Use a pastry brush to spread the butter over the potatoes. Ensure all sides are completely covered.
- Sprinkle the potatoes with Kosher salt.
- Put the potatoes back on the baking sheet, ensuring the reverse side is up to guarantee even baking.
- Put them back in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Use an oven mitt to check for doneness by carefully squeezing them. If the insides give under pressure and are soft, remove the potatoes from the oven. If not, cook in five-minute increments until it's soft.
- Use a small paring knife to slice through the potato lengthwise, ensuring you only cut them halfway.
- Squeeze gently to open it.
- Serve straight away with your favorite toppings.
- You can substitute the butter for olive oil if you'd prefer.
- For extra creamy potatoes, add a pat of butter once they're cooked and opened. The butter will melt into the potatoes and ensure you enjoy every bite.
- As for toppings, you can experiment with different options until you find your favorite. Our recommendations are as follows — cheese, smoked salmon, chives, cream cheese, bacon, sour cream, sauteed vegetables, refried beans, baked beans, crushed tortillas, fajita veggies, pinto beans, shredded chicken, pickled jalapenos, sliced green onions, chili, or lettuce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 202Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g