How long to bake a potato?

How long to bake a potato

How long to bake a potato?

A perfectly baked potato is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Use the information below to estimate when to start checking your potatoes for doneness.

Baking chart for conventional oven: Medium Potato = 5-8 ounces, Large Potato = 9-12 ounces.

Temperature in Fahrenheit Potato Size: Time
At 325°F Medium potato: 90 minutes
Large Potato: 100 minutes
At 350°F Medium potato: 75 minutes
Large Potato: 85 minutes
At 375°F Medium potato: 65 minutes
Large Potato: 75 minutes
At 400°F Medium potato: 55 minutes
Large Potato: 65 minutes
At 425°F Medium potato: 50 minutes
Large Potato: 55 minutes
At 450°F Medium potato: 45 minutes
Large Potato: 50 minutes
At 475°F Medium potato: 35 minutes
Large Potato: 45 minutes

Set your timer according to the chart above and once it goes off, remove the potato from the oven and check that a fork easily inserts into the middle or the internal temperature half way through the middle registers 210°F. At this point, the potato is fully cooked and perfect for developing a crispier skin. Rub olive oil all over the potato and put back into the oven for additional 10 minutes or untill the potato skin is drier and crispier.

The chart above estimates cooking durations for conventional ovens only i.e ovens without fans. For convention ovens, decrease cooking temperature by 25 degrees and cook for the same amount of time. If the potato isn't fully baked after the cooking time, return back to the oven and bake at 5 minute intervals until fork tender or the internal temperature reads 210°F. Potatoes smaller than 5 ounces should be baked for 20-30 minutes at any temperature and checked appropriately for doneness.

WANT TO BAKE THE PERFECT POTATO? KEEP READING!

Baking potato is pretty elementary and almost any one can do it. But baking the perfect potato? there are a lot of ways you can go wrong. Follow the tips below and we guarantee a perfectly baked potato everytime you make one!

TIPS FOR BAKING THE PERFECT POTATO:

There’s no secret, it all starts with the right potato!
  1. Choose the perfect potatoes: Not all potatoes are created equally— some are waxy, some are floury, some are just there in-between! These potatoes also bake differently and produce very different results. To get the light and fluffy interior that baked potatoes are signature for, use potatoes with a decent amount of starch content, for example, Russet, Round white, Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes. These potatoes are the floury types and contain low moisture and sugar in them. They display a fluffy texture when cooked alongside a mild and earthy flavor. Their rich essence makes them enjoyable with almost any kind of toppings, from traditional sour cream and chives to bold Mediterranean and Greek seasonings. Choose potatoes with smooth and tighter skins and avoid ones that are cracked, shriveled, sprouting or have a greenish-tint under their skin. Go organic whenever possible.
  2. Wash and properly dry the potatoes:  Potatoes are grown underground and are not washed before they are shipped. Make sure to thoroughly cleanse them of any residue and dirt before baking them in the oven. To cleanse a potato, fill a large mixing bowl with lukewarm water and add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar; the vinegar helps to dissolve dirt and kill germs on the surface of the potatoes. Place the potatoes in the vinegar solution and let sit for a few minutes. Pick potatoes one after the other and gently scrub them under running water using a scrubbing brush. Rise thoroughly and pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel. This helps to absorb any remaining moisture on the surface of the potatoes which can prevent them from crisping up in the oven.
  3. Poke holes on potatoes and brine: Poked potatoes don't explode in the oven and brined potatoes come out flavorful and well seasoned on the inside and outside. Potatoes explode when excessive steam builds up on the inside and needs a way to release. The best way to get rid of this excess steam and regulate the internal pressure of the potatoes is by pricking tiny holes all over their surface. Here’s how to prick potatoes. Gently stab all over their surface about six time with a fork, stab three on each side. After pricking, go ahead and prepare a brine solution containing 1/2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of coarse salt—use a large mixing bowl. Place potatoes in the concentrated salt solution and toss a few seconds to evenly coat them. Transfer onto a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and bake according to the cooking chart.

HOW TO BAKE THE PERFECT POTATO:

BAKED POTATO IN THE OVEN:

As far as baking the perfect potato is concerned, a dry heat oven is your best bet. Use conventional or convection ovens. You’ll get that tasty crispy skin alongside the earthy and fluffy goodness. When baking more than one potato, be sure to use similarly sized spuds and spread them evenly on the baking sheet. After cooking for the recommended amount of time, check for doneness as indicated above, then coat the surface of the potato with olive oil and bake for maximum crispiness —about 5-10 minutes.

Method:
  • Preheat convection oven to 450°F.
  • Choose the perfect potatoes.
  • Wash and dry thoroughly.
  • Poke holes and brine the potatoes.
  • Transfer potatoes to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet; the system ensures proper heat circulation (which means even cooking) and prevent fast browning on the surface of the potatoes. If you are going to bake the potatoes directly on the baking sheet or the oven rack, check and turn potatoes half way through cooking time.
  • Bake potatoes for 45 minutes or untill fork tender (205°F).
  • Remove potatoes from the oven and brush all over the skin with any fat or oil of your choice. We prefer olive oil and vegetable oil.
  • Put potatoes back into the oven for additional 10 minutes or untill the skin turns crispy.
  • Remove potatoes from the oven and immediately cut them open to release steam; extend two diagonal cuts on one side of the potatoes.
  • Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes:
  1. Do not wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil unless you dislike crispy skins. Foiling is more of steaming that crisping!
  2. Start in the microwave and finish in the oven: This way, you can bake potatoes faster and still get that flavorful crispy skin! Here’s how to do it: Cook potatoes in the microwave for about 5 minutes (see microwave method below), then transfer potatoes to a 450°F preheated oven and cook for about 15-25 minutes or until fork tender and a crispy skin results.

Recipe adapted from: America's Test Kitchen alert-success

BAKED POTATO IN A TOASTER OVEN:

Toaster ovens cook pretty much like conduction ovens do (using dry hot heat), which means baking potato for a crispy exterior is therefore possible. Toaster ovens are generally smaller than fixed kitchen ovens so preheating and cooking in them will be a bit faster. Peek on potatoes 10 minutes before cooking time and bake at 5 minute bursts when they’re not fully cooked.  If using a conventional toaster oven, decrease cooking temperature by 25 degrees and check for doneness about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time. Use evenly sized potatoes and space them evenly on the rack for even cooking.

Method:
  • Preheat toaster oven to 400°F.
  • Choose the perfect potatoes.
  • Wash and dry thoroughly.
  • Poke holes and brine the potatoes.
  • Transfer potatoes onto the baking rack or on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet for easier cleanup. Do not use aluminum foil at the bottom of the toaster oven to catch spills and drips.
  • Bake potatoes for 45 minutes or untill tender to fork piercing (210°F).
  • Take potatoes out from the toaster oven and brush all over their skins with olive oil.
  • Put back into the oven for additional 5 minutes or untill potato skin is crispy.
  • Remove potatoes from the oven and extend two diagonal cuts right across their exposed surface. Gently push the ends of each potato to release excessive steam.
  • Serve with favorite seasoning.
Recipe Notes:
  1. You can start cooking the potatoes in a microwave oven and then transfer them to a preheated toaster oven for faster results. In this case, oil the potatoes after taking out from the microwave (about 5 minutes), and then cook for about 10-15 minutes or untill fork tender and skin turns crispy. Be careful not to over cook potatoes!

BAKED POTATO IN A MICROWAVE OVEN:

"Baking" potato in the microwave oven is a lot faster compared to the oven-baked method although the skin wont crisp up quite as good. You can transfer microwave baked potatoes back into the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes to crisp up their skins. If what you're looking for is a time saving dinner, then a leathery potato skin isn't a bad choice either. A single medium potato should be ready in about eight minutes (for a 600-700 Watt microwave) and cooking few more alongside should take about three to eight minutes longer.

Method:
  • Choose one medium potato.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry potato.
  • Poke holes and brine the potato.
  • Place potato in a microwave-safe dish and microwave each side at full power for 4 minutes.
  • Flip potatoes using a fork or tong—do not use your bare hands as the potato will be very hot.
  • Check for doneness and skip the next step if potato is fully cooked. 
  • If potato isn't fully done, continue microwaving at one minute burst untill fork tender or the internal temperature registers 210°F.
  • Crisp potato in the oven (optional): Remove potato from the microwave oven, brush all round the potato with olive oil and transfer to a 450°F pre-heated oven. Place potato on an oven-rack, a rimmed baking sheet or a wire-rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or untill potato skin crisp up as you like.
  • Remove potato from the oven (using an oven mitt) and cut open to remove built-up steam.
  • Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes:
  1. The recipe is for 600-700 Watt microwave oven. Use the wattage-time chart at the beginning of this page to convert the recipe time according to your microwave wattage.
  2. Cook one small potato for 1.5 minutes on each side and two - four of them for about 2.5-8 minutes on each side. Continue with the 1 minute increment if potato isn't fully cooked by then.
  3. Cook one medium potato for 3 minutes on each side and two - four of them for about 5-12.5 minutes on each side. Continue with the 1 minute burst if potato isn't fully cooked by then.
  4. Cook one large potato for 4 minute on each side and two - four of them for about 7.5 -14.5 minutes on each side. Continue with the 1 minute increment if potato isn't done by then.

BAKED POTATO IN AN AIR FRYER:

Air fryers alongside dry heat ovens are the best methods for baking potatoes on our list. They both use hot dry air to bombard the surface of food items which in turn gives them a crispier and crunchier texture. Air fryers generally tend to cook faster than conventional ovens due to their smaller nature and convectional mode of heating. You'll need to reduce the cooking time on the chart by 15-20 minutes or reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees and reduce cooking time by about 10-15 minutes.

Method:
  • Pre heat air fryer to 400°F (takes about 3 minutes)
  • Select 4 medium russet potatoes.
  • Wash and pat dry.
  • Place potatoes in the air fryer basket and coat with vegetable oil or olive oil.
  • Sprinkle salt and granulated garlic all over the potatoes.
  • Generously distribute the oil and salt coating on the potatoes. Use your hands.
  • Insert the air fryer basket back into the air fryer and cook for 40 minutes or untill fork tender 
  • Proceed to crisp up the potato skins for additional 5-10 minutes.
  • Rotate potatoes halfway through cooking to prevent over browning at the top.
  • Remove potatoes from air fryer and cut open to remove built up steam.
  • Serve immediately, as desired.
Recipe Notes:
  1. Do not use as many potatoes in the air fryer, four medium potatoes or two to three large potatoes and you’re good to go. Ensure you spread them well and avoid stacking them over one another, that way the potatoes can develop a crunchy exterior.
  2. Use any seasoning that you like.
  3. For the range of time provide above, use the lower bound as the initial timing. Its better peek an undercooked potato than a burnt fluffy mess!

BAKED POTATO IN AN INSTANT POT:

The pressure cooker is another great way to bake potatoes fast and easy. As with other cooking methods, the potatoes will bake with a fluffy interior, but just like the microwave method, you wont get that crispy exterior that baked potatoes are cherished for. You can put them in the oven to develop the crispy skin but that could mean wasting as much time as it would have taken to fully bake them in the oven. In our opinion, the ‘time for skin’ trade-off is well worth it. Like, who gets a baked potato ready under 15 minutes?

Method:
  • Select 6-7 medium potatoes or 3-4 large potatoes. Use similarly sized potatoes for even cooking. 
  • Wash and pat dry.
  • Poke holes on the potatoes.
  • Add 1 cup of cold water to a 6-quart or larger sized Instant Pot and set its metal trivet inside. The cup of water will create the right pressure for the potatoes to cook while the metal trivet will keep the potatoes elevated from sitting in the water.
  • Place potatoes on the trivet, replace lid, seal the pressure cooker, set to MANUAL, HIGH pressure and set timer for 15 minutes.
  • Allow electric cooker to come to pressure then cook for 15 minutes.
  • Once the 15 minutes is up, allow pressure cooker to naturally release for about 10 minutes then manually release the rest of the steam using the valve on top (set it to 'venting'). Use a towel to vent the steam to prevent any possible steam burns.
  • Open the pressure cooker and take out the potatoes.
  • Season and serve as desired.
Recipe Notes:
  1. At high pressure, cook small potatoes for 12 minutes, medium potatoes for 15 minutes and large potatoes for 18 minutes.
  2. Since this method does more to steam the skins than crisp them, wrap potatoes in aluminum foil for a more tender and flavorful result.

BAKED POTATO IN A SLOW COOKER

The slow cooker method is the slowest of them all still wont give you that crispy, flavorful skin! The result is pretty much what you get from an instant pot except this time, the cooking is a slow-stead process— about 4-5 hours on low and 8-10 hours on high. The final potato is delicious nevertheless! You can toss up to 10 small potatoes, 5-6 medium potatoes or 4-5 large potatoes in the slow cooker basket.

Method:
  • Choose the right potatoes.
  • Wash and dry thoroughly.
  • Poke holes on the potatoes.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl, coat with little olive oil or vegetable oil and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt.  
  • Transfer potatoes to the slow cooker and space evenly.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Do not over cook otherwise the potatoes may become soggy.
  • Do not peek on potatoes during cooking time. It can extend cooking time by about 20 more minutes.
  • After the end of cooking time, transfer potatoes to a plate and cut open to release steam.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings.
Recipe Notes:
  1. Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil for a more tender result.
  2. Make sure to use similarly sized potatoes for even cooking. You dont have to be exactly precise when selecting the potatoes, just pick potatoes that are about the same size and weight the same— weigh them on your palms if you don’t have a scale.

BAKED POTATO ON A GRILL:

Our last technique for baking the best potatoes uses an outdoor grill. It's easy, It's .. not quite fast, but will get the job done. A nice crispy exterior with a mealy inside. Perfection!

Method:
  • Preheat grill to 350°F.
  • Choose the right potatoes; about 4 servings.
  • Wash and thoroughly the dry potatoes.
  • Prick holes, drip potato with olive oil and rub all over.
  • Season with salt.
  • Transfer potatoes directly on grill gate and shut lid.
  • Cook for one hour, or untill fork tender.
  • Remove from grill onto a plate.
  • Cut open to release steam.
  • Serve as desired.
Recipe Notes:
  1. Avoid checking on potatoes too often or you risk increasing the cooking time by 10 minutes or more.
  2. Preheat grill to temperatures anywhere from 350°F to 450°F, and use the cooking chart for conventional ovens at the beginning of this page.
Picture Credit: Isuru prabath

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