Best Baked Potatoes


Here's what to do ...

  1. Choose potatoes labeled for baking.
    Plan on 1 medium potato per serving (4 medium potatoes is about 1 1/2 pounds). Each cooked potato is about 1 cup chopped potato with skin, or about 3/4 cup without skin. Russets and other baking potatoes have a drier texture and a thicker skin. Red-skinned potatoes tend to have a thinner skin and a more waxy texture. Some yellow and purple potatoes also are good for baking.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. A preheated oven reduces total cooking time.
  3. Scrub the potatoes under cold running water and pat dry. Prick each potato twice with a fork. Scrubbing is necessary because potatoes grow in the soil and are touched by many hands. Steam builds up inside the potato as it cooks; pricking with a fork gives that steam a way to escape so the potato doesn’t explode in the oven.
  4. Place directly on the oven rack and bake about 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked through. For energy-efficiency, bake at least 4 potatoes at one time. Consider baking more potatoes than needed for one meal and refrigerate the extras for a next-day meal.
  5. Using oven mitts or tongs, carefully remove the potatoes from the oven.
  6. Serve immediately or let cool, then refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within 3 days. If you don’t let the potatoes cool before you put them in the bag, they will “sweat” inside the bag. Placing the potatoes in a sealed bag helps prevent them from drying out. 
  • Potatoes are readily available and inexpensive all year long.
  • Potatoes can be a vegetable along with a meat, poultry, fish, or bean main dish. Or they can become the main dish when topped with scrambled eggs, leftover chili, cooked vegetables and cheese, or spaghetti sauce.

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