Knowing how to bake a potato to perfection makes weeknight meals so much easier. Throw ’em in while you prep a salad and protein. Dinner’s done.
Baked potatoes are one of the easiest and most versatile starches around. Bonus points, they’re full of nutrients. They’re also an excellent pairing with chili; a great excuse to inhale the ever popular sour cream, cheese, and bacon combo; or an easy side when topped with butter to accompany a delicious steak.
But what’s the best way to prepare baked potatoes? I tried a few different methods and now know how I’ll be making my baked potatoes from now on. In an effort to make THE BEST baked potato, I tried a few methods. Which would come out on top? Are oven baked potatoes really that much better than the much quicker microwave version?
Different Preparation Methods:
To really do a thorough comparison of baked potatoes, I baked one in tin foil, coated one in butter, and coated a third in olive oil. They all cooked in the same amount of time and tasted pretty much the same. The only difference was that the one in foil was the softest, and the two coated in fat had similarly crispy skins.
The Best Preparation Method:
The potato coated in butter was my favorite. The skin was the crispiest and the butter flavor was exactly what you want in a baked potato. It really wasn’t drastically different from the potato with olive oil, but the flavor is a little better. If I had to pick one, I’d pick butter.
- 1 russet potato
- 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter
- Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Scrub potato clean, then dry it off with a clean towel.
- Coat potato with melted butter, place on baking sheet. Bake until potato is soft and can be cut easily, about 50-60 minutes.
- Cut potato open, season with salt and pepper and add desired toppings.
This post originally appeared in December 2017 and was revised and republished in July 2020.