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Learn to Bake a Potato

baked potato

Baked potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, and we enjoy them with a perfectly crispy skin on the outside and a steamy, fluffy middle on the inside. Potatoes are a cheap and versatile ingredient that is naturally simple, however, baking the potato in the oven does take some time to cook up. Once you learn to bake a potato, you’ll see that it is definitely worth the wait. 

Types of Potatoes

There are many types of potatoes available, all with their own characteristics in flavor and texture. Waxy potatoes tend to be smaller and more round with a thinner, skinnier, and smoother texture. Common waxy potatoes include red bliss, fingerlings, and new potatoes. They tend to stay intact when cooked, either sliced up or cubed and boiled or baked. This is due to their low starch and high moisture. Starchy potatoes tend to be higher in starch and lower in moisture, causing them to fall apart when boiled because the starches expand and harden causing the skin to split and the inside to crumble. These varieties include russets and Yukon gold potatoes.

What Potatoes Are Best for Baking?

Although technically you can bake any type of potato, the best way to make baked potatoes are with russet potatoes since the skins are nice and thick allowing them to perfectly crisp up in the oven. The high starch content allows you to have a soft and fluffy inside. They are also larger in size making them perfect for a meal topped with more veggies and your choice of protein. Alternatively, sweet potatoes are also a good choice.

How to Buy and Store Potatoes?

  • When you are buying potatoes, look for clean, smooth, and firm-textured potatoes. Avoid potatoes that have discoloration cuts, or bruises. 
  • Potatoes are best stored in a paper bag, out of light, and in a cool and well-ventilated place. 

Meal Prep Tips for Baking Potatoes

  • Always scrub the potatoes thoroughly under running water. Using a vegetable brush is great for this. Afterward, you’ll want to pat them dry.
  • If your potatoes have extra eyes or extra blemishes, you can use a paring knife to carefully remove them.
  • Potatoes also don’t need to be wrapped in foil when you bake them. Keeping them uncovered will allow their skins to get crispy.
  • To get a good crisp, you can also use a wire rack on top of your sheet pan so that the air and heat can circulate evenly all around the potatoes to give them an even crisp.
  • If you cook potatoes in advance for meal prep, it is best to refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can reheat them in the microwave or back in the oven at 325F until they are warmed through.
  • If you have leftovers, you can always transform them into another dish such as cutting them into cubes and pan-frying them in a skillet with bell peppers and serving them with a side of eggs for breakfast.

How to Bake a Potato

potato ingredients

Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 425F

Step 2: Gather all of your ingredients. All you need are the potatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper

Step 3: Scrub the potatoes clean under running water and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Step 4: Use a pastry brush to brush olive oil all over the potatoes. 

Step 5: Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper all around.

Step 6: Use a fork to prick the potatoes in a few places. This will allow steam to escape while baking.

Step 7: Place the potatoes on a sheet pan, and bake it in the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes.

Step 8: Use either a fork or a small pairing knife to check for doneness. The skins should be dry and crispy, and the knife should easily slide inside when pierced.

Step 9: Use a small knife to cut down the middle. Carefully squeeze them open, and fluff the insides with a fork.

What Can You Eat With a Baked Potato?

  • Classic toppings include cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
  • In the south, we love eating our baked potatoes topped with chili or shredded bbq meat such as chicken, beef, or pork.
  • You can also top it off with healthy fats such as guacamole along with fresh salsa.
  • For breakfast, top them off with eggs, either scrambled or sunny side up.

Here are other ways to enjoy potatoes:

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