Doesn't everyone know how to cook baked potatoes? We tend to make them the same way we saw them cooked as we were growing up. But that's not the only way! Learn how to bake potatoes 3 different ways so you can save time in the kitchen.
Baked potatoes can be a meal on their own, with assorted baked potato toppings. Or, learn how to bake potatoes fast so you can prepare twice baked potatoes. I make baked potatoes often as a side dish to fill up my three hungry teens.
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What are the best potatoes for baking?
There are so many different kinds of potatoes when you're in the produce area of your grocery store. Using different potatoes for different purposes has to do with the thickness of the skin and the texture of the cooked potato inside.
Since red and golden potatoes have a thinner skin, they're great for boiling and using in potato salad, hey're great for mashed and smashed potatoes because you don't have to peel them before cooking.
Russets–the large brown type–have a thicker skin and are the best potatoes for baking.
How to wash potatoes
Potatoes are really easy to wash. They are a great vegetable in that way because you can't really go wrong or hurt them!
To wash potatoes you will need clean running water and a scrubber vegetable brush. Let the water run cool or a bit warmer if you are like me and hate for your hands to freeze while you are cleaning your potatoes.
Use a pretty stiff brush to clean potatoes. You want to brush them firmly to remove any dirt or debris that might be hanging around and also use this time to remove any little sprouts or eyes that have popped up while they have been in the bag.
Rinse them clean and then you are ready to use them for all your recipes. You can peel them at this stage if need be (mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, etc.) or leave the skin on for making baked potatoes.
How to cook potatoes in foil
Many people think oven baked are the perfect baked potatoes. If you love the potato skin to have a crispy roasted texture, then yes, this traditional method is what you need.
You will need to preheat the oven to about 425 F and place your cleaned, stabbed (give them a few pokes with a knife or fork), and seasoned potatoes into foil and wrap them tightly. Then they go into the oven for about 25 minutes.
I like to turn mine about halfway through at least. You can also rotate them every 5-10 minutes to help them cook evenly.
Wrapping them in foil traps in some of the moisture and heat which allows the skin to get soft and cooked along with the potato. You can season the potatoes before you wrap them with some oil, butter, salt/pepper, etc. so that those flavors get locked in as well!
You can also roast potatoes without the foil if you want the skin to get more crispy. In that case make sure you put them on a baking sheet so that any escaping moisture or oils from the pre-bake rub don't burn inside your oven! The same temperature and cooking time work for potatoes with or without foil.
How to cook baked potatoes in a microwave
The fastest way to cook baked potatoes is using the microwave. In this case, do not wrap the potatoes. Remember–no foil in the microwave oven!
Just wash and prick your potatoes as before. But this time, lay them on a microwave-safe plate. Since I typically am making five potatoes for my family, I try to make a ring around the plate and avoid the center. It helps if your potatoes are similarly-sized.
If you have various sizes of baking potatoes, you will have to remove the smaller ones once they're cooked, and allow the larger ones to continue cooking in the microwave.
How long does it take to cook baked potatoes in a microwave? It depends on the size of your potatoes, so be prepared to check them and add more time if needed.
You can use the baked potato button on your microwave to cook them or use a general time of about 7 minutes for medium to large potatoes. You can add a minute at a time after that if need be! Make sure to let them rest for about a minute before removing them from the microwave after cooking!
Instant Pot baked potatoes
Why is this method better than crockpot baked potatoes? Less time! While you can bake potatoes in a slow cooker, it takes 5 hours on Low or 8 hours on High. And while you're not heating up your kitchen by having the oven on, that's too darn long!
Just use your pressure cooker or Instant pot. You're not technically baking them, you are steaming them. These take anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes and how full the pot is (how many you're making).
The first thing you will do is wash your potatoes so they are nice and clean. To prevent the potatoes from bursting, poke them with a fork about 3 times on each side.
Add in 1 cup of cold water and the trivet for your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Then place the potatoes on top of the trivet.
Here's a handy guide for how long to pressure cook your potatoes based on their size. Once you know how long you need to cook them, place the lid and set the vent to sealing before using the manual setting for the time indicated below:
- 7.5″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 28 minutes
- 8″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 31 minutes
- 8.5″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 34 minutes
- 9″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 37 minutes
- 10″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 43 minutes
- 10.5″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 46 minutes
- 11″ Potatoes – High Pressure for 49 minutes
After they are cooked you will do a natural pressure release of 10 minutes and then finish releasing the steam before removing the potatoes and serving them!
If you have an Air Fryer lid for your Instant Pot you can also throw that on and air fry the potatoes for a bit at the end to crisp up the skin! Use a 400 F degree setting for about 8 minutes!
More potato side dish recipes
If you are looking for more ways to serve up potatoes you are in luck. Here are some great options that you might want to check out. Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to find new ways to serve up baked potatoes (and other potato side dishes) for your family meal plans in the future.