The Perfect Crispy Baked Potato Recipe

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Want to know the secret to the perfect crispy baked potato? With a crispy, salty outside skin and fluffy, soft interior, this yummy (and easy) crispy baked potato recipe turns out perfect every time, with only 5 minutes of prep and 3 ingredients!

Raise your hand if baked potatoes are one of your family’s favorite meals! For many of us, a good baked potato screams comfort food. But as many of us have realized, it can also be challenging to recreate those crispy baked potatoes on our own!

loaded baked potato

When you bake a potato correctly, you’ll have a soft inside with a crispy outside skin. A truly great baked potato is delicious even without a ton of toppings, and make the perfect side dish for a wide variety of meals.

A good baked potato also makes a wonderful base for repurposing leftovers, and is one of my favorite budget meals when you incorporate it into a loaded baked potato bar!

After a ton of trial and error, I’ve found the hands down easiest way to prepare perfectly crispy baked potatoes every single time. The best part? It only requires 5 minutes of prep and 3 ingredients!

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What Type of Potato Works Best for Baked Potatoes?

When it comes to the perfect crispy baked potato recipe, not all potatoes are created equal! Here is a short overview of the typical potato options you’ll find in your local grocery store:

Idaho and Russet Potatoes: These are my favorites for baked potatoes! These are high in starch and low in moisture, which means they turn out light and fluffy once cooked. They are also amazing at soaking up butter, making them even yummier.

Yukon Gold Potatoes: These all-purpose potatoes are good for mashing, roasting on the grill or baking.

Red-Skinned Potatoes: These waxy potatoes are great for potato salad or potato soup because they hold their shape well after cooking (aka stay in a good potato chunk). They’re also a great option for “smashed” potatoes too.

baked potatoes on a cutting board

How Do I Clean a Potato Before I Bake It?

Cleaning a potato before baking is a really easy step that you need to be sure not to skip. Here are the steps you need to properly clean a potato before baking them:

First, wash the potato under cool, running water. Gently scrub the dirt off using a vegetable scrub brush like this one. Keep in mind that your potato might still look a little brown, but that’s normal!

Gently pat dry with a paper towel. You want the skin to be dry so that when you rub the oil on before cooking, it will better absorb it.

Pierce the potato a few times with a fork. Don’t skip this step or your potato won’t cook correctly (or worse, it could actually explode! More on that below).

That’s it! Then just follow with the remaining steps for the crispy baked potato recipe below.

How to Make a Baked Potato in the Oven

Start by preheating the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a fork to poke a few holes into the potatoes and then rub with olive oil. Sprinkle the potatoes liberally with sea salt all over, and place on the baking sheet. Don’t skimp on the oil or the salt! These two ingredients are the key to this recipe: they give the potatoes the perfect flavor and crispy skin.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until the potato is fork-tender and the skin is crisp. I personally cook my baked potatoes on the longer side (a full 60 minutes) for extra crispy skin!

How to Make a Baked Potato in the Microwave

So first: microwaving potatoes will NOT result in crispy potatoes. However, you can absolutely use a microwave when you’re hungry and pressed for time.

First, clean the potato as mentioned above. Be sure to pierce it several times with a fork, and then place the potato on a plate in the microwave.

Microwave on high for 6-7 minutes to start, and then carefully turn the baked potatoes over. Microwave the potato in additional 3-minute intervals until it’s tender when you pierce it with a fork.

loaded baked potato on a plate

Baked Potato Toppings

I absolutely love a baked potato bar, and this recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd! Baked potato bars are so easy and fun to assemble. While the potatoes are roasting, prep the topping ingredients! The beauty of a baked potato bar is that everyone can customize their own potatoes.

Once cooked, slice open each potato. Assemble with a dollop of sour cream, bacon bits, shredded cheese and top with a small sprinkle of chives, or any combination of toppings you like.

Here are some more ideas for toppings:

Serve with butter, salt and black pepper

Chives or green onions

Shredded cheese (I love using a Mexican blend but anything is delicious)

Sour Cream

Bacon bits or diced bacon

Cream cheese

Leftover Chili

Shredded pork

Broccoli, asparagus or other green veggies

Sauteed mushrooms and onions

Taco meat and cheese

Salsa

Avocado or guacamole

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Minced Garlic or garlic powder

Ranch dressing

Gravy

Or any of YOUR favorite toppings!

baked potatoes on a cutting board

What to Serve with Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes go great with a huge variety of meals and are a delicious side dish! I love serving these crispy baked potatoes with Simple and Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast, which is my hands down favorite pot roast ever.

This also goes great with Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken or How to Cook a Turkey in a Crockpot, or on its own with extra toppings, or as a base for crispy potato skins (which is my favorite part).

loaded baked potato

The Perfect Crispy Baked Potato Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Want to know the secret to the perfect crispy baked potato? With a crispy, salty outside skin and fluffy, soft interior, this yummy (and easy) crispy baked potato recipe turns out perfect every time, with only 5 minutes of prep and 3 ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Optional toppings:
  • Sour Cream
  • Bacon Bits
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chives
  • Ranch dressing
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Use a fork to poke a few holes into the potatoes, and then rub with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and place on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until the potato is fork-tender and the skin is crisp.
  4. Once cooked, slice open each potato. Top with butter, salt and pepper, or create a loaded baked potato with a dollop of sour cream, bacon bits, shredded cheese and a small sprinkle of chives, or any combination of toppings you like!

Notes

While the potatoes are roasting, prep the topping ingredients! The beauty of this baked potato bar is that everyone can customize their own potatoes.

Feel free to add shredded leftover chicken, ground beef or other veggies as toppings too to make it a heartier meal.

Don't skimp on the salt and oil! These two ingredients are key to the perfect crispy baked potato.

Cooking times may vary depending on the size of potato and your individual oven.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 potato
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 1gSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gProtein: 4g

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Frequently Asked Questions about Making the Perfect Crispy Baked Potato Recipe

baked potatoes on a pan

What is the best way to bake a potato?

If you love delicious baked potatoes with crispy skin, this is what I recommend for the best baked potatoes:

Scrub the potatoes under cool running water, and then dry them.

Rub olive oil all over the outside of the potatoes and then rub a good amount of salt on the outside. Don’t skip on the salt or the oil! These two ingredients are the key to the amazing flavor of these baked potatoes, and the perfect crispy skin and fluffy potato inside. No olive oil? You can use canola oil instead, though I personally feel olive oil results in a better flavor overall.

Place the potatoes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (at 425 degrees fahrenheit) for about 60 minutes. The high heat results in amazing golden brown roast potatoes. Cooking time can vary. Keep in mind that larger potatoes might need longer to cook.

Is it better to bake potatoes in foil?

Personally, I’ve found much better results by NOT wrapping the potatoes in aluminum foil. This is because when your potatoes are wrapped up, they get moist with steam and become soggy potatoes.

close up of baked potatoes

Do I have to poke potatoes before baking? Why would a baked potato explode in the oven?

Yes, you do! Please don’t skip this step! The reason behind piercing a potato with a fork is to create space for the steam to escape from your potato while it bakes. Otherwise, there’s a good chance your potato could explode in the oven (or scarier, after taking them out).

I’ve also found that when I forget to pierce my potatoes with a fork before placing in the oven that it takes longer to bake and they don’t bake evenly. So yes, please be sure to poke those holes.

How long do I bake a potato in the oven?

At 425 degrees, it generally takes a medium to large russet potato between 45 minutes and 60 minutes to be perfectly baked. The exact timing will depend on how large the potato is as well as how your own oven bakes.

If you’re unsure, pierce the potatoes with a fork after 45 minutes to see how soft they are inside and if they need to cook longer. Personally, I cook mine for 60 minutes for the perfect baked potato.

How do I make a quick baked potato?

Again, if you use a microwave to bake your potato, the skin won’t turn out crispy. However, if you have a little extra time, there’s a great trick to making a fast baked potato that starts in the microwave and finishes baking in the oven!

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Clean and prep your potatoes as we laid out above. Place them in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. You should be able to fit 2 potatoes in the microwave at once for this, depending on their size.

Remove the potatoes from the microwave and rub generously with olive oil and sea salt or kosher salt. Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork.

baked potatoes on a cutting

Looking for another easy recipe? Check out:

Easy Crockpot Sausage & Tortellini Soup

Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Bacon Cheeseburger Pull-Apart Sliders

Is this the best baked potato recipe you’ve tried? Let me know in the comments!

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