How to Make the Perfect Baked Potato (Every Time)

How to Make the Perfect Baked Potato (Every Time)

If you’ve been wondering how to bake a potato, look no further! Now you can make the best oven-baked potatoes with a crispy skin and fluffy interior at home. Our fail-proof method turns an ordinary russet potato into a steakhouse-style side dish with minimal effort. Just 5 minutes of prep time and about an hour of cook time is all you need to make the perfect baked potato.

An overhead view of perfectly baked potatoes with kosher salted skins, topped with chopped parsley and butter.

Recipe Highlights

Potatoes often get a bad rap for being too starchy or devoid of nutrients, but that isn’t the case! Potatoes are a nutritious and economical vegetable that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

One 6-ounce potato provides:

  • 160 calories
  • 0.2 grams fat
  • 4.3 grams protein
  • 36 grams carbohydrate
  • 4 grams fiber
  • More than 25% of the recommended daily allowance (RDI) of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium
  • Naturally gluten-free

The Trick for Crispy Potato Skins

The secret to getting the crispiest skins while keeping that fluffy inside is easier than you think. We start by rubbing the potato with avocado oil or virgin olive oil then sprinkling it liberally with kosher salt or coarse sea salt. This not only helps the skin get crispy, it makes it much more flavorful.

Next, we bake the potatoes in a 425°F oven. This is a bit hotter than you might expect, but it does a beautiful job of crisping up the skin and reducing the total time it takes to prepare them.

It’s true what your mom said about the skins: They contain a lot of nutrients including calcium, iron, and potassium, so why not make them the tastiest they can be?

Ingredients to Make the Perfect Baked Potato

Here is what you’ll need: 

  • Russet potatoes: These are the ‘classic’ baked potato with brown skin and fluffy white interior
  • Oil: We recommend using avocado oil or virgin olive oil (save the extra-virgin olive oil for dressing your salad)
  • Salt: Kosher salt or coarse sea salt gives the skins a lovely crunch without tasting overly salty

Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.

Ingredients for perfectly baked potatoes, including kosher salt, four russet potatoes, and avocado oil, on a counter top.
Four perfectly baked potatoes in vertically aligned in a baking dish.
Four perfectly baked potatoes from an overhead view on a plate.

Equipment You’ll Need

One of the great things about baked potatoes is that they require very little equipment for easy clean up. Here’s what you’ll need for the best baked potato recipe:

  • Baking sheet 
  • Fork 
  • Paring knife
  • Oven or toaster oven
  1. Start with potatoes of equal size and similar shape. The cook time listed in the recipe below is for medium-sized potatoes. If you’re using large russet potatoes, you will need to increase the baking time. 
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes. Place them on a baking sheet and poke each potato 3-4 times with the tines of a fork. This reduces the risk that your potato will explode (it’s rare, but it happens).
  3. Rub the outsides of the potatoes with oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. 
  4. Bake in a preheated oven set to 425°F for 50-60 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender, or the internal temperature is 210°F.
  5. Remove from the oven and carefully cut a slit in each potato lengthwise. Use a fork to fluff the inside of the potatoes and serve with your favorite toppings.

For serving size and the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing calories (kcals), protein, carbohydrates/carb, fiber, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, and more per serving.

Four perfectly baked potatoes, each cut open and vertically aligned on a counter.
A photo of four baked potatoes with perfectly crispy salted skin on a plate.


Don’t Wrap in Foil

To get the crispiest skins on your baked potatoes, don’t wrap them in aluminum foil. Wrapping them in foil caused the potato to steam inside the foil, resulting in a soggy, tasteless skin.

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How to Serve

You can top your perfect baked potato with your favorite toppings or use them to make twice-baked potatoes. They are an easy and healthy side dish that pairs well with beef, pork, or chicken. 

We love to set out a tray of freshly baked potatoes and a crockpot of hearty beef and bean chili or taco meat to create a self-serve baked potato bar when we want to feed a crowd with minimal effort. Or, you can top them with broccoli and ham and this homemade dairy-free cheese sauce for a kid-friendly, veggie-packed meal. 

Four baked potatoes with crispy skins in a row, two of them topped with sour cream and chives.
Four perfectly baked potatoes on a plate, two with sour cream and chives, and the other two with butter and parsely.
A close up of a perfectly baked potato, revealing the kosher salt on the crispy skin and butter melting inside.

How to Store

Leftover baked potatoes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The same is true for baked sweet potatoes. Simply reheat them in the microwave and top with your favorite toppings. We do not recommend freezing them.

The skins will lose their crispness after they are refrigerated. Consider using leftover spuds to make mashed potatoes or potato soup or they can be cut into small pieces to make a breakfast hash with eggs and vegetables. 

Two baked potatoes with crispy salted skin, one with butter and parsley and the other with sour cream on a plate.

More Recipes to Try


  • 4 medium russet potatoes (about 67 ounces each), washed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • Optional baked potato toppings for serving: butter, sour cream, chopped fresh parsley or chives, sliced green onions, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, freshly cracked black pepper, salsa, and/or guacamole

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Place the washed and dried potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet
  3. Poke each potato with a fork 3-4 times. 
  4. Rub each potato with oil and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake the potatoes for 50-60 minutes, or until a fork can be easily inserted into the potatoes, or the internal temperature registers 210°F on an instant-read thermometer. Baking time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes.
  6. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and make a fairly deep cut lengthwise in the skin and flesh of each potato using a paring knife
  7. Use your fingers to press the opposite ends of the potato toward one another to create an opening.
  8. Fluff the inner flesh of the potato using a fork before serving with desired toppings.
  9. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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To make this recipe dairy-free or vegan, you can use a non-dairy sour cream alternative for topping your perfect baked potato.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 medium potato with skin (6 ounces)
  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • (Sat Fat: 0 g)
  • Carbohydrate: 36 g
  • (Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 2 g)
  • Protein: 4 g

© The Real Food Dietitians

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best temperature to bake potatoes?

The best temperature is somewhere between 400-425°F. Our experience is that the higher temperature produces similar results in less time.

Should potatoes be wrapped in foil to bake?

If you want crispy potato skins, do not wrap them in foil. Doing so causes the potato to steam inside the wrapper resulting in a soggy, flavorless skin.

Do potatoes bake faster wrapped in foil?

Contrary to popular belief, according to the Idaho Potato Commission and our own test kitchen results, they do not cook faster. In fact, they take longer to cook because the aluminum foil itself has to be heated before the potatoes even begin to bake.

What vegetables can be added to a baked potato?

We love topping the perfect baked potato with roasted or steamed vegetables and this unbelievably delicious dairy-free cheese sauce.

What type of potato is best for baking?

Russet potatoes are the best choice for baked potatoes due to their high starch content, large size, uniform shape, and capacity for crispy skin. Russet potatoes are equally suitable for roasting.

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish a recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Jessica Beacom

Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her husband and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time, she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, and camping out under the stars.

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