Easy Baked Potato Recipe
This baked potato recipe has always served as a great classic side dish, but little is commonly known about it's potential for the main stage!
Some of the best attributes about this dish are that it is:
- Affordable (and in these times, who couldn't use saving a little?)
- Not requiring a lot of skills, dishes, or time (always good)
- Versatile in the array of toppings you can choose
First off, lets talk about types of potatoes, and which would be best for this baked potato recipe.
There is a huge variety of potatoes out for the picking, but not all are suited for all types of recipes.
To break it down, there basically are two main classes of potato: Starchy and Waxy.
Your standard Russet potato, which we will use for this baked potato recipe, has a light starchy and mealy texture when cooked. This is perfect for absorbing butter and sour cream into its fluffy flesh. YUM!
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the standard Red potato. These generally have a thinner skin, and a waxy flesh. These are great for boiling because the waxier flesh doesn't get water logged and break down in the boiling liquid. They also hold up well as roasted potato wedges with herbs, garlic and oil. Again, YUM!
“My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.” - Oprah Winfrey
To begin, let's decide how we are going to cook your spuds. You can either microwave them if you're short on time and/or patience, or go the traditional route by baking them in the oven. Overall, the quality comes out better by baking them... crispy skin and a dry fluffy flesh.
First, I'd have you adjust the oven to the middle rack and preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It may sound a little high, but I don't like wasting any extra time at, say, 325 degrees.
Don't worry, these taters can handle it, and will take half as much time to cook!
Now let's get started by picking out potatoes for this baked potato recipe. We want all brown Russets, preferably without a greenish tint in spots on the skin. Try to get a uniform, medium size because this will help ensure an even cooking throughout.
Washing our potatoes: "Why wash?", you say? Well, its because they grow underground and are still coated in a layer of dirt, that's why. :D
Scrub the skins under cold running water till they look and feel clean. If your potatoes have been around a little while and have started to sprout new roots, or eyes, just cut them out with a little knife. I've never tried them, but I'm assuming they're not very good eats.
Next, take a fork and stab little holes all over on the potatoes. This is going to allow for excess steam to escape while they're cooking so they don't explode! SERIOUSLY.
OK, now carefully put the potatoes in the oven directly on the middle rack. Simple as that.
What's that? You were thinking we needed to cover the taters in foil? OH, no.
Covering them in foil actually makes the potatoes steam, in which case you might as well microwave them! But this is a baked potato recipe!
Our potatoes will be done in approximately 45 minutes. To test if they are done you can:
- Stab them with a knife, fork or skewer to see if they're tender all the way through
- Take their temperature with a meat thermometer, 210 is done
- Using an oven mitt, give 'em a squeeze. If they give in easily to the touch, its done.
Tip:After allowing them to cool enough to be handled, take a small knife cut a fairly deep slit running along the top of the potato. Then put both your palms on either end of the spud and squeeze the two ends together a bit. This will make the potato "blossom", creating almost a bowl out of it, perfect for filling with your favorite goodies.
So now we only have to decide and prepare what you want on top of them. The traditional route would be to chop up some chives or green onions and mix them into some sour cream. Then serve the potato with a pat of butter, salt and pepper and a big dollop of you chive sour cream.
Now, this is just the traditional way. Here is a list of different toppings that can really take this baked potato recipe to the next level. But, please, don't be limited by what I suggest, use some creativity and experiment with your favorite flavors!
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