Baked potatoes are a popular side dish and for very good reasons. They are generally super easy to make and require very little fuss and mess (always a bonus!) and, of course, they are delicious! Potatoes are also high in potassium and are a good source of Vitamins C and B, which means you can feel good about feeding them to your family. They are also easily customizable to suit any flavor palate. Read on for some tips and ideas to make simple and delicious baked potatoes.
Prep Your Potatoes for Baking
Prior to cooking, wash your potatoes and remove any eyes or blemishes. Prick them several times with a fork or knife and baste with some sort of oil (olive oil or butter are the most popular). You can choose whether or not you want to wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil before baking. Wrapped potatoes will retain moisture while baking, while unwrapped potatoes will result in a crispier skin. Note: be sure to leave them unwrapped if you are choosing to microwave them.
How to Bake Potatoes
You have some options here, depending on how much time you may have. (Options are always a good thing!)
- Traditional oven – While cooking times vary widely depending on the size of your potato, generally potatoes take about an hour or slightly more when baked at 350°F. Turn your potatoes over every 20 minutes or so to ensure even baking.
- Microwave – Potatoes generally cook in about 6-14 minutes in a microwave, depending on their size. Be sure to turn often while cooking.
- Grill – Grilled baked potatoes generally follow the same guidelines as baking them in an oven. They usually take around an hour when baked at 350-400°F.
- Open fire – It is recommended you wrap potatoes in foil when cooking them on an open fire to prevent very charred, tough skin.
As a general rule of thumb, baked potatoes are done when they are slightly soft and golden brown.
Top Your Spud
Here's where the possibilities are limitless! You can choose to just add butter and salt if you are opting for a plain baked potato. Or top with cheese and sour cream or many other flavors. Here are some of my favorite ways to load up my potatoes, Tastefully Simple style!
Kids' Favorite – Pizza-Stuffed Baked Potatoes »
The kids will go crazy for these delicious, pizza-stuffed baked potatoes. It's their favorite meal … in a potato!
Try a baked sweet potato instead – Garlic Pepper & Honey Sweet Potatoes »
Baked potatoes also make a fantastic food for a get-together because everyone can customize to their own preferences. Give this Baked Potato Bar a try for your next gathering.
How do you load your spuds? Comment below to share some new ideas with me.