How to Make a Perfect Baked Potato

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How to make a perfect baked potato, including a clever time-saving trick! This method gives a super fluffy middle, and a crispy skin – utterly perfect!

A crispy jacket potato on a plate, topped with melted butter and grated cheese.

I know some of you reading this will have made hundreds of baked potatoes in your lives, and will already be completely happy with you potato technique. If that’s the case, congratulations! And feel free to skip this one.

But judging by the popularity of my ‘how to make perfect roast potatoes‘ post (which is somehow one of the most popular posts on this blog!), I also know that you might be quite new to cooking for yourself.

Or, maybe you’ve just never ventured into the world of baked potatoes before (you’re going to love it). Or maybe you’re just nosey and you want to see how I make mine. In which case, hello fellow nosey person! Read on.

A crispy baked potato stuffed with grated cheese and melted butter.

In the UK, we call baked potatoes ‘jacket potatoes’ because they’re soft and fluffy in the middle, with a crispy jacket surrounding them.

It’s one of the more adorable food terms we have, and possibly the one that makes most sense (it certainly beats ‘toad in the hole‘, anyway).

I really do think that baked potatoes are underrated – they’re not exactly haute cuisine, but they make a brilliant easy dinner, either served alongside something else, or on their own with some kind of topping. My personal favourite is butter and cheddar cheese – when something is so perfect, why complicate it?

I feel I should add a little disclaimer here (I know you guys are all lovely, but you’d be surprised how many people enjoy complaining on the Internet) – this is just one way to make a baked potato.

If you use a different method, great! But personally I think my way of making a baked potato is the perfect way to get a fluffy middle and a crispy skin. Yum.

So, without further ado…

How to make a perfect baked potato

1. Choose the right potato

In the UK, bags of potatoes often tell you what they’re best for – great for mashing, roasting, baking, etc. If you’re not lucky enough to have things spelled out for you quite this clearly, try Maris Pipers, King Edwards, Yukon Golds, or Rooster potatoes.

You can find out lots more about different potato varieties here!

Choose quite a large potato for optimum baked potato-ness, and remove any eyes or sprouts.

A raw potato on a plate.

2. Wash thoroughly and prick with a fork

Piercing the potato’s skin with a fork will stop it from splitting when it cooks. You don’t need to pierce it deeply – just a few times all over is fine.

A raw potato being pricked by a fork.

3. Cook in the microwave until the centre is almost soft

Part-cooking in the microwave is my baked potato’s dirty little secret. You can just put your raw potato straight into the oven if you like, but they can take ages to bake – sometimes a good hour or more – and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Plus, I’ve found that pre-cooking them in the microwave helps to give a really soft and fluffy middle, without ending up with a really hard and thick skin.

Cook the potato in the microwave for around 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of your potato), or until the centre is almost entirely soft (poke it with a fork or sharp knife to test it). Turn the potato over halfway to ensure even cooking. When it’s ready, the skin should be just starting to wrinkle.

A part-cooked potato on a plate.

4. Lightly drizzle with oil

I never used to oil my jacket potatoes, but it makes such a difference to getting a super crispy skin, and will make your baked potato taste amazing too. Just drizzle over a tiny amount of oil, and rub it all over the skin of the potato. You can also add a little sprinkle of salt at this stage too.

A baked potato rubbed with oil on a baking tray.

5. Bake!

Finally, you can actually bake your baked potato. Since the potato is already mostly cooked, you can bake it for as long as you like really – anything from ten minutes to half an hour – to get the skin to your desired crispiness.

A crispy baked potato on a baking tray.

And then it’s just time to cut it open and stuff! In my opinion, a dollop of butter is a must. Just watch it melt…

A gif showing butter melting onto a baked potato.

And then it’s just time to add your toppings! As you can probably tell from the abundance of cheese recipes on this site, I’m partial to a bit of grated cheddar (and potentially a little heavy handed with it too…), but the options are endless.

Baked beans, sweetcorn, and coleslaw are some of my favourites – feel free to leave your ideas in the comments!

So there you have it – how to make a perfect baked potato, Becca-style. What’s your favourite technique?

Close up photo of a baked potato stuffed with grated cheese.

How to make a perfect baked potato

How to make a perfect baked potato, including a clever time-saving trick! This method gives a super fluffy middle, and a crispy skin – utterly perfect!

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

4.98 from 35 votes
Print Pin Comment
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 344kcal
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato
  • 1/2 tsp oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
  • Thoroughly wash the potato, and remove any eyes or sprouts. Prick a few times all over with a fork.
  • Place on a microwave-safe plate, and cook in the microwave for around 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of the potato), until the centre is almost entirely cooked and the skin is just starting to wrinkle. Turn over halfway through cooking.
  • Drizzle the potato lightly with oil, and rub it all over the skin.
  • Bake the potato until the skin has reached your desired level of crispiness – anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

Video

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to make a perfect baked potato
Amount Per Serving (1 large baked potato)
Calories 344 Calories from Fat 64
% Daily Value*
Fat 7.1g11%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 22mg1%
Potassium 1554mg44%
Carbohydrates 64.5g22%
Fiber 8.1g32%
Sugar 2.9g3%
Protein 7.5g15%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 2.9mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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84 Comments

  1. I want to cook a jacket potato in my Bosch combination microwave oven but I have no idea of the temperatures for the cooking and time etc.

  2. Love this recipe! I love butter on just about everything apart from baked potatoes! Lol. I have egg and onion mayonnaise for a topping! Amazing.5 stars

  3. It helps a lot to pre-cook jacket potatoes, to reduce baking time and to make them truly perfectly soft, crispy and tasty! So I loved to find your recipe!

    Last time I boiled them for 15 to 20 minutes (after piercing and cleaning them up) before baking them for half an hour. My extended family totally adored them.

    Microwaving them is even faster but boiling works as well.5 stars

  4. Another tasty filling is Chicken tikka!
    Just chop up some chicken and make a curry sauce (or feeling lazy but some tikka cooking sauce) cook them both together, then cover your jacket once all cooked, with a nice helping of cheese too! (Don’t knock it until you try it!) Soo tasty!

  5. Thanks Becca, I like your version of cooking a jacket potato. I didn’t have any olive oil, so I just used sunflower oil. Nice & crispy on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside. Loads of butter and mature cheddar cheese. Absolutely gorgeous. 

    Regards,

    Dave.5 stars

  6. First attempt at doing jacket potatoes. Result as described. Very easy to follow and quick to cook.5 stars

  7. A few comments learned from baking potatoes for over 40 years, and working in restaurants. Baking them on a bed of salt (rock salt works best & you can reuse it) helps to pull the moisture out of the potatoes, as does poking them with a fork. This helps to make a fluffy baked potato. I always oil (or butter) the skin before baking and usually sprinkle kosher salt on the outside also before baking. I was trained once by a good chef that you should cut off a bit of the ends of the potatoes (1/4 inch), which will also let the moisture out and make a very fluffy baker. I don’t do this as much anymore since the finished product looks a bit strange, but it does work. I’ve been microwaving them before baking since I got my first microwave years ago, as it really cuts down on the time baking. Here in the States the best potatoes to use for baking are the thick skinned Idaho Russet, which makes a great edible skin when baked. Last but not least, NEVER put foil on a baked potato, during or after baking. This will cause any moisture still in the potato to soften the skin and you will be missing the best part of the baker.

  8. I started cooking my potatoes exactly like you do. Gee, I thought I was the only one lol .. Yes! The microwave makes a noticeable difference in the potato.. almost like a mashed in the center. So smooth and such a pleasant surprise. I also oil and salt my potatoes. I salt all the way around them with Kosher salt. Sp dood! Watching the picture of the butter melting made me laugh. I smother my potatoes with butter. I also like cheddar cheese on mine… and sour cream! Not all of the time, but occasionally .. and if I have it on hand. I also had the contraption Annabel mentioned. Mine broke after so much use. They do cut the bake time down. Here they also sell long aluminum nail to stick into them. I don’t know what happened to most of them. Lost in the drawer somewhere. But, all in all, I agree with you. Baking the ‘Jacket’ Potatoes this way is the way to go!

      1. Never. Had. Sour. Cream. On. Baked. Potatoes? Omgoodness i never have baked potatoes WITHOUT sour cream. Run to the shops right now and get some!