How to Make Baked Potatoes

The perfect baked potato really does exist! Learn how to cook a baked potato in the oven so that it’s fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s so easy to make, and you can finish it off with the best toppings. It’s a great side dish for any dinner!

the perfect baked potatoes

What’s in this Baked Potato Recipe?

Cooking baked potatoes in the oven with my tried and true method is so easy. They come out with crispy, well-seasoned skin, and a fluffy, moist interior. 

  • Potatoes: I recommend using Russet potatoes for this recipe (I’ll tell you why below). 7-9 ounce potatoes are the perfect portion size and are ideal for the exact cook times listed here.
  • Salt + Warm Water (Brine): Dissolve salt in warm water to soak the baked potatoes before baking. This draws out moisture to create the perfect texture.
  • Oil: Vegetable oil works best since we’re roasting at a high temp. This crisps up the skin on the potato as it bakes.
  • Seasonings: Salt and pepper work great, but you can use other seasonings you like as well. Get creative!

Pro Tip: Use any toppings or add-ins you like. Butter, sour cream, chives, and shredded cheese are classic options. Check below for even more topping ideas!

Variations on a Baked Potato

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy baked potatoes. Try some of these fan favorites:

  • Loaded: Add bacon bits, shredded cheese, sour cream, and chives.
  • Broccoli Cheddar: Melt lots of cheddar and sprinkle in some small broccoli bits (cook and cut beforehand).
  • Mexican: Top with shredded Mexican blend cheese, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, pico de gallo, and green onions.
  • Savory Mushroom: Add sautéed or caramelized onions, sautéed garlic mushrooms, and sprinkle in some cheese too if you like (Swiss or gruyere would be great).
baking potatoes on a pan sliced open
What’s the best potato for baked potatoes?

Russet potatoes are the perfect option, because the skin gets crispy (not waxy) and holds up through baking, while the inside gets so soft and fluffy!

What temperature should I cook a baked potato?

I recommend setting your oven to 450°F to bake. Use a thermometer to check the center of your potato–it’s done when it reaches 205°F.

How long do you bake potatoes in the oven?

At 450°F, bake for 45-60 minutes (until the interior reaches 205°F), and then you’ll bake another 10 minutes to finish them off with the oil and seasonings. So the total time is around 1 hour.

Are baked potatoes healthy?

They are high in magnesium and potassium which are both great for heart health. They also contain about 28% of your daily fiber.

Why do you use a wire rack?

Setting them on top of a rack ensures that the hot air fully circulates around every inch of the potato. This prevents any sogginess or uneven cooking.

sour cream cheese, tomatoes, and green onions added to potato

How to Store and Reheat

Store leftover baked potatoes in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

I recommend reheating in the oven for the best results. Preheat to 350-400°F, then bake for just 15-20 minutes (or until heated through). You can also microwave to speed things up, but the skin will likely be soggy and the inside might dry out.

How to Freeze

Wrap baked potatoes in aluminum foil, then place in Ziplock bags and remove all air. Freeze for up to 6 months (but best within 3 months). Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving Suggestions

Oven baked potatoes are my favorite side dish for almost any meal. They’re simple enough to complement any main dish, but you can also add all the intricate toppings you like to make it just right for tonight’s dinner. Here are some serving ideas!

perfect baked potatoes on cookie sheet

More Potato Recipes We Love

best baked potatoes

How to Make Baked Potatoes

Discover how to bake a perfect potato in the oven with a fluffy interior and crispy skin, and top it off with your favorite toppings for a delicious and easy-to-make side dish that complements any dinner!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Soak Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 352kcal
Author Becky Hardin



  • 2 cups water warm (130-140°F)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 (7-9-ounce) Russet potatoes scrubbed and lightly pricked with a fork
  • Vegetable oil or olive oil
  • Favorite seasonings or seasoning blend optional

Potato Toppings (optional):

  • Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Bacon crumbles
  • Chives chopped
  • Green Onions sliced
  • Tomatoes diced
  • Cooked broccoli
  • Sautéed onions
  • Caramelized onions
  • Cooked Hamburger or Sausage
  • Chili
  • Goat Cheese
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Grilled or Rotisserie Chicken


  • Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside.
  • Place oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Dissolve salt in warm water, then place the potatoes in the water to briefly soak for about 10 minutes. Be sure the entire potato is moistened.
    2 cups water, 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 4 (7-9-ounce) Russet potatoes
  • Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and bake at 450°F, 45-60 minutes. If using a food thermometer, the center of the largest potato should register 205°F.
  • Remove potatoes from the oven and leave the oven on. Brush the tops and sides of the potatoes with oil, and sprinkle them with the seasonings (or at least salt and pepper). Place the potatoes back in the oven and bake another 10 minutes.
    Vegetable oil, Favorite seasonings or seasoning blend
  • Transfer potatoes to a serving dish or plates. Immediately after removing the potatoes from the oven, use a sharp paring knife to cut a large X into the top of each potato (to release steam). Use paper towels to hold both ends of the potato and push together. Push firmly (but not too hard), and squeeze the potatoes (slightly harder from the lower sides of the ends of each potato). The flesh will push slightly up and out.
  • Top the potatoes with your favorite baked potato toppings and serve. Enjoy!
    Butter, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Bacon crumbles, Chives, Green Onions, Tomatoes, Cooked broccoli, Sautéed onions, Caramelized onions, Cooked Hamburger or Sausage, Chili, Goat Cheese, Sautéed mushrooms, Grilled or Rotisserie Chicken



  • The best type of potato for baking is a Russet potato. Russets are starchy and have a high water content, which makes them ideal for baking.
  • Scrub the potatoes thoroughly with a brush under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Dry them with a paper towel to remove any excess water.
  • Use a fork to poke several holes in the potatoes. This will allow steam to escape and prevent the potatoes from exploding in the oven.
  • Nutritional information does not include optional ingredients.
Storage: Store baked potatoes in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Serving: 1potato | Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 606mg | Potassium: 1539mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg

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