The 3 Secrets You Need To Know To Make The Best Baked Potatoes

baked potatoes

A great baked potato can be truly sublime, but making a great baked potato isn’t always easy. If you’re not careful, your baked potatoes can turn out undercooked, overcooked, starchy, gummy, dense, or worse!

But lately I’ve been craving a really good baked potato, one that’s impossibly fluffy on the inside and deliciously crispy on the outside. So I decided to dig around online to find out if there was some sort of secret to achieving baked potatoes of that caliber.

It turns out that there isn’t just one secret to better baked potatoes—there are three! I’ll be sharing those secrets with you in today’s post, and then I’ll show you how to put them into practice with a step-by-step guide to making the best baked potatoes ever! :-)

baked potatoes

3 Secrets To Better Baked Potatoes

1. Slice Instead Of Poke

Before baking potatoes, most people poke a few holes in the skin to vent enough steam to prevent them from bursting. But slicing instead of poking allows more steam to escape, resulting in fluffier potatoes that will be easier to cut open.

2. Bake Them Longer

Most recipes recommend baking potatoes at a high temperature for about an hour or so. But if you bake them at a slightly lower temperature for a while longer, you’ll end up with a potato skin so crispy it’s almost cracker-like! (Yum!)

3. Put Them Back In The Oven

After the potatoes are done baking, one extra step will ensure the insides turn out extra light and fluffy. Slice deeper into the potatoes, squish the sides a bit to expose more of the insides, then put them back into the oven for 10 more minutes.

Now that we all know what the “secrets” are and why they work, it’s time to put them all together and make the best ever baked potatoes! :-)

How To Make The World’s Best Baked Potatoes – British “Jacket” Potatoes

baked potatoes

Step 1 – Prep

Rinse any dirt off the outside of your potatoes, then pat them dry with a paper towel.

baked potatoes

Use a sharp knife to slice a cross shape, about 1/4” deep, into the top of each potato.

After slicing, arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet.

baked potatoes

Step 2 – Bake

Put the sheet of potatoes into a preheated 400°F oven. Bake large potatoes for 2 hours, and smaller potatoes for about 90 minutes.

baked potatoes

Step 3 – Second Bake

Once the potatoes are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use a knife to cut deeper into the lengthwise slices you made in Step 1, without cutting all the way through.

baked potatoes

Using oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves, carefully squish each potato to expose more of the insides. Return the baking sheet of potatoes to the oven for another 10 minutes.

baked potatoes

Step 4 – Serve

Finally, finish up your perfectly light and crispy-skinned baked potatoes by adding butter, salt, and pepper. And don’t forget to top them with your favorite baked potato fixings! :-)

What do you like to put on your baked potatoes?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • I’ve noticed the texture of potatoes seems to have changed over the years. I used to bake potatoes for 40 minutes at 400 degrees and they always turned out perfectly.

    Of course, there are different varieties of potatoes to take into consideration also, as well as your oven. Russets used to be a favorite for baking. I rarely bake potatoes now (my family doesn’t like them!) but it does seem to take any variety over an hour these days.

  • I have become lazy being in my 80s, so I have been using ready mashed potatoes, but this recipe looks super as I have missed a good baked potato. Thanks, Jillee

  • After more than three decades in catering and hospitality management and as chef/lecturer the best baked potato is about 1. Chosing the right potato, a floury/starchy/russet potato (King Edward, Maris Piper, Wilja, Ailsa and Golden Wonder if in the UK).
    2. Give them a good scrub making sure to remove soil or grit from the eyes and crevices, dry them thoroughly. A grind of rock salt if desired.
    3. Bake in the OVEN, either long, slightly cooler or Gas 7 for about an hour depending on the size of the potatoes.
    4. Remove from the oven when fully cooked, cover with a clean teatowel and give each one a swift karate style chop with the side of your hand to burst the crispy skin (towel prevents re-decorating the kitchen) doing this instantly releases the steam and gives a fluffy baked potato.

    If you add oil/butter it is more like a roasted, skin on potato in my opinion.
    Then fill with something as simple as butter and seasoning or elaborate as smoked salmon and cream cheese and enjoy.

    • Some people will say, unless you have a good Combi-Microwave you can’t get a fluffy middle and crispy skin; in my opinion though (with over 3 decades in catering and as a chef/lecturer) you can still tell the difference, and they are certainly not great baked potatoes.

  • I didn’t know this when I started out 50 years ago; purchase BAKING potatoes
    at the market if you want the delicious skins. The skins are nutritious too.

    • There is no need to buy ‘baking potatoes’ they are a con by the supermarkets/grocery shops to get you to pay more for a product that is usually unethically packaged, honestly, please just purchase a starchy/floury potato (King Edward, Ailsa etc if UK based). Look through the packaging fto make sure there are some larger potatoes in the bag.
      The skin is the best bit that crisp, nutty flavour encasing the fluffy white inside, all the vitamin C is just under the skin, as you say, ‘the skin is the most nutritious’.

  • I haven’t baked a potato in the oven since I got my instant pot. I do as Jillee suggests to slice instead of poke, then I rub with olive oil, cook in instant pot for 14-18 min on high (depending on size of potato), DO A QUICK RELEASE! or they’ll be dense and gummy. Then sprinkle with squeeze a little to open and then finish in the oven for 10 min. I usually make a bunch of them and keep extras in the fridge for nights when I need a quick meal – broccoli and cheese, leftover chili, salsa and sour cream, etc. Quick, easy and inexpensive. I usually do those 3 min in the microwave and then add the toppings.

  • I start my jacket potatoes of in the microwave for about ten to twenty minutes depending on the size of the potatoes then i put them in oven till crispy

  • I have followed my mother’s way to do potatoes and they have always turned out super delicious. She always sliced her’s in 4 places around the potato. After that she would put them in a bowl with a couple small handfuls of salt (she never measured anything except with her hands, about 2 tsps is what I use) and about a cup of water. She would let them all get washed around then take them out and put then on a cookie sheet and bake them at about 350 for about 45 minutes before she checked to see if they were soft enough if not then baked awhile longer. I now us a thermometer to reach about 200 to 205. They had just the right taste of salt on the outside and it always seemed like the insides were so soft and creamy. I still bake mine that way some 50 years later and they have never failed me. I love the outside to almost crack when I bite into them. Guess I’m making potatoes for dinner tomorrow. Seems there are reasons these recipes work and are so similar. Again, thank you Jillee for all the fine tips and recipes that you let us know about. Oh and thanks for the hat cleaning one I read recently. I have several hats from the boys to clean for them and now I know how.

  • Wow! So many great ideas from all of your commentators! Personnaly, we once had baked potatoes at a restaurant that were so good, we asked for their secret. We scrub the potatoes, then oil them with olive oil and adds a coating of cinnamon before wrapping in foil to add to the bbq or oven. If we are using the microwave, scrub, cook with holes pierced. And when cooking is complete, then oil, cost with cinnamon and wrap in foil to keep warm! So very tasty with butter added!

  • Thank you for covering this topic. Microwaved potatoes will never have the classic flavor and texture of oven baked potatoes. I’ve tried numerous microwave cooking techniques that say they produce potatoes that taste as good as baked. They either fail to do so, or by the time I complete all of the steps, my potato would have had time to bake in the oven. I can’t wait to try your recommendation.

  • Same method here as Twyla Braatz commented. Microwave cooking is fast and ‘baked’ potatoes are perfect. You can wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil after microwaving and they’ll keep hot for an hour or so without turning to mush. Works great when preparing for a larger group or for cooking the potatoes first then ‘holding’ them while preparing other parts of the meal.

  • I soak Russet potatoes in room temperature water for two hours before baking. Wash and dry; pierce, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for up to one hour, depending on size of potato. Sometimes I will put a sprig of fresh rosemary under the potatoes.

    I read about this method online, this guarantees fluffy and moist potatoes. It does take some planning but my family thinks the potatoes are the best.

    Acording to the recipe, you are not supposed to soak the potatoes longer than two hours. But my daughter soaked them overnight and said they were good but I use the two hour timeline.

  • I will have to try this. I also put olive oil on the out side of the skins and salt to season them while they cook. Gives the skins some flavor a crispness.

  • My husband uses Olive oil and garlic salt B-4 he wraps a piece of bacon around each potato. Wraps in aluminjm foil and bakes at 350 for 1 hour or more for size of potato. OMG delicious!

  • After washing the potato I cut a wedge in it put butter & onion in wedge or what ever you like put the piece of potato you cut out back on the potato where the butter & onion are wrap in aluminium foil bake at 350 for 1 to 2 hours depends on size of potato when done top with more butter if you wish salt & pepper. Yummy

  • I make mine basically the same way, however, I then scoop the insides out into a bowl ( say I make three or four) add salt, sour cream, butter, grated cheddar cheese, and a few sprinkles of minced onion. I beat them up and re-fill the potatoes skin halves. I sprinkle the top with paprika and then re-bake them or, I can freeze them and use at a later date. Very good!
    I am a “dump” cook and usually go by my experience of well, just thinking how much I need of ingredients so excuse me not including exact measurements. I add what I would like on one potatoe and then multiply that three, four times, depending how many potatoes I use. Not hard.

    • Your recipe is super, Maryann, as they sound just like the “twice baked potatoes” that my daughter makes. If I have the time or more likely the inclination, this is how I bake my baked spuds, too.

  • My husband loves my baked potatoes. After I wash and dry them, I put salted butter all over the skin. Then I take a fork and punch a
    Few holes on top. I put them on a paper towel and nuke them for 5 minutes. Then I turn them over and nuke them another 5 minutes. After that I take them out and roll them with the paper towel until they are slightly mushy and ready to be cut across both angles. Then I pinch them open and add any toppings I like. Great potatoes and no heated up oven.

  • After blotting with a paper towel, rub skins with a small amount of Crisco, sprinkle with flake salt and bake as directed. The skins are my favorite part!

  • I scrub my potatoes in the morning, so they can dry before cooking. To prep potato for baking, I pour a little olive oil over each potato and rub over the skins Salt and pepper the skins and jab with knife a couple times for each potato. Bake on baking pan for 2hrs at 350*.

  • >