The Perfectly Baked Russet Potato

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I know I’m not the only person who has struggled to make the perfect baked potato, right? I’ve heard of so many versions: microwaved, microwaved wrapped in a wet paper towel, wrapped in foil then baked, boiled then baked…

The list could go on and on. However, look no further, because the search has ended. With Alton Brown’s expert help, I’ve found it. He recommends using canola oil, but olive is what I had on hand. The outside is perfectly crisp, and the inside is wonderfully soft and tender.


Ingredients: 

  • 1 to 4 large russet potatoes, washed well and dried
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt (sea or Kosher works well)

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork. About 5 deep stabs on each side is plenty.
  • Rub the potatoes lightly with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse salt.
  • Place in the oven directly on the rack placed at the middle of the oven with a pan underneath to catch any drippings.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until the outside is slightly crisp and the inside is tender. Do the fork test. If it slides in and out easily, it’s done.
  • Carefully remove from the oven.
  • Dot a line with a fork right down the middle of each potato, pinch both ends, and push together inwards. It will split open perfectly.
  • Top with butter, sour cream, chives, cheese, and/or whatever else you fancy.

Say goodbye to soggy skins, hard centers, under-baked, over-baked, and disappointing potatoes. This is the winner every single time. (Alton, like, never fails.) If you need to bake more than 4 potatoes at once, increase the cooking time by 15-minute increments.

I love baked potatoes as a side dish to just about any meal, but I can also make a meal out of the potato itself. Add some shredded chicken or beef, pulled pork, or sautéed vegetables for a satisfying lunch or dinner. Take these to a cookout or a potluck by placing them in a warm slow cooker.

Tip: If you’re watching your fat intake, Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute for sour cream. Adding herbs in place of butter can really add great flavor as well. (I must say, though, a baked potato just isn’t a baked potato without the butter. But, hey, I don’t judge.)

Check out this recipe for the Perfectly Baked Sweet Potato as well. 😉

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