How Long to Bake a Potato So It Tastes Perfect Every Time

A hot potato is a good potato.


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Baked potatoes are an essential in any kitchen. They can be converted into any meal or snacks, and have infinite possibilities when it comes to toppings and ways to enjoy this hearty blank canvas. 

There are also about as many ways to bake a potato as there are to enjoy it! All of them are easy enough, and the cook time will depend on the size of your potato, or how many potatoes you are baking. Baked potatoes last for up to a week in the fridge (in a sealed container), so make a big batch and have fun with toppings and baked potato bars for lunch or dinner, with these very simple and rewarding forms of meal prep. Here’s how long to bake a potato in all your kitchen appliances.

How Long to Bake a Potato in the Oven

Baking a potato in the oven is the most time consuming way to bake a potato, but also the most traditional. You can cut down on cook time by puncturing your potato and microwaving it for a few minutes, or boiling the potato to soften it. If you’re starting with completely raw potatoes, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Rub potatoes lightly with cooking oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Flip once, if desired. Check for doneness at 45 minutes, but don’t worry too much about overbaking.

How Long to Bake a Potato in the Microwave

Microwave baked potatoes may be one of life’s biggest and best hacks—no preheating required! Just don’t use any aluminum foil! Wash your potato and puncture it with a fork to make holes on every side. When you think you have enough holes, add a few more, just to ensure your potato doesn’t explode. Start by microwaving your potato for 3 minutes, and then carefully flip it (using a fork or tongs) and cook for another 3 minutes. Check for doneness (which will depend on the power of your microwave) by seeing if a fork will easily slide in. If not, microwave for another 2 minutes and check again. Some microwaves also offer a baked potato mode, which can work well, but definitely monitor your potato while it cooks.

How Long to Bake a Potato in the Air Fryer

If you want super crisp skins, baking a potato in the air fryer is for you. Wash and dry the potato. Puncture the skin and rub with olive oil or avocado oil. Cook at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Should You Bake a Potato in Foil? 

Baking a potato in aluminum foil has its benefits! If you want a softer skin that will be easy to consume or mash into your potato white, wrapping a potato in foil is the way to go. If you’re planning to take your hot potato on a journey, say put it into a lunch box to unwrap in a few hours, foil is also a great option to keep your potato warm and your lunchbox clean.

If you prefer a crispier skin, or want your potato to steadily hold a bunch of toppings without flailing, baking a potato in foil isn’t your method. Not using foil allows the skin to harden and crisp up, forming a bowl-like barrier to hold all your baked potato fillings. Feel free to serve the potato on a piece of foil if you still want the glimmering effect. Baked potatoes can also be reheated or re-warmed in foil, to keep the insides from drying out.

How to Tell When a Baked Potato Is Done

A baked potato essentially steams itself with its skin to cook, so it can be tricky to tell at first glance if your baked potato is done. To test it, try poking a fork into the center. If the fork can easily reach the middle of the potato, it’s done. If the potato resists and feels too tough to poke, it needs more cooking time. A potato will still steam itself a bit when it’s removed from the oven, so there’s a bit of leeway.

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