How to Bake a Potato in the Oven, Air Fryer, and More

Everyone loves a baked spud!

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A great baked potato is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. It’s a blank canvas for toppings, and a comfort food that can just as easily be eaten on Game Day or during a celebratory festive meal. It’s a completely plant-based, gluten-free, and generally low cost food that’s an instant crowd pleaser when made correctly. And luckily, there are so many simple ways to bake a potato, and it’s pretty difficult to mess up. If you need to troubleshoot, just keep cooking your potato until it’s to your liking. Too soft? Cover it in butter and cheese, or mash it up and enjoy.

How to Bake a Potato in the Oven

The most traditional way to bake a potato, oven-baked potatoes, are efficient if you’re trying to yield a large batch of potatoes or make the most of a preheated oven. Baked potatoes in the oven results in a creamy center with a crisp exterior—a crunchy jacket to hold all the good stuff and toppings. 

  1. To bake a potato in the oven, start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash all the dirt off the potato of your choice.
  2. Dry and poke holes in the potato all over using a sharp fork or knife. Some people prefer to boil or microwave their potatoes at this stage to quicken the baking process and help achieve a crispier exterior, but the extra work is optional.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil, or wrap potatoes in foil for a softer skin. Rub a bit of olive oil, plus salt and pepper, if desired, on the exterior of the potato before it goes in the oven. Cook for half an hour, flip, and cook for another 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing into it and enjoy!

How to Bake a Potato in the Microwave

Don’t want to heat your entire oven to cook a single potato? We don’t blame you. Cooking a baked potato in the microwave is easy, quick, and just as satisfying. Just remember to never heat aluminum foil in the appliance.

  1. To bake a potato in the microwave, start by washing your potato and poking it with a fork all over. These steam holes are essential to let moisture escape and avoid a potato explosion inside your microwave.
  2. Put your poked potato in the microwave and cook for 3-4 minutes. 
  3. Using tongs or a fork, rotate your potato to the other side and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Depending on the size of your potato and the wattage of your microwave, the baked potato may need additional time – add in 1 minute increments. Once a fork can poke into the middle, your potato is ready!

How to Bake a Potato in the Toaster Oven

While your typical toaster isn’t going to accommodate a baked potato, a toaster oven is the perfect appliance for baking a single potato or two, or a bunch of smaller potatoes. 

  1. Start by preheating your toaster oven to 400-450, depending on how hot it gets.
  2. Clean the potato and poke holes in it. If you want to speed up the baking process, microwave for 2-3 minutes first. 
  3. Rub a light layer of olive oil around your potato, and put it on the toaster oven rack to cook for 30 minutes. Voila! Check for doneness and flip around 15 minutes, if desired, but you can also set and forget this potato. For a smoother rather than crisper skin, you can also wrap it in foil.

How to Bake a Potato in the Air Fryer

Ah, the appliance that makes everything better, even baked potatoes. Make as many baked potatoes as you can fit in your air fryer without overlapping, and enjoy a crisp skin that tastes almost like a chip.

  1. Clean and poke your potatoes all over. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Set potatoes in the basket of the air fryer at 400 degrees, and cook for 35 minutes, until the potatoes are easy to cut through. 
  3. Once baked, you can also scoop out the insides of the potato and return the skins, coated in olive oil, to the air fryer at 400 for 8 minutes. This results in a crispy chip, perfect for topping loaded potato soup or just snacking on.

How to Bake a Potato in the Instant Pot

While all baked potatoes can be prepped and even baked in advance, the Instant Pot adds the special advantage of a set it and forget it method that cooks a batch of up to five baked potatoes in one go.

  1. Wash and poke your potatoes.
  2. Add a cup of tap water to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Set potatoes on the rack inside the pot. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, or a few minutes longer for larger potatoes. 

How to Bake a Potato in the Slow Cooker

If you want to come home to freshly baked potatoes, use a slow cooker for the perfect baked spuds. This is also a great way to keep baked potatoes warm for families with various schedules, or at a party with a toppings bar.

  1. Wash and poke potatoes.
  2. Rub a bit of olive oil on each potato and wrap in foil. Add to the slow cooker and cover. 
  3. Cook on high for 4 -5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Unwrap and enjoy!
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