Ask 10 people how to make the perfect baked potato and you will get a “perfectly representative” group of answers. Everyone has a closely held opinion on what makes a better-baked potato – many tips and tricks for baking potatoes have been cooked up over the years. Here are some recommendations that we’ve put together from experience, folklore, and side-by-side testing.
1) Add Salt To Water When Baking Potatoes
Salting the water when boiling potatoes is an age-old trick for improving flavor. In fact, food scientists at UC Davis have found that salted water added during cooking helps the potato retain more calcium which gives it a whiter color after cooking! So if you’re looking for whiter skinned spuds, make sure you salt your water.
2) Use A Cooking Rack To Keep Potatoes From Sticking And Browning
If a spud’s mission is to ultimately become a crispy golden brown dish, it needs an elevated platform on which to perform its task. Enter the cooking rack! By elevating your potatoes slightly above the surface of the pan or oven rack with a metal cooling rack, air can circulate underneath as well as on top of them for even cooking and browning. You can also use any oven-safe metal object that lets them “breathe” such as a cake cooling rack or even aluminum foil balls (we don’t recommend using plastic).
3) Par-Boil Your Potato Then Finish It In The Oven
Are you looking for potatoes that are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside? Par-boiling is a way to accomplish this. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add peeled whole potatoes. Boil until slightly softened (about 10 minutes), then drain well and transfer to an oven preheated to 400 degrees F. The residual heat from the hot oven will finish cooking your spuds through while crisping up their exterior – it’s a win-win all around!
4) Add Vinegar To Your Baking Water For Crisper Spuds
Add half a cup of vinegar or lemon juice when boiling potatoes in unsalted water to improve their crispiness. This is because as they cook, acids will help break down their pectin structure which makes them crisper.
5) Keep Your Potatoes Moist As They Cook For Crispier Spuds
Try to keep your cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water until use – this prevents the potatoes from becoming dried out and thus, not as crispy when cooked.
6) Season With A Heavy Hand (And Fats) For More Flavor
Season with generous amounts of salt (a full tablespoon per potato is not considered overkill by food scientists), pepper, or garlic salt for spuds that are perfectly seasoned all the way through. This trick will make baked potatoes taste better than you thought possible! We don’t recommend using butter because it burns too easily, but if you’re a fan of browned and crisped-up skins, go for it!
7) Cook At A Higher Temperature For More Even Browning
Are you looking to turn your spuds into crispy baked potato chips? If so, cook at 425 F instead of 400 F. The higher temperature will help ensure more even browning by cooking the exterior faster than the interior.
8) Flip Three Times During Baking For Slightly More Even Cooking And Crispier Spuds
If you’re looking for that perfectly crisp and evenly cooked potato every time, try our three-flip trick: After 30 minutes of baking at 400 degrees F, rotate the potatoes and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Rotate again after another 15 minutes and reduce one final time to 350 degrees F after 15 more minutes. The three flips will ensure that all sides of your baked potato get a chance to crisp up and brown evenly, plus the lower temperature at the end helps cook the interior without burning or overcooking the exterior.
9) Try Baking Your Potatoes In The Microwave To Save Some Time
If you’re looking for quick and easy spuds for any night of the week, try our microwave trick: Prick potatoes with a fork several times and place them on paper towels in the microwave. Cook on high for 10 minutes then flip potatoes over twice during cooking until finished (another 5-7 minutes). They’ll come out fluffy, moist, and delicious every time!
10) Turn Starchier Potatoes Into Crispier Fries
If you like your fries on the crispy side, try making crispier oven-baked french fries by substituting russet potatoes (a.k.a.: starchier potatoes), which hold their shape better than waxy potatoes when par-cooked and have a drier outer texture that crisps up more easily. If you know what’s good for you, save those soft, mushy Yukon Golds for mashed potato Sundays!
11) Rinse Your Potatoes After Cutting And You’ll Be On Your Way To Crispier Chips
Dunk your cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water and rinse thoroughly before cooking. This reduces surface starch and helps prevent them from sticking to one another.
12) For Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Boil First Then Smash Your Spuds Between A Paper Towel
To make crispy smashed potatoes, boil your peeled whole potatoes until they’re fork-tender (about 15 minutes). Drain well then place on a paper towel and smash with the bottom of a heavy pan or jar. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 10 minutes until browned and crisp. You can use this method for regular baked potatoes, too!
13) Add Some Grated Cheese And Bacon To The Mix For Crispier Potatoes With More Flavor
Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and 4 slices of crumbled bacon to your potatoes before baking for crispier spuds with more flavor. If you’re looking for even more crunch, try adding in some crispy fried onions or chives after cooking!
14) Increase Your Potato’s Resistant Starch Content By Leaving The Skin On During Cooking
A potato’s resistant starch content can be increased by leaving the skin on during cooking. This is because the skin contains much of the potato’s RS content while it cooks so removing it reduces this nutritional benefit.
15) Try Making Your Own Potato Chips In The Oven With This Amazing Trick
If you’re a fan of crispy oven-made potato chips, try our amazing trick for making them at home: cut peeled russet potatoes into 1/8″ slices and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle oil over the top then sprinkles with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes, flip over, rotate the tray, and bake for an additional 5 minutes until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from the pan immediately once finished cooking as they’ll continue crisping as they cool down!
16) Increase Your Resistant Starch Intake By Eating The Fiber-Rich Skins
If you like to eat your potatoes with the skin on, you’ll be consuming a lot of healthy fiber and resistant starch (if it’s a russet potato). While this will increase the number of carbs in your meal, it should still only count as one serving!
17) If You Use A Microwave, Combine Your Potatoes And Vegetables To Save On Time
Try microwaving potatoes and veggies together in order to save time. Chop up any root vegetables that take longer to cook into pieces that are about the same size as your peeled potatoes before throwing them all into the microwave together alongside some oil or butter.
18) Sear Your Potatoes In A Skillet To Create Crisper, More Flavorful Edges
For crispy and flavorful potato wedges, toss cut potatoes with oil and place them in a piping hot skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until browned then remove from the pan and brush the tops with melted butter or oil before popping them back into the oven to finish cooking through.
19) Try Nesting Your Potatoes In Cold Onion Rings For Extra Fluffy Baked Potatoes
If you’re preparing baked potatoes in advance (i.e.: for meal prepping), try nesting your scooped out potato flesh inside onion rings that have been placed around the edge of a baking sheet. This helps keep them extra fluffy! Just remember to reduce the cooking time a bit since the cold potatoes will take longer to heat up.
20) Freeze Your Leftover Mashed Potatoes To Make Creamy Scrambled Eggs In The Future
Freeze leftover mashed potatoes in single-serving portions so you can use them in scrambled eggs later on! Just defrost them overnight, add some extra milk and butter to make them creamy again, then fold in your favorite veggies for breakfast scrambles that are loaded with filling fiber and resistant starch.
There you have it! 20 brilliant ways to use up leftover potatoes! Let us know which one is your favorite by leaving a comment below. And as always, don’t forget to SHARE these awesome ideas with your peeps online!