As soon as I was old enough to stay home alone, I became a potato cook. I would put the potatoes in the oven and set the temperature as soon as I got home from school. A few hours later, when the parents got home, the potatoes were ready to serve with dinner. From such humble origins, a chef was born. I’m happy to report I’ve upped my baked potato game quite a bit since then. As a vegan, I greatly appreciate baked potatoes. They make for a quick, easy, customizable lunch or dinner. And with this simple recipe, a good meal will never be more than a few hours away, especially if you have some helpers around the house.
- Potatoes (Russet or baking potatoes work best)
- Olive oil or melted butter
- Salt and pepper (optional)
- Toppings of your choice (such as sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives, etc.)
- Baking sheet
- Fork or knife
- Aluminum foil (optional)
- Oven mitts or kitchen gloves
Step 1: Preheat the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). This will ensure that it’s hot enough to bake the potatoes to perfection.
Step 2: Prepare the potatoes.
- Wash the potatoes thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
Step 3: Pierce the potatoes.
- Take a fork or a knife and pierce each potato several times. This allows steam to escape during baking and prevents the potatoes from bursting.
Step 4: Optional: Wrap in aluminum foil.
- If you prefer a softer skin, you can wrap each potato individually in aluminum foil. This helps to retain moisture and create a steamy environment during baking. It’s optional and a personal preference.
Step 5: Coat the potatoes.
- Brush each potato with olive oil or melted butter. This will help the skin crisp up and add flavor. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the potatoes if desired.
Step 6: Place the potatoes on a baking sheet.
- Arrange the prepared potatoes on a baking sheet. Make sure there is enough space between them for even cooking.
Step 7: Bake the potatoes.
- Put the baking sheet with the potatoes into the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Baking times may vary depending on the size of the potatoes.
Step 8: Check for doneness.
- To ensure the potatoes are fully cooked, insert a fork into the thickest part of a potato. If it easily slides in and out, the potatoes are done. If there’s resistance, continue baking for a few more minutes and check again.
Step 9: Remove from the oven.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven using oven mitts or kitchen gloves. Be cautious as the baking sheet and potatoes will be hot.
Step 10: Let the potatoes cool slightly.
- Allow the potatoes to cool for a few minutes, as they will be very hot. This also helps the steam inside the potato to escape, making them easier to handle.
Step 11: Serve and add toppings.
- Place the baked potatoes on serving plates or a platter. Use a knife to make a lengthwise slit on the top of each potato, then gently squeeze the ends to open it up. Add your favorite toppings such as sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives, or any other desired toppings.
Step 12: Enjoy!
- Your baked potatoes are now ready to be enjoyed. Serve them as a side dish or as a main course with additional toppings or accompaniments of your choice.
If you enjoyed this article or have suggestions on how we can improve it, please leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out other cooking lesson articles I’ve created – here.