14 Ways To Cook A Baked Potato, Ranked By At-Home Cooks

Baked potato lovers can all agree on one thing: There's only one way to make a really great baked potato. So, which way is the best? Well, we're here to "hash" it out. (Wink!)

When it comes to each of our favorite techniques, nailing down just one is like finding a french fry in a haystack. And let's be clear: You don't need to be a pro to get the baked potato of your dreams! Some of us are all about those crispy, seasoned skins, others can't live without velvety, buttery insides, and a select few of us like our spuds cooked as low and slow as possible. (Follow us for other 24-hour baked potato ideas!)

From salty to smoky, and jacket to Hasselback, we're baking 'em once, twice, and even three times to get the most bake for our buck. Grab your favorite taters and a good scrub brush ... we're eating skins and all. Made by real, devoted fans of perfectly baked tubers, these are the internet's favorite ways to cook a baked potato, ranked worst to first! And we'll get a little deeper into our method for choosing these baked wonders at the end of the article. 

15. Solar baked potatoes let you cook in the wild

Well, kill us now. As you might suspect, solar baked potatoes take the f*** forever to cook. And that uncertain cook time is exactly what landed them in our last spot. Do we really have to wait even more time to bake potatoes? (Second question though: Are we currently experiencing the apocalypse? Because then this just became the number one way to cook a baked potato.)

Your average spud needs roughly one hour to bake at 400 degrees F in the oven. A solar oven-cooked baked potato can take four or more hours until it's ready to eat — and that's if you remember to position the solar panels in the exact proper way to achieve peak sunshine warmth (which might widely fluctuate in the vicinity around 300 degrees F, inside the cooking space). If it works, you'll get the fluffy, tender inside potato part, but the skin will likely turn out thin and soft. One solar oven fan noted, "They came out hot, soft, moist, and delicious — perfect baked potatoes."

It's a total winner if the power's been out for weeks, your neighbors are deciding which of the group to eat first, and you happen to get a serious hankering for a baked potato. Otherwise, if you like your potatoes with a crispier skin, and a less survivalist vibe, save this one for a rainy day. 

14. Late night nuked baked potatoes

It's the number one way to cook a satisfying meal when nothing's open at 4 a.m., you have no groceries, and you shouldn't legally be operating a vehicle or using an open flame. It might not make the world's most crispy-skinned baked potato, but midnight nuked spuds were the *actual reason why microwave ovens were invented. (*Okay, so this is unconfirmed.)

This method involves poking a clean potato several times with a fork without stabbing yourself, microwaving it for three minutes, flipping it over, and microwaving it for three minutes again. After a one minute rest, break out the butter and shredded cheese and make it rain. (Add 30 seconds of nuking time for cheese meltiness.)

One Redditor threw down the gauntlet, posting, "Microwaved potatoes are just as good, if not better than oven baked potatoes." While the Yukon Golds it takes to front that kind of trash talk are admirable, is the convenience worth sacrificing a crispy, salty, oven-baked potato skin? "If you do it right, the microwaved potato and its skin does not dry out and is soft, fluffy, and perfectly moist straight out of the zapper."

13. Slow cooker baked potatoes

While this might seem like another fix-it-and-forget-it baked potato scenario, this low-and-slow option features a much bigger payoff than the solar oven does. But the downside is, it takes even more time.

Pro: No scorching heat radiating from the oven. Con: You have to plan ahead. Your slow cooker's not gonna crank out last minute taters. Once again, you're gonna be poking holes in a clean potato, massaging it with olive oil and salt, and then wrapping it in foil. On high, you're looking at a 4 ½ hour cook. On low, you can enjoy a day at the office and come home to piping hot baked potatoes roughly 7 ½ hours later. One skeptic posted what everyone was thinking: "6 hours for a baked potato?"

Fans point to the major benefits being portability of the cooking appliance, or a longer cook being the perfect timing for their schedules. One even claimed that a kitchen towel positioned under the lid to absorb condensation led to beautifully crispy-skinned baked potatoes. All of this — and more — can be yours, next time you have several extra hours to burn.

12. Air fryer baked potatoes do weeknight duty

If you can't imagine a literal day without baked potatoes, air fryer baked potatoes have your name written all over them. A convenience that takes roughly the same amount of time as an oven-baked spud, but features a fried vibe without the scalding hot oil, air fryer baked potatoes are as easy as setting your fryer to 400 degrees F, poking your potatoes, covering them in oil and salt, and then air frying them for roughly 50 minutes. Check them every now and again to make sure they're cooking evenly (flip or rotate as needed). They're done when the skin is crispy and brown, and the insides can be easily sliced through with a knife. "The inside is fluffy ... and salt makes the skin so crispy (but not hard) I actually eat most of the skin, too — which I always hated," shared one new fan on Team Skins.

Not to bring an inferior method into this, but you can slash the air fryer cook time in half if you nuke the potatoes for roughly five minutes beforehand. Baked potatoes with crispy, salty skins in 30 minutes or less? Air fryer potato for president, please!

11. Quick baked potatoes slash oven time in half

Want that oven-baked fluffiness without all the waiting around? Here's an easy trick to get your spuds on the plate, lickety-split — and with even more flavor. Just cut your potatoes in half.

The math works out like this: A spud that's half the size takes half the time to bake. (Is there a Nobel Prize for advances in baked potato science?) Slicing your potatoes in half, tossing them in olive oil and salt (and seasoning, if you like), then placing them face down on a parchment lined baking sheet will give you crispy-skinned, fluffy taters in roughly 30 minutes at 450 degrees F. They're almost like potato wedges, where the inside part gets a toasty, golden crust, too. One half-potato baker advised, "You can absolutely get a crispy skin if you prep the potato this way ... You'd want to make sure it's well oiled for sure."

Added bonus, a baked half-potato is even easier to load up with your favorite fixin's. Just grab a fork, rough up the insides of the potato, top with salt and butter, and then choose your own adventure with nacho toppings, pimiento cheese, or your favorite chili recipe — and a dollop of sour cream.

10. Hasselback baked potatoes dress to impress

Hasselback potatoes — or, how to impress your friends while simultaneously annoying the living hell out of yourself. (Kidding, it's easier than it looks.) If you have the patience for some meticulous knife work, get ready for potato-lebrity status.

These spuds got their name from the Hasselbacken restaurant in Sweden where they were invented back in the '40s. Hasselback is actually the technique of thinly slicing something vertically, but not all the way through. A trick to make this easier is to place the potato between two chopsticks, which keep the potato from sliding around, and also act as a stop-guide for your knife. And, you know, 5,000 slices later, your potato is ready to be brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with salt. Bake it for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F, pop it out to brush with more butter, pop it back in for 25 minutes, and voilà! It's like a tiny accordion organizer for your baked potato toppings. File this one under toasty and delicious.

While it might seem like a chopped up potato would cook faster than a whole baked potato, it actually requires a very similar cook time. And it can be tough to get the slices to fan out and bake evenly, so one Redditor suggested, "Be sure to cut the slits in them pretty damn thin ... Half-way through [baking], bend them a bit to open them up and get some of your chosen fat to seep between the layers."

9. Twice baked potatoes feed a crowd

So nice they named it (and baked it) twice. If there were a certified crowd-pleaser on this list, it's got to be twice baked potatoes. They go into the oven, come out for a quick little makeover, and head back under the heat for their final touch-up.

"Twice baked potatoes are a delicious way to eat an entire potato but only look like you're eating half," one Reddit fan joked. For anyone who can't decide between baked potatoes and mashed potatoes, this is the perfect hybrid. After baking whole potatoes like usual, remove them from the oven, cut them in half, scoop out their insides, and get to work mixing. Usually at this point you'll smash sour cream, bacon, butter, and possibly cheese with the potato innards, then divvy the mixture up among the baked half-potato skins. They go back into the oven just to reheat and brown a bit, then they're ready to serve with sour cream and chives.

They're especially great when cooking for a party, since they can be made ahead, and then popped into the oven for their last bake. Plus, they're completely user friendly and easy to customize. (Roasted garlic? Mustard? Bacon bits? Baking the skins on their own to make them extra crispy?) As this spud lover confirmed, "It's fairly hard to screw up a twice baked potato."

8. Triple baked potatoes leave twice baked potatoes in the dust

So nice they named it ... thrice? Promise this is a real thing, and not some internet potato troll. While triple baked potatoes are delicious (Hello, potatoes three ways — in one), this method also involves a little more effort.

With a recipe that was designed by the Idaho Potato Commission, you'll be up to your ears in potatoes. It also might feel like you're cooking potatoes every possible way, mainly because you are. First, you bake parboiled potatoes in the oven. Then you peel them, rice them, and mix in ricotta, eggs, parmesan, and flour to form potato dumplings. You then blanche the dumplings, and let them cool. Next, they get a deep-fry (along with the potato skins), and a simmer with crème fraîche, scallions, bacon, and cheese. Pop all of that in a cast iron pot, sprinkle on more cheese, and set it under the broiler.

Serve the dumplings with those crispy potato skins you fried up, with a little sour cream on the side. You'll never bake potatoes less than three times ever again.

7. Salt-crusted baked potatoes bring the wow-factor

This one's all about that party-worthy presentation. Place a dish of crispy, salt-crusted, tender, and fluffy baked potatoes on the table, and everyone's jaws will drop straight to the floor. That is, right before they ask you to pass the Ranch.

This method mimics those salt-covered whole baked potatoes you may have tasted at a high-end steakhouse, where the entire surface of the potato features a white, crumbly, textured coating. But it turns out that you don't need to be a Michelin-starred chef to bake an award-winning potato. You can be you. Just saltier.

Simply smother your potatoes in olive oil, then roll 'em around in a dish of fine-milled kosher salt so they're completely coated. Baking the potatoes on a pan, or in a cast-iron dish, keeps salt from cascading to the bottom of your oven. An hour at 350 degrees F should do it for larger russets, and they'll be ready to serve. A lemony, tangy sour cream will cut the salt a bit, but feel free to press just one side of the potato into the dish of salt, and leave the other side free of seasonings. Of course, the potato here is purely a vehicle to get that salt in our mouths. A savory supporter wrote, "A wonderful salty crust ... is my favorite part."

6. English-style jacket baked potatoes pump up the fluff

'Ello, guvnah! Picture your baked potatoes wearing their own twee little pea coats! It would be super cute, but that's not at all what this is. English jacket baked potatoes cook up fluffier, more tender, and with a crispier skin compared to their American cousins. Plus, they're easy to make. 

X marks the spot on the top of the potato, which you carve into the skin about ¼-inch deep (no fork holes here). This criss-cross becomes an escape valve for the steam, so the insides fluff up, instead of hydrating and gluing together with starch. Crispy skins are achieved with a brush of oil on the outside of the skin, and a well-seasoned jacket requires only salt and pepper. Jacket baked potatoes need extra time in the oven, so you'll set a timer for 1 ½ to 2 hours at 400 degrees F. At that point, pull them out, cut a bit further into your X-shape, and back in they go for about 10 minutes. The inside should look like a puffy cloud that you can't resist topping with butter, salt, and pepper.

One convert posted, "It's vastly superior to the baked potatoes I'm used to here in the U.S." For the fluffiest results, this Reddit user shared, "While you won't be able to find the same varieties of potatoes in the states, russet potatoes make perfect jacket potatoes."

5. Campfire baked potatoes bring the outdoors to your plate

While there's an essential flame-based element needed for campfire baked potatoes, they come highly recommended by campers and backyard warriors alike. For hard core fans, there's nothing better than that coal or wood-charred flavor.

Even if you'll be sleeping in your own bed tonight, you can still create the campfire vibe using a fire pit, or a portable charcoal grill (minus the grill). To start, all you need are your clean potatoes, poked with a fork, and covered in butter or oil, plus a little salt. Then, wrap each potato tightly in two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Next, carefully tuck those potatoes in between the hot embers of your grill or campfire, and let them cook for about 30 minutes to an hour. They're done when you can effortlessly spear them with a Swiss army knife. 

Stay wild by not using any foil, and just covering the spuds in hot coals. Also, it might take a little longer, but burying the potatoes slightly away from the direct line of fire gives them more of a chance to get tender on the inside. "Nothing beats a hot charcoal baked potato in cold freezing temperature. The bliss of camping," wrote one Reddit user who probably used any extra potatoes as hand warmers.

4. Salt water dipped baked potatoes

Salt water-dipped baked potatoes just might be the best way to get a perfectly seasoned skin from a simple oven bake. Think of it like a skinny dip in the ocean before a shvitz in the sauna. Ugh, that potato life.

A simple version of this technique involves prepping a bowl with ½ cup of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of salt. Toss your whole potatoes in the water until they're evenly coated in the brine. Then, bake them at 450 degrees F for about an hour, pull them out, and brush them with vegetable oil. About 10 more minutes in the oven to crisp up the skins, and they're ready to rock.

You can also do a long soak with 1 cup of salt in 8 cups of water. Just let the potatoes hang out in that brine for up to eight hours in the fridge, with each potato positioned below the surface of the water. Some people even go for 48 hours. This process pulls out extra water from the potato and replaces it with salt, which means flavor and tenderness for days. It's a method that offers a better bake with less starch, and some think it helps clean the potatoes, too. One fan posted, "I figured, 'Why not ... kill two birds with one stone ... and they seem much better that way." Another added to the convo, "Insides should be fluffy, outsides crispy." Done.

3. Fried baked potatoes make leftovers fun again

Flag on the play! Before you get your napkins in a bunch because these potatoes have "fried" in the name, we're actually talking about potatoes that get baked first. So ... maybe it's a technicality, but also maybe don't worry about that, and just try it because it's freakin' phenomenal.

Call it country fried potatoes, french fried whole potatoes, or fried baked potatoes — just get your deep fryer out (the real one, not the air crisper) — and let's get fryin'. (P.S. These spuds are also loaded, which is the only way to eat a fried baked potato.) Here, you bake your russets in the oven until they're done, then let them cool. If you're using your stove instead of a deep fryer, heat oil in a high-sided pan to around 350 degrees F. While that's happening, mix a breading batter — you can even do it with flour, baking soda, seasoning, and beer — coat it well, then very gently lower your potato into the oil. Fry for roughly five minutes, making sure the whole potato is golden brown, then let it cool on a rack. Once that's done, open it up, and top it to your heart's delight (might we suggest cheese, broccoli, chili, bacon, pulled pork),

Pre-baked fried potatoes are indeed a thing. It saves a whole bunch of time when you're ready to eat, and lets you have a little fun with frying sliced wedges, cubes, or even, ahem, fries.

2. Smoked baked potatoes dominate in the flavor department

Okay, all other baked potatoes are officially canceled. Smoked baked potatoes rule! Other ones drool!

The clutch component here is owning a smoker, or a grill that also does the job of smoking. That'll separate the smokies from the don't-kies. But if you already have that part checked off (or your neighbor with the smoker is definitely out of town), then it's your actual civic duty to smoke them taters in honor of the rest of us, who can only dream of a tender, smoky earth apple.

Be warned: This heavenly cooking method will ruin you on other potatoes for all of eternity. Adding another nail to the basic baked potato coffin, these are beyond easy to make. Crank your smoker to 225 degrees F, scrub your potatoes and pierce them with a fork, massage them with olive oil and salt and pepper — or, a steak rub works too — plunk them in the smoker, and in two hours, you get to dig into fluffy potatoes with a crispy, smoky skin. One Reddit fan suggested, "Try a sweet potato, it's delicious and comes out tasting like a marshmallow." We've also heard of subbing out the olive oil for bacon grease and would like to announce that we will exclusively be making smoky baco-tatoes from this point on. 

1. The fresh-baked method behind the potato madness

The author — who's made of roughly 75% potatoes — openly confesses to nuking a baked potato or two in the past, and rarely oven-baking them because of the time sitch. But we really wanted a crowd-sourced vote. So we scoured the internet (Hi, Redditors and bloggers!) to uncover what exciting methods baked spud fans are totally jazzed about. (There are a whole lotta starchy ideas being shared on Reddit cast iron megathreads, y'all.)

Once we had our list, we ranked it by popularity using comments, advice, and user tips from around the globe. We tapped authentic sources and real-world experiences, so rest assured — these stats are legit. Our apologies to hyper-niche-y solar ovens which, fingers crossed, may one day gain some clout. But after all of our research, the biggest takeaway is this: If anything can bring world peace, it's butter, salt, and baked potatoes.