Baked potatoes are a classic and simple side dish. Once you learn to make them, you can also use them as a base for all sorts of toppings, top them off with sour cream and chives, or just melt some butter on ’em and eat them fairly plain.

Our ideal baked potatoes are soft inside with a crunchy, crispy skin that shatters slightly when you cut it. If you like your skin softer, wrap the potatoes in foil before placing in the oven and add 15 minutes to the cooking time. 

What you need:

Potatoes, baking sheet, small potato-sized bowl, olive oil, salt

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean your potatoes well with a stiff-bristled brush and cold water. Crispy potato skins are a great thing to eat, so make sure to clean well and remove any bruises or weirdly colored spots. Especially any green parts — the green parts contain the alkaloid solarin, which is poisonous. Also remove any spouting eyes. About the eyes: as long as you cut out the sprouts the potatoes are perfectly safe to eat.  
  3. Take a fork and stab each potato 6-10 times. This allows steam to escape during the cooking process. And yes, it is entirely possible for a potato to explode in the oven. 
  4. Make sure the potatoes are completely dry.
  5. Take a small bowl and put a few splashes of olive oil in it. Dip and spin each potato in the bowl. The objective is to lightly coat the potato, do not soak. 
  6. Lightly salt each potato and place in the oven, directly on the rack is just fine. Place the baking sheet under to catch any drips. 
  7. Cook for about an hour, When they are ready the skin should be puffed up and crispy and the insides will become soft when you squeeze them.