Ahh baked potatoes… we love them so. And we’re sure you do, too! But how do you bake the perfect jacket potato? How do you achieve such crispy skin, and such a creamy interior? We’ve put a guide to making the perfect jacket potato together, including how to cheat by using the microwave and oven combo to cook your potato; some delicious baked potato filling ideas; how to guarantee a crispy jacket potato; whether to wrap your baked potato in foil or not before cooking (you might be surprised by the answer); and the best potato varieties to use for a baked potato.
Choose the right potato
A floury potato variety will give you a soft, fluffy jacket potato interior. Floury potatoes also come in larger sizes, which is great for a one-person portion. You can buy packs of potatoes labelled ‘baking potatoes’, but if you are looking for specific varieties, Maris Piper, Desiree and King Edward are all very good. Also look out for newer varieties such as Vivaldi and Melody.
Sweet potatoes also bake really well and are a good vitamin-boosting option. But because they have a higher water content, you’ll never get the crisp skin a normal spud will give you. Choose plump rounded potatoes around 250-300g each, then try our recipe below by clicking on the photo:
Baked sweet potatoes with pine nuts, tahini and pesto
If you want crispy skin, don’t use the microwave!
The real beauty of a baked potato is the crisp outer skin. Although you might be able to speed up the process of cooking by giving it a quick blast in the microwave before transferring it to the oven to finish (we understand that time is sometimes of the essence), this trick creates a lot of moisture which means the skin will never properly crisp up.
So plan ahead and do all of your perfect baked potato cooking in the oven. A decent sized spud will only take about an hour, so relax and watch a bit of telly, or whip up one of the delicious topping recipes below. Remember: if in doubt, bake your jacket potatoes in the oven.
Crispy skin tricks
To get that perfect crispy baked potato skin there are a few tricks you can use. Never, ever wrap your jacket potato in foil before baking. This will only encourage moisture and you want to gradually dry and crisp the skin as it cooks.
Give each potato a scrub then prick evenly with a fork all over. While the potatoes are still a bit damp sprinkle with sea salt so it sticks to the skin (go as light or heavy as you like depending on your salt tolerance). The oven temperature should be hot but not blistering. Heat it to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and position the oven shelf in the middle.
When the oven has come up to temperature carefully put the potatoes directly on the oven shelf so the heat can attack the spud from all sides. Leave the potatoes for an hour then check by giving them a squeeze. If they are not quite done give them another 10-15 minutes. The flesh should feel soft and the skin crisp.
Split open the spuds then serve with, butter, soured cream and chives… or try one of our easy recipes below:
Make this comfort food mash up for an easy family meal. We’ve combined the crispy shell of a baked spud with an easy fish pie filling and buttery mash on top.
Everyone loves Welsh Rarebit, so why not use the same cheesy topping on a baked potato?
Tuna makes a great budget choice for a topping – this recipe adds cheddar and spring onion for extra flavour
Give your baked spuds a Tex-Mex twist with this spicy seafood butter
A smarter way to serve a baked potato – this smoky fish and horseradish topping is quite luxurious
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins A and C so make a healthy choice for dinner
Try a Scandi-style topping on your spud with this smoky fish and dill recipe
This spicy, protein packed filling will make an ideal post-gym lunch or dinner
Indian spiced chickpeas make a hearty but healthy filling – a cooling dollop of yoghurt finishes it off nicely
This creamy yet light blue cheese filling uses 0% fat Greek yoghurt which gives richness while keeping things low-fat.