How to cook a baked potato

By Susan Crowley
Info Guru,

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Making the perfect baked potato is easier than you think
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Learning how to cook a baked potato is a basic skill for cooks

A favorite through the years, a baked potato enhances any meal and can be prepared in many different ways.

It's so easy to learn how to prepare this favorite starchy root, and you'll be surprised with the many ways you can cook one.

Whether you're preparing this for just yourself or for a crowd of hungry guests, try one of these methods to achieve the ultimate in taste and appearance.

Conventional oven method:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Wash and dry potatoes.
  2. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each one 2 or 3 times.
  3. Place on cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Microwave oven method
  1. Wash and dry potatoes. With a fork or sharp knife, pierce each 2 or 3 times.
  2. Place them in a circle on a paper towel, leaving a 1-inch space between each.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork, turning once during cooking and removing any that are done after 15 minutes.
  4. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

As with all these recipes, split and top with your favorites -- home made butter, sour cream, chives, cheese, crumbled bacon.

Easy slow cooked baked potatoes:

Today's hectic life style and time restraints have resulted in reemergence of the popular mini crockpot and other slower cookers. Here's a great way to utilize this long time favorite kitchen appliance.

Prick potatoes with fork and wrap each in foil. Fill dry crockpot with the wrapped spuds. Cover and cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours. Prick with a fork to check. Be careful when removing them from the crockpot. Tongs would be helpful!

Now that you've learned how to cook this favorite root vegetable in a variety of ways, here are some easy recipes to take the simple spud from plain to delicious!

Twice Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

This is always a favorite on the list of side dish recipes.
  • 6 large bakers, like Idahoes
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
  1. Scrub; pat dry. Heat oven to 425.
  2. Pierce top with a fork.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Remove a thin slice from the top of each and scoop out most of the fluffy white insides into a bowl, leaving shells intact.
  5. Beat the insides with the sour cream, 3 tablespoons milk, and the butter.
  6. Add more milk or half-and-half if needed. Beat in salt and pepper then spoon the mixture into the skins. Sprinkle with the chives.
  7. Cover and refrigerate until the next day or bake at 375 for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. If the potatoes have been refrigerated, bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and lightly browned.

Here are some tips to add to your knowledge of how to cook a baked potato:

  • Stand on end in muffin tins if you're baking several.
  • Skewer with an aluminum baking pin to cut baking time in half (not in a microwave oven).
  • For crispier skins, bake at 425 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Bake extra and use leftovers for hash browns the next day.
  • Rub with a little oil, butter, or bacon drippings before baking for crispier skins.
  • Cut leftovers into 1/2-inch pieces and brush with olive oil and seasonings.
  • Bake at 425 degrees, turning occasionally, for about 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, until crispy. Season to taste and use as a snack with dip or crumble on soups or salad.
  • Top with chili, cheese, sour cream, light cream cheese and chives, vegetables and cheese sauce, chicken a la king, spaghetti sauce, pizza toppings, etc.
Now that you know how to cook the perfect spud, what are you waiting for? Enjoy!

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