This straightforward approach for how long to cook baked potatoes at 375 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit will give you the best potatoes for a delicious side dish for two or even a large crowd.
The perfect baked potato recipe uses the ideal baking temperature for the best way to achieve crispy skin on the outside and a soft and fluffy texture on the inside.
This may seem like a basic or elementary issue, but baking potatoes really is a skill every cook should take the time to master. Without spending some focused energy, your potatoes can come out really hard inside and out, soggy, or even mealy in texture. Ugh. Not what you want to serve your company.
I am talking about creating a delicious, flavorful baked potato with the perfect combination of crispy skin and pillow fluffy texture inside with just enough salt in each bite to make you want to eat the whole thing.
Following this recipe will make your potatoes the best-baked potatoes your friends or family have ever eaten. They will rave about your cooking and give you great satisfaction in mastering this basic skill.
What Kind of Potato is Best for Baking?
In order to achieve the best results when baking a potato choose russet potatoes. These starchy potatoes have a thick skin that can produce the perfect crispy exterior when baked in the oven. However, the center of the potato, when cooked properly, is a fluffy potato that is soft and ready to take on delicious toppings like melted butter, cheese, sour cream, and chives.
Russet potatoes are also known as Idaho potatoes in the United States. There are many different varieties grown, but they all have a high level of starch which makes them well-suited for baking and making mashed potatoes.
McDonald’s top potato is the Russet Burbank. These starch potatoes are chosen for the size of the potatoes which allows for the production of long pieces used to make the fast food chain’s famous fries.
The general rule is to use russet potatoes for baking.
Save the Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes when you need a side dish of oven-roasted potatoes or potato salad. These are waxy potatoes with moist flesh and sweet flavor which makes them a great choice when you need to boil potatoes for potato salad. This type of potato is also good for grilling, pan-frying, and roasting.
Potatoes are an excellent way to thicken soups as well.
Personally, I really enjoy baked sweet potatoes. I do not load them up with cinnamon and sugar as you find in some restaurants. I top them with the same savory delights as I would a russet baked potato.
For the remainder of this blog post, we’ll discuss how to properly cook a russet potato for your side dish or even as the base for your main course.
Should I Cook a Baked Potato at 375?
Honestly, I do not cook potatoes at 375ºF. Cooking at this temperature can take up to 90 minutes to cook the potato completely through. So, I prefer to cook my potatoes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 205 degrees Celsius.
According to Idaho Potato, the temperature to bake potatoes is 425 degrees Fahrenheit. But, I have found the outer portion of potatoes can become hard at that temperature and the inside is not as fluffy.
For me, the best temperature to create that crispy potato skin and fluffy interior during the cooking process is 400ºF. After all, crispy skin is one of the best things about a baked potato!
A lower temperature will require you to bake potatoes longer and your result could be a more mealy textured potato.
If you use a higher temperature you could end up burning the outside and have an undercooked interior.
How Long to Cook a Baked Potato at 375 or 400?
At the temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit, medium potatoes will take about 65 – 75 minutes to cook. However, at 400ºF, the cooking time is about 45-60 minutes. You’ll know it is done when the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F.
One significant factor in figuring out your baking time is the size of the potatoes.
Typically, a serving of baked potatoes is considered to be between six and eight ounces or 170 to 220 grams. So, shop for medium-sized russet potatoes which are about this size.
If you purchase larger potatoes your baking time will definitely increase. You may be looking at 75 – 90 minutes in the oven, especially at 375ºF.
Shorten How Long to Cook a Baked Potato at 375 or 400
One way to circumvent the extra cook time is to cut large potatoes in half before cooking. Check them after 50 minutes and see how much more time they might need. Check the potatoes in 5-minute increments after the initial 60 minutes.
Another way to reduce the baking time is to use your microwave.
Pierce the potatoes first just like you do for the oven. Then wrap each one in a wet, paper towel. It does not have to be dripping with water. This helps keep the skin moist in the microwave. Don’t worry. They will get crispy in the oven. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes before transferring to the oven to bake.
I do not recommend cooking large potatoes at a high temperature as they can burn on the outside and be undercooked on the inside. They don’t necessarily cook faster, but they will be unevenly cooked.
On the other hand, if you purchase small potatoes, your cook time may be closer to 35 – 45 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them or they will be too hard to enjoy. Be sure to check smaller potatoes at the 30-minute mark of the baking process to make sure you are on track to enjoy crispy-skinned baked potatoes.
So, you see, the size of your potatoes is a key factor when baking them.
Do I Have to Use Foil to Cook a Baked Potato at 375 or 400?
In short, the answer is NO, you do not have to use aluminum foil in order to bake potatoes in the oven. Using aluminum foil can make the potato skins a little softer as the steam produced while cooking is trapped inside the aluminum foil. However, it does help keep your oven cleaner if you put olive oil or spices on the skins.
Idaho Potato actually advises not to use foil during cooking. Not only will foil packets not decrease baking time, but the trapped steam from the potato may result in a soggy potato interior with wet skin. We want fluffy potato interiors!
How Long to Cook Baked Potatoes at 375 With Foil
If you do want to cook your potatoes in foil follow these 7 simple steps:
- Scrub the potatoes in water to remove dirt and pat dry.
- Using a paring knife, or the end of a vegetable peeler remove any eyes on the skin.
- Prick your potatoes in several spots to allow steam to escape.
- Take a piece of foil that is large enough to cover the potato. Place the potato in the middle.
- Pull the long edges together and fold the two over to create a ½ inch seam. Continue to fold over until the seam is on top of the potato. Tuck the end pieces under the wrapped potatoes to create foil packets.
- Place the foil-wrapped potatoes in a preheated oven directly on the oven rack to cook.
- Potatoes are done when the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F. You can pierce the potatoes with a knife. If it easily pierces the potato and is soft inside, the potato is done.
How Long to Cook Baked Potatoes at 375 or 400 Without Foil
An easy way to cook baked potatoes without using the foil recipe above is to place them on a baking pan.
Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.
Follow steps one and two above and place the pierced potatoes on the baking sheet. Then place the baking sheet in the 400-degree Fahrenheit preheated oven and cook as directed above. This makes for easy cleanup as well.
This may be a better option, and certainly, a cheaper option, as you don’t use need the aluminum foil.
However, I always use aluminum foil when I grill my potatoes!
How to Make the Best Baked Potato Recipe
There are different ways to bake potatoes and even different temperatures, but here are a few simple tips to consider.
Here is the best option to add flavor to the potatoes.
Clean the potatoes as directed above. Then, rub the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with some kosher salt and pepper before baking. It doesn’t take much olive oil, just ½ teaspoon per potato. Add the sprinkle of salt and pepper after the oil so it will stick to the skin.
You can place these directly on the oven rack, but you may want to use a rimmed baking pan under the potatoes in order to keep your oven clean.
Don’t forget to poke holes in the potatoes before baking. You still need to allow the steam to escape from the spud or else you might have a large mess in the oven. I have seen potatoes explode when under too much pressure while cooking.
Some people advise rubbing the potatoes with a little melted butter and minced fresh garlic before cooking. Be sure to place these on a baking sheet or in foil packets to cook so you don’t have burnt garlic in your oven.
However, I appreciate the health benefits and simplicity of a little olive oil. So, I will save the delicious saturated fat for the interior of my potato.
Options for How Long to Cook a Baked Potato at 375 or 400
There are different methods for cooking potatoes so they come out like oven-baked potatoes. Two of the most common options are to use a convection oven or an air fryer.
A convection oven is similar to an air fryer as the air in the oven circulates around the food with the help of a fan. This means the potatoes will cook more evenly due to the circulating hot air.
Additionally, convection ovens reduce the cooking time by about 25 percent due to the fan. It blows the air around the food and keeps the heat in the oven at an even temperature.
If you have a convection oven, feel free to bake your potato this way with the proper setting. Check your oven control panel to see if there is a “convect” or convection setting.
Select it and set the temperature to 400. Follow the preparation steps above.
Your medium potato will cook for about 45 minutes.
You can also use your air fryer to cook baked potatoes. Follow these directions for four servings.
Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius.
Rub four medium-size russet potatoes with 1 tsp olive oil each and season with salt and pepper.
Place potatoes in the air fryer basket.
Cook in the preheated air fryer until potatoes are soft, 45 to 55 minutes. If your potatoes are larger you may need more cooking time.
You will still enjoy crispy skins and fluffy interiors using this method.
What is the Best Way to Store a Cooked Potato?
If you have leftover baked potatoes or if you are cooking them in advance you can easily store them to use later.
Let the potatoes cool completely to room temperature. Wrap each potato in plastic wrap or use an airtight container to store them.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To reheat the potatoes, place them directly on the oven rack or a rimmed baking sheet in a 325 degrees Fahrenheit oven until warmed through. About 15 minutes.
What do I Serve with Baked Potatoes?
One of my favorites is with a steak dinner. Steak and a baked potato is just a classic pairing! Read more about how to Make a Candlelit Romantic Steak Dinner for Two. It will give you great tips and inspiration on how to elevate it to a surf and turf delight.
Looking for wine recommendations for your steak dinner or surf and turf? Check out the recommendations and selection tips with The Best Steak and Lobster Wine Pairings.
You’ll find help whether you are dining out or staying in.
How To Prepare and Top Baked Potatoes Cooked at 375 or 400
The great news about baked potatoes is that there are endless ways to enjoy them.
First, you need to prepare your spud.
Slice your baked potato lengthwise and squeeze it open from the short ends to open it up. Be careful as potatoes from the oven or air fryer can retain heat for quite a while. You can use a tea towel or oven mitts to keep from burning your fingers.
Then, once you have opened the potato, fill it up with delicious toppings. Easy peasy!
Great Side Dish Toppings
If you are serving baked potatoes as a side dish there are so many great toppings to use on them!
Here are a few delicious ways to top your baked spud:
- sour cream
- Greek yogurt
- melted butter
- cheddar cheese
- any kind of cheese is delicious
- garlic and herb cheese spread
- crisp bacon pieces
- sauteed fresh garlic in melted butter with Parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley
- scoop out the potatoes and make twice-baked potatoes
Add anything that appeals to your personal preference.
An easy option with a large group is to set up a baked potato toppings bar and let everyone serve themselves. So easy!
Main Dish Baked Potatoes
A great way to enjoy your baked potato is by making it the centerpiece of your meal.
There are endless favorite toppings to pile on from sauteed vegetables to last night’s stew.
Here are some ideas and a few are even healthy:
- For a Southwest kick, add leftover chili to your spud. Then top with Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Kick it up with some sliced pickled jalapenos.
- A good idea for a delicious low-cal vegetarian option is to stuff your baked potato with grilled vegetables and add a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- Add leftover steak fajitas and veggies. Top with guacamole and salsa.
- Top with leftover grilled chicken and grilled veggies.
- Add leftover spaghetti or marinara sauce and shredded Parmesan cheese for a primavera potato.
- Stuff with roasted broccoli and cheddar cheese.
- Use leftover steak slices and top with sauteed peppers and onions. Melt provolone on top for a Cheese Steak Spud.
- Top with leftover taco meat, sour cream, and salsa. Add a few chopped black olives or avocado.
- Add cooked hamburger, lettuce, tomato, onion, and thousand island dressing for a Big Mac Spud.
- Use up that last bit of leftover chicken barbecue. This is a great topping for sweet potatoes!
- Or use any hearty leftovers from the past week.
Using leftovers on a baked potato is a great way to stretch the food budget as well.
Is a Baked Potato Healthy?
Potatoes are actually a rich source of potassium which helps with blood pressure regulation and can be part of a healthy diet. Even for those concentrating on weight loss.
Actually, potatoes generally get a bad rap since they are often consumed in the form of fries or chips. So many mistakenly regard them as unhealthy food.
However, eating one medium-sized potato a day can be part of a healthy diet and doesn’t increase the chances of developing diabetes or heart disease.
Russet potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, especially vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium.
According to NBC News Health and Nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom, baked russet potatoes are a “nutritional powerhouse”. A medium baked potato contains 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. It will provide half of your daily Vitamin C needs and nearly 10 percent of your daily iron intake.
Healthy ways to Cook a Baked Potato
To keep it on the healthy side, make sure to steam or bake your potato. Also, prepare it without adding too much salt or saturated fat. Frying potatoes (hello french fries) will blow your calorie and saturated fat limits out of the water.
Caution regarding your portion size. You want a medium potato about the size of a computer mouse, not a Nerf football. As a side dish, the potatoes should compose about one-fourth of your plate.
Feel free to enjoy a baked potato at a restaurant. However, as the potatoes in restaurants are usually larger, consider eating only half and taking the rest home.
Keep the skin on your potato and eat it to increase fiber and nutrients in your daily intake.
If you are trying to keep your potato intake on the healthy side, skip the full-fat extras. Use low-fat sour cream, sauteed garlic, and very little cheese. Skip the added butter and bacon bits and go easy on the salt.
Common Mistakes: How Long to Cook a Baked Potato at 375
There are some common mistakes when baking potatoes at 375 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Impatience is one of them. Using a microwave can shorten the baking time, but the fluffy interior of a completely baked potato is worth a few extra minutes. And a higher temperature may burn the outside and leave the inside undercooked.
You do not need to boil the potatoes. This does not reduce your cooking time as you now have to cook the potatoes twice – once on the stove and again in the oven. So don’t worry about boiling them. Leave that for the potato salad recipes.
You can microwave the potato, but keep the time short. Pierce the potato all over and wrap it in a wet paper towel. Microwave on high for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove the paper towel and cook at 375 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the preheated oven.
Don’t try to hurry up the process by cooking the potatoes at a higher temperature. You may burn the outside of the potato while the inside remains undercooked.
If your potatoes are different sizes then the potatoes cook at different rates. The larger ones need more time and the smaller ones may burn in the process. Use potatoes that are the same size when cooking a batch.
If you take the potato out of the oven too soon it won’t be cooked through. Give your potatoes a little squeeze while using an oven mitt or kitchen towel to protect yourself from the heat. If they give and feel soft, they are probably done. Pierce them with a knife all the way to the center to determine if they are cooked through. Your knife should feel no resistance.
Make This Best Baked Potato Recipe
The next time you want to make a perfect baked potato at home follow these simple tips. You’ll master how to perfectly cook a baked potato in no time!
You’ll waste less time and money by following the recipe below and I think it is the best-baked potato recipe you are likely to find anywhere!
And the great thing is that baked potatoes are an easy and inexpensive side dish for two or even a large group.
Finally, it turns out they are a healthy option for everyone even those of us trying to lose a few pounds.
P.S. Please share this information on your social media accounts. Also, comment below when you try the recipe! Get Chopping!
Best Baked Potatoes
- baking sheet optional
- paring knife or vegetable peeler
- 4 Russet potatoes medium sized (6 – 8 ounces each)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil extra virgin
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF.
- Scrub the potatoes thoroughly under running water to remove dirt. Pat dry. Remove the eyes or bad spots using the end of your vegetable peeler or paring knife.
- Using your hands, rub the potatoes all over with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
- Generously sprinkle the potatoes on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Prick the potatoes in a few places with the tines of a fork or sharp knife to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack or place them on a rimmed baking sheet a few inches apart. Bake the potatoes for 50 to 65 minutes.
- Check the potatoes at 45 minutes. Use an oven mitt and give the potatoes a gentle squeeze. If they feel soft they are done. Also, you can pierce the skin with a fork and if it feels soft, the potato is cooked through. If not, continue to cook in 5-minute increments.
- Remove from oven and slice lengthwise halfway through. Squeeze the ends to open. Add your favorite toppings.
- Reduce baking time: microwave potatoes for 3 – 4 minutes on HIGH. Then bake.
- For extra-crispy skins, increase oven temperature to 425ºF. for the last 10 minutes of baking.