Baked Potatoes 101

posted by Andrea | 07/1/2013
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baked potatoes 101

Last week, I shared 6 tips to simplify meal planning — because even though meal planning does save a bunch of time, money, and stress, I know first-hand that Summer is definitely not the most fun time to meal plan.

I’ve slacked off a little this past month — but I’m getting back on track with a whole bunch of super simple meals that don’t even require recipes (my favorite way to cook).

One of the meals that has shown up on our meal plan a few times already this summer is Baked Potatoes.

Dave and I are huge potato fans — we like them in all forms (mashed, boiled, baked, fried, deep fried, etc. etc.) And since potatoes are one of the very few things Nora will actually eat, we eat potatoes A LOT. Nora’s favorite is mashed potatoes, but Dave and I are pretty big on baked potatoes — specifically loaded baked potatoes.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, we really enjoy leftovers, and baked potatoes are one of our favorite leftover foods. I usually cook up 8 or more at a time so we can eat the leftovers for lunch or as a sidedish for another meal later in the week.

Best of all, Russet Potatoes (the type I almost always use) are extremely inexpensive — usually less than $2 for a 10 pound bag!

The most traditional way to bake potatoes is in the oven… but there are many other no-oven-required recipes, perfect for hot summer days.

In the oven:

Our favorite way to make baked potatoes.

Scrub potato skins and rinse.

Prick potato with a fork several times.

Rub skins with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place on a shallow baking sheet/pan (I cover mine with tin foil).

Bake at 350*F for 60-80 minutes

In the slow cooker:

Great for hot summer days or when you don’t have access to an oven.

Scrub potato skins and rinse.

Prick potato with a fork several times.

Rub skins with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place in a slow cooker (you can stack them if necessary) and cover.

Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours.

In the microwave:

This is a quick way to cook a potato but it’s not quite as tasty (at least in our opinions!)

Scrub potato skins and rinse.

Prick potato with a fork several times.

Wrap potato in a damp paper towel

Cook on high for 3-6 minutes per potato (depending on the size of the potato and the wattage of your microwave)

Over an open fire:

Great for camping!

Scrub potato skins and rinse.

Prick potato with a fork several times.

Wrap potato in a double layer of aluminum foil.

Burry potatoes in the hot fire coals and cook for 30-60 minutes.

On the grill:

Perfect if you already have the grill going — and much quicker than some of the other grilled recipes I’ve seen.

Scrub potato skins and rinse.

Prick potato with a fork several times.

Cook potatoes in the microwave until almost done.

Cut potatoes in half and rub cut size with olive oil, salt, and peper.

Grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are very soft and have nice grill marks.


Our Favorite Baked Potato Toppings:


sour cream

salt, pepper, garlic, and other seasonings


green onions



cooked broccoli


taco meat

cinnamon and brown sugar (for sweet potatoes only)

How we use leftover baked potatoes:

Slice them and make super crispy fried potatoes

Cube them for ham and potato soup or mash them for cheesy mashed potato soup

Reheat them as a side dish for another meal

Scoop the filling out and make twice baked potatoes

Make homemade potato salad

Chop into small bits and add to an omelet

Remove the skins, add milk, and make chunkier mashed potatoes (we do this all the time for Nora)

So as you can see, there are many, many ways you can work baked potatoes (and the leftovers) into your weekly menu plans. It’s such a simple meal, it’s very customizable based on your family’s taste buds, and you can make them almost anywhere!

What are your favorite ways to eat a baked potato?

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  1. Wendy Jahns


    I love this post Andrea! Great tips! Thank you 🙂


  2. Amanda Melichar


    Okay…another slow cooker question…I am getting ready to try them in the slow cooker but the recipe I saw said to wrap each potato in tin foil before placing in slow cooker. Have you done it this way? It would be nice to know you can save $$ and not wrap each one in tin foil. Just wondering if you have tried that way!? Which is way is better? Thanks a heap!! 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    I personally don’t wrap my slow cooker baked potatoes in foil — but I do rub them with vegetable oil and sprinkle salt over top. They’ve always turned out fine for me!


  3. Brandi Clevinger


    Thank you for the potato recipes! We LOVE potato in any form, too!

    Question – Do you need any amount of water in the slow cooker to cook the potatoes? In fact, do you always have to use water when using the slow cooker to cook anything?


    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t use water when I cook potatoes in the slow cooker — however I can’t say you “never” or “always” have to use water. It would just depend on what the specific recipe calls for I guess.


  4. Verity


    This is helpful. Thanks!


  5. Janet


    This is not about potatoes, but I wanted to thank you. I tried your pest-free tip of using a Bounce dryer sheet in my pocket when I weeded and it worked !! Thank you so much.


  6. Rebecca


    Baked potato with taco meat–that sounds pretty yummy! Will have to try. My husband is obsessed with potatoes and tacos. Maybe he’d like them together?

    My favorite way to eat potatoes right now is to scrub them, slice them longways, then slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges, depending on the size of the potato. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes. It’s faster than waiting on a whole baked potatoes and a super fast, easy side for almost any meal.


  7. Cn


    I usually boil potatoes when we make them. They never come out dry and they taste just like baked. It’s faster than the oven and tastier than the microwave.


  8. Kelly in Oregon


    Andrea, have you made baked potatoes in the slow cooker before using the method you describe? We are doing a big camping trip this weekend and I was going to do a baked potato bar for one of the meals, but the recipe I have recommends wrapping them in foil before putting them in the slow cooker. If I don’t have to do that, I’d rather not!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’ve made potatoes in the slow cooker with no aluminum foil many times and they always turn out fine.


  9. Melanie McDonald


    Love…love…LOVE potatoes!!! Thank goodness I’ m from Idaho! We make ‘Idaho haystacks’ a lot…bake your potato…pile it with ground beef or chili, then top with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, cheeses, what ever really…then finish off with ranch :). We also love Red potatoes,favorite way with them is to cut them into edges…mix with olive oil, parm cheese, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Put on a cookie sheet and bake @350 until tender…yummy!


  10. Julia


    Andrea, do you ever make Sloppy Joe’s for dinner? (with canned Manwich or homemade?) It’s inexpensive AND with just 2 of us, makes enough for leftovers. I love the sloppy joe meat on a baked potato with a slice of american cheese and sour cream. If you have onion chip dip in the house, that is even better that sour cream! So delish.


  11. Jen


    Mmm, now I want baked potatoes for dinner. I scrub, prick, and microwave my Russets on high for ten minutes, then rub them with oil and salt and pop them in a 500 degree oven for ten minutes right on the rack. You just have to make sure the oil is rubbed in well and won’t drip on the coils. They are SO good, and it’s quick when I don’t have time for full-on oven baking.


  12. Aa.


    We love potatoes, too! We like baked potatoes with mushrooms and cream, or with bacon and cream on top.


  13. Kim


    My toddler won’t eat baked potatoes, but he loves them oven roasted. Cut them into bite-sized pieces, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake on a cookie sheet for about 45 mins at 400 degrees until golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Easy, and something my toddler will actually eat! 🙂


  14. Becky


    I LOVE potatoes but unfortunately i’m not supposed to eat them 🙁 but I still do sometimes. French fries (homemade baked in the oven), scalloped, bakes, mashed… all ways are delicious!


  15. Georgia Gal


    My husband loves potatoes. They have to be in the house at all times! We normally eat our baked potatoes with sour cream, butter, and fresh chives. But we use potatoes for:

    * Breakfast fried potatoes

    * Potato Soup

    * French Fries

    * Mashed Potatoes

    * Potato Salad

    and more. Potatoes are a cheap and easy way to balance out a meal. Thanks for sharing your baked potato tips and ideas. Hope you have a wonderful day!


    Jodi talsma Reply:

    I cut up our leftover baked potato and pork tenderloin and fried them in coconut oil until crispy and had fresh green beans with a little butter, Parmesan cheese and sliced almonds. Our favorite!