Despite common misconception, potatoes are one of the healthiest veggies around. The versatile tater contains digestion-aiding fiber, debloating potassium, flu-fighting vitamin C, and immune-boosting vitamin B6. And you could reap these benefits, so long as you don't douse the spuds in oil and turn them into their waistline-expanding counterparts: think French fries, hash browns, and potato chips. If you're opting for pairing a potato with your dinner protein tonight, the best way to consume the veggie is by baking it first. To help you get the thin, crisp skin and perfectly fluffy inside, find out how to bake a potato in the oven with the helpful tips from Katrín Björk, author of From the North: A Simple and Modern Approach to Authentic Nordic Cooking and founder of the Modern Wifestyle, below.
How to bake a potato
Before tossing your tater into the oven, there is one rule you should always keep in mind: pierce every potato with a fork!
"When you bake a potato, the moisture turns to steam that expands with great force, separating the starch granules and making your baked potato fluffy," Björk tells us. "If there's enough pressure and the skin hasn't been pierced before baking, your baked potatoes might explode! My mom used to bake potatoes in the microwave when I was growing up, and even though microwaving is an effective and fast method, it doesn't give the baked potatoes that nice crispy skin, and the flesh easily becomes dry rather than pillowy as it should be. And that is why I always use my oven."
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and scrub russet potatoes under cold water.
- Dry them completely. It's a good idea to place them in the fridge for 20 minutes after washing them, as that will increase the skin's crispiness. Then, pierce each potato 2-3 times with a fork.
- Rub the potatoes generously with olive oil and salt. Lay the potatoes directly on the oven rack or on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven.
- Cook the potatoes for 45 to 60 minutes, until their skin is crispy. To assess doneness, prick the potato with a fork and make sure it slides out easily.
- Cut the potato open and fill it with your favorite butter, a sprinkle of salt, or sour cream and chives, bacon pieces, cheddar…. the list is endless!
Now that you know how to bake a potato, why not try your hand at this easy, low-carb mashed cauliflower recipe that tastes just like your favorite comfort food?