How to bake a potato – ditch the foil

perfect baked potatoes, How to bake a potato

Did you read the title and laugh at me today?! How to bake a potato doesn’t seem like rocket science, I know, but I just started baking them a new way and I am in love. So of course I had to share it with you all!

I grew up with a mom who would bake a potato in the oven with foil wrapped all around it, or if she were in a hurry she’d throw it in the microwave. Baking potatoes in the oven without foil was a completely foreign concept to me until a few years ago. I heard of the idea from the bestie but then I never did anything about it. For some reason the idea resurfaced a few months ago and now I’m hooked.

No matter how you currently bake a potato, you have got to try this! The outside gets cooked to potato skin perfection with a slightly crisp and salty exterior and the inside is extra fluffy (because the steam was able to escape??). You won’t find anyone at the table scraping out the soft inside and leaving that skin because it’s all good when you bake them like this.

I serve baked potatoes as a main dish about once a month. They are cheap, easy, and topped right can be “clean.” Sure this takes a bit of planning because the baking time is around an hour, but it is so worth the minimal effort. Throw on your favorite cheese, some fresh steamed broccoli, and some salt and pepper and you are good to go. I like to round out the meal with a fruit or two. If I’m really looking for something hearty I’ll top them with homemade black bean chili.

Mmmm. Now I want a baked potato! Put this on your meal plan for next week and enjoy.


perfect baked tater, how to bake a potato

How to bake a potato – ditch the foil
  • Potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and scrub your potatoes clean. Poke each potato with a fork a few times to allow steam to release while cooking. Lightly dry each potato in a clean towel. Using your hands or a pastry brush coat each potato in a thin coat of olive oil and set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and then flip them over and sprinkle the other side with salt.
  2. Carefully place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and then stick the pan underneath on the next rack to catch any potato drips.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until the potatoes are cooked through. They will give slightly when you press on them (use a towel or hot pad!).
These were "normal" sized potatoes that came in a 10 pound bag. If you are using the giant "baking" potatoes then be sure to add at least a half an hour, if not more, to the cooking time.

Table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt (fine to coarse) all work well here. I like a mix of fine and coarse sea salt on the outside.
1 potato per person


perfect baked potatoes without foil, how to bake a potato

Do you ever serve baked potatoes as a main dish? What’s your favorite toppings?

Thanks for reading.

Here’s another link you might like:
How to cook potatoes in the crock pot from Family Fresh Cooking– this is my second favorite cooking method because you can do it in advance and forget it! Plus it’s great for hot summer days.

Bake a Potato

34 comments on “How to bake a potato – ditch the foil

  1. My ex used to slow bake them without the foil – maybe in a 300F oven. They were out of this world! Thanks for the reminder, and I’ll have to try the higher temp – could never justify having an oven on for several hours to cook a potato!

  2. I stuff my spuds with cooked chicken breast chuncks and monterrey cheese and I also do brisket baked potatoes with sliced meat, cheedar cheese, sour cream. chives , bacon bits, and bbq sauce(optional)

  3. I’ve cooked them this way for years, and it really makes them special to add cracked pepper, dill weed, and garlic salt with the olive oil! This may sound unusual, but a dollop of raspberry salsa is also delicious as a topping…along with the cheese of course!

  4. My favorite is what I call the Terlingua – topping of chili, cheese, chopped onions, butter, sour cream and jalapenos. Makes a nice meal..

  5. I eat potatoes as a main dish a lot. I like them better than the meat. I will definitely try your method next time!

  6. I have been cooking potatoes like this for years. My favourite topping is Garlic butter, Colslaw, grated cheese and topped with sour cream. Yummy

  7. I know it’s not the healthiest but I love to dip baked potatoes in a mixture of olive oil and pressed garlic.

  8. I cook my potatoes like this all the time. I just pour a small amount of oil in my hand and start rubbing it on. I use kosher salt and I don’t bother putting them directly on the rack of the oven. I just put them on my pan and pop them in. The whole reason why this works is that when you wrap them in foil you are actually steaming them. Doing it with oil actually roasts them and it makes sense. You do it that way with every other vegetable when roasting. Why not a potato? :) Growing up my mom would pop them in the oven with no oil or foil. They would come out shriveled up and dry. It was probably why we would scoop out the inside and give dad the potato skin. :)

  9. “1 potato per person”?? I don’t think so. LOL! I have these in the oven right now. Instead of salt I sprinkled on Mama Garlic by Frontier (love that stuff!). Thank you for posting this!

  10. My mom use to make baked red potatoes on the oven rack, no foil, with our weekend meals. It has been so long since I’ve done it this way, I had forgotten how long to bake them! She cooked hers at 350°, so I’m assuming about 1 hr and 45 mins. I hope I’m right!

    1. The skin doesn’t quite act the same, it kind of dries up and I don’t love to eat it (I don’t normally eat the sweet potato skin anyways, it just too tough for me), but they are delicious cooked like this and the flesh scoops right out. I love making sweet potatoes like this.