Baked potatoes are a simple enough dish – all you need is a steaming, perfectly cooked russet potato, a pat of butter, and chives and/or sour cream, as desired. But, even the most basic side dishes can be executed to perfection, if you know of a few tried-and-true tips. Read on to discover a six-step process for baking the best, most flavorful russet potatoes.
Step 1: Scrub the potatoes.
Russet potatoes may be delicious, but they’re also very dirty. In fact, most of the time, the russets you’ll take home from the store are still covered in a considerable amount of dirt. Give them a scrub first.
Step 2: Dry them.
After washing the potatoes, dry them. Dry skin will result in crispy baked skin, which will entice you to eat this healthy, tasty part of the spud. After washing the potatoes, make sure to dry them thoroughly.
Step 3: Oil them.
Olive oil helps potato skin crisp up while making the entire dish taste better. Rub the potatoes all over with plenty of olive oil before baking. They should appear slick when complete.
Step 4: Add plenty of seasoning.
Season your potatoes very well. Remember, unsalted baked potatoes will taste a lot like unsalted French fries. So, select your favorite seasoning blend and go heavy-handed when sprinkling it on.
Step 5: Poke holes!
Piercing a potato is crucial to baking it. When you don't pierce the potato before baking, it’s likely to explode in the oven. Poking the potato with a fork helps steam escape as your spud cooks evenly.
Step 6: Watch the oven’s temperature.
Many people make the mistake of turning their oven all the way up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. But, a too-hot oven will cook the potato skin too quickly while the middle stays raw. Drop the temperature down and allow the potato to cook for a minimum of 30 minutes.
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