How to Make Baked Potatoes 5 Ways

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Learn how to make baked potatoes five different ways. We have methods to bake potatoes in the oven, microwave, crockpot, Instant Pot, or air fryer. Here are instructions for all 5 ways to cook them!

Baked Potatoes – a favorite healthy side dish!

Many people associate potatoes with things like French fries and chips. And lately, they’ve gotten a bad name for being high in carbohydrates. The truth is, when prepared the right way, such as simply baking them, these complex carbohydrates are good for us, and spuds are full of them! Serve them as a side dish with a grilled flat iron steak or baked BBQ chicken breasts.

In addition to that, potatoes are nutrient-dense (especially the skin!). The flesh is a good source of potassium and vitamins B6 and C. Plus, the skin is full of fiber!

Are potatoes gluten free?

Yes, potatoes are naturally gluten free! So baked potatoes are gluten free. In fact, they make a great alternative to a bun when you stuff them with your favorite Sloppy Joes.

The only risk when it comes to potatoes is if you buy a packaged potato product, such as some frozen French fries and tater tots, or mixed for things like scalloped potatoes or hash browns. These may contain binders, thickeners, or additives that contain gluten. You best bet is to make your own potato gratin or hashbrown casserole.

What is the best potato for baking?

The high-starch content of russet potatoes makes them the perfect choice for baking. Starch provides structure to create fluffiness. Also, russets have a mildly sweet flavor.

a crispy baked potato sliced open with butter inside

How to make baked potatoes

Prepare the potatoes for baking. Use a vegetable brush and cool water to wash them. Remove any blemishes with a paring knife, then use paper toweling to pat them dry.

Bake potatoes using the cooking method of your choosing. Traditionally, you bake potatoes in the oven. However, modern appliances like the microwave, crockpot, Instant Pot, and air fryer can make it quicker and more convenient. Choose your preferred method and keep reading for the specific instructions.

Methods

You’ll find instructions below for each of these five methods.

  • Oven – The traditional way of making baking potatoes. Using this method creates a potato with crispy skin and a fluffy center.
  • Microwave – This method is best for when you want a quick baked potato. The skins won’t become crispy but the flavor is the same. Plus, it takes a fraction of the time!
  • Slow Cooker – A great option when you don’t have a lot of hands-on time or you just want dinner to be ready when you get home.
  • Instant Pot – Another quick baked potato method that is also hands-off. Plus, they’ll be fluffier than if you use a microwave.
  • Air Fryer – This method is similar to using an oven cooking, but more energy efficient and perfect for smaller batches. Plus, the kitchen stays cooler.

Slice and serve with potato toppings. Use a knife to slice the potato lengthwise down the middle. Using your hands to hold both ends of the potato, press inward toward the center to open and fluff the insides. Then serve with butter, sour cream, chives, or even bacon or cheese sauce.

A fully loaded baked potato topped with gluten free cheese sauce and sour cream.

How to Make Baked Potatoes in the Oven

Oven baked potatoes are a favorite of many people. If you want crispy potato skins, then do not bake them in foil. Cooking a baked potato in foil creates steam, which softens the skin.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. 
  2. Use your clean hands to rub olive oil and kosher salt evenly over the surface of the potatoes.
  3. Using a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the skin in several different places of the potato. This allows steam to escape so the skin doesn’t burst during cooking.
  4. Place the potatoes on the center rack of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.
Oven Baking Tip

The cook time will vary, depending on the oven temperature and size of the potato. If you have to bake them at a lower temperature, generally, you’ll want to add 10 minutes to the cook time for every 25 degrees you lower the oven temperature.

How to Make a Baked Potato in the Microwave

  1. Pierce the skin like in the oven method.
  2. Place the potato on a microwave safe plate and cook on high for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the potato over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until soft when poked with a fork. Depending on the potato’s size, it may take up to 15 minutes total.

Baking Potatoes in a Crock Pot

  1. Rub the potatoes with oil and salt, then pierce all over with a fork. Wrapping each one in foil might make them cook a little faster, but it’s not necessary.
  2. Place the potatoes into the slow cooker. It’s fine to stack them slightly, but avoid creating two full layers.
  3. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Overall time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
  4. Once they’re done, remove from the slow cooker, or keep on warm setting until ready to serve.
Slow Cooker Tip

To create crispy skin on crock pot baked potatoes, place them under a broiler or on the grill for a few minutes.

Baked Potatoes in the Instant Pot

  1. Add 1 cup of cold water to the inner pot and place the wire trivet inside.
  2. Pierce the potatoes with a fork and set on top of the trivet. Cook up to 8 at a time, or up to 6 if they’re extra large.
  3. Seal the Instant Pot and manually set to high pressure cooking. Use 12 minutes for small potatoes, 14 minutes for medium, and 18 minutes for extra large.
  4. After cooking, perform a Natural Pressure Release. The pin near the vent valve will drop when it’s safe to open the lid and remove the potatoes.
Instant Pot Tip

Every Instant Pot is slightly different and potatoes are different sizes, so you may find you have to adjust the cooking time. If pressure cooker baked potatoes aren’t fully cooked, just place them back in the Instant Pot and cook for a few more minutes.

Air Fried Baked Potatoes 

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Coat potatoes with oil and salt, then pierce the skin to allow steam to escape. 
  3. Place in the air fryer and cook for 40-50 minutes, or until tender.
Air Fryer Tip

Depending on the size of your air fryer, you can make up to four air fry baked potatoes at a time. To prevent soggy skin, avoid over filling the basket.

a baked potato on a plate with a fork

Make it a meal

This staple side dish is perfect with so may of your favorite meals. Here are some dinner ideas!

Steak supper

Chicken dinner

Meatloaf meal

Seafood feast

Baked Potato Recipes

Now that you know how to make baked potatoes, choose your favorite method to make one of these recipes:

Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Everyone loves a classic baked potato, but they are even better stuffed with broccoli and cheese, then topped with more melted cheddar cheese.
Check out this recipe
Four Broccoli Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes on a rectangular serving dish.
Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes
A fun and easy twist on a classic recipe with a simple beef and vegetable filling for stuffed baked potatoes.
Check out this recipe
Shepherds Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes with a side salad
Tuna Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes
Whip up these 5-Ingredient Tuna Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes in less than 30 minutes when you need a quick, easy meal that the kids will love!
Check out this recipe
a baked potato on a plate with a fork

How to Make Baked Potatoes 5 Ways

Learn how to make baked potatoes in the oven, microwave, crock pot, Instant Pot, or air fryer. Here are instructions for all 5 methods!
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes

Instructions

Making baked potatoes

  • Use a vegetable brush and cool water to wash them. Remove any blemishes with a paring knife, then use paper toweling to pat them dry.
  • Bake potatoes using the cooking method of your choosing.
  • Use a knife to slice the potato lengthwise down the middle. Using your hands to hold both ends of the potato, press inward toward the center to open and fluff the insides.

Baked potatoes in the oven

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  • Use your clean hands to rub olive oil and kosher salt evenly over the surface of the potatoes.
  • Using a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the skin in several different places of the potato. This allows steam to escape so the skin doesn’t burst during cooking.
  • Place the potatoes on the center rack of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.

Baked potatoes in the microwave

  • Pierce the skin like in the oven method.
  • Place the potato on a microwave safe plate and cook on high for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the potato over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until soft when poked with a fork. Depending on the potato’s size, it may take up to 15 minutes total.

Baked potatoes in a slow cooker

  • Rub the potatoes with oil and salt, then pierce all over with a fork. Wrapping each one in foil might make them cook a little faster, but it’s not necessary.
  • Place the potatoes into the slow cooker. It’s fine to stack them slightly, but avoid creating two full layers.
  • Cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Overall time will depend on the size of your potatoes.
  • Once they’re done, remove from the slow cooker, or keep on warm setting until ready to serve.
  • To create crispy skin on crock pot baked potatoes, place them under a broiler or on the grill for a few minutes.

Baked potatoes in the Instant Pot

  • Add 1 cup of cold water to the inner pot and place the wire trivet inside.
  • Pierce the potatoes with a fork and set on top of the trivet. Cook up to 8 at a time, or up to 6 if they’re extra large.
  • Seal the Instant Pot and manually set to high pressure cooking. Use 12 minutes for small potatoes, 14 minutes for medium, and 18 minutes for extra large.
  • After cooking, perform a Natural Pressure Release. The pin near the vent valve will drop when it’s safe to open the lid and remove the potatoes.
  • If pressure cooker baked potatoes aren’t fully cooked, just place them back in the Instant Pot and cook for a few more minutes.

Baked potatoes in the air fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • Coat potatoes with oil and salt, then pierce the skin to allow steam to escape.
  • Place in the air fryer and cook for 40-50 minutes, or until tender.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Baked Potatoes 5 Ways
Amount Per Serving (1 potato)
Calories 168 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 11mg0%
Potassium 888mg25%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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