To my mind, a Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without a plate of delicious baked potatoes. This vegetarian-friendly (and healthy!) baked potato recipe requires only simple ingredients and a few minutes in the oven. It results in perfect potatoes with crisp skins and fluffy, creamy interiors full of cheese and broccoli. These flavorful potatoes deserve a place on any comfort-food lover’s dinner table or holiday feast!
How to Make a Good Baked Potato
If you’ve started to venture into the world of baked potatoes, your natural first question is probably, “What goes into the perfect baked potato?”
- Choose the right kind of potatoes: for classic baked dishes, russets are the best. Their skins are thick and easily crisp up in the oven. The interiors are fluffy and starchy, making them perfect to pair with extra fillings like cheese and vegetables.
- Prick the skin of the potatoes with a fork before baking them: the skin of the potato traps the water inside it when baked. Small holes in the skin will let enough steam escape to prevent it from splitting while cooking, but still retain enough of the moisture that it doesn’t completely dry out.
- Rub the skin with olive oil: potatoes are most often wrapped in aluminum foil, which can result in soggy interiors. Brushing some olive oil over the potatoes makes the skin crispy while still allowing for a fluffy interior.
- Baking at different temperatures results in different textures: foil-wrapped potatoes are usually baked at 425 °F for about 1 hour. This can result in a soft and tender interior. If you want crisp-skinned potatoes, reduce the heat to 356 °F and bake for about two hours. Slow-baked potatoes are worth the wait.
Are Potatoes Healthy?
Besides being fat-free, cholesterol-free and relatively high in fiber (4 grams per potato), plain potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C and B6. Plus, they’re among the most common filling foods, meaning they can promote a feeling of fullness, and lead to an overall decrease in your calorie intake.
The problem you should keep in mind if you choose to fry potatoes in oil and add salt, however, is that the amount of calories, fat, and sodium will rise significantly as a result. If you want a healthy potato dish, consider healthier cooking methods like baking or steaming.
Some Dishes Go Well with Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes pair wonderfully with savory options like rosemary steak or marinated grilled chicken. If you worry that’s a bit too heavy for a single meal, give our broccoli salad a try. It is fresh, crunchy, and cleans your palate with every bite.
Quick tip: avoid serving baked potatoes with other starchy dishes like pasta or curry.
Baked Potatoes Recipe
- 20 oz russet potatoes 4 small
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1.5 oz baked bacon crumbled
- 1 tbsp scallions chopped
- 1 tsp cilantro chopped
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Use a fork to pierce the skin of each potato in several places. Then rub olive oil onto the skin and sprinkle the potato with salt and pepper.
- Place whole potatoes on the middle rack and bake them at 400°F for 45-60 minutes until the skin feels crisp. Turning the potatoes once or twice while baking. Total cook time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes.
- Let potatoes cool 10 minutes. Then cut each potato open, scoop out the inside. Arrange empty potato shells back on the baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add the potato filling with salt, pepper, Greek yogurt, thyme, scallion, 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese, and 1 oz bacon. Mash filling until smooth.
- Spoon it all back into the potato skins. Top the potatoes with the remaining butter, cheese, and bacon. Return potatoes to the baking sheet and bake at 400°F for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melted.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve while potatoes are still hot.
- Make sure that your potatoes don’t have too many sprouts or a green tinge. Green potato skin can be an indication of solanine, a compound that is poisonous if consumed in large amounts. Simply cutting the green parts off of your potatoes will render them safe to eat.
- Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil if you want to shorten the cooking time.
- The best way to know if your potato is cooked well is to stick a fork into the center. If the fork easily penetrates the potato, it is finished baking.
- Use similar sized potatoes so that they all finish at about the same time.