(Sloooow) Baked Potatoes ♥ How Long to Bake a Baked Potato

A sloooow-baked potato, soft and nutty
The accepted practice is to bake potatoes for an hour. But here's how long to bake a baked potato if you want it to be nutty and soft: three hours, yes, that's no typo, it really is 'three' hours. The skin and flesh are both completely delicious when slow-baked for a long time. Read on.

The pregnant pause. I've learned to wait expectantly (ahem) when it occurs in a conversation with my friend Anne, who just happens to own Kitchen Conservatory, St. Louis' great kitchen store (bakers, especially, check out the great selection of hard-to-find cake pans and baking ingredients) and cooking school. You see, she's got big ideas about food that are some times contrary to conventional wisdom: I always learn something. Take the latest lesson, how to make the best baked potatoes.

Her father married late in life. [An addendum from Anne: 'The reason that fact is important is because he ate 3 meals out for 20 years so never wanted to eat out again. His restaurant experience meant he was also suspicious of sauces and believed that all food must be indentifiable. Mashed potatoes are not identifiable, they might have come from a box! A baked potato is.'] So one of the great benefits of a family was home-cooked food. In a Father-Knows-Best way, he insisted on a baked potato every single night, not just a wimpy or soggy foil-wrapped baked potato, mind you, but a slow-baked potato, one baked in the oven for three hours.

Yes, three hours. The family kitchen even housed a special oven, just for baking potatoes for Father & Family.

This may be the easiest vegetable you ever make. Just rub Idaho potatoes with olive oil, then pop into a 350F oven for three hours. The hardest thing about these baked potatoes? Not snatching one from the oven about half-way through, when the potato aroma throughout the house will begin to tempt ...

A potato baked for a single hour, just look at the texture differenceBut it's worth the wait! Once the full three hours has passed, dig into creamy-smooth and nutty-roasted flesh that can be 'mashed' with a fork right there in the skin. And the skins? Oh my, the skins! They're stiff and crackly and completely delicious.

To contrast, compare the two photos. The top photo is the three-hour baked potato -- doesn't it look good?! The texture of the one-hour potato (below) is entirely blotchy, the skin looks positively raw. What a difference! If the photos don't persuade you, let your own side-by-side potato-baking and potato-tasting!

(SLOOOOW) BAKED POTATOES

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 3 hours
Serves -- well, you decide

1 russet potato, scrubbed well, rubbed with olive oil

Set oven to 350F. Place potatoes directly on the oven rack. There's no need to prick the potatoes, at least in my experience (just twice). If you do prick them, place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any juices. Bake for 3 hours. Remove from the oven, slice open pole to pole with a knife.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
For baking, choose a russet potato, some times called an 'Idaho potato' (which is actually a brand name for potatoes grown in Idaho along the lines of Parmesan Reggiano). It's a so-called 'mealy' potato' with relatively thick, brown and rough skin. It's high in starch and low in moisture so perfect for creating fluffy potato texture.
With any luck, the skin will be without blemishes but if there are rough spots, slice them off with a knife then proceed the same; I baked one potato that had an open cut and it baked just fine.



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MORE FAVORITE POTATO RECIPES
~ How to Roast Potatoes to Perfection ~
~ Rosemary Potatoes ~
~ Best-Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans ~
~ more potato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Those Pink Potatoes ~
~ Mashed Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli ~
~ more potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column


Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007

47 comments:

Fascinating! This goes directly into the "I learn something new every day" pile; I will have to try this method. After all, I'm in slow-cooking mode now, with all the tomatoes going in and out of my oven.

This is indeed fascinating,Alanna! And I thought that 1-hour baked potato was top notch!? :)

Three hours? And the potatoes don't shrivel up and dry out? Maybe the hardest thing about these potatoes is remembering to turn on the oven soon enough for dinner.

Three hours may seem like a long time, but you can't rush perfection. I love potatoes, as any good Irish girl should.

I've baked potatoes like this for about 2 hours and they are unbelievably good. I like to sprinkle a little kosher salt around the skin after the olive oil.

This is a wonderful story, Alanna, and I will try it. Thank you for going further in your description of the potatoes to use, because I was a bit lost with Idaho, not having that nomenclature here, but I do understand which ones here are the mealy potatoes.

These sound like the perfect excuse to hang out in a warm kitchen all afternoon as cooler fall weather approaches!

I like a proper baked potato Alanna and am definitely going to try the sloooow baked way. Thanks for sharing that and your friend Anne too.

Ooooo....Annabel would love these. She begged me to make baked potatoes the other day...and I guess it's been a while, because they tasted wonderful.
I'll definitely try this method.

Thanks for this, Alanna. It reminds me of campfire potatoes I used to make. I'd thinly slice a potato but not all the way through so that I could fan it out. I put it on a sheet of foil, stuck onion slices and little bits of butter (or oil) in between the slices and then sprinkled with salt and pepper. Then, I'd wrap the potato in the foil and then wrap it another sheet of foil. Set on the edge of a campfire (or grill), it can go for hours while you set up the rest of your camp, made dinner, chased bears, whatever. After three hours, it was more like dessert.

Sooo good, Alanna. No wonder they're so creamy and nutty - the long, slow cooking seems to almost caramalize them. Cooking them so far ahead of time makes one less thing to do when rushing to make dinner.

This reminds me of a line from a comedy routine by mitch hedberg where he says something to the effet of "sometimes, i just throw a baked potato in the oven, even if i don't want one, cause those things take forever. i may not want one now, but by the time it's done, who knows?"

It's so true.

Was it your recipe to bake potatoes for three hrs at 350 degrees after coating with olive oil? If so, it was magnificent. I had to try this method and now will not do it any other way. In fact didn't need to prick the spuds either. I was absolutely amazed.

How intriguing! The best part of a baked potato, to me, has always been a nicely crisped skin.

This went straight into my de.li.ci.ious, and I can't wait to try it out!

oh dear. i've been known to bake potatoes for an hour and a half at 400 degrees, which results in a similar texture. gah! it's 6 am, and i want a baked potato!

Well hello Dragon Knitter - So pizza's okay for breakfast, why not a baked potato?! PS I'm honored for a knit-one-purl-one blogger to visit!

I do this often...I cook pork shoulder roasts about once a week. Not veggie I know, but my husband is quite carnivorous. Rub the pork roast with olive oil, kosher salt, and cracked pepper. Put on bottom rack. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on top rack.

Close the door and read blogs for 2.5 hours. Make a salad, pull everthing else out of the oven, and impress your friends and loved ones with that dinner you worked sooooo hard on.

You were sooooooooo right. I made these last night. Cutting into them was amazing--the outside was crisp, and then the inside felt like butter on the knife. Delicious. I salted them with kosher salt when I put the oil on them. I'll post about it soon!

Yay ~ another convert. No-Knead Bread, move over, it's 2007!!

MMMmm... just tried these for the first time today, and they were wonderful! :) Thank you! :)

You need to prick it to prevent steam from building up and causing the potato to explode in your oven.

Hi MatchDancer ~ I know that's the conventional wisdom but I've made these unpricked a half dozen times without an explosion. And it occurs to me that pricking the potatoes would release all the moisture and they just might wither up in the oven so long.

I have just two questions before I try this - a 1/4 pound potato cooks as long as a 1 pound potato?
Also, approximately what size potato do you recommend?

Thanks,
Lin

Hi Lin, The only potatoes I can buy are a good half pound in weight, so I can't answer your question with experience, only intuition. If you can find smaller potatoes (good for portion management), I would check them after two hours, then decide how to proceed. But you might also considering buying the larger potatoes, then cutting them into pieces for smaller servings AFTER baking. Let me know, I think you'll love these!

I made these Sunday nite. Hubby thought they were the best baked potato he'd ever eaten. Thanks,
-Lin

Oh yes, slow roasted potatoes are a marvel, but one need not heat up an oven for 3 hours. Take the big russet potatoes, rub them in oil, and stand them up on end, in a big crock pot, and turn it on for the entire day while you're gone. Trust me, they'll be baked throughly with the same crackly crust!

We are giving a party tonight here in Basel, Switzerland and your slow cooked baked potato is featured on the menu.

It saves so much last-minute-stress.

Thank you for the recipe.

GrĂ¼ss

Alanna, I tried this tonight. Oh my goodness. Normally, I bake potatoes for an hour. Recently we ate at a steakhouse in Leadville that served only 2 things - a filet mignon and a baked potato (oh, and salad and bread). The baked potato was so creamy I wanted to eat more! So tonight, using my rv's oven, I tried doing them your way - and they were perfect! Oh so creamy and not mealy/dry at all. And the skins! I'm glad I baked extras - so in the morning I'll cut them up and fry in a little butter and top with some fried eggs. Heaven. Thanks so much. (I can't believe your father ate baked potatoes every single night!)

Yay - another convert. This vacation business is good for you!

DARN, but still safe! I am planning on cooking 20 potatoes for a large group this weekend...hoping I can cram all 20 in an oven at once. I did a test run tonight, 3 hrs was too long...but when I went back to read some blogs...I realized I only used a 1/2 lb. instead of a 1lb. OH, but it was still good...just a little to crunchy. :) Have you ever cooked 20 at once????

Twenty! My. Goodness. I'm so glad you did a test run. And I'm so envious for finding half-pound potatoes. Good luck with your party!

I love perfectly baked potatoes and was excited to read your recipe. I did however, have one question for you: I have 9 LARGE (Costco ) Idaho potatoes and want to cook them all at one time for dinner tomorrow night. Should I cook them all in one oven or split them up into two ovens? How much time should be added if cooking 9 or 5 potatoes at a time? I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to a perfect potato and fabulous steak tomorrow!!!!

In Gratitude,

Hi Teresa ~ Oh you have SUCH a treat ahead! The truth is that I don't 'know' the answers to your questions. My instinct says, however, to make sure they potatoes are at room temperature before starting. So long as there's plenty of room for air circulation, the potatoes should do fine in the same oven. I wouldn't put them on trays, however, instead bake them right onto the oven racks. I might put also put the potatoes on two levels and swap racks midway through.

Hope this helps -- clearly I need to do a little more testing! Darn.

Will this work with a Yukon Gold potato? If not, what should I change about the recipe for that kind of potato? The reason I ask is that's what I have on hand and don't feel like buying anything new until I use these Yukons. Thanks!

Hi Chris,

Yukon golds are not a 'mealy' potato like an Idaho so have considerably more moisture. I do think that the slow-baking process will work (though would check them after 90 minutes, then decide whether/how long to continue baking), just that the wonderful mealiness turned creamy won't occur.

Let me know how it goes!

I just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who might be baking a large batch of these--

Last xmas, I convinced my mom to do an ovenful of these potatoes (about 15, I think), and they smoked up the entire house. Yeek! Though this provided some fabulous entertainment at the expense of my pride (sniff), it was not exactly appetizing. I would recommend that any large-batch baking be broken up into smaller batches.

Still, I love love love this recipe. Am off to cook some potatoes for tonight--but only 4!

Do you think this would work with sweet potatoes? Thanks!

~M ~ You know, I don't think so, I have the idea that they'd just shrivel up. But it's worth a try, maybe side by side, just in case? I'd check them after 30 minutes, then every 15 minutes til you know they're done, pushing the limits if you're up for it.

My own favorite recipes for sweet potatoes right now are Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots and the Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle. Yum!

Mine are in the oven right now! But since I had olive oil all over my hands, I added a teaspoon of salt and rubbed it all over them. Rinse (no soap) and pat dry, and oh my! Better than an expensive spa treatment.

Thanks! I stumbled across this page while looking for potato-cooking times and decided to try the three-hour version. (Here's what mine came out like, by the way: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_gibson/6332814772/ ) :D

I LOVE potatoes... ALL potatoes!I will try these tonight, and I can not wait! My goal is to copy a recipe that I had at a restaurant, and these sound like the perfect base! Baked potatoes stuffed with other roasted veggies, then topped with cheese. Thanks for the ideas!

It feels silly to ask this, but do you wrap in foil or just place on rack after rubbing with oil? Your instructions above don't reference foil.

Lisa ~ No foil! You don't want the potatoes to steam!

Wow! I wasn't even sure you would respond at all, and certainly not so quickly. Thanks!

Lucky break, for me, Lisa, to see the message right away, especially because spam comments are coming in every five or ten minutes so some times the legit ones are accidentally overlooked until I sit down at the computer. I hope you love the potatoes, they are sooo good!

Have you ever tried this method with a sweet potato or yam?

Marni ~ I haven’t tried a sweet potato but somehow think that two or three hours would be a looong time for a sweet potato, maybe because of the less-dense texture? If you try it, let me know!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna