Can you bake potatoes without foil? Yes, you can (and should)! Making a baked potato without foil leads to spuds that have crispy, well-seasoned skin and gorgeously soft and fluffy insides. Serve with butter, sour cream, and chives for a simple side dish that pairs well with any weeknight meal.
If you grew up thinking a properly cooked baked potato must be wrapped in aluminum foil, I'm here to set the record straight.
In reality, a foil baked potato is far inferior to a baked potato without foil. When cooked in aluminum foil, the potato actually steams instead of bakes. And steaming results in soggy skin and a moister, less fluffy interior.
For a truly perfect baked potato, we're going to brush the skin with a little olive oil and season it generously with kosher salt. Then, we bake it directly on the oven rack for a crispy exterior all the way around.
Made with only 3 ingredients, this easy baked potato recipe is the perfect side dish for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy Prep- Just scrub, poke, and season your way to baked potato perfection.
- Only 3 Ingredients- Get fancy if you fancy, but a basic baked potato only needs a little olive oil and salt.
- No Equipment Needed- Baking potatoes directly on the oven rack means no equipment to clean up.
- Crispy Skin- The oil-coated potato skin crisps up beautifully in the oven.
- Fluffy Inside- Aluminum foil traps steam. By not wrapping the potatoes in foil, steam can escape, leading to a fluffier baked potato.
What is the Best Potato for Baking?
When it comes to baked potatoes, not all spuds are created equal.
Russet potatoes are the best type of potato for baking. They're full of starch, which gives them a fluffy texture when baked. And their skin gets perfectly crispy in the oven.
When choosing your russet potatoes for baking, look for ones that are evenly colored and blemish-free. Potatoes with a green hue or sprouting eyes should be avoided. These discolored potatoes are called "light-struck" potatoes. They contain higher levels of solanine, a chemical compound that can be toxic to humans when eaten in large amounts.
Also, give the potatoes a squeeze at the grocery store. They should be firm with no soft spots or wrinkles.
Here are some notes on key ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Russet Potatoes- Large and starchy, russet potatoes are the classic baking potato. Choose potatoes that are roughly the same size for even cooking.
- Olive Oil- Coat the whole potato in olive oil to help the skin get deliciously crispy in the oven.
- Kosher Salt- Use coarse kosher salt or sea salt for perfectly seasoned baked potatoes.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make perfect baked potatoes without foil.
Step 1: Scrub the potatoes clean. Preheat the oven to 425°F and position the oven rack in the middle position. Using a potato scrubber, clean the skin of each potato under cool, running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel and prick several holes in the potato using a fork.
Step 2: Season the potatoes. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, being sure to coat all of the skin.
Step 3: Bake the potatoes. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack, leaving a bit of space between each one. Bake potatoes for 45-60 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a knife. Cut the potatoes open and serve with your favorite toppings.
Tips for Success
- Make sure the potatoes are all similar sizes. Choosing potatoes that are similar in size and shape will ensure they're all cooked through around the same time.
- Use a baking sheet to keep your oven clean. Place a baking sheet on the oven rack below your baked potatoes. The baking sheet will catch any potato drippings while still allowing them to cook directly on the oven rack.
- Massage the potato before cutting it open. Giving the potato a quick massage before cutting it open helps mash the insides up. Then, when you cut it open, it will be extra fluffy and ready for a pat of butter.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can customize these baked potatoes without foil to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Russet Potatoes- For a classic baked potato without foil, russets are an absolute must. However, you can bake other types of potatoes if you prefer. Try Yukon Gold or red bliss potatoes for a creamier, less fluffy baked potato.
- Olive Oil- Any high-heat oil with a relatively neutral flavor can work well. Swap the olive oil for avocado oil, walnut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or vegetable oil.
- Kosher Salt- I use kosher salt because I always have it on hand. But, you can use any type of coarse, flaky salt.
- Black Pepper- Add a little freshly ground black pepper to the outside of your potato for a delicious salt and pepper baked potato.
- Herbed- Mix dried herbs in with your coarse salt for an herbed baked potato. Try Italian seasoning, oregano, chives, or thyme.
- Smoky- Season the baked potato skin with a little smoked paprika and cumin for a smoky variation.
- Garlic- A little garlic powder mixed in with the salt really gives these baked potatoes a flavor boost.
What to Serve with Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes are the perfect side dish. But, they also are delicious all on their own, especially when dressed up with fun and tasty toppings. Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve baked potatoes.
- Roasted Chicken
- Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
- Baked Chicken Wings
- Grilled Chicken, Grilled Steak, or Old Bay Grilled Shrimp
- Pot Roast
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Pulled Pork
- Braised Turkey Breast
- Parmesan-Crusted Halibut
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Beef and Bean Chili
- Turkey Burgers
- Butter (try this homemade pesto butter)
- Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- Cheddar Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Bacon or Bacon Bits
- Broccoli or Cauliflower
- Baked Beans
- Caramelized Onions
- Garlic Salt
How to Use Up Leftovers
Make too many baked potatoes for dinner? No worries! Baked potatoes are super versatile and easy to use up. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use leftover baked potatoes.
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Loaded Potato Skins
- Corned Beef Hash
- Potato Salad
- Potato Soup
- Breakfast Casserole or Burrito
- Potato & Cheese Frittata
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Refrigerator- According to the USDA, cooked potatoes that have been properly refrigerated are safe to eat for 3-4 days. Allow the potatoes to cool before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Freezer- Cool any leftover baked potatoes completely before wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil. Then, place them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and freeze them for up to 8 months.
How to Reheat
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Take the leftover baked potatoes out of the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature. Then, bake them directly on the oven rack for 15-20 minutes or until fully heated through.
- Stovetop- Add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to a skillet and warm over medium-low heat. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and place them cut-side down in the skillet. Cover the skillet with a lid. Reheat the potatoes for 3-4 minutes or until fully warmed through and crispy.
- Microwave- Cut a leftover baked potato in half and add a pat of butter for moisture. Microwave the potato on half power (50%) for 3-4 minutes or until heated through.
- Air Fryer- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 2-3 minutes. Then, place the baked potatoes in a single layer in the air fryer basket, being careful not to overcrowd them. Reheat for 4-8 minutes or until warmed through.
Baked potatoes are great for meal prepping because you can make a bunch of them without a lot of extra effort. Make baked potatoes up to 3 days ahead of time. Then, reheat them in the oven for the freshest taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
Contrary to popular belief, wrapping potatoes in aluminum foil does not make them cook faster. In fact, a wrapped potato may take slightly longer since the aluminum foil has to heat up first.
Yes, it's always a good idea to poke a few holes in your potatoes before baking. The holes allow steam to escape so the potato doesn't explode in the oven. It also gives the potato a fluffier interior.
It varies. Russet potatoes baked at 425°F can take anywhere from 45-60 minutes depending on the size. I find that large russet potatoes take about 60 minutes to bake.
Yes, an overcooked potato will be hard, dry, and difficult to eat. A perfectly baked potato will register around 210°F in the center using a meat thermometer.
Yes, if you're short on time, microwaving potatoes is a possibility. But, the skin will not be crispy and the insides will not be as fluffy as a regular baked potato. To microwave, scrub the potatoes clean and poke holes in the skin. Microwave on high for 5 minutes per side for a total of 10 minutes.
More Potato Recipes
- Herbed Potato Salad
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Air Fryer Fingerling Potatoes
- Parmesan Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli
- 4-Ingredient Potato Soup
Baked Potatoes Without Foil
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and position the oven rack in the middle position. Using a potato scrubber, clean the skin of each potato under cool, running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel and prick several holes in the potato using a fork.4 large russet potatoes
- Brush the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, being sure to coat all of the skin.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack, leaving a bit of space between each one. Bake potatoes for 45-60 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a knife. Cut the potatoes open and serve with your favorite toppings.
- Quick Tip: Choose potatoes that are roughly the same size for even baking.
- Storage: Keep leftover baked potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze them for up to 8 months.