Things You'll Need
Fork or wooden skewer
A baked potato, with its crispy outer skin and fluffy interior, can be eaten as a side dish or take center stage as the main component of a meal. Digging into a potato with a hard, undercooked middle can be unappetizing. Ensure your potato is fully cooked before topping it with butter, sour cream, chives, chili, cheese or any of your favorites.
Scrub, rinse and pierce your potato three or four times with a fork. This will release steam so the potato doesn't explode in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the potato directly on the oven rack and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. A convection oven will need a slightly shorter time to bake the potato.
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Pierce the potato with a fork or wooden skewer in the last five minutes of baking time. The fork should slide through the center easily, an indication the potato is tender in the middle. If you encounter resistance, allow the potato to cook five to 10 minutes longer.
Take the internal temperature of the potato. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the potato. When done, the interior should read 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gently squeeze the potato at the middle. Wear an oven mitt or potholder to avoid burned fingers. If the center gives easily under pressure, the potato is done.
For a soft skin, brush your potato with melted butter or olive oil before baking. You can also roll the potato in salt and herbs after the butter for added flavor. Obtain a crustier skin by raising the heat in your oven by 25 degrees and reducing the baking time by 15 minutes. Large potatoes can take up to 15 minutes longer to bake than smaller potatoes