You can’t beat an oven baked jacket potato. Although there are a few ways to cook a jacket potato faster, the only way to get that really fulfilling taste is to take the time to bake it in the oven. I’ve always loved baked potatoes and every time I visit my sister it’s what we have for our main meal of the day. A simple jacket potato, filled with grated cheddar cheese, a (large) side salad and maybe sliced boiled eggs or a three bean mint salad.
How Do You Bake a Potato?
- Wash the skin, give it a good scrub so it’s clean.
- Prick the raw potato with a fork 4-5x – this will allow the steam to escape as it’s cooking.
- Pre-heat your oven to approximately 190°C.
- Place the baked potato either directly on the oven shelf, or in a dish, or on a small piece of foil (your choice); the middle shelf of an oven is best.
- Now sit and wait…. every 30 minutes or so turn the potato so it gets evenly cooked.
- Bake for 1½ to 2 hours. To check it’s done, stick a knife into it all the way to the middle, if it feels like it’s soft inside, it’s cooked… if you’re unsure, just be patient and let it cook a little longer!
- Slice the potato in half, or slit the top into a cross and pull the sides down – depending on how you like your potato to look.
- Add your jacket potato fillings. Eat! As a minimum, a nice knob of butter’s good.
Do You Have to Wrap a Jacket Potato in Foil Before Baking It?
We never wrap the potatoes in foil – there seems to be no point to it. They’re simply pricked with a fork 4-5x, then put into the oven. Sometimes my sister will coat them in oil and sea salt, sometimes not. And that’s all – then it’s the big wait until the potato’s baked and ready to eat! If, for whatever reason, you choose to wrap your potatoes in foil, that’s entirely up to you, it’s just not how we make them.
How Long Do You Bake a Potato For?
Many “recipes” will underestimate how long it takes to bake a potato. I’d say a baked potato in a regular oven at 190°C, with the potato on the middle shelf, you can look at it being 1½ to 2 hours. This is why I so often skimp and cook mine in a microwave oven. But you can’t beat an actual, real, full oven-baked potato as the texture and taste is unique.
What you need is the outside to be baked and crisp, but not burnt – and the inside needs to be soft and fluffy. Check by pressing the point of a knife deep into the middle of the potato to check if it’s cooked or not. There’s no short-cuts, for the best baked potato you simply have to wait for it ….
Jacket Potato Filling Ideas
You can put what you like on a jacket potato, my usual “go to” fillings are based purely on how easy they are and I’ll typically use grated cheese and/or baked beans. Here are some other ideas:
- Plain with butter – we always use Cornish butter, but whatever butter (or margarine) you have in the house!
- Crab cocktail
- Coronation chicken
- Tuna, sweetcorn, mayonnaise
- Bolognese sauce
- Chilli – meat chilli or vegetable chilli. With or without cheese
- Coleslaw – plain, or spicy
- Tuna Melt: tuna and cheddar cheese
- Cooked/crispy bacon and cheese
- Cheese and chopped peppers.
Years ago I used to use a tin of Heinz toast toppers, the chicken curry tins, but you can’t get those any more. Similar products would also work.
Anything goes when it comes to baked potato fillings, it’s a case of what you like, what you’ve got! In the summer you can serve lighter fillings, in the winter you can load up with meaty bolognese style toppings!
Side Salad for Baked Potatoes
If I know I’ll be having baked potatoes today or tomorrow I’ll make up a basic side salad earlier in the day or the day before – storing it ready in the fridge. I tend to make this green salad, then store it in a salad spinner for a quick/easy way to throw it all together and store it with the minimum of washing up!
Can You Freeze Jacket Potatoes?
Yes you can freeze them – just wait for them to cool completely, wrap in foil and put in the freezer. Defrost overnight before baking in an oven, wrapped in foil to keep the moisture in, for 40-45 minutes.
You can microwave your frozen baked potatoes, remove the foil and put your potato in a microwave-safe dish, then microwave on full power (800 watts) for about 5 minutes. Leave the potato to stand for 2 minutes, it’ll carry on cooking during this time. Check it’s hot all the way through. Eat!
You can freeze them with your fillings on too, if your toppings are OK to freeze. e.g. baked beans, cheddar cheese, bolognese, would all be OK. It’s often a good idea to avoid freezing toppings using mayonnaise as the defrosted results aren’t always what you’d expected.