How To Make The Perfect Baked Potato: The Best Microwave, Oven, Grill and Crockpot Instructions

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Baked potatoes are the perfect side dish. They go well with steak, chicken and fish. You can put A LOT of different things on them. Lastily, they are easy to make. The perfect baked potato can come from the microwave, oven, grill or crockpot.

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Baked potato with butter and sour cream

Types of potatoes

While there are quite a few different types of potatoes, there are only a few that are commonly used in most American recipes. All 3 grow in the ground, and all 3 are delicious.


  • Large, brown potatoes
  • Great for baked and mashed potatoes and french fries
  • Make wonderful twice baked potatoes

Red Gold


  • Medium, reddish-orange skinned potato with an orange center
  • Delicious as fries, mashed or baked
baked potato with butter and cheese

Frequently asked questions and other tips and tricks for the perfect baked potato

Why do you poke holes in a potato prior to cooking it?

Potatoes, no matter the variety, are full of moisture. Because science is taught in elementary school, we all should know what happens to moisture when it gets hot.

We should also know what happens to moisture when it gets hot and has nowhere to go.

(In case you missed that day of science class, moisture creates steam when heated and steam creates pressure.)

Poking holes in your potato ensures that the steam escapes where you want it to, instead of exploding your entire potato.

Aluminum foil and baked potatoes.

You NEVER, NEVER, EVER put aluminum foil in the microwave. I shouldn’t have to say it, but some people are the reason “hot beverage” warnings are written on disposable coffee cups.

For microwave varieties, just skip the foil. Poke some holes in your tater and use the “potato” setting on your microwave, if it’s available. If not, I find that about 5 minutes for one potato will get the job done.

For the oven variety, you SHOULD NOT wrap you tater in foil.

Moisture needs to escape the potato while it’s cooking. If you wrap it in foil, you make the escaped moisture sink right bake into the skin, leaving your skin soft and mushy instead of crispy.

Grilled potatoes DO require some foilage, however. This is because foil allows the potato to heat up slowly, but also keeps heat in, allowing for even cooking throughout the potato.

Same with crockpot potatoes. Cook those in foil.

How do you know when a potato is done baking?

A potato is done baking when the internal temperature is 205-215 degrees F. You can check by using a good meat thermometer like this one.

Baked Potatoes in the Microwave

  1. Wash it and allow it to dry completely
  2. Poke with holes
  3. Bake for 5 minutes. If it isn’t done, increase time by 1 minute increments until internal temp of 205-215 degrees F reached or it feels soft.
  4. Open and eat immediately.

Baked Potatoes in the Oven

  1. Wash it and allow it to dry completely
  2. Poke it with holes
  3. Bake it for 350 degrees for 90 minutes. If you’re in a time crunch, you can increase the temp to 450 degrees for 60 minutes. DO NOT GO ABOVE THIS TEMP or you will ruin your tater.
  4. The poatto is done with it is soft or when an internal temp of approximately 210 degrees F is reached.
  5. Open and eat immediately.
potatoes wrapped in foil on grill

Baking potatoes on the Grill

  1. Wash your tater and dry completely
  2. Poke it with holes
  3. Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil
  4. Bake on the indirect heat side of the grill for 60 minutes. Rotate halfway through so the potatoes farther away can be moved closer
  5. At 60 minutes, move to the direct heat side of the grill for 1-2 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes
  6. It’s done when it’s 201 to 215 degrees F.
  7. Cut open immediately and eat.

Baked Potatoes in the Crockpot

  1. Wash it and dry it completely
  2. Wrap it in foil
  3. Bake on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Done at 210 degrees F or when soft.

A few additional words on Baked potatoes

Leave the butter/oil and the salt/pepper on the skin for AFTER they are done baking.

Have you ever had bacon on a sweet potato?

If you are cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll want to add an additional 15 minutes to your baking time.

If you’re in a time crunch with grilled potatoes (or you forget you need to frill them for an hour), you can cook them in the microwave for 5 minutes and then grill for about 10.

If you’re in the mood to find an amazing main dish to make with your perfect baked potato, I suggest you start here.

Things I Use to make the Perfect Baked Potato

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