Why You Should Be Baking Yukon Gold Potatoes

If you've had a baked potato sometime in recent memory, then odds are that you ate a baked Russet potato. This wouldn't be considered odd, as the Russet potato is the type most commonly used for a baked potato (also known as a jacket potato across the pond in the U.K.).

The reason that the Russet is so popular is that the skin crisps up nicely in the oven, and the interior, which is higher in starch, comes out fluffy after baking. Baked potato purists might tell you that a Russet or fellow high-starch potato like the Idaho potato are the only ways to go when serving spuds steakhouse-style — but if you want to be a baked potato renegade, there is another option. 

In November 2020, Martha Stewart posted a picture on her Instagram profile showing her baked potato lunch, and she chose to break tradition and bake another kind of potato — the Yukon. If you're looking to switch up your spuds, it may be a great alternative that still delivers tasty results. 

Yukon potatoes are creamier and fluffier in texture when baked

Traditionally, the Yukon Gold potato is not used for baking. You are for more likely to encounter this type of potato when making mashed potatoes or potatoes au gratin. When baking a Russet or other traditional potato, it's preferred to bake low and slow, but if you're pressed for time, you can cook them for 45 to 60 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit or even 450 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you decide to bake a non-traditional potato like the Yukon, you'll need to carve out at least an hour and a half to achieve the desired result. 

What makes the Yukon a great alternative for baking is its creamy texture compared to Russets — it just needs to be cooked at a lower temperature at a slower pace. Prepare the Yukon gold like you would a Russet, pricking it a few times so it can vent steam, then place it directly on the oven rack and cook it for 90 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If your potato is a smaller size, check it after an hour. You're looking for crispy skin and a creamy yet fluffy interior. Once you pull it out of the oven, enjoy your baked Yukon with all your favorite toppings like butter, sour cream, chives, shredded cheese, and bacon bits.