Baked Potatoes Are Only As Good As The Wire Rack Beneath Them

Piercing the skin, omitting foil, and cooking at the right temperature are key elements that come together for one of the simplest methods of making potatoes. However, your baked potatoes are only really as good as the wire rack beneath them. If you've ever cooked your spuds on a baking tray, you'll likely have noticed some unevenness in the cooking. There will be a hard spot, one that's cooked more than the rest of the potato. This happens because that side is in direct contact with the baking tray and all the heat of the tray is focused onto the bottom of your tubers. 

For the best results, the heat needs to circulate evenly around the potato. A great way to do this is to place them directly on the grates in the oven. But if that makes you uncomfortable, an excellent solution is to simply place a wire rack on your baking sheet. Wire racks are simple tools you can purchase online or in the equipment section of your local grocery store. What the rack does is lift the potatoes off of the baking tray, allowing the heat of the oven and the tray to circulate evenly around the potatoes, thereby baking them evenly.

How to bake potatoes using a wire rack

Any successfully baked potato begins with the correct choice of potato. Russets are the undisputed ruler of the baked potato sphere, but any tuber that is high in starch and relatively low in moisture is going to be the best choice for your bake. Yukon Gold and Kennebec potatoes are also great, all-purpose options. Once your choice of spuds has been rinsed, thoroughly dried, and pierced, you can lay them on the wire rack you've placed within a rimmed baking sheet. 

Next, arrange the potatoes as evenly as you can, making sure to give them ample space between one another in order for the heat to circulate properly. Depending on the size of your spuds, you should be able to fit a decent amount of them on one sheet. If you're cooking for a crowd, you'll likely need to bake your potatoes in batches.

As your tubers bake in the oven, the heat will penetrate every part of them thanks to the application of the wire rack. You can bake potatoes slowly at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour and a half or faster at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. The result should be soft, mildly crispy skins, and a gorgeously pillowy interior. No hard spots, no burning, just all-around baked goodness.