The Temperature You Should Never Exceed For Good Baked Potatoes

There is an element of impatience when it comes to baked potatoes. So, why not just put the oven at the highest possible temperature and cook them in a matter of minutes instead of a few hours? Well, there are a number of reasons not to do this, the most important being you don't want a burnt spud. In order to achieve that proper bake, there is a temperature range that you definitely shouldn't exceed if you want crisp and fluffy baked potatoes.

Setting your oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended temperature threshold when baking your tubers for around 45 minutes. This temperature will bake them quicker without running the risk of burning them, so long as you're paying attention. Now, you could extend your heat up to 500 degrees, but that opens you up to much more risk where burning is concerned. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, the skins could become overly browned, potentially charred, and very dry. This may be all well and good if you're hoping to make stuffed potato skins, but for a baked potato it's too overdone.

Lower temps make for perfect baked potatoes

While 450 degrees Fahrenheit certainly gets you quicker baked potatoes, the spuds work best at lower temperatures for longer periods of time. They're almost like tougher cuts of beef in that sense. The heat needs time to work its way into the center of the potato, while also not overcooking the outer skin. This is also one of the reasons you should put tubers directly on the oven grates or on a wire rack so the heat can circulate around the entire vegetable. 

A classic baked potato is going to take at least 90 minutes to cook properly if you have the heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is far gentler, and therefore far more forgiving. This is helpful because if you find that the spuds aren't quite finished, you can just pop them back in the oven for a few more minutes without worrying too much about them burning. 

Overall, you'll be more rewarded for your patience by keeping the heat on the lower side. It's the best way to ensure lightly crispy skin and a pillowy interior. Obviously, if time is of the essence, jack the heat up to 450, but be sure to keep a watchful eye on the oven. Leaving them at that temperature for too long will yield burnt, cracked, and dry baked potatoes.