The Easiest Way To Tell If You've Overbaked Potatoes

Why spend time peeling, cutting, or mashing potatoes when you can just throw them in the oven whole and call it a day? That's the beauty of a baked potato. All it needs is a little bit of salt and olive oil on its exterior, as well as a few pricks with a fork so steam can release. Then, the waiting game begins. About one hour or so in the oven is the standard time for baking whole potatoes, but sometimes, overbaking happens.

Life gets in the way, and even the best chefs and home cooks forget about those poor spuds in the oven. Now you can certainly use a thermometer to gauge whether or not the potato is way past that fully cooked stage (Idaho Potato states that a potato is fully baked at a 210 Fahrenheit internal temperature), but there's another way to spot an overbaked potato, and all you'll need are your own two eyes.

Look for these visual clues on a potato

Idaho Potato states that wrinkled potato skin is a surefire sign that the poor spud has been baking in the oven for too long. Substitute Cooking adds that the texture of a potato's skin will become dry and crusty rather than crispy with a golden-brown hue (per Bon Appétit).

Idaho Potato also suggests looking for a dark brown spot near the bottom of the potato (this goes for the potatoes wrapped in foil or baked directly on a sheet pan).

To avoid an overbaked potato, Substitute Cooking states that an hour and 15 minutes should be your maximum baking time. This is also due to a process known as carryover cooking, which, according to grilling blog Napoleon, is when foods continue to rise in temperature when resting away from the heat source. Thus, if baked potatoes are left in the oven for more than an hour and 15 minutes, they will likely reach an overbaked stage when resting out of the oven, leading to both dry potato skin and dry "meat" inside.

So if a baked potato presents itself as a possible overbaked problem in the future, be sure to look for dark brown spots or wrinkled skin as visual clues. And if it's not too overbaked, we suggest scarfing it down anyway.