My Secret To Making Baked Potatoes in Half the Time

Try this trick for baked potatoes that are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

It’s hard work for any parent to keep their children fed and happy, and my mom was no exception. She had three daughters to keep sated, all with their own dietary preferences. One daughter was vegetarian and then wasn’t, another became vegetarian but didn’t really eat veggies. Then there was me, the youngest and picky for no good reason. One of the few things I did eat? Meat.

Bless her. My mom made it work with the help of some backbone carbs—rice, pasta, and potatoes. We regularly ate baked potatoes because it was one of the few things we could all agree on and that filled us up. She could bake up several, provide different toppings (my sister enjoyed hers with a blanket of A1 sauce, even though she was the vegetarian), and call it a day.

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Later, when it was just her and me and our schedules became busier—me with extracurriculars and an after-school job and her with multiple jobs (again, bless her)—time was of the essence. She didn’t need to feed as many hungry mouths, but dinner had to happen at lightning speed.

This is when my mom transitioned our weekly baked potatoes to the microwave. She would start them there, shrinking the cook time down considerably, then finish them in the oven. Not only could you not tell they were microwaved, they were better. It’s now the only way I make a baked potato.

Start the Potatoes in the Microwave

The obvious reason is speed. It is so much faster it’s ridiculous. Baking a potato can take an hour, while microwaving takes about 10 minutes.

An equally good reason is this method produces a superior baked potato. A long time in the oven can often dry out the interior of a potato, but not so with the microwave. It steams the interior of the potato, keeping it moist and fluffy. After microwaving, a quick trip in a high-heat oven gives the spud crispy skin and extra flavor.

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

How To Make the Perfect Baked Potato

The simple process is outlined in Nick Evan’s excellent microwave baked potato recipe, but do not skip the oven step. A thin coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt before transferring to the oven crisps the skin and gives the potato great flavor.

This trick is also flexible—sometimes I microwave the potato until it’s fully cooked and just crisp it in the oven. Other times I microwave it until it’s about half or a third done (five to seven minutes) and finish in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Both produce a delicious baked potato.

If you're making more than one baked potato, you can cook up to three or four potatoes at a time (depending on the size of your potatoes and microwave). You'll just need to add about a minute of cook time per additional potato.

Get Recipe: Microwave Baked Potato

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.