How to make the perfect baked potato

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The humble potato – a true hero of the pantry. As long as there are one or two sizable tubers knocking around your kitchen, you’re never too far away from a thoroughly satisfying meal. These can be enjoyed as a quick snack when you’re short on time and just want something warming in your belly, as a side dish to a main meal or topped with the hearty leftovers from last night’s Bolognese or chilli con carne to form a nutritious dish in their own right. Even a dollop of butter on top can do the job!

There are a number of different ways to cook a baked potato, depending upon personal preference, the facilities at your disposal and the time available to play with. Here are three particular variations on the theme, each with its own merits and selling points.

Baked in the Oven

Perhaps the most traditional way to cooked baked potatoes, this method should take just under an hour, depending on the size of the spud in question and the type of oven you’re using. An important step prior to beginning is to poke holes in the exterior of the potato – otherwise you’ll end up with an exploding tuber in your oven, an unappetising clean-up job on your hands and an empty stomach to boot, as this YouTube user found out to his chagrin.

After impaling the spud in question all over, you’ll want to rub it in oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and then bake in a pre-heated oven at around 220°C, assuming you have a fan-assisted one.

After 45 minutes to an hour, your potato will be ready to eat!

Baked in a Slow Cooker

This particular technique of cooking baked potatoes is less commonly-used, largely due to the time invested and the equipment needed. However, if you have a slow cooker in your cupboard and are confident that you’ll want a baked potato in around five hours’ time, it can yield crispier skins, fluffier insides and a creaminess to die for.

Again, it’s hugely important to prick those holes in the outer layer of the potato to avoid it auto- detonating inside the slow cooker, as is rubbing it with oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Then it’s simply a case of wrapping the potatoes in aluminium foil, tossing them in a slow cooker and baking at the lowest possible temperature for between 4 to 5 hours. What you lose in time, you’ll make up in texture and flavour.

Baked in the Microwave

Easily the fastest and most convenient method of conjuring up a quick snack or meal, microwaved baked potatoes can also be just as delicious. With a mere five to eight minutes’ waiting time, the microwaved option is geared towards today’s busy potatoaholic who doesn’t have time to waste on slow cookers or fan-assisted ovens. To make matters even easier, why not rely upon the experience of professionals who have made it their lives’ work to perfect the quick-and-easy baked potato? McCain ready baked jackets combine the finest British produce with a drizzle of olive oil to ensure you only have to wait a matter of minutes before tucking into your next baked treat.

 

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