The Real Reason Russet Potatoes Are The Best For Baking

When it comes to cooking potatoes, not all potatoes are the same. Depending on the type of potato you choose, your dish will either turn out really, really well or really, really badly. According to Potatoes USA, there are more than 200 different types of potatoes to pick from, so there are a lot of ways to go wrong, but if it's a baked potato you're after, your best bet will also be a classic russet potato. With its thick skin and starchy middle that turns fluffy when cooked, russets are not only ideal for baking and roasting, but they also work well for frying and sauteing, as well as mashing.

The key factor that makes russet potatoes ideal for baking is their starch content, which leaves you with that fluffy texture. The Potato Goodness website tells us that red potatoes and white potatoes, on the other hand, hold up under roasting and baking, for a more firm feel that's not as ideal for a baked potato.

However, russet potatoes are also great for baking thanks to the variety's mild taste. They're a blank canvas on which you can easily paint the baked, stuffed potato of your dreams — anything you want to add is fair game, from cheese and chili to beef stew.

Thinking of baking up some russet potatoes for tonight's dinner?

It doesn't really get better than a baked russet potato when it comes to a quick, easy, and comforting winter meal. If you're thinking of baking up some russet potatoes in the near future, though, you'll want to follow a few tips from Fine Cooking for the best results possible. 

When shopping for russet potatoes, give them a squeeze; you're looking for firm potatoes. Any give or sponginess could indicate that your potatoes have been sitting on the store shelf a while. If you'll be baking multiple russet potatoes at once, look for russet potatoes in similar sizes, so all the potatoes finish cooking at the same time.

When it's time to bake, The Kitchn advises scrubbing your russet potatoes and trimming off any blemishes or eyes. Then, rub the potatoes in oil and salt, and throw them in the oven for about an hour at 425 degrees. Some home cooks like to place their potatoes right on the oven grate, as well as give the potatoes a few pokes with a fork or knife, to release steam while cooking.

Once finished, top your baked potatoes however you like. If you don't finish them all, they'll stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days.