You Need To Try Air Frying 'Baked' Potatoes. Here's Why

Baked potatoes are one of the simplest dishes you can make. Prick the skin, shove them in the oven for an hour, and out comes a warm and tasty side dish. But what really makes a perfect baked potato, Insider points out, is the contrast between the fluffy interior and a crispy, toasted outer skin. People have tried to develop various methods to make that happen, such as coating the potato in oil or butter ( via Gimme Some Oven). But not every cooking method yields the best results, and some people sabotage their own efforts. For example, cooking the potatoes when they're still wet or wrapping them in aluminum foil basically steams instead of bakes them, creating soggy skins (via Today).

But after some experimenting, Insider reports that the best way to cook a "baked" potato is actually in the air fryer, with just a little bit of olive oil and salt. The circulating air crisps the skin to perfection while cooking the insides evenly for a perfectly balanced, incredibly flavorful bite. It's so good that A Southern Soul claims that those who normally leave the skin behind will be enticed to eat the entire spud. While it still takes a fair amount of time — on average 45 to 50 minutes — the results are far superior to any other method.

There are some optional techniques

Insider noted that you don't have to poke holes in the spuds when using an air fryer. The point of the holes, Southern Living points out, is to allow steam to escape during the cooking process, and there will be no steam present in an air fryer. Some people in the past have sworn by microwaving baked potatoes, but as A License to Grill points out, while it cooks them faster, it doesn't bring out the fluffiness of the insides that an air fryer can, nor does the skin get even a tiny bit crispy. Similarly, the traditional baked-in-the-oven method doesn't produce the even cooking that the circulating air of the air fryer can (via Insider).

When using the air fryer method, make sure not to overcrowd the fryer with too many potatoes (via A Southern Soul). You want to ensure that there's enough room so that the air can evenly circulate over all sides of the potato to ensure they're consistently cooked.