How To Make The Perfect Jacket Potato
A comforting baked potato, with crisp skin and a fluffy middle, is one of our favourite things to eat for lunch – or any time, really. Our experts – including our food editors, recipe writers and cookery school tutors – share tips for getting the crunchiest skin, and reveal their favourite fillings. Plus 30 instant baked potato topping ideas.
There are different ways to bake a potato: oil or no oil? Wrap in foil or not? And each method has its ardent fans. Our food editor Silvana Franco is a huge jacket potato fan: “I love them so much – they’re my absolute favourite working-from-home lunch.” And she reckons her pared-back approach works every time.
Don’t forget to prick the skin – steam builds inside the potato and needs an escape route or two to avoid any explosions.
Skip the oil – I think rubbing a potato with oil before baking can make the skin a little chewy. For a crisp skin, I just wash and sprinkle with sea salt while still damp then bake straight on the oven shelf. I reckon an hour at 220°C, gas mark 7 is about right for an average-sized jacket.
SHORT OF TIME? SPEED IT UP
If you’ve forgotten to switch your oven on in time, or you’re so hungry you just can’t wait an hour for potato pleasure, don’t despair. You can start your jackets off in the microwave, then finish in the oven for that essential crunchy skin.
Preheat your oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Prick the potatoes with a fork, place on a plate and microwave on high (900w) for 3 minutes. Turn them over and microwave for another 3 minutes.
Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet and brush with 1 tbsp oil. Season and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
No time? No problem
Sometimes you just need that satisfyingly cheesy potato hit straight away. These Cheesy Filled Jacket Potatoes can be microwaved in five minutes – or oven-cooked in 30.
BEST POTATOES FOr BAKING
Recognisable from their creamy skin with light red blushes, King Edwards are reliably fluffy when baked.
Grown by Albert Bartlett, Elfe potatoes have a smooth oval shape, creamy skin and bright yellow skin that goes deliciously crunchy in the oven.
To keep things simple, choose these great-value potatoes: they’re chosen to be similar sizes, so your potatoes will be ready at the same time.
OK, so they’re technically not a potato (they’re a root vegetable), but sweet potatoes respond pretty well to a hot oven. Their sweet flesh softens beautifully – perfect for mashing with butter.
OUR EXPERTS’ FAVOURITE FILLINGS
Katie Bishop, recipe writer, likes to keep it simple. “I top with baked beans (they have to be Heinz), simmered gently for 10 minutes until they’re reduced and thickened. Then a shake of Worcestershire sauce, and a grating of something tangy and crumbly, such as a Cheshire. The beans have to be hot enough to make the cheese melty – perfection!”
Fellow Cookery School chef tutor Helen Carey is a potato purist. “I love a baked potato with salty butter and nothing else! Top tip is to bake on a bed of rock salt to absorb some of the moisture from the potato and make it extra fluffy.”
Food editor Silvana likes her jackets equally simple. “It has to be cheesy: extra mature Cheddar with a sprinkling of chopped red onion. Or if I’m really in need of comfort, baked beans and a dash of chilli sauce.”
30 INSTANT JACKET POTATO FILLINGS
18. Bolognese sauce
20. Cheese coleslaw
perfect baked potatoes 3 ways
Got a bit more time?