Different potato varieties work best in different types of recipes. Hence, the first step to making the best baked potatoes is choosing the right variety of potatoes. So, what potatoes are best for baking?
Starchy potatoes like Russet potatoes are best for baking. Their high starch content makes them fluffy and absorbent on heating. When baked, their skin doesn’t hold much moisture, and they become crispy on the outside. King Edward, Desiree, and Yukon Gold potatoes are also good varieties for baking.
Let’s talk about this in more detail now.
3 Different Types Of Potatoes
More than 200 different varieties of potatoes are sold across the United States.
Apart from differences in their physical appearance, they’re classified by starch content and flavor.
So there are three main types of potatoes:
- Waxy, and
1. Starchy Potatoes
Starchy potatoes have a high starch content which makes them good for baking and frying.
They’re not the best choice for boiling since the starch molecules break down on heating and absorb moisture.
This can make them mushy.
The commonly available Russet potatoes and King Edward potatoes are high-starch potatoes.
2. Waxy Potatoes
Low-starch or waxy potatoes have the least starch content of all three types.
They hold their shape during cooking because of the limited amount of starch in them.
They’re better suited for soups and stews, where they shouldn’t disintegrate much.
Most round white and yellow potatoes are low-starch potatoes.
3. All-Purpose Potatoes
Medium starch or all-purpose potatoes come between starchy and waxy potatoes.
They have less starch than starchy potatoes but more starch than waxy potatoes.
This makes them more versatile than the other two categories.
These potatoes have a floury texture and flake easily.
You can use them for many recipes because they hold their shape and are absorbent.
These potatoes are best for roasting, mashing, and baking.
Some examples of all-purpose potatoes are Yukon Gold potatoes and Dauphinoise potatoes.
6 Best Potatoes For Baking
Starchy potatoes are the best choice for baking.
Due to their high starch content, they will cook in their moisture and become soft and fluffy on the inside.
However, the skin doesn’t hold much moisture.
So it will crisp up when exposed to high heat, and the result is baked potatoes with soft, fluffy insides and a crispy exterior.
After starchy potatoes, the next best type of potatoes for baking are all-purpose potatoes.
The flesh of these potatoes becomes soft and tender when baked. However, it may not be as soft as starchy potatoes.
We don’t recommend using low-starch of waxy potatoes for baking since their texture isn’t very appealing.
These potatoes are better suited for making French fries or in soups and stews, where they hold their shape.
Here are some of the potato varieties that you may like to consider for baking.
1. Russet Potatoes
Russet potatoes are one of the most widely used potatoes for baking.
They have an oblong shape with smooth skin and mealy white flesh.
During cooking, their thick white skin prevents moisture in the flesh from escaping.
This makes them soft and fluffy upon cooking. Meanwhile, the outer skin turns nice and crispy.
2. King Edward Potatoes
King Edward potatoes are white-skinned potatoes with pink insides.
The flesh has a nice floury texture that flakes when you cook it.
They’re best suited for roasting because the skin crisps up beautifully, and the insides remain soft and moist.
The flesh of King Edward potatoes turns fluffy when heated.
The only downside with King Edward potatoes is that they’re susceptible to blight and spoil easily in storage.
3. Desiree Potatoes
Desiree potatoes are one of the best choices for delicious jacket potatoes because of their dry skin and mealy interior.
The flesh is starchy, and it becomes soft and fluffy when cooked.
Desiree potatoes are perfect for baking in their skin. Since the skin doesn’t hold moisture, it crisps up well upon baking.
4. Vivaldi Potatoes
Vivaldi potatoes are a high-yielding garden variety of potatoes.
They have creamy, complex flavors and a soft, fluffy texture. The skin becomes deliciously crispy when baked.
5. Melody Potatoes
Melody potatoes are very flavorful when baked. They’re just the right size for individual servings and taste good.
The skin is even and without many indentations. It’s easy to scrub and clean.
6. Estima Potatoes
Although Estima potatoes aren’t very hardy potatoes, they produce delicious flavors when baked.
The flesh is soft, creamy, and complex, making it an interesting side dish.
Tips To Prepare The Best Baked Potatoes
The first and most important step to making good baked potatoes is choosing the right variety for the purpose.
Your safest bet is to go with starchy varieties like Russet or King Edward potatoes because you can’t go wrong with these potatoes.
To improve the quality and taste of your baked potatoes, here are some additional steps to follow.
1. Choose potatoes of the correct size.
Large potatoes take a long time to cook. Hence, it’s better to choose medium-size potatoes.
Pick potatoes that are roughly the same size to make sure that they cook thoroughly and evenly at the same time.
2. Make indentations all over the potato.
It helps to poke the potato skin all over with a fork before placing it in the oven.
These ventilation holes on the surface will allow steam to escape, and the potatoes will cook evenly and attain a delicious, fluffy texture.
If you skip this step, the excess steam will not escape, and the potatoes will end up becoming soggy.
3. Bake at the right temperature.
It’s best to bake potatoes at a high temperature of 450°F.
It will make the potato crisp up on the outside, leaving the inside to cook slowly and evenly in its own moisture.
This will lead to soft, fluffy, and delicious flesh within the jacket.
Baking potatoes at a high temperature will also prevent the formation of an unappealing leathery peel beneath the potato skin.
4. Check for doneness.
Finding the right time at which a potato gets baked perfectly isn’t an exact science.
It will vary according to the type of oven and the potato you’re using.
The easiest way to understand if a potato is baked thoroughly is to slide a fork or skewer into the potato.
The potato is perfectly done when the fork slides through without any resistance.
It usually takes 45 to 60 minutes for medium-sized potatoes to reach this level of doneness.
However, you should check it occasionally to ensure that the potatoes are baked just right.
5. Add seasonings and flavors at the end.
The trick to making your potatoes have extra-crispy skin and flavorful flesh is to add seasonings and fats at the right stage.
Remove the potatoes from the oven when they’re just baked. Then, add butter, seasonings, and herbs.
You can brush the potatoes with butter or oil and sprinkle salt and herbs of your choice.
Then, return the potatoes to the oven and allow them to cook for some more time on the middle rack.
This will allow the flavors to penetrate the skin and help it crisp up.
After baking for ten more minutes, you can serve the jacket potatoes, and they will be at their delicious best.