(Sloooow) Baked Potatoes ♥ How Long to Bake a Baked Potato

(Sloooow) Baked Potatoes, How Long to Bake a Baked Potato ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. One hour is not enough!
Doesn't everybody bake potatoes for an hour? But one hour in the oven is just not enough! Here's how long to really bake a baked potato, that is, if you want the potato to turn nutty and soft and super-special: three hours. Three hours is not a typo. It really is "three" full hours. Baked potatoes' skin and flesh are both completely delicious when the potato is slow-baked for a long time.

The pregnant pause. I've learned to wait expectantly (ahem) when it occurs in a conversation with my friend Anne, a fine, fine cook and owner of Kitchen Conservatory, St. Louis' great kitchen store and cooking school. (She and her husband introduced me to this guy!)

You see, Anne has, shall-we-say? strong views about food that are some times contrary to conventional wisdom. I always learn something. Take the latest lesson, how to make the best baked potatoes. There's a story here, a memorable one.

Anne's Dad and 68,000 Baked Potatoes

Anne's father married late in life. Marital status matters because for two decades of bachelorhood, Mr. S ate out three times a day. (Do the math, that's almost 22,000 meals out! Once married, no wonder the man never wanted to eat out again!) All those restaurant meals left him suspicious of what went into sauces and any food he couldn't identify with his own eyes. Mashed potatoes were suspect because, you know, you can't tell if they are real or come from a box! But a baked potato? It's irrefutably the real thing, a real potato.

For Mr. S, one of the great benefits of marriage and a family was home-cooked food. In a Father-Knows-Best way, he insisted on a baked potato every single night, not just a soggy foil-wrapped baked potato, mind you, but a slow-baked potato, one baked in the oven for three hours.

Yes, three hours! The family kitchen even housed a special oven, just for baking potatoes for Father & Family. How many potatoes would that be for a family with six kids? Some quick math, maybe up to 68,000 baked potatoes? Wow.

This May Be the Easiest Vegetable You Ever Make.

Just rub Idaho potatoes with olive oil, then pop them into a 350F oven for up to three hours. The hardest thing about these baked potatoes? Not snatching one from the oven about half-way through, when the baked potato aroma throughout the house will begin to tempt ...

Sloooow-Baked Potatoes Are Worth the Wait!

Once the full three hours has passed, dig into creamy-smooth and nutty-tasting potato flesh that "mashes" with a fork right inside their crispy jackets. And the skins? Oh my, the skins! They're stiff and crackly and completely delicious.

See For Yourself: For Baking Potatoes, One Hour in the Oven Isn't Enough!

Once you've baked Sloooow-Baked Potatoes, I'm betting you won't go back. One-hour potatoes will seem almost raw. But like Anne's father, be skeptical! Do your own side-by-side potato-baking and potato-tasting!

Here's How to Conduct Your Own Test

With this technique, all the potatoes finish at the same time, perfect for taste comparisons. It'll help you find your own "sweet spot" for timing. It helps to keep notes, it helps to keep track of which potato is which, although you'll definitely be able to tell when the test completes.

Set the oven and prep five russet potatoes. It's best to use potatoes about the same size and purchased from the same place at the same time.
Put Potato #1 in the oven. It will bake for 3 hours.
After 30 minutes, put Potato #2 in the oven. It will bake for 2-1/2 hours.
After another 30 minutes, put Potato #3 in the oven. It will bake for 2 hours.
After another 30 minutes, put Potato #4 in the oven. It will bake for 1-1/2 hours.
After another 30 minutes, put Potato #5 in the oven. It will bake for 1 hour, the common length of time to bake a baked potato. You'll soon see. One hour isn't enough! I recommend keeping the oven on, you'll probably put this potato back in the oven!

Now for the real test. Get out a knife and cut into each potato. Take note of the differences in the skin textures but most importantly, the color, scent and texture of the potato flesh. Now taste, you may want to sprinkle on a little salt. Butter and sour cream are recommended after the first few tastes. Big difference, eh?


"Sooo good, Alanna. No wonder they're so creamy and nutty - the long, slow cooking seems to almost caramalize them." ~ Anonymous
... it was magnificent. ... now will not do it any other way. ~ Sunny
I do this often ... [a pork roast on the bottom rack, potatoes on the top rack] ... Close the door and read blogs for 2.5 hours. Make a salad, pull everthing else out of the oven, and impress your friends and loved ones with that dinner you worked sooooo hard on. ~ Lyssa
Cutting into them was amazing--the outside was crisp, and then the inside felt like butter on the knife. Delicious. ~ The Former Veggie Paparazzo
... they were wonderful! ~ Her Heatherness
Hubby thought they were the best baked potato he'd ever eaten. ~ Lin
... they were perfect! Oh so creamy and not mealy/dry at all. And the skins! I'm glad I baked extras. ~ Cyndi
Nearly 10 years later, this is still my go-to method for the best baked potatoes. ~ Sally


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 3 hours
Serves – well, you decide

1 russet potato, scrubbed well, rubbed with olive oil

Set oven to 350F/180C. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack. There's no need to prick the potatoes, at least in my experience. If you do prick them, place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any juices. Bake the potatoes for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the potatoes from the oven and slice open pole to pole with a knife. Serve hot, any way you like.

RUSSET POTATOES (ALSO CALLED IDAHO POTATOES) ARE BEST FOR BAKING For baking, choose a russet potato, some times called an "Idaho potato". (Did you know that Idaho Potato is actually a brand name for potatoes grown in Idaho? It's along the same lines of Parmesan Reggiano.) A russet potato is a so-called "mealy potato" and has a relatively thick, brown and rough skin. It's high in starch and low in moisture, that makes it perfect for creating fluffy potato texture.

REMOVE BLEMISHES With any luck, the skin of your potatoes will be without blemishes. But if there are rough spots, slice them off with a knife then proceed the same; I baked one potato that had an open cut and it baked just fine.

ENORMOUS POTATOES In St. Louis groceries, the russet potatoes sold loose (one or two individual potatoes) are huge! They can weigh a half pound – and often more. So it pays to watch their size, the calories and carbs can really add up.

SMALLER POTATOES Instead, I buy russet potatoes in three- or five-pound bags because the potatoes are smaller, more suited to an individual serving. For the smaller potatoes, I've learned that the "sweet spot" time-wise is right at 2-1/2 hours baking time.

FOIL? No foil! Just a little olive oil!

PRICK THE POTATOES? I don't. Conventional wisdom says that potatoes will explode in an oven unless they're pricked, allowing the pressure/heat to release. I bake Sloooow-Baked Potatoes like this all the time and have never once had an explosion. That said, at least one commenter says otherwise. I do think that pricking the potatoes defeats the purpose of baking the potatoes for a long time. Unpricked potatoes are almost like little pressure cookers, keeping the temperature high and moisture inside.

LARGE BATCHES As appealing as the idea is to bake a large number of Sloooow Baked Potatoes at once for a party, say, commenters suggest that this doesn't work out well. Baker, beware.

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Fascinating! This goes directly into the "I learn something new every day" pile; I will have to try this method. After all, I'm in slow-cooking mode now, with all the tomatoes going in and out of my oven.

  2. This is indeed fascinating,Alanna! And I thought that 1-hour baked potato was top notch!? :)

  3. Three hours? And the potatoes don't shrivel up and dry out? Maybe the hardest thing about these potatoes is remembering to turn on the oven soon enough for dinner.

  4. Three hours may seem like a long time, but you can't rush perfection. I love potatoes, as any good Irish girl should.

  5. I've baked potatoes like this for about 2 hours and they are unbelievably good. I like to sprinkle a little kosher salt around the skin after the olive oil.

  6. This is a wonderful story, Alanna, and I will try it. Thank you for going further in your description of the potatoes to use, because I was a bit lost with Idaho, not having that nomenclature here, but I do understand which ones here are the mealy potatoes.

  7. These sound like the perfect excuse to hang out in a warm kitchen all afternoon as cooler fall weather approaches!

  8. I like a proper baked potato Alanna and am definitely going to try the sloooow baked way. Thanks for sharing that and your friend Anne too.

  9. Ooooo....Annabel would love these. She begged me to make baked potatoes the other day...and I guess it's been a while, because they tasted wonderful.
    I'll definitely try this method.

  10. Thanks for this, Alanna. It reminds me of campfire potatoes I used to make. I'd thinly slice a potato but not all the way through so that I could fan it out. I put it on a sheet of foil, stuck onion slices and little bits of butter (or oil) in between the slices and then sprinkled with salt and pepper. Then, I'd wrap the potato in the foil and then wrap it another sheet of foil. Set on the edge of a campfire (or grill), it can go for hours while you set up the rest of your camp, made dinner, chased bears, whatever. After three hours, it was more like dessert.

  11. Sooo good, Alanna. No wonder they're so creamy and nutty - the long, slow cooking seems to almost caramalize them. Cooking them so far ahead of time makes one less thing to do when rushing to make dinner.

  12. This reminds me of a line from a comedy routine by mitch hedberg where he says something to the effet of "sometimes, i just throw a baked potato in the oven, even if i don't want one, cause those things take forever. i may not want one now, but by the time it's done, who knows?"

    It's so true.

  13. Was it your recipe to bake potatoes for three hrs at 350 degrees after coating with olive oil? If so, it was magnificent. I had to try this method and now will not do it any other way. In fact didn't need to prick the spuds either. I was absolutely amazed.

  14. How intriguing! The best part of a baked potato, to me, has always been a nicely crisped skin.

    This went straight into my de.li.ci.ious, and I can't wait to try it out!

  15. oh dear. i've been known to bake potatoes for an hour and a half at 400 degrees, which results in a similar texture. gah! it's 6 am, and i want a baked potato!

  16. Well hello Dragon Knitter - So pizza's okay for breakfast, why not a baked potato?! PS I'm honored for a knit-one-purl-one blogger to visit!

  17. I do this often...I cook pork shoulder roasts about once a week. Not veggie I know, but my husband is quite carnivorous. Rub the pork roast with olive oil, kosher salt, and cracked pepper. Put on bottom rack. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on top rack.

    Close the door and read blogs for 2.5 hours. Make a salad, pull everthing else out of the oven, and impress your friends and loved ones with that dinner you worked sooooo hard on.

  18. You were sooooooooo right. I made these last night. Cutting into them was amazing--the outside was crisp, and then the inside felt like butter on the knife. Delicious. I salted them with kosher salt when I put the oil on them. I'll post about it soon!

  19. Yay ~ another convert. No-Knead Bread, move over, it's 2007!!

  20. MMMmm... just tried these for the first time today, and they were wonderful! :) Thank you! :)

  21. You need to prick it to prevent steam from building up and causing the potato to explode in your oven.

    1. I don't prick them and have never had an explosion!

  22. Hi MatchDancer ~ I know that's the conventional wisdom but I've made these unpricked a half dozen times without an explosion. And it occurs to me that pricking the potatoes would release all the moisture and they just might wither up in the oven so long.

  23. I have just two questions before I try this - a 1/4 pound potato cooks as long as a 1 pound potato?
    Also, approximately what size potato do you recommend?


  24. Hi Lin, The only potatoes I can buy are a good half pound in weight, so I can't answer your question with experience, only intuition. If you can find smaller potatoes (good for portion management), I would check them after two hours, then decide how to proceed. But you might also considering buying the larger potatoes, then cutting them into pieces for smaller servings AFTER baking. Let me know, I think you'll love these!

  25. I made these Sunday nite. Hubby thought they were the best baked potato he'd ever eaten. Thanks,

  26. Oh yes, slow roasted potatoes are a marvel, but one need not heat up an oven for 3 hours. Take the big russet potatoes, rub them in oil, and stand them up on end, in a big crock pot, and turn it on for the entire day while you're gone. Trust me, they'll be baked throughly with the same crackly crust!

  27. AnonymousJune 23, 2008

    We are giving a party tonight here in Basel, Switzerland and your slow cooked baked potato is featured on the menu.

    It saves so much last-minute-stress.

    Thank you for the recipe.


  28. Alanna, I tried this tonight. Oh my goodness. Normally, I bake potatoes for an hour. Recently we ate at a steakhouse in Leadville that served only 2 things - a filet mignon and a baked potato (oh, and salad and bread). The baked potato was so creamy I wanted to eat more! So tonight, using my rv's oven, I tried doing them your way - and they were perfect! Oh so creamy and not mealy/dry at all. And the skins! I'm glad I baked extras - so in the morning I'll cut them up and fry in a little butter and top with some fried eggs. Heaven. Thanks so much. (I can't believe your father ate baked potatoes every single night!)

  29. Yay - another convert. This vacation business is good for you!

  30. DARN, but still safe! I am planning on cooking 20 potatoes for a large group this weekend...hoping I can cram all 20 in an oven at once. I did a test run tonight, 3 hrs was too long...but when I went back to read some blogs...I realized I only used a 1/2 lb. instead of a 1lb. OH, but it was still good...just a little to crunchy. :) Have you ever cooked 20 at once????

  31. Twenty! My. Goodness. I'm so glad you did a test run. And I'm so envious for finding half-pound potatoes. Good luck with your party!

  32. I love perfectly baked potatoes and was excited to read your recipe. I did however, have one question for you: I have 9 LARGE (Costco ) Idaho potatoes and want to cook them all at one time for dinner tomorrow night. Should I cook them all in one oven or split them up into two ovens? How much time should be added if cooking 9 or 5 potatoes at a time? I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to a perfect potato and fabulous steak tomorrow!!!!

    In Gratitude,

  33. Hi Teresa ~ Oh you have SUCH a treat ahead! The truth is that I don't 'know' the answers to your questions. My instinct says, however, to make sure they potatoes are at room temperature before starting. So long as there's plenty of room for air circulation, the potatoes should do fine in the same oven. I wouldn't put them on trays, however, instead bake them right onto the oven racks. I might put also put the potatoes on two levels and swap racks midway through.

    Hope this helps -- clearly I need to do a little more testing! Darn.

  34. Will this work with a Yukon Gold potato? If not, what should I change about the recipe for that kind of potato? The reason I ask is that's what I have on hand and don't feel like buying anything new until I use these Yukons. Thanks!

  35. Hi Chris,

    Yukon golds are not a 'mealy' potato like an Idaho so have considerably more moisture. I do think that the slow-baking process will work (though would check them after 90 minutes, then decide whether/how long to continue baking), just that the wonderful mealiness turned creamy won't occur.

    Let me know how it goes!

  36. I just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who might be baking a large batch of these--

    Last xmas, I convinced my mom to do an ovenful of these potatoes (about 15, I think), and they smoked up the entire house. Yeek! Though this provided some fabulous entertainment at the expense of my pride (sniff), it was not exactly appetizing. I would recommend that any large-batch baking be broken up into smaller batches.

    Still, I love love love this recipe. Am off to cook some potatoes for tonight--but only 4!

  37. Do you think this would work with sweet potatoes? Thanks!

  38. ~M ~ You know, I don't think so, I have the idea that they'd just shrivel up. But it's worth a try, maybe side by side, just in case? I'd check them after 30 minutes, then every 15 minutes til you know they're done, pushing the limits if you're up for it.

    My own favorite recipes for sweet potatoes right now are Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots and the Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle. Yum!

  39. Michelle EliseOctober 09, 2011

    Mine are in the oven right now! But since I had olive oil all over my hands, I added a teaspoon of salt and rubbed it all over them. Rinse (no soap) and pat dry, and oh my! Better than an expensive spa treatment.

  40. Thanks! I stumbled across this page while looking for potato-cooking times and decided to try the three-hour version. (Here's what mine came out like, by the way: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_gibson/6332814772/ ) :D

  41. AnonymousMay 08, 2012

    I LOVE potatoes... ALL potatoes!I will try these tonight, and I can not wait! My goal is to copy a recipe that I had at a restaurant, and these sound like the perfect base! Baked potatoes stuffed with other roasted veggies, then topped with cheese. Thanks for the ideas!

  42. It feels silly to ask this, but do you wrap in foil or just place on rack after rubbing with oil? Your instructions above don't reference foil.

  43. Lisa ~ No foil! You don't want the potatoes to steam!

  44. Wow! I wasn't even sure you would respond at all, and certainly not so quickly. Thanks!

  45. Lucky break, for me, Lisa, to see the message right away, especially because spam comments are coming in every five or ten minutes so some times the legit ones are accidentally overlooked until I sit down at the computer. I hope you love the potatoes, they are sooo good!

  46. Have you ever tried this method with a sweet potato or yam?

  47. Marni ~ I haven’t tried a sweet potato but somehow think that two or three hours would be a looong time for a sweet potato, maybe because of the less-dense texture? If you try it, let me know!

  48. I have had unpricked potatoes explode multiple times. They don't wither if you prick them.

  49. The one time I went against "conventional wisdom" and tried to bake potatoes without pricking them, I had a *huge* exploded potato mess in my oven. I will always give them a few pokes with a knife after that misfortune. You know...just to be safe. Lol. I also wrap my potatoes because I like the skins to be soft. I don't find them to be very good when they're crispy. Everyone has their own preference. :)

  50. I'd like to cook potatoes for 4.5 hours while i'm at work. Is that possible in a gas oven?

  51. Anonymous ~ Oh no, 4.5 hours is way too long! You’ll burn ‘em up! My sweet spot is about 2.5 hrs.

  52. They will explode if you don't prick, trust me I've had it happen at this temperature!

  53. Karen ~ Thanks for sharing our experience. It’s not mine and I bake baked potatoes at this time/temperature all the time.

  54. Nearly 10 years later, this is still my go-to method for the best baked potatoes. Having them with corned beef and cabbage tonight.

  55. If cooking a lot of potatoes, you'll have more heat being absorbed from the oven as it tries to bring them to temperature. This presents a need to either start with a slightly higher temperature, or an increased cooking time, or both. Those who were cooking a big batch might consider to raise the temp by 25° for the first hour. If really striving for accuracy, get a temperature probe and read the temp on a normal batch at 2.5 hours and again at 3 hours. Then for the larger batch, try to hit the same temps.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna