The jacket potato (or the baked potato) should be a staple dish in your recipe repertoire. It’s easy and speedy to cook up whilst also being deliciously satisfying and filling.
The jacket potato is a quick fix staple and a go-to favourite lunch at cafés, canteens and family kitchens due to being delicious, satisfying and with no end of topping options. Filling and economical, jacket potatoes are perfect for budget-friendly meals and should be a staple meal in your recipe repertoire. Here are our top tips on how to cook a jacket potato perfectly. We also throw in a few of our own tasty recipes for good measure.
Choosing the right spud
You’ll want to use fluffy potatoes to get the most out of your jacket potatoes. Fluffy potatoes usually come in larger sizes and are the best for conjuring up that lovely light consistency you want from a jacket potato. Supermarkets usually stock ‘baking potatoes’ but if you’re seeking out a specific type then Maris Piper or Kind Edwards are good choices.
(L – R: Maris Piper, King Edward, Yukon Gold)
Microwave or oven?
This one is really a matter of time! Microwaved jacked potatoes certainly have their conveniences if you’re in a rush or looking to rustle up a quick meal – hey presto! However, if you want a perfect creation, the more time you give it the better and that’s usually when it’s created in the context of using the oven. Increased time in the oven allows you to create that beautiful opposition of fluffy centres and crispy golden skins.
In fact, using a combination of both the microwave and oven can be the best option – it sheds some of the time but still delivers impressive end results. (And let’s not forget you can buy frozen jacket potatoes which can be on the table in 5minutes!).
Prepping and cooking your jacket potato
- Rinse potatoes in cold water and dry thoroughly.
- Prick or pierce potatoes all over. Giving your spud a few pricks with a fork or knife will better your chances of making the perfect jacket potato. This allows the steam to escape.
- Refer to your microwave handbook or manual for specific cooking times for your wattage oven, but below are a few guides based on a 900-watt oven. It’s only a guide and depends on the potato size and turn half-way during cooking.
- When cool enough to handle, rub with a little oil, season and pop directly onto the oven rack. Alternatively, before popping your spuds in the oven insert a long, metal skewer through the centre (the heat from the skewer is transferred through the potato) and produces an evenly cooked, fluffy potato.
- Once in the oven, remember to check the potatoes every so often.
- When ready give a gentle squeeze (with an oven mitt of course) or a prod with a fork or skewer – it should feel soft and squidgy on the inside and crispy on the outside. For potato perfection use a cooking thermometer to check for cooked through spuds. Simply stick into the centre of each potato. A reading around 100°C is a sure sign the potatoes are ready.
- Some folk wrap their jacket potatoes in foil when cooking in the oven. That’s fine, but approach only retains steam and moisture, something you don’t want when you’re trying to get those skins lovely and crispy! Alternatively, remove the foil 10 minutes before the end of the oven cooking time
|Potato quantity||Microwave cooking time 900W oven||Oven time 220°C / 200°C Fan, Gas Mark 7|
|1||4-5 mins||10-15 mins|
|2||5-6 mins||10-15 mins|
|4||8-10 mins||10-15 mins|
Cooking jacket potatoes in the microwave only
Rinse and prick your potatoes as mentioned above. Refer to your microwave handbook for specific cooking times for your wattage oven, but below are a few guidelines based on a 900-watt oven. It’s only a guide and depends on the potato size too. Always remember to turn your spuds half-way during cooking.
|Potato quantity||Microwave cooking time 900W oven|
|1||6-7 mins on HIGH|
|2||8-9 mins on HIGH|
|4||15 mins on HIGH|
Cooking jacket potatoes in the oven only
Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan, Gas Mark 6. Prep your potatoes as above, omitting step 3 and place on the middle shelf of the oven. It’ll take 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes if you’re cooking only in the oven.
Cooking jacket potatoes in the slow cooker
In the morning, simply wash and prick your potatoes all over, rub with a little oil, season and wrap in foil. Place in a slow cooker, cover and leave them to cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW (or adjust timings to suit your specific slow cooker). They won’t have a crispy skin, but the filling is just like they came out of the oven!
Cooking jacket potatoes on the BBQ
The BBQ is another great cooking medium for spuds and will complement dishes cooked on the BBQ too. Simply preheat your BBQ. Wash and prick potatoes all over, rub with a little oil and season. For multiple potatoes, thread onto long metal skewers and add to the BBQ, placing towards the edge so that they are over indirect heat. Cover with the BBQ lid. Cook for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and golden brown. Slice open and load up with the toppings of your choice.
The jacket potato is a fantastic base for a wide range of different toppings and can be personalised to your taste. To make a full meal out of the jacket itself, you can rustle up all manner of toppings from scratch or just grab some everyday essentials such as cheese and beans. Leftovers also work well for the ultimate convenience! Alternatively, you may just want to butter it up as a side dish to a meal. For a few of our favourites check out our jacket potato collection.
Storing jacket potatoes in the fridge or in the freezer
Cooked jacket potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. If storing in the freezer let the cooked jacket potatoes cool, then wrap in foil, transfer to a food container and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven at 200°C, 180°C Fan, Gas Mark 6 for 40 minutes, or alternatively reheat in the microwave (according to your manufacturer’s handbook).