Many recipes call for cooked potato as an ingredient. Twice baked potatoes, gnocci, potato salad and other great dishes require cooled potatoes. Unfortunately just out of the oven potatoes are steaming and almost impossible to handle easily. Although a kitchen towel helps when working with the proverbial "hot potato," cooling off the tuber is another option and some recipes require a room temperature potato.
After the potato has baked through, use a kitchen towel to handle the potato. Cut the potato into dices or chunks and spread these pieces out on a dish or on a cooling rack for the air to circulate and cool them off. Peel the bits of skin from the pieces after they have cooled. For potato salads and other dishes asking for a mashed or diced potato, this is a good way to cool off the tuber.
Cut the potato lengthwise before baking. For recipes such as twice baked potatoes or mashed potatoes, this is a good method for a faster cooking time as well as for a quicker cooling off period. Once out of the oven, lay the halves out on a platter and allow the air to circulate and cool them. A skin will form over the halves but this can be peeled off, or left on for an added bit of "skin."
Place the cooked potato in the refrigerator for cooling. Leave the potato at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before placing it n the refrigerator. Do not set the hot potato near other foods, or perishable foods such as meat or milk, as it will give off steam into the refrigerator as it cools, heating up surrounding items.
Place the hot potato in a bowl or wrap in a heat-proof plastic bags. Fill a bowl with ice and cold water. Place the bowl with the potato, or the plastic bag, into the ice water. Change the ice water as needed to cool off the tuber for use.