Preparing baked potatoes for 200 people can be a stressful job — but with the right equipment and a strict schedule, the task can be completed. The timing is based on when the potatoes will be served and how many potatoes will fit in the oven at once. Coolers heated with hot water serve as a holding tank for cooked potatoes while the rest of the batch finishes up.
Gather enough coolers with tight covers to hold 200 potatoes. Place the 200 raw potatoes inside the coolers to be sure they will fit.
Preheat the oven to the highest setting — at least 500 degrees F. Pour olive oil into a bowl to coat the potatoes before placing them in the oven; set aside.
Run the potatoes under cool water and use a small brush to scrub off any dirt. Remove sprouts or rough spots with a potato peeler. Set potatoes on clean towels and dry thoroughly.
Poke at least 8 holes in each potato using a fork, then roll it in the olive oil.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet so they do not touch and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Fill the coolers with hot, not boiling, water and cover them tightly.
Remove the water from each cooler right before the potatoes are finished baking. Dry out the cooler and put in the cooked potatoes. Place the cover back on the cooler; do not remove it until more potatoes need to be loaded or you are ready to serve. Let the potatoes finish cooking in the coolers for at least 45 minutes.
Serve potatoes when ready.