Yukon Gold potatoes – so named for the yellowish color of their flesh – are known as an "all-purpose potato" because you can do just about anything with them. They're perfectly suited to roasting but on the small side for serving as a classic baked potato. Plus, they have thin skin, and they're less starchy and more waxy than russets (the traditional choice for baked potatoes), so baked Yukon Gold potatoes turn out a bit denser and less fluffy than ideal.
If you really want to serve Yukon Golds as baked potatoes, you can. However, if you're considering various yellow potato recipes, oven-roasted Yukon Golds are a delicious and more appropriate way to go.
Prepping Baked Yukon Gold Potatoes
To make traditional baked potatoes out of Yukon Golds, start by scrubbing the potatoes under cold running water with your fingers so you don't tear their thin skin. Dry them off and lightly brush them with cooking oil or melted butter to encourage crisping in the oven and so your seasonings stick. Potatoes are relatively bland, so sprinkle on liberal amounts of salt and pepper.
Cooking potatoes generate steam inside, and they can burst if this moisture can't find another way to escape. Prevent this by using a fork to poke four holes in the top and four holes in the bottom of each potato. Explosions are more likely with russets and thicker-skinned varieties, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
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Cooking Yukon Gold Baked Potatoes
High heat helps brown and crisp baked potatoes, so cook them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit on a lightly greased baking tray with some space between them. Russet potatoes are often baked directly on the oven racks, but Yukon Golds don't have a hearty enough skin for this. They need about 25 to 30 minutes to get soft in the center, which you can test by sticking a fork in them. Flip them halfway through for even cooking.
To serve, cut the baked yellow potatoes in half lengthwise – most of but not all the way through – and unfold them. Some tasty topping options include:
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped chives
- Bacon crumbles
Prepping Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
Preparing a roasted potato side with Yukon Golds makes more sense than serving baked Yukon Gold potatoes. Remember to scrub dirt off the potatoes under cold running water, being careful not to tear their thin skin. If you want dome-shaped pieces, halve the potatoes crosswise. If you prefer wedges, cut them into eighths lengthwise. So they cook evenly, make the pieces uniform in size.
Coating the potato segments with cooking oil or melted butter facilitates roasting and helps the seasonings adhere to them. Season to taste with salt and pepper as well as any other herbs and spices you'd like to use, such as:
- Lots of minced garlic for delicious garlic-roasted potatoes
- Rosemary for the popular rosemary-roasted potato preparation
- Herbes de Provence, a seasoning mix that pairs well with potatoes
- Cajun seasoning for potatoes with some kick
Cooking Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
So the potatoes crisp nicely, roast them at 425F in a single layer on a baking tray, leaving a little space between them. They need about 20 to 25 minutes to get soft all the way through (test by sticking a fork in them). If you're preparing wedges, flip them over once halfway through for even cooking and browning. Cooking time differs a little from oven to oven based on the size of the segments and other considerations.
Better Options for Baked Potatoes
Russet potatoes (sometimes called Idaho potatoes when they hail from the state) are usually used for making baked potatoes, and sweet potatoes are often served baked too. Why are these varieties better suited to baking than Yukon Gold?
- Their size makes them a reasonable stand-alone side dish.
- Their thick skin crisps nicely in the oven.
- Their skin is sturdy enough to double as a built-in serving vessel.
- Their high starch content helps them develop the coveted fluffy texture.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, lifestyle, and travel writer living in Orlando, Florida. He spent 10 years working front- and back-of-house in restaurants, adding professional experience to his love of eating and cooking. His stories on food and beverage topics have appeared in numerous print and web publications, including Visit Florida, Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and others.