Potatoes are inexpensive and provide important nutrients needed by the body. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. They can be cooked numerous ways, from French fries to mashed potatoes to hash browns. Recipes are abundant, but one of the simplest ways to cook a potato is to bake it. Using one of several types of heat sources, you can bake a delicious potato as a side dish for your meals.

Things You'll Need

Standard Oven

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pierce the potato in several places with the cooking fork.

Wrap the potato securely in aluminum foil.

Place the wrapped potato on the oven rack.

Time the potato for 45 minutes. When 45 minutes have gone by, poke the potato through the aluminum foil with the cooking fork. If it pierces easily, the potato is done. If not, cook longer and check again.

Microwave Oven

Put holes in the potato with the cooking fork.

Place the potato on a paper towel or place it on a microwave-safe plate.

Cook the potato on high until done. Timing will vary, depending on the size, type and number of potatoes and the wattage of the microwave. Cook a large potato for five minutes and then turn it over with the tongs. Cook this opposite side for five minutes. If the potato gives easily when poked with the fork or is pressed from the sides, it is done.


Poke holes in the potato with your cooking fork.

Wrap the potato in aluminum foil and place it on the edge of the grill, away from direct heat.

Turn the potato every 15 minutes with the tongs.

Test to see if it is done by sticking the fork into the potato. It should not meet resistance. Press the sides with your hand in an oven mitt to see if it gives freely.


  • To add interest to your plain potato, top it with butter, salt, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream or chopped green onion.

  • Make potato salad by letting the potato cool down and then removing the skin and dicing. Add mayonnaise along with flavors such as pimiento, green pepper and celery, all finely diced.

  • Make mashed potatoes with baked potatoes by holding the potato carefully with an oven mitt and removing the skin. Put the still-warm potatoes in a mixing bowl and add butter, milk and salt to taste, then use a potato masher to make the mashed potatoes.

  • Twice-baked potatoes are baked potatoes with the center pulp removed and mixed with cheese and other flavors, then mounded back into the shell for reheating.