Baked potatoes are a staple for a reason — they’re easy and filling, and you can get as creative as you want with the toppings. But if you’re making just one or two baked potatoes, waiting for your oven to heat up and then waiting an hour or more for them to be done can feel like a waste of time and energy. Good news! Your toaster oven can make a faster baked potato that’s even tastier. That’s right: This countertop appliance may become your new favorite tool for more than just your morning toast. Keep reading to see how you can have the perfect baked potato in less time by using your toaster oven.
Yes, you can bake a potato in the toaster oven
Not only can you bake a potato in the toaster oven, this might become your new go-to method. One of the benefits: You can skip using your large, conventional oven that heats up your whole kitchen along with it just because you want to bake a potato or two.
“Toaster ovens heat up quickly and cook smaller portions more efficiently than a conventional oven,” says Norah Clark, chef and editor in chief of Boyd Hampers Magazine. “Toaster ovens also use less energy, and they often yield a crispier potato skin due to their compact size.”
The how-to in a nutshell: After washing your potatoes, poke them with a few holes and slather them in oil, salt and pop into the toaster oven. You can also skip aluminum foil and place the spud directly onto the toaster oven rack rather than dirtying a baking sheet.
Prefer a more step-by-step approach? Keep reading for instructions from an expert.
How to make a baked potato in the toaster oven
By using a toaster oven, you can have a fluffy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside baked potato in under an hour. Check out Clark’s instructions for making it happen.
1. Preheat the toaster oven
Set the toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and let it warm while your prep your potato
2. Clean and perforate
Scrub your potato under running water and use a fork or knife to poke some holes in it on all sides. Putting small holes in the potato helps release steam and prevents it from bursting while in the oven.
3. Oil and season
Coat the potato in olive oil and massage salt into the skin. This will help it crisp up and adds flavor. (Click through to see learn more about the health benefits of olive oil.)
4. Wrap in foil (if you want!)
This step is completely optional. Wrapping your potato in foil can help retain moisture, ensuring a moist interior. However, if you’re more concerned about the skin remaining crispy or you want less cleanup, skip the foil and place the potato directly into the oven.
Place the potato directly on the toaster oven rack — this allows the heat to evenly circulate around the entire spud. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, depending on the size of the potato, and turn it over halfway through for even cooking.
6. Check for doneness
Stick a fork or knife into the center of the potato. If it slides in easily, your potato is ready to eat.
Cut a slit across the top, fluff up the interior with a fork, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
If you want to watch how it’s done using a cast iron skillet, check out TosTinMan Easy Cooking‘s video:
3 tips for best results baking potatoes in the toaster oven
Toaster ovens are time and energy savers, and here are more tips that guarantee deliciously easy results:
1. Choose the right potato
Start with an Idaho or russet potato since they have a high starch content, which is ideal for a soft, fluffy interior, says Clark. “Ensure even cooking by choosing potatoes of similar size,” she adds.
2. Don’t overcrowd
While toaster ovens are great tools, they’re significantly smaller than conventional ovens. If you’re baking more than two potatoes, your bigger oven may be the better option so you can avoid overcrowding, which can lead to uneven cooking.
3. Zap it first
If you need your potato baked really quickly, try sticking it in the microwave while the toaster oven preheats. “For a time-saving option, you can microwave the potato for a few minutes before transferring it to the toaster oven,” says Clark. This will pre-cook and soften the inside of the potato so it will back in half the time, while the heat from the toaster oven still makes the outside nice and crispy.
For more on making the perfect sides, click through to these articles: