The 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Better Baked Potatoes

Think all baked potato recipes are alike? After baking potatoes with ATK, I can confirm they're not. This simple ATK trick guarantees the fluffiest, best-seasoned baked potato ever. Use pantry salt to try it. The method.

Start by heating your oven to 450°F. Wash and dry 7–9-ounce russet potatoes, then lightly prick six times. This step may be new, but you'll never skip it: Stir half a cup of water and two tablespoons of salt in a large bowl until dissolved.

Russets are the best baking potatoes. They lack water and are high in starch. When potatoes bake, the starch absorbs water and swells, creating that beloved crumbly, fluffy texture.

Hot ovens turn potatoes from rock hard to tender and fluffy in about an hour. ATK found that 450°F is the highest temperature for baking potatoes without burning the outside and undercooking the center.

Coating potatoes with oil or butter before baking can cause tough, papery skins. Brushing them with oil after they're mostly baked makes crisp, toasty, earthy potato skins.

Fluff and Score: Baked potatoes release steam. Score baked potatoes with a small knife "X" and push open to release steam. The liquid settles back into baked potatoes after cooling without steaming, making them denser.

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