Baked Potatoes & Twice Baked Potatoes
Heat oven to 425ºF. Pierce potato in several places to allow steam to escape. Place potato on oven rack or baking sheet. Bake 40 to 55 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. (The number of potatoes being baked does not change baking time.)
Pierce 1 potato several times to allow steam to escape. Place in microwave oven; microwave on high (100% power) until tender, turning potato over halfway. For medium-size potatoes (about 5 ounces), microwave 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes. For larger potatoes (about 9 ounces), microwave 5 to 9 minutes.
Bake potatoes in conventional oven as above. Cool potatoes slightly; cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out centers, leaving 1/2-inch thick shells. Mix potato centers with milk or sour cream, butter (if desired), salt and pepper. Spoon into potato shells; sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake or microwave until heated through and cheese is melted. For variety, add crumbled, cooked bacon and snipped chives (or sliced green onion) to potato filling.
Tips from the Pros:How to Make Fluffier Baked Potatoes
Pierce potatoes with a fork several times before baking to allow steam to escape.
Do not wrap potatoes in aluminum foil, which will give them a steamed texture.
To serve, use a small knife to cut a cross on top. Push sides and ends gently to fluff.
How to Get Softer Skin on Your Baked Potatoes
Lightly rub potatoes with oil or softened butter before baking.
How to Make Faster Baked Potatoes
Half-Baked Potatoes: Split a medium-sized baked potato lengthwise in half and brush cut sides with olive oil. Bake, flat sides down, on well-greased baking sheet in 375ºF oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender and crusty on bottoms.