Jacket potato: expert tips to cook the perfect baked potato

Wondering how to cook a jacket potato for results that are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside? Here's our basic recipe, with expert tips from Nigel Slater and Rachel McCormack

jacket potato
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Need to know how to cook jacket potato? We've covered the basics of how long to bake a potato before. So, if you're looking to get lunch or dinner out fo the way as quickly as possible, we'd recommend jumping over there.

However, if boredom or an unquantifiable love and respect for the humble potato have you seeking out the ultimate baked potato recipe, you're in luck. Why? Well because we've been looking into how the legend that is Nigel Slater preps his jacket potato and we're here to share the results. This is life changing stuff guys and girls, so buckle up and hold onto your potatoes because you're in for a wild ride.

Discover more recipe ideas and inspiration over on our food hub.

How to cook a jacket potato in the oven


1. Slather your jacket potatoes in olive oil, about a tablespoon each.

2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7. Place the potatoes in the middle of an oven proof dish or baking tray and on the top shelf of the oven. 

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190°C/Gas mark 5 and bake for a further 45 minutes to an hour.

4. Take out the potatoes, let stand for five minutes. slice through the top part in the shape of a cross and give the flesh a gentle squeeze at the sides. Top with you favourite filling. 

Tip: Jacket potatoes get extremely hot, so try to give yours a bit of time before eating. 

How does Nigel Slater cook jacket potato?

Think Nigel slams his potato in the oven and hopes for the best? That may be your approach, Karen. But it's certainly not Nigel's. Here's everything you need to know:

1. According to Nigel Slater 'the perfect baked potato is rough, salty and crisp outside, pure white and fluffy within' .... we're with him so far. He advises opting for a  floury potato and in particular varieties such as King Edward, Maris Piper, Wilja, Ailsa and Golden Wonder.

2. Nigel Slater also takes time to carefully prep his potatoes (we'd expect no less), a process which includes washing off any soil and pricking them fairly liberally with a fork to prevent exploding potatoes. 

He also rubs them with sea salt while wet and then allows them to dry off for a few minutes before placing them in the oven. Tin foil! What about the tin foil?! We hear you ask. Well folks, there's no foil where Nigel Slater is concerned. No, sir.

3. When it comes to cooking his potatoes, Nigel Slater recommends opting for somewhere between 200ºC/gas mark 6 and 230ºC/gas mark 8. To achieve potatoes that are crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside, Nigel Slater suggests you'll need to wait between 45 minutes and an hour. You can test whether your potato is ready by carefully sliding in a skewer. If it goes in with minimal effort, you're ready to enjoy.

How to cook jacket potatoes perfectly, according to Rachel McCormack

So, how does Kitchen Cabinet's Rachel McCormack go about achieving dreamy baked potatoes? Here's everything you need to know – it's super simple.

1. Rachel McCormack makes it clear that she doesn't bother with foil when it comes to baking a potato. 

2. She simply covers her baked potato in oil and then some salt (which she's not even sure is necessary – but we think it adds flavour). 

3. Rachel slings her jacket potatoes in the oven on a medium heat – rather than a high heat – until they're soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. She doesn't share exactly how long she puts her jacket potatoes in the oven, we'd recommend anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the size of the potato. And, in our experience, on medium heat, jacket potatoes get better the longer they're cooked.

Jacket potato toppings

When it comes to choosing a topping for jacket potato, the options are genuinely endless. You can keep it simple with a liberal helping of butter and cheese, raid the cupboards for tuna and sweetcorn, or try one of the options below. We're calling these our deluxe potatoes for the days when you're feeling extra excitable:

  • Paprika roasted chickpeas – discover more in our guide to how to cook chickpeas
  • Smashed avocado and sour cream
  • Chilli jacket potatoes

Looking for an alternative option?