How to Bake a Potato in a Toaster Oven

If you’re not the owner of a toaster oven, you need to buy one. Not only does it toast bread, bagels, croissants and warm cinnamon rolls, but it bakes and broils whenever you need an extra appliance for preparing large meals during the holidays.

Toaster ovens are also great for preparing snacks or frozen dinners. Sometimes a microwave doesn’t warm a frozen dinner or bake potatoes without slightly burning the bottom, which can make them difficult to eat.

A toaster oven is perfect for baking or broiling in the summer to prevent heating the entire kitchen when it is blazing hot outside. Also, if you read these instructions, you will learn how to bake a potato in a toaster oven.

1. Pick the Right Potato

To bake a potato in your toaster oven, you first need to buy the right type of potato. Some of the best potatoes to bake include:

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Photo by Strecosa

Russets – Also called Idaho potatoes if grown in Idaho, they are a starchy potato with a dark tan or brown skin. They are dry and fluffy on the inside if baked correctly.

Sweet potatoes – There are several varieties of sweet potatoes, but those with orange skin are the most common. They are also very starchy, which makes them ideal for baking as they will turn out fluffy and delicious

Purple potatoes – Although they may be difficult to find in some areas, purple potatoes are also good for baking. Their skin is dark blue to purple, and they are also dry and starchy, which is ideal for baked potatoes.

Yukon Gold – The Yukon Gold potato is an all-purpose potato since they can be fried, baked, roasted and used in many different types of potato dishes. They have a thin, gold-toned skin with a medium starch content.

If you’re baking one or two potatoes, buy them individually so you can easily check them for freshness.

If you need several potatoes for making a large meal, then buying them in five to 10-pound bags can save money. However, you will want to test them for firmness by squeezing them through the plastic.

2. Selecting Good Potatoes

To ensure you’re picking good, fresh potatoes to bake, you should examine them by looking at them closely and handling them.

The texture of the potato should be firm, and the skin should be smooth and clean. There shouldn't be any cuts, bruises or discolorations on the potatoes you're baking.

Some potato skins may have a green tint to them, but it isn’t because they are not ripe. Remember, potatoes grow underground, so they are not exposed to sunlight.

The green color on a potato’s skin indicates there is a chemical called Solanine in it.

The presence of Solanine means the potato has been exposed to too much light. The potato can taste bitter and, if too much Solanine is ingested, it can make people sick, so avoid potatoes with a green tint to them.

3. Preheat the Toaster Oven

If you’re baking or broiling in a toaster oven, then you need to preheat it as the baking times assume the oven is hot when you put the food in it.

For baking potatoes, turn the setting to bake and preheat the toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit while preparing the potatoes.

If you are baking the potatoes in aluminum foil, you will need to preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Wash the Potatoes

Before you learn how to bake a potato in a toaster oven, you need to clean them since potatoes are baked with the skin on them.

Even though they may look clean, there will still be some soil residue on them. Also, potatoes are handled multiple times between the farm and the grocery store, so you will want to wash them to remove any chemical residue and germs off them.

Use a vegetable brush and hold the potato beneath a stream of lukewarm water to lightly scrub the skin clean.

Afterward, let the potatoes air dry or use a dish towel to pat the skin dry before preparing them to go in the hot appliance since you’re baking, not steaming, the potatoes.

5. Prepare Potatoes for Baking

Once the potatoes are dry, use a fork to poke holes around the potato. The purpose of this is to allow the steam to vent while the potatoes are baking or they could explode.

While you can wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil to bake them, you still need to poke holes in them through the foil. However, we don’t recommend the foil as it will steam, not bake the potatoes.

Baked potatoes have a crispy skin on the outside with a light, fluffy potato on the inside. A potato which has been steamed will not have a crispy skin, and the potato will be moister as well.

For added flavor, you could use some olive oil or melted butter, a 1/8 to a ¼ teaspoon for each potato, to lightly coat them before placing them into the hot toaster oven. The liquid will absorb into each potato through the skin to flavor them.

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Photo by Soli Licensed Under CC BY 2.0

6. Put Potatoes into Toaster Oven

To learn how to bake a potato in a toaster oven, you need to know how long to bake them.

The size of the potatoes will affect how long they should be baked. For smaller potatoes, 45 minutes is ideal for producing a well done, fluffy potato.

Large potatoes will need 45 minutes to one hour to completely bake and be ready for serving. The baking time will only need to increase by 10 minutes if you are baking four or more potatoes at once.

Place the potatoes either on a baking sheet or directly on the rack of the toaster oven to bake. We recommend putting them directly on the rack due to the placement of the heating elements.

There are heating elements at the top and bottom of the toaster oven, so the heat from below would need to penetrate the sheet to bake the potatoes.

If you do decide to use a baking sheet, turn the potatoes over after 20 to 25 minutes to ensure even baking.

7. Baking the Potatoes

After placing the potatoes in the oven, close the door and let them bake.

Check the potatoes after 15 minutes to make sure they are starting to soften by using a fork or knife point and inserting it into the potato. The top of the potatoes should be softer, but as you go deeper into them, they will still be hard because they haven’t baked through yet.

If the top edges haven’t begun to soften, you may need to add a few more vent holes. Do this by removing the baking sheet to prevent burning your hands on the top of the toaster oven.

Using a fork or knife point, poke additional holes into each potato.

Replace the sheet or rack and let them continue baking.

About 10 minutes before it is time for them to be done, check them to see if they are already done to prevent overbaking or burning the potatoes.

8. Are the Potatoes Ready?

There are three ways to tell if the potatoes are done when it is almost time to remove them from the toaster oven:

  • The skin will be crispy to the touch.
  • A fork or knife will easily pierce them.
  • The skin will be lightly browned.

If the fork or knife slides into a potato and sticks or doesn't come out easily, then the potato isn't ready. Bake it for another five minutes, then check the potato again. Continue baking and checking the potatoes until they are ready.

9. Preparing Potatoes

Many people like to prepare their potatoes about five minutes before they have finished baking by opening them and adding butter, salt, and pepper. The butter will melt, so the potatoes are ready to eat right from the oven.

Remove the baking sheet or rack from the toaster oven and set it on the counter or the top of the stove. Using a knife, cut the potato open to let the steam escape.

You can either cut a straight slit or a zigzag pattern in the middle of the potato. Then, using your thumbs, press firmly until the potato pops open.

Add a tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste and then, put the potatoes back into the toaster oven to finish baking.

10. Cool After Baking

If you don’t prepare your potatoes as seen in step 9, then remove the rack or baking sheet from the oven when the potatoes are done. Set them on the counter or stovetop and allow them to cool for five minutes before trying to handle the hot potatoes.

While you can cut them open as described in the previous step, you can try this alternative way of opening and fluff the potatoes.

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Photo by Naviniea licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Pick up a potato lengthwise in your hand and then, using medium force, whack it against the counter or a cutting board. Along with fluffing the potato, it will also crack it open.

After opening each potato with whichever method you choose, add a tablespoon of butter to each one with salt and pepper before serving them. There are many ingredients you can add to potatoes to make them delicious, including:

  • Sour Cream
  • Bacon Bits
  • Cheese
  • Chili
  • Chives
  • Substitute plain yogurt for butter

Using a toaster oven is convenient because it won’t heat the entire house in the summer and, while an entrée is baking in the oven, you can have the potatoes baking in the toaster oven.

Now that you know how to bake a potato in a toaster oven, so they are fluffy and delicious, you can prepare them whenever you want one.

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