How Long to Cook a Baked Potato at 400 (Full Guide)

how long to cook a baked potato at 400

A very common query that most of our audience had from us was how long they should be cooking their baked potatoes if it’s at 400 degrees Fahrenheit? Fear not, we’ve got the answers to all your questions. 

Baked potatoes are a very easy snack to make, either for yourself or if you have guests coming over and are in a frenzy with no clue what to prepare. This snack also contains a healthy amount of nutrients such as proteins and healthy carbohydrates.

However, while cooking this low effort and convenient snack, you need to be mindful of a few important things.

How long should you cook a baked potato at 400 degrees Fahrenheit? Baked potatoes cook for 40-45 minutes in a pre-heated oven. The minimum amount of time you need to fully bake your potatoes is 35-40 minutes and the maximum is 45-50 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes and how long they take to be cooked fully till the middle. 

Read further ahead to find out more about how you should bake your potatoes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as tips and tricks on how to go about it. 

How long should baked potatoes be cooked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit?

On average, it takes around 40-50 minutes for a potato to fully bake when cooked in the oven at 400. However, this also depends on the size of the potatoes; how big or small they are, and the kind of type they are.

All these factors affect the time it would take for your baked potato (or potatoes) to fully cook.

According to Chefs and Recipes, sometimes potatoes may even take as long as 60 minutes to fully cook from the inside, if they’re extra-large, covered with tin foil while baking, or frozen. 

There are also other factors that affect a baked potato’s cooking time, for example, your oven’s heat capacity and voltage; if it’s high your potatoes will cook faster, and vice versa.

It also depends if you’ve pre-heated your oven or not before putting in the prepared potatoes.

Read also >> What Temperature Should a Baked Potato Be Cooked At?

Read also >> Should Baked Potatoes be Wrapped in Foil (All You Need to Know)

Why are high temperatures the best for cooking a baked potato?

Baked potatoes are quite easy to cook and don’t need a lot of temperature change, just one temperature that they bake on for the total time will suffice.

Although, that temperature needs to be very high so that the potato bakes perfectly and ideally till the middle and does not leave any parts of the potato uncooked. 

It’s ideal to cook your baked potato at a temperature between 300°-425°. Make sure to not go above 425° as that will overcook, dry up, and burn the potato, in which case it will not make for an appetizing dish. 

The ideal temperature for your baked potatoes is 400° as it’s not too high (425° and above) as to overcook the potatoes and not too low (375° and below) to undercook them.

Make sure that your oven is pre-heated so that your potato is fully cooked and the skin is perfectly crunchy. 

What are the ingredients and tools needed for baking a potato?

There are a few ingredients and tools you should prepare before cooking your potato in the oven at home:


  • 1 medium sized potato
  • Sea salt or coarse salt (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Butter
  • Olive oil/vegetable oil/butter (1 tsp)
  • Filling options (cheese, spices, meat, herbs, sauces, condiments, vegetables)


How much nutrition do baked potatoes provide in one serving?

The approximate amount of calories in a single person serving of baked potato is 170 kcal, give or take a few calories.

Baked potatoes also provide a lot of healthy nutrients to the person eating them.

One medium sized potato contains:

  • Calories: 161
  • Fat: less than 1g
  • Sodium: 17mg
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Fiber: 3.8g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Vitamin B6: 25% of the daily value (DV)
  • Potassium and vitamin C: 27% of DV each
  • Folate and magnesium: 12% of DV each

How to cook the perfect baked potato?

The recipe for cooking the perfect baked potato requires a few simple steps, follow it to a T and the outcome would be a baked potato perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Here’s what you need to do:

1.    Pick a potato

Many people are confused as to which type or kind of potato they should choose for making baked potatoes.

The answer to that is choosing a mature, baking-type potato like Russets potatoes, which will give you that perfect potato dish with a smooth interior and a flaky exterior. 

Russets are classically known as baking potatoes and contain a lot of starch which is perfect for baking since it retains the fluffiness of the inside of your potato, keeping it from becoming too dry.

Along with that, you should make sure that your potato has a rust or brown skin color, and not green. This indicates that the potato is perfectly ripe and suitable for baking. 

Avoid potatoes with sprouts as they can sometimes be poisonous to the person eating them. Look for any signs of bruises on the potatoes which indicate rotting from the inside and avoid buying those.

Don’t choose potatoes which are too large or too small, and if you’re baking a lot of them at once, try to get the ones with similar sizes. 

2.    Prepare your potato

After you’re done picking, wash the potatoes in cold water, and rinse them about 3 times to get rid of any dirt, bacteria, or fertilizers that may be hiding on the potato skin.

This will prevent you from getting sick after eating and prevent a bacteria outbreak. 

After they’re done getting cleaned, leave the potatoes out to dry, or pat them dry using a kitchen roll or paper. This will make sure the skin is perfectly dry to go in the oven and turns out crispy instead of wrinkly and moist. 

When they’re fully dry, take a fork or knife, and make several tiny little holes in the surface of your potato.

This prevents the skin from bursting when baking in the oven and allows for the steam to get out easier, creating air pockets for it to escape from.

This also helps cook your baked potato faster and makes it fluffier in texture.

3.    Coat the potato

Now put your potato back into a bowl and put in some olive oil/vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Salt and pepper are optional to give the potato a slight hint of more flavor for you to add condiments onto later.

The oil is necessary as it prevents the potato from sticking to the dish but make sure to rub in the oil into the potato skin so that it becomes perfectly crispy while baking. 

4.    Put it into the oven

Take your baking dish or tray, and line it with baking paper. Before putting your potato into the oven to bake, pre-heat the oven to 400° and adjust the rack in your oven to the middle position.

You can wrap your potato in aluminum foil if you prefer your potato to have softer skin, otherwise, just put it on the tray as is. 

Make sure to use heat protectant gloves to protect your hands and put the tray/dish into the oven. Make sure to put it in after the oven has been pre-heated for at least 15 minutes.

Bake the potato on the racks until it becomes tender.

When half of the baking time has passed, check and monitor the potato accordingly. It’s also advised to take the tray out and turn the potato over using tongs so that it cooks well from all sides, and also to prevent the browning of the potato skin where it meets the baking tray. 

To check if your potato is done, take it out 2-5 minutes prior to finishing time and pierce it with a knife to check.

The amount of pressure you have to force the knife in will tell you if the inside is soft or still hard, in the latter case you’ll have to put it back into the oven for 5 minutes more. 

You can also use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the middle of your potato; if the internal temperature is 210°, that means the potato has been cooked and you can take it out.

If not, then chuck it back in for a few minutes more.

5.    Serve with toppings and side dishes

Take the potato out when it’s done and make a crisscross cut on the top with a knife.

This 1-inch cut will help the steam get out and make room for any toppings you might want to add, like sour cream, cheese, vegetables, curry, herbs, or anything else. 

After preparing the toppings, take out a nice serving dish (if you’re making it for the guests) and lay your potatoes in it.

You can also choose an appropriate side dish to go along with it although the baked potatoes are a hearty snack all on their own. 

Does the temperature differ when cooking a baked potato using other methods?

The recipe and the optimal temperature of 400 mentioned above was specifically for cooking baked potatoes in an electric oven, so if you’re using any other forms of baking per se, coating your potato with aluminum or tin foil, or using an air fryer, the procedure will be a little different. 

How to bake potatoes in aluminum foil?

Potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil take longer to bake since they now have an extra layer of coverage which the heat has to penetrate for cooking.

You can use the same temperature of 400 for this method as well, however, the potato will have to cook for a longer time per se an hour instead of the regular 45 minutes to cook better. 

How to bake potatoes in air fryer?

Baking potatoes in the air fryer basket takes around 30-45 minutes or less. It’s ideal to bake them for 30 minutes in the air fryer at a temperature of 400 to achieve the desired texture of your potato.

All the other steps such as cleaning, washing, drying, and coating with oil, salt, and pepper are the same as when cooking in an oven. 

Tips and tricks to help you cook baked potatoes better

  • Don’t cover with foil if you want crispy potatoes.
  • Adjust temperature and cooking time according to the size of the potatoes.
  • Use a thermometer 2 times between cooking to check the temperature as eating undercooked potatoes can cause indigestion.
  • Don’t cut all the way down the middle when serving, only by one inch.
  • Squeeze the ends of the potato towards the center to make it fluffier.

Read also >> Can You Microwave 2 Potatoes at Once? (All You Need to Know)

Read also >> How Long To Cook a Baked Potato in a Microwave (Best Tips)

What toppings can I use for my baked potato dish?

The toppings you decide for your baked potatoes all depend on your mood, taste, and preferences. However, we’ll suggest a few of them here so you can take your pick:

  • Sour cream and salsa
  • Grated cheese and bacon bits
  • Curry or gravy
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Cut up vegetables and herbs

What sides go well with a baked potato dish?

Baked potatoes may be a full dish on their own, but did you know, you can also use them as a combination with another dish?

If you truly want to wow your guests, use these dishes as sides or as a combination with your topped potatoes to make it a full meal:

  • Any kind of soup
  • Steaks
  • Casseroles
  • Salads
  • Oven ribs
  • Pork chops
  • Fried fish or chicken

What to do with leftovers?

You can store the leftover potatoes in an airtight container and put it in the fridge. Make sure to wait for the potatoes to cool down before you store them.

This will preserve the dish for about 5 days but we recommend finishing it in 2-3 days.

How Long to Cook a Baked Potato FAQs

Can I bake potatoes at a lower temperature?

Yes, but you’ll have to bake them for a longer time to cook properly.

Can I reheat my potatoes?

Absolutely, they can be reheated in a microwave or an oven.

Can the baked potatoes be frozen?

Yes, they can. we wouldn’t recommend it since they will take a long time to defrost after frozen.

Why should I not use foil while baking?

Because it turns the potato skin to mush instead of it being crispy.

Final thoughts

Baked potatoes are a great and nutritious dish to eat on your own, with friends, or with guests alike. Baking these potatoes at an optimal temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit will give you that perfect baked potato; with a soft interior and a crispy, crunchy exterior.

It’s important to be consistent with the temperature you cook your potatoes so that there are no discrepancies in the future.

By now we hope you might’ve learned all there is to know about baking potatoes at the perfect temperature, as well as how to do so, and how to serve accordingly.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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