Vivian Howard's Tips For How To Bake Potatoes

Listen up, potato lovers!

Baked Potato with Butter
Photo: LauriPatterson/Getty Images

North Carolina Chef, restaurant owner, writer, and TV personality Vivian Howard has made a very important plea: Stop putting aluminum foil on your potatoes when you bake them.

The 2019 South's Best Chef even once took to Instagram, saying, "if you swaddle your potatoes in foil, watch my stories & learn why potatoes are better baked in their birthday suits! #justthetipstuesdays"

She explained why this culinary crime offends her just so very much—potatoes baked in foil "have soggy, tasteless skin." The shiny barrier of the foil prohibits the skin from getting that crispy, extra-tasty punch of flavor and texture. Here's how to ditch the foil and get a crispy, more flavorful baked potato.

sad potato in foil

How to Bake a Potato

So what is the right way to bake a potato? One version Howard suggested is baking them "naked with olive oil and salt." She added that this will make their skins "chewy and satisfying."

To bake, pierce the clean potatoes several times with a fork or small paring knife. This allows steam and pressure to escape and avoids potential spud explosions. Rub the potatoes with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook on a wire rack set in a jelly-roll pan at 400˚F for 1 hour or until tender.

Vivian Howard's Naked Baked Potatoes

Flavorful Tips

Howard also gave suggestions for cooking baked potatoes alongside other foods so the flavors mingle, such as sharing the sheet pan with beef ribs so the fat provides a flavorful oil coating similar to French fries.

Vivian Howard Baked Potato in Beef Fat

She also suggested baking your potato nestled up with a roasted chicken, which is her favorite cooking method.

Howard also said that treating the outside of the potato nicely means it can be an edible vessel for other food. Load the tasty, crispy outer shell with veggie fillings, and you'll have a wonderful and healthy meal.

Vivian Howard Salad Stuffed Potato

Next time you're thinking about baked potatoes, heed Chef Howard's advice. You won't be disappointed.

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