How to Bake and Top the Perfect Jacket Potato

by Clare Fairs, October 27, 2018

As the evenings darken, our enthusiasm for cooking can easily wane. At the same time, carbohydrate cravings often kick in. Thankfully, there is a perfect natural convenience food for this time of year – the jacket potato! Read on for cooking tips and ideas for fillings from our kitchen and our Facebook followers! 

Stuffed baked potatoesThe perfect spud

Simple and satisfying, jacket potatoes are ideal for lunches or week night dinners. With minimal prep required and little washing up, tasty and healthy jacket potatoes are just what the doctor ordered when your energy levels dip.  

Selecting the right potato is the first step to jacket potato perfection. Traditional jacket varieties include Maris Piper, Desiree and King Edward. These floury potatoes fluff up when cooked for a light and soft middle. If you’d like to experiment with other varieties, try Yukon Gold, Roosters or Vivaldi. You can find out more about potato varieties at www.lovepotatoes.co.uk. Don’t forget about sweet potatoes either! These contain more vitamins and less carbohydrates, and cook in less time.  

Whichever potatoes you’re using, begin by scrubbing them clean and pricking the skin with a fork. If you don’t prick them, the water inside can’t escape, and the build-up of pressure really can cause them to explode! 

To achieve a delectable crispy skin, rub them with a drizzle of our nutty cold pressed rapeseed oil and a light pinch of sea salt. Don’t wrap them in foil. Instead place them on a baking tray with plenty of space around each potato. 

Cooking times

Patience is the key to the ultimate jacket potato. For a soft middle and an ultra-crispy skin, we recommend baking them in the middle of a preheated oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 1¼– 1½ hours. 

If you’re pushed for time, you can cook your pricked potato in a microwave for 5 minutes before transferring to the oven. The skin will be crispy and the inside soft after 35 – 40 minutes. 

If you’re really in a hurry, you can extend the time in the microwave to up to 10 minutes (turning after 4 minutes and then checking every 30 seconds after 8 minutes). Your potato will then need just 10–15 minutes in the oven for the skin to crisp up.  

Sweet potatoes only need around 50 minutes in the oven. If you need to cut this time down, start a sweet potato in the microwave for 4–5 minutes then pop in the oven for 10—15 minutes for the nutritious skin to crisp. 

101 ways with potatoes

With a little imagination, there are endless possibilities for the humble spud. We asked our Facebook followers for their top suggestions. Favourites included tuna, sweetcorn and Hillfarm mayonnaise (a true classic) as well as baked beans and cheese (we’re with you on that). 

Coleslaw is another popular filling. Use our farmhouse mayonnaise and freshly chopped ingredients to make your own golden, delicious and wholesome slaw. 

Main meals

For a hearty meal on a chilly weeknight, who doesn’t love a jacket potato with chilli con carne? Greg Wallace’s recipe from Eat Well for Less? is a winner. Greg uses lean sirloin or rump steak but you could also use chicken or turkey fillets to reduce the saturated fat levels even further. 

Jacket potatoes are also great topped with curry. Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy hearty chickpea or vegetable curries with baked potatoes for a warming and balanced dinner. Jennifer Irvine’s chana masala with spinach is an easy example that works just as well with a jacket potato as it does rice. 

Stews and casseroles are also superb with a jacket potato. Cook this Scrumpy Pig cider one pot while your potatoes bake in the oven to enjoy comfort food at its simplest and best. 

Kids’ favourites 

Pizza baked potatoes are a sure-fire hit with children. Cut baked potatoes in half and spread with a tablespoon of pesto before topping with quartered cherry tomatoes, grated cheese and a drizzle of cold pressed rapeseed oil. Return to the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling. 

Kids also love stuffed jacket potatoes. If you let baked potatoes cool before scooping out the middle, they can have fun making them too. In a bowl, mash the insides with cheese, sweetcorn and fresh herbs before returning to the skins and cooking in the oven for 10–15 minutes. 

Send us your suggestions

Do you have any more suggestions? We’d love to hear them! You can share your ideas or photos via our Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter or by completing our contact form.   

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