Baked potatoes are a timeless comfort food, and achieving the perfect balance of a crispy skin and tender interior is an art form. In this guide, we'll walk you through a foolproof recipe for perfectly tender baked potatoes, along with topping options, serving suggestions, and tips to elevate your potato game to new heights. Never have a dry hard baked potato again with this guide to tender baked potatoes. What you need to make tender baked potatoes Russet potatoes (or any baking potato variety) Olive oil Salt How to make tender baked potatoes Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Scrub the potatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt. Peel if desired. Use a fork to poke holes in each potato. Rub each potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on the oven rack or baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a fork easily pierces the potatoes. For crispier skin, brush with olive oil halfway through baking. Let cool, cut a slit, and fluff with a fork. Topping Options: Classic Sour Cream and Chives: A timeless choice for potato lovers. The coolness of sour cream complements the warmth of the potato, and chives add a burst of freshness. Cheese Lovers' Dream: Sprinkle shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or your favorite cheese on top. Melt it under the broiler for an indulgent treat. Loaded Baked Potato: Go all out with bacon bits, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped green onions for a fully loaded experience. Garlic Butter Bliss: Melted garlic butter drizzled over the potatoes adds a rich and savory dimension. What to Serve with Baked Potatoes: Grilled Chicken or Steak: Pairing your potatoes with grilled meats creates a hearty and satisfying meal. Steamed Vegetables: Add a healthy touch with a side of steamed broccoli, carrots, or asparagus. Simple Green Salad: A crisp salad with a light vinaigrette complements the starchy goodness of the potatoes. Tips for Perfectly Tender Potatoes: Choose the Right Potatoes: Opt for Russet potatoes or other baking varieties for the best texture. Evenly-Sized Potatoes: Try to select potatoes that are similar in size to ensure even cooking. Don't Forget to Poke: Piercing the potatoes allows steam to escape, preventing them from bursting. Crispy Skin Trick: Brushing with olive oil halfway through baking enhances the crispiness of the skin. Adjust Baking Time: Larger potatoes may require more time, while smaller ones may be ready sooner. Use the fork test to determine doneness. Mastering the art of the perfectly tender baked potato is a culinary achievement that will earn you accolades at the dinner table. With these tips, topping ideas, and serving suggestions, your baked potatoes are sure to become a family favorite. So, preheat that oven, grab some potatoes, and get ready to savor the crispy delight of a perfectly baked spud!