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We Tested And Ranked 8 Celebrity Chef Baked Potato Recipes

Assorted baked potatoes
Assorted baked potatoes - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Few foods enjoy global popularity like the lowly potato. Since its domestication by the Incas in Peru 8,000 years ago, the potato has taken the world stage by storm. It is the fourth-most-grown crop behind rice, wheat, and maize. It owes much of its success to its prolific capacity to grow, affordability, and high nutritional value, with virtually every vitamin and nutrient necessary for human survival, saving vitamins A and D.

From a culinary perspective, potatoes are incredibly versatile. From pancakes to mashed to fried, potatoes are chameleons, capable of transforming into delicacies of all kinds. Yet there is something so satisfying and nourishing about a simple baked potato that keeps them on our regular menu rotation. Though baking a potato is seemingly simple, it takes a long time to become tender, and it is often a challenge to obtain a crisp skin that begs to be eaten.

As a chef, I have baked my share of potatoes. While I have my method, I was curious to see what celebrity chefs do to create a superlative spud. After an extensive search, I discovered recipes from eight culinary icons to test and rank. I went out and purchased some medium- to large-sized starchy russet potatoes and got to work baking, topping, and tasting them. I'll cover my ranking criteria at the end of this article. In the meantime, read on to discover which baked potato recipes will have you singing their praises to Axomamma and which you should probably skip.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

8. Jacques Pépin's The Quickest Baked Potatoes

Jacques Pépin's Quickest Baked Potato
Jacques Pépin's Quickest Baked Potato - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Last on this ranking of baked potato recipes is Jacques Pépin's The Quickest Baked Potatoes. This recipe uses the microwave to speed up the process. In theory, this sounds amazing, but it was not quite as satisfying as he makes it look. This method is less a recipe than a guideline, as there are no specifics regarding the potato size or written instructions. Nevertheless, I followed his directions using my medium-to-large russet.

I started by microwaving the potato for seven minutes. When I took the potato out of the microwave, it was already soft inside and quite mushy on the outside. After poking some holes in the skin with a paring knife, I placed the potato directly on the oven rack for 15 minutes. I put a baking sheet on the oven rack below the potato to catch any drippings.

By the time the 15 minutes were up, the skin of the spud was quite crunchy, and the potato had begun to wither. After cutting into the potato, steam escaped from the interior, deflating the spud and turning it into something resembling a giant brown raisin. No amount of sour cream could resuscitate this potato. It was dry, chewy, and inedible. As much as Jacques inspired me as a young chef, his shortcut microwave potato recipe was a total bust, and I give it an F.

7. Nancy Fuller's Mile High Loaded Baked Potatoes

Nancy Fuller's Mile High Loaded Baked Potato
Nancy Fuller's Mile High Loaded Baked Potato - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

If I based this ranking on whose toppings reign supreme, Nancy Fuller's Mile High Loaded Baked Potatoes would be the winner. With bacon bits, broccoli, butter, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped chives, this spud was oozing with flavor. When it came to the potato itself, I was less enthusiastic.

This recipe calls for sizable spuds, roughly 8 ounces each. These potatoes should be pierced with a fork several times to allow steam to escape before they are placed on a baking sheet and allowed to do their thing in an oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The potato I used was approximately 7.5 ounces, and I pierced it numerous times before placing it in the oven. I also turned the potato halfway through the baking process because it appeared to be cooking unevenly, which I did with all the oven-baked spuds.

After one full hour, I tested the center of the potato with a paring knife, and it felt tender, so I removed it from the oven. Though the potato was easy to cut, the center was actually undercooked and still slightly dense. Additionally, the potato skin was rather limp and papery, making it less than desirable to eat. Though the toppings were a delight, the potato was disappointing and required far longer to become tender enough to eat. I give this recipe a C- grade and recommend cooking the potato for at least 15 minutes longer than indicated, if not more.

6. Cat Cora's Loaded Baked Potato With Veggies, Cheese & Tomato Sauce

Cat Cora's Loaded Baked Potato
Cat Cora's Loaded Baked Potato - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Cat Cora's Loaded Baked Potato with Veggies, Cheese & Tomato Sauce ranks next on my list. This recipe calls for a simple topping of reheated frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, and green beans), store-bought marinara sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese. The toppings did not enthuse me, but I was not evaluating them. My focus was more on the potato.

Lacking specific instructions, I used a medium-to-large russet. The potatoes are pricked with a fork and then wrapped in aluminum foil before being baked in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour. When it comes to the filling, I used a bit of creative license, opting for frozen stir-fry vegetables and combining them with fire-roasted tomatoes before seasoning them with some smoked paprika, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. They were tasty.

The potato, on the other hand, was just okay. After an hour, I was unsure if the potato was soft, as it still felt hard inside the foil, so I left it in the oven for an additional 15 minutes before removing it. Though the center of the potato was adequately light and fluffy, the skin was super papery and squishy. This potato was fine, but it was not great. I give it an average grade of C.

5. Alton Brown's The Baked Potato

Alton Brown's baked potato
Alton Brown's baked potato - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Next on this ranking is Alton Brown's The Baked Potato recipe. The reason so many, including myself, trust Alton Brown is that he is methodical in his analysis of cooking. As he works through a recipe, he focuses on precision and the ideal result, giving you relatively clear instructions that are easy to follow.

This no-frills recipe involves baking a large potato the size of a Mr. Potato Head that has been pierced eight to 12 times with a fork like a "psycho" before being coated in canola oil and kosher salt. It's then baked in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. The potato should be placed directly on the oven rack to encourage air circulation around the spud and even cooking. Brown also instructs to put a baking sheet below the potato to catch any drippings.

I followed the recipe to the letter, with the notable exception that I turned the potato halfway through baking to ensure it was cooking evenly, as I noticed the spud was crisping up unevenly. The potato did take precisely one hour to get cooked. As promised, the interior of the potato was light and fluffy. Though the exterior was crispy, it was still somewhat papery, continuing to become more so as the potato cooled. Overall, this baked potato was good. I give it a solid B- grade.

4. Guy Fieri's The Bomb Bakers

Guy Fieri's Bomb Baker potato
Guy Fieri's Bomb Baker potato - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

I struggled with where to rank Guy Fieri's The Bomb Bakers recipe. From the perspective of time and amount of effort required to make this baked potato, this recipe ranks dead last. From a textural perspective, this recipe ranks toward the top. As far as flavor is concerned, this recipe has some issues.

This spud is brined in a saltwater mixture for two to eight hours before the potato gets seasoned with more salt, garlic salt, seasoned salt, and pepper. The potato bakes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour. Unlike all the other potatoes, this potato is not pricked and bakes on a wire rack to encourage air circulation. The finished potato is garnished with a delectably spicy condiment of prepared horseradish and sour cream.

I brined my potato for six hours before seasoning it. Full disclosure: I did not use the amount of seasoning the recipe calls for. The salt seemed excessive, and I was concerned the potato would become inedible.

The potato was soft in one hour, and while the texture was melt-in-your-mouth tender, the crust was not as crisp as some of the other top contenders. More importantly, even with adjustments, this potato was too salty. It was edible, but barely, leaving my mouth dry and my lips tingling from the salinity. With the brine, this recipe also requires way too much forethought for my liking. As such, I give it an overall grade of B.

3. Nigella Lawson's Baked Potatoes With Chive Sour Cream

Nigella Lawson's Baked Potato with Chive Sour Cream
Nigella Lawson's Baked Potato with Chive Sour Cream - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Nigella Lawson's Baked Potatoes with Chive Sour Cream recipe delivers if you want a seductive spud. As is often the case with Nigella's recipes, this is a simple-to-follow, easy, and relatively hassle-free baked potato. The only requirement is to skewer your spud before baking it directly on the oven rack at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about one hour and 15 minutes. She also includes instructions for a simple yet flavorful condiment of sour cream, whole-grain mustard, and chives.

Employing a skewer to bake a potato is a technique that I have used many times. The theory is that the metal skewer helps to conduct heat, enabling the potato to bake faster and more evenly. Like the other potatoes I baked, except the one in foil, I did rotate this potato halfway through the baking process to give both sides a chance at crisping up. While, again, the precise potato size was left off this recipe, the medium-large spud I chose got cooked in 45 minutes rather than the time listed.

The resulting potato had a delightful tender and moist texture inside. The skin was crisp but not quite as crunchy as I enjoyed it. That said, it was not papery and had a nice snap. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this potato, and as far as ease of preparation is concerned, this is a home run. I give this potato a solid B+ grade.

2. Ina Garten's Crusty Baked Potatoes With Whipped Feta

Ina Garten's Baked Potato with Whipped Feta
Ina Garten's Baked Potato with Whipped Feta - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Ina Garten's Crusty Baked Potatoes with Whipped Feta placed second among these celebrity chef baked potato recipes. These potatoes get crusted with a blend of chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, and sea salt after being pricked with a fork and bathed in olive oil. I substituted dried thyme for fresh because I could not find any. The potato is baked for approximately one hour on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit before being garnished with a delectable whipped feta topping.

I appreciated the fact that the recipe included the size of the potato. I followed the recipe precisely, except for turning the potato once halfway through baking to ensure it crisped up evenly. The potato got soft in one hour.

The potato itself was remarkably tender on the inside, but the star of this spud was the crust. It was flavorful and beautifully crisp, without an ounce of that papery mouthfeel that some of the others had. While I was not evaluating the condiments per se, this tangy whipped feta topping combined with the crust on the potato was beyond divine, providing complexity and intensity in flavors. The combination was by far my favorite of all the recipes I tried. I have nothing but glorious things to say about this spud, which is why it gets a solid A grade from me.

1. The Pioneer Woman's Air Fryer Baked Potato

The Pioneer Woman's Air Fryer Baked Potato
The Pioneer Woman's Air Fryer Baked Potato - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

Among the many ways I have made a baked potato, the air fryer is not a method I have ever attempted. The idea of cluttering my cabinets and countertops with another kitchen gadget that I would only use a few times a year did not appeal to me. That said, I felt it was necessary to evaluate every baked potato method, so I borrowed an air fryer from a friend and tested The Pioneer Woman's Air Fryer Baked Potato recipe.

As much as I may have had a bias against yet another kitchen gadget, I could not have been more wrong. This air fryer baked potato was easy and yielded the exact type of baked potato I love — one with a crispy, crunchy, yet tender crust. Before baking in the air fryer, the potatoes are brushed liberally with olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper. They're then placed in the air fryer basket without crowding them to allow for adequate airflow. The potatoes bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes before rotating and finishing for another 20 minutes. Once done, the potatoes must cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

I could not believe how perfectly this potato came out. It was the fastest-cooking and required very little preparation. The flesh was tender and moist, and cleanup was a snap. While I shudder at adding a kitchen gadget to my culinary arsenal, I will do so to have this potato again. This recipe gets an A+ from me.

Methodology

Assorted baked potatoes
Assorted baked potatoes - Monika Sudakov/Daily Meal

In deciding which celebrity chef baked potato recipes to use, I searched the internet for methods different enough to merit side-by-side comparisons. As noted, I purchased russet potatoes that were roughly 8 to 10 ounces each. I opted for russets because these starchy spuds are the gold standard for a light, fluffy baked potato.

Before baking the potatoes, I scrubbed them clean with cold water before patting them dry with a paper towel. While most recipes did not indicate that the potatoes needed to be rotated during the baking process, I relied on my instincts as a chef to do what felt right and turned them halfway through to guarantee even baking. I also used some of my chef-like Spidey skills to adjust recipes where it made sense and where doing so would not influence the final overall texture of the potato, as noted in each review.

When evaluating the finished baked potatoes, my criteria included how long they took, how much effort was involved in preparing them, flavor, and, most importantly, texture. I noted my preferences, as I like to eat the skins of my baked potato. Since this is not everyone's preference, I mentioned those potatoes with a tender interior but not necessarily a crisp crust, accounting for all subjective opinions. I hope your perfect baked potato is reflected in this ranking, giving you the tools and techniques to take your spud game from satisfactory to spectacular.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.