Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the potatoes clean and place them on a well-oiled baking sheet or tin foil.

Pierce the skin of the potato with a fork so that all sides are well punctured, but do not cut it all the way through. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender when tapped with a fork or knife. (You can also microwave them for an hour if you prefer.)

When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly.

Once they have cooled enough to touch, hold the potato in your hand and gently push down on both ends until it “pops” open. Let is sit for a few minutes so all of the steam can evaporate before attempting to scoop out the insides.

Using a spoon, scoop all of the insides out of the potato so that you are left with an empty shell.

Place the insides in a mixing bowl and set aside for later use. If you prefer mashed potatoes, mash them now. Add salt, butter , pepper, garlic powder, onion powder or other spices to taste. (Keep in mind that your filling will also have some salt and pepper added to it, so be careful not to over-season the potatoes.) If you want to use milk or cream for richness, add it now.

Fold everything together until combined, being careful not to break apart the potato too much as this will make them less sturdy. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells and pack it in as tightly as you can, smoothing out the top as best you can.

Once your potatoes are filled and smooth, place them back on a baking sheet or tin foil, making sure they aren’t touching each other.

Brush them with melted butter or oil to make them crispy during baking. Return them to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until they are crispy on top. (You may need more time depending on how large your potatoes are.)

Serve immediately with butter, salt, pepper or ketchup if desired. Enjoy!

So this is how to bake a potato.

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