When baking a baked potato in the oven how do you know when it's perfectly done?

Squeezing it doesn't seem to be that accurate for me. And using a fork seems pretty arbitrary. Any better ways?

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    Arbitrary or not, testing with a fork is a simple way of checking to see whether the centre of the potato is soft enough. It's not clear from your question if you have actually tested this method. Add a note here if you have. Dec 12, 2012 at 2:08

4 Answers 4


If you want to go all engineer on your unsuspecting spuds, take their temperature with an instant read thermometer. According to several online sources I found, the ideal internal temp for your 'tater is 210F (99°C).

  • 1
  • Never would have thought of that.
    – Chris
    Dec 12, 2012 at 22:57
  • 1
    this and this say 183F/84C! Do not think you need to cook to 99C!
    – Stefan
    Jul 1, 2013 at 6:13
  • I'm not sure about this because (a) cooked = temperature plus time, and this hasn't measured time, and (b) the necessary temperature (and time) will depend on the variety of potato. Whereas testing the actual desired properties of the potato (softness) is direct.
    – slim
    Jul 1, 2013 at 16:23

Insert a paring knife from the top of the potato. If it goes in easily and doesn't support the spud, it's done. If you can pick up the spud, it's got a few more minutes.

  • Ah! I thought the OP was referring to the choice of method as being arbitrary, not the test itself. +1 for being less dense than me :-) Dec 12, 2012 at 4:02
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    I really find a fork to be a better test - knives are sharp enough that they'll go in easily before it's quite cooked, while a fork lets you feel the resistance a bit better.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 12, 2012 at 5:55

All right, I'll take the bait. Poke it with a fork and see if it feels right - tender, not much resistance.

This isn't really arbitrary at all: you need something that can poke in easily enough to not destroy the potato but not too easily, so you can feel the texture of the potato. A fork is one such thing that everyone has in their kitchen. And it's easy: most people know how a baked potato feels when you stick a fork in it because they've stuck forks in a ton of potatoes before. Sure, you could manage with a few other things, but why bother? It's a good tool for the job.

  • And if you're just starting out and learning what it's supposed to feel like with a fork -- use the fork to make a line of holes along the length of the potato, then apply pressure at the ends ... if it's done cooking, the whole potato will pop open, so you can put whatever salt / butter / cheese / sour cream / chives / etc in there.
    – Joe
    Dec 13, 2012 at 17:20

I am using wooden toothpick for that. If toothpick goes easily into potato - it's done, if you need some effort to put it in - it's not.

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