THE secret to perfect baked potatoes in a fraction of the time: cutting them in half! That's right, we roast potato halves instead of full potatoes. Not only do they take less time, they also have perfect caramelized edges and a soft fluffy interior.
OVEN: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large dark sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Don't skip the parchment paper, it really helps the potatoes cook evenly without the cut side getting too hard.
CLEAN POTATOES: Throughly scrub the potatoes in COLD water. Clean to remove all the dirt and any debris. Completely dry the potatoes. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.
PREP POTATOES: Place the potatoes flesh side down on the sheet pan. Pierce each back side of the potato 3 to 4 times with the tines of a fork. Flip the potatoes flesh side up. Drizzle the oil over all the potatoes and take your time to rub the oil into both sides of the potatoes so all parts of the potatoes are sufficiently covered. Evenly sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of salt over all the potatoes (3/4 teaspoon for ALL potatoes not each). Add 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the flesh sides of the potatoes. Now flip again so the potatoes flesh side down. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt over all the skins of the potatoes and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper on the skins.
BAKE: Bake (flesh side down) for 35-45 minutes, checking at 35 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a fork into the biggest potato. If it goes in easily, the potatoes are ready! If not, add an additional 5 minutes. Cook until fork tender, checking every 5 minutes.
ENJOY: Remove from the oven and serve with favorite toppings. We like a pat of butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions or chives. See the blog post for more ideas! Make sure to taste the potatoes and add additional salt and pepper as needed
Note 1: I have also tested this recipe with potatoes that are 9-13 ounces in size. Add an additional tablespoon of oil and they bake for about 10 minutes longer. You'll also likely want to add an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper on the baked potatoes (taste first). Also, while you can cook more than 4 potatoes at a time, remember the more potatoes on the sheet pan, the longer the overall cooking time will be.