Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Baked Potatoes are far superior to any baked potato cooked in the oven or microwave.
In just minutes, you'll have potatoes with a soft, moist creamy center and a dry, thin skin on the outside. You can even give them a rub in olive oil and salt and crisp them up in the oven if you want.
Pressure cooker, or Instant Pot, baked potatoes are a life changing experience. If you grew up on dried out or slightly-crunchy-in-the-middle potatoes like I did, these will blow your mind.
Prepare yourself. This will be a long post describing everything from how to make a perfect baked potato in the Instant Pot, to alternative cooking methods, to ideas on what to serve on top of them.
If you're in a hurry and just want to know how to make them in the pressure cooker, feel free to scroll down to the recipe. But, if you want to learn from my misfortune that consists of decades of making and eating baked potatoes that were less than excellent, please read on.
Let's start with the most important question.
What is the best way to bake a potato?
Answer: the pressure cooker.
Why? Well, you're not actually baking the potato. You're steaming it.
If you don't have an electric pressure cooker, or an Instant Pot as your friends probably all have, then you need to get one. Every time I use mine I love it more and more. I have made tons of Instant Pot recipes. To name just a few: Pressure Cooker Potato Leek Soup, Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken, and Pressure Cooker Shoyu Chicken. This appliance quickly replaced my crockpot which I only now use to keep ciders and side dishes warm before serving.
Not only will making potatoes like this in the pressure cooker save you time (compared to oven baked potatoes), but steaming them under pressure makes the inside of the potato completely moist, smooth, and creamy. In fact, this is how I make my mashed potatoes now. The only difference when making mashed potatoes is that I'll cut them in half, or quarter them if they are large, before cooking. Then, once done, I just peel off the skin when they're cool enough to handle and mash them up with all sorts of butter, buttermilk, roasted garlic, etc.
How to cook a baked potato?
- Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) - Cook up to 3 pounds at a time. Set potatoes on trivet, add one cup of cold water, and cook on high pressure for 12-20 minutes. The amount of time depends on the size of your potatoes. Allow potatoes to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure. You can crisp up the skin in the oven with olive oil and salt if desired, but it is not necessary. Pros: fast, creamy and moist potatoes, easy, you can cook a lot at the same time. Cons: only works if you have a pressure cooker.
- Oven - You can cook right on the rack or you can wrap in foil. Time and temperature can vary, depending on your preference. Oven temperature can be anywhere from 300 to 450 degrees F. Cooking time will range from 60 to 90+ minutes. Pros: They can cook while you prepare the rest of your dinner (and watch a show because they take so darn long). Cons: they take a very long time to cook, sometimes get dried out, different sizes will require different times.
- Microwave - Heat on high 5 minutes, turn, then heat on high for another 5 minutes. More time needed if potatoes are large. Pros: this is the quickest method. Cons: you can't cook that many at the same time. Potatoes that you bake in the microwave are often very dry in the middle.
- Grill or BBQ - Follow the same process you would bake potatoes in the oven. You will get similar results as well. Pros: If its a nice day and you already have the grill going, why not? Plus, you won't heat up your kitchen like the oven would. Cons: you need a lot of rack space and can't really cook anything else at the same time. It's not really an efficient way to cook baked potatoes.
What is good on a baked potato?
Nothing quite beats a loaded baked potato. The topping selections could be endless. I could write a book on making the perfect loaded baked potato. I'll try my best to condense my recommendations into a few bullets below.
- The start to serving up any perfect baked potato is butter, salt, and pepper. I recommend cutting an oval in the top of your potato and mixing in a high quality pasture butter. Kerrygold is my absolute favorite. Then add the right amount of salt and pepper. You can enjoy your baked potato just like this, or add more.
- Sour cream, crispy bacon pieces, sliced scallions and minced chives are my favorite toppings.
- Steamed broccoli and melted sharp cheddar and excellent on their own or in addition to all the toppings already mentioned.
- Pulled pork or thinly sliced grilled steak take your loaded baked potato from side dish to the main event.
- Last, but not least, you'll be in heaven if you smother that baked potato with some homemade queso. Mercy.
More tips and tricks when making baked potatoes:
Not everyone has been captivated by the Instant Pot, so I figured I would give you options. Regardless of weather you choose to cook your potatoes in the instant pot, oven, microwave, or grill, I recommend using russet potatoes. The cooking methods I described in this post work for any kind of potatoes (with slight variations to time), however if you want a traditional baked potato, you will want to use a russet potato.
No mater how you choose to bake your potatoes, you should wash them with a scrub brush and then pierce them with a fork prior to cooking to allow some steam to release. If you use a knife to pierce the potatoes like I did for the potatoes in these photos, your potatoes are likely to split during the cooking process. Do as I say, don't do as I do (did)!
Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
- 3 pound bag russet potatoes (scrubbed clean)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
- Pierce potatoes several times each with a fork.
- Set trivet or rack into the pressure cooker. Add water. Place potatoes on top of rack. Seal lid.
- Set to high pressure and cook for 12-20 minutes depending on the size of your potato. I had small to medium sized organic russet potatoes from Trader Joe's and set my time to 12 minutes, but if they are medium to large size increase the time to 20 minutes.
- Once done cooking, allow to naturally release pressure for an additional 10 minutes. Then quick release the remaining pressure and carefully remove.
- They are ready to serve as is, however if you'd like you can rub the olive oil and salt on the skins and roast on the rack of a preheated 400 degree F oven to take the skin from thin and dry to crispy and delicious.
- To serve, cut an oval in the top. Scoop out the potato, mash up with some butter, and add it back in. Top with sour cream, crispy bacon, green onions, chives, steamed broccoli, cheese sauce - whatever you're craving!