How To Know When Baked Potato Is Done (Without Guessing)

  • By: VidJovanovic
  • Date: October 12, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

When it comes to cooking a perfect baked potato, there is one burning question – how do you know when it’s done?

After all, you don’t want to end up with a burnt or undercooked potato. So, what’s the secret to getting it just right?

Here’s what you need to know about how to tell when a baked potato is done. Then, read on for my top tips and tricks.

Key Takeaways

  • There are a few ways to tell if a baked potato is done cooking.
  • One way is to poke the potato with a fork or knife. If it feels soft, it is probably done.
  • Another way is to look at the skin of the potato. If it is wrinkled and dry, it is likely done.
  • Finally, you can cut open the potato and see if the inside is cooked through.
  • If unsure, it is better to err on overcooking than undercooking, as an undercooked potato will be hard and difficult to eat.
baked potato with cream and cheese toppings
How To Know When Baked Potato Is Done

Here’s The Answer To How Do You Know When Baked Potato Is Done

You need to check the internal temperature to know when your baked potato is done. Once it hits 260F (127C), it’s ready.

You can use a meat thermometer to measure if you want—just make sure not to let the thermometer’s tip touch anything but the potato itself (otherwise, it can give you an inaccurate reading).

If you want another way to test for doneness without having fancy equipment on hand, simply poke holes into each end of your potato with a fork or knife and look inside.

If there’s no resistance when stabbing at it with either utensil, then congratulations: It’s baked.

Use A Meat Thermometer To Check The Internal Temperature Of The Potato

a food thermometer
Use A Meat Thermometer To Check The Internal Temperature Of The Potato

The best way to know when a baked potato is done is by using a meat thermometer.

  • Insert the thermometer probe into the center of your potato, then close and lock the lid on your oven.
  • Set your timer for 5 minutes, then open and check the internal temperature of your baked potato with your meat thermometer (which should be between 260F and 280F).

If it’s not quite done yet, set your timer again for another five minutes and check again until it reaches 260-280 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Internal Temperature Should Be 260F (127C)


Poke The Potato With A Knife To Check If It’s Soft Inside

bunch of potatoes
Poke The Potato With A Knife To Check If It’s Soft Inside

Using a sharp knife is the best way to check if your potato is baked. Poke the potato with the tip of your knife, about 1/4 inch deep, and see how easily it pierces through.

If it goes in without any resistance, then congratulations. Your potato is perfectly baked and ready to eat.

If it feels like you’re pushing against something as you insert your knife into the potato, then there’s still more baking time left for that spud on top of your oven.

If The Knife Goes In Without Any Resistance Potato Is Baked

To test for doneness, carefully insert a paring knife into the center of your potato. If it goes in easily, then you’re good to go. But if you feel any resistance, pop that baby back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

If your baked potato has gone from soft and fluffy to hard and dry while cooking (and this can happen), simply make an incision around its equator with a sharp knife and open it up like a book.

Then pour some butter inside before closing it back up again. Your potato will be good as new.

Remove The Potato From The Oven And Let It Sit For 5-10 Minutes

baked potato with a lot of toppings
Remove The Potato From The Oven And Let It Sit For 5-10 Minutes

After removing the baked potato from the oven, let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow some of the steam to escape and make it easier to cut through. If you try to cut into your baked potato right away, you risk it exploding in your face.

A good way to test for doneness is with a fork—stab into the middle of your potato and twist; if there’s still resistance, continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so.

You can also break open one end (but not too far!) and see if there are any dark spots on its surface; those areas are undercooked, so keep baking until they’re cooked all around.

Why Does It Matter To Stop Baking Potato At The Right Time?

The answer is simple: overcooking and undercooking potatoes can lead to several problems. For example, if you overcook the potato, it will become dry and crumbly.

On the other hand, if your potatoes are undercooked or slightly underdone, they may still be raw in the middle. They might become soggy if you don’t stop baking your spuds at just the right time.

So what’s good enough? Depending on the baked potato experience you’re looking for.

Different Ways To Know When Your Baked Potato Is Done

crispy spice potato wedges
Different Ways To Know When Your Baked Potato Is Done

Several ways to tell when your baked potato is done without guessing. The first way to do it is with a fork. Then, when the potato feels soft inside, and you can easily poke holes into it, your baked potato is ready to eat.

Another way to check if your baked potato is done is by inserting a meat thermometer into the center of it.

The temperature of a baked potato should be about 200 degrees Fahrenheit or about 93 degrees Celsius at its thickest part, which usually happens after about an hour in the oven (depending on how much heat there is from other food being cooked).

If using this method doesn’t seem like something you want to do (enough), then I would suggest just checking with your senses again: if they feel soft enough that they will fall apart when poked with a finger, then they’re probably done.

You could also use another kitchen tool called “a knife”–just stick it down inside there where we wouldn’t want anyone sticking their finger.

Cooking Thermometer

A cooking thermometer is the best way to know when a potato is done. Insert the thermometer into the center of your potato when it’s in the oven, and then check to see that it reads between 160°F and 170°F.

If you prefer not to use a meat thermometer, try a digital probe thermometer with an external display that will let you know when your potatoes are ready without having to open up your oven door.

This method will help ensure perfectly cooked potatoes every time.

Use A Fork

To determine whether a potato is cooked, use a fork. Insert the fork into the potato and gently push it in until it meets resistance. If you feel resistance, then your potato is not cooked enough yet.

Cook for another 5 minutes and test with the fork again—if there’s still some resistance, cook for another 5 minutes and test again.

If you insert your fork into the potato without meeting any resistance, and it goes right through, then congratulations! Your baked potato is ready to be enjoyed.

Hear It Crack When You Poke It

When you hear a crack, it means that the potato is done. The sound of the crack indicates that the inside of the potato has become cooked enough to turn soft and allow for a break in its exterior skin.

You might also notice steam coming out from under your spud when this happens; this is another sign that it’s ready to be removed from heat and enjoyed.

However, if you don’t hear any noises when you poke at your baked potato (or if there are no audible cracks), don’t worry.

Just check on your spud every few minutes until it feels soft enough to break through its outer layer easily—and then dig in.

Check The Color And Texture Of The Potato

  • Check the color of the potato. The potato should be golden brown but not too dark. If it’s too dark, you’ve overcooked it.
  • Check the texture of the potato. When you press down on it with your finger, it should give slightly and feel soft. If it feels completely solid or hard in any way (and not just mealy), you’ve overcooked it.

What Should You Do If You Overbake Your Potato?

You’ve got your baked potato. You check the clock and see it’s been in for 20 minutes. What do you do?

  • Turn off the oven, remove the potato from it and let it sit for five to 10 minutes before checking its internal temperature again with a thermometer or poking it with a knife (see below). The baking process should be complete at this point. It may take as long as 20 to 30 minutes for some people’s potatoes to cook through; others may have theirs done in half that time.
  • If your potato isn’t soft on the inside, return it to its place in the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until done.

Here’s What Happens If You Overbake Your Potato

If you overbake your potato, the results can be disastrous. For example, if the inside is hard and dry, the outside may be soft but not fully cooked.

You will have to throw away all your hard work and start over, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check on your potatoes; it just means that you should keep an eye on them without checking every minute or so.

For example, when making baked potatoes for dinner one night per week (I usually make a double batch). I’ll set them in the oven before I leave for work in the morning so they’re ready when I get home.

If everything goes as planned, I’ll have perfectly cooked potatoes waiting for me when my husband gets home.

Here’s What Happens If You Underbake Your Potato


A fork inserted into the center of a baked potato will reveal whether it is finished cooking. If the potato is soft all the way through, it is done. If the potato is hard in the center, it must be cooked longer.

You can also tell if a baked potato is done by pressing on the potato’s skin. If the skin feels soft and yielding, the potato is done. If the skin feels firm, the potato needs to be cooked longer.

Finally, you can tell if a baked potato is made by cutting it in half. If the inside of the potato is cooked all the way through and has no raw or hard spots, it is done. If there are any raw or hard spots, put the halves back together and bake for longer.

So there you have it! Three easy ways to tell if your baked potatoes are done and ready to eat! Now get out there and bake some potatoes! And don’t forget to check out our other baking tips and tricks articles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Baked Potato?

You can freeze baked potatoes. However, remember that they will lose moisture and become limp when thawed.

Is it okay to eat baked potatoes immediately after they come out of the oven?

Baked potatoes are best served hot. They’re great right out of the oven or warmed up for a few minutes in the microwave, but if you let them sit for too long and then try to eat them cold, they can get dry and mealy.

Can I bake potatoes using other spices or flavors besides salt and pepper?

Baked potatoes can be seasoned with various spices or flavors, such as butter, cheese, and herbs. However, if you’re a fan of savory baked potatoes without any additional seasonings besides salt and pepper, you can still bake them.

How do I ensure my potato skin doesn’t get too crispy while baking?

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the potato halves for 45 to 1 hour, or until they are cooked, with the sliced side down on a baking sheet. When ready to serve, fill each potato with butter and your favorite toppings, such as shredded cheese, bacon, or sour cream.


Vid Jovanovic

I’m Vid Jovanovic and I’m 36 years old. I’m a teacher by profession and my passion lies in baking. I have been baking since my early teens, when my grandmother taught me how to make a simple cake that you can find in any supermarket. My passion for baking grew as I got older and I started experimenting with different ingredients and recipes.