As a student and later when I lived on my own, jacket potatoes (along with tuna) were a staple meal, and of course a great budget-friendly meal too.
What is not to love about them? Easy to cook, cheap to buy, nutritious and pretty much a complete meal when you add a topping, of which there are loads to choose from.
Spuds, as we like to call them in our house, are probably the most versatile food there is. There are a multitude of ways to cook them and countless foods to compliment them. Plus they are cheap to buy and packed with nutrition.
I have to say that potatoes cooked in their jackets is pretty much my favourite.
In this post, I have lots of ideas for dinner with jacket potato along with a foolproof way to cook them for maximum fluffiness and crispness.
How to cook a jacket potato
- Prick the potato with a fork. This allows the steam inside to escape and stops an explosion inside your oven. It can also make the inside more fluffy.
- Bake in the oven for 60-90 minutes at 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
- You can test your potato is cooked by giving it a squeeze. But a better way is to check the temperature inside has reached 96C/206F (according to americastestkitchen.com).
Something I always wondered … which is the best way to prepare the potato for cooking? Should you wrap it in foil, or just put it in the oven bare?
Here are the options:
Method 1 – In foil
When I was a child we had a coal fire (yes coal!). Underneath the fire was a drawer to catch the ash. This was the perfect place to cook potatoes and chestnuts at Christmas. Of course, you wouldn’t want to put a bare potato in amongst the ash, so it was wrapped in foil. Later on, when barbeques became a thing we would cook potatoes in the embers when the flames had died down.
Now in those situations, it was necessary to use foil to protect the food. But, in a regular oven, it isn’t necessary.
You can still wrap your jacket potato in foil but if you do you won’t get crispy skin.
So what can you do instead?
Method 2 – In oil and salt
I think a better option than using foil (and this is what I do) is to brush the outside with oil and salt and then bake. This produces crispy skin.
Method 3 – In brine
This is a new one for me, but according to Test Kitchen, coating the potatoes in salted water before cooking will make the skins gorgeously crispy. It’s kind of what I was already doing, but this way you get a more even coating of salt on the skin for even better crispness.
Ten minutes before the end you brush with some oil and then add your fillings.
Here’s the video:
How to cook a jacket potato in a slow cooker
Did you know you could cook your potato in a slow cooker too? This is the perfect option if you plan to be out most of the day, or it is just too hot to put your oven on.
One thing to note is that you won’t get crispy skin when you cook it in a slow cooker as you would in a regular oven. But, having said that, the insides will be gorgeously creamy.
- Prepare your potatoes by pricking and then coating in oil and salt
- Wrap with foil
- Place in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours or on high for 6 hours
- Keep warm in the slow cooker until you are ready to eat them
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How to cook a jacket potato quickly
What if you don’t have time to spare to cook your potatoes in the oven or in a slow cooker?
What if you want to cook it quickly?
Enter the microwave!
Now, unfortunately, you probably won’t get the same fluffiness or crispness when you cook in a microwave. But, if you transfer your potatoes to the oven at the end to crisp up, you can save a lot of time and still get a great tasting meal.
Here’s how to get the best result when you cook your jacket potato in the microwave.
- Prick your potatoes
- Lay a piece of kitchen roll on the bottom of the oven
- Put the potatoes on the kitchen roll and put another piece of kitchen roll on-top
- Microwave for 4 minutes
- Turn the potatoes over
- Cook for a further 4 minutes
- Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 while you let your potatoes cool
- Coat the potatoes with oil and salt
- Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Jacket potato filling ideas
Once you have your jacket potato perfectly cooked it’s time to get it filled with something delicious.
Here are some ideas:
Butter or sour cream
If I’m having my jacket potato along with something else, such as a bowl of chilli then I usually don’t want to load it up with anything more than butter or some sour cream.
Tinned tuna fish makes a great filling. Combine with some mayonnaise and some chopped spring onions. You could also add some cheese.
Cheese of just about any kind goes great with jacket potatoes. If you want to go easy on the calories and make your jacket potato extra healthy go for some cottage cheese.
Here are some more options:
- Cream cheese
- Cheddar cheese
Any type of bean, be it baked beans, kidney bean either tinned or cooked from scratch makes a great filling for baked potatoes. Beans are a fantastic source of protein, plus they fill you up very well too.
Tinned tuna fish makes a great filling combined with some mayonnaise and some chopped spring onions.
Here are some seafood compliments:
Cheese and beans work very well with each other, as do cheese and tuna.
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What to serve with a jacket potato?
All these fillings are great and they could make a meal on their own, but what else could you serve with a jacket potato?
If you’re making your filled jacket potato the centrepiece of the meal, how about these ideas on the side?
- Steamed vegetables
- Baked beans
Ideas For Dinner With Jacket Potato
I have a collection of great ideas here, all from Pinterest. You can browse through them all below or check out the board I made here.
Chicken Mornay Baked Potatoes
A traditional jacket potato from chefnotrequired.com, loaded with a creamy and cheesy mornay sauce with chicken and bacon, then topped with avocado.
Smoked haddock and cheddar jackets
Make a comforting family meal with these smoked haddock, spring onion and cheddar jackets from olivemagazine.com.
Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
This recipe from paleorunningmomma.com uses sweet potatoes instead and is stuffed with saucy and flavoursome chipotle chicken and topped with a homemade ranch! (Paleo and Whole30 compliant).
Kumpir – Turkish Style Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Turkish style baked potatoes stuffed with garlic butter and cheese and mixed until the middle is smooth and creamy, then packed with toppings! From chefnotrequired.com.
Vegan potato skins with smoky chickpeas
Vegan potato skins with smoky chickpeas make an excellent breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re easy to make, great for batch prep and naturally gluten-free. From lazycatkitchen.com.
Jacket Potato with Bacon, Mushroom, and Peppercorn
A delicious option with bacon, mushroom and cream from pauladeen.com.
Slow Cooker Jacket Potatoes
Who knew you could cook jacket potatoes in a slow cooker? Here is a version from slowcookingperfected.com.
Traditional Twice Baked Potatoes
Delicious, creamy potato topped with crispy bacon, scallions, and sour cream from smalltownwoman.com.
Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes
A fun and easy twist on a classic recipe with a simple beef and vegetable filling for stuffed baked potatoes from cupcakesandkalechips.com.
Easy Stuffed Jacket Potatoes
When you have cooked your baked potato simply slice them lengthways and add this deliciously creamy cheese and bacon topping from easypeasy-lemonsqueezy.co.uk.
Frequently asked questions
How long to cook a jacket potato in a microwave?
Microwave your potato for 4 minutes, turn, then repeat for a further 4 minutes or until cooked inside.
Finish off in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin.
How long to cook a jacket potato in a fan oven?
Bake in the fan oven for 60-90 minutes at 180C Fan/Gas 6.
You can test your potato is cooked by giving it a squeeze. But a better way is to check the temperature inside has reached 96C/206F (according to americastestkitchen.com).
Why is it called a jacket potato?
To be honest I can only assume it is so named because you don’t remove the skin to bake it. Traditionally jacket potatoes were cooked in the embers of a fire, so it would have been necessary to keep the skins on in order to keep the insides from drying out.
Is it ok to eat the skin?
Absolutely. Make sure you wash your potatoes before you cook them.
Why is jacket potato skin good for you?
According to Livestrong, eating the potato skin will provide more fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals than eating just the flesh.