Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Want to bake a perfect potato, without having to test and guess when it is done?
Here are the methods to the madness to get your perfectly baked sweet potato.
1. Don't coat the sweet potatoes in oil or wrap them in foil. This is not necessary and will help the skin separate from the sweet potato, making it easier to peel and eat after baking.
2. Prick the sweet potatoes 2-3 times with a fork before baking. This improves the texture and helps the sweet potato separate from the skin.
3. Don't place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Place them directly on the rack in the middle of the oven.
4. Place a sheet of foil or a baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven (not directly on the bottom of the oven). This catches any syrup that drips from the sweet potatoes. Turn oven to 400 degrees.
5. Sweet potatoes that are 2-3 inches in diameter - bake for 45 minutes. For sweet potatoes that are up to 4 inches in diameter - bake for 1 hour. For super large sweet potatoes - bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6. Leave the door closed and turn the oven off for at least 30 minutes up to an hour. The residual heat continues to cook the sweet potatoes without burning them, so they get exceptionally tender and moist.
For the perfect baked white potato...
Follow the directions for the sweet potatoes, but rub the potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before baking. White potatoes may be baked on the oven rack or on a pan. They do not need a 'drip pan' like the sweet potatoes.