Your Next Baked Potato Should Be a Yukon, Not a Russet

Your Next Baked Potato Should Be a Yukon, Not a Russet

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Photo: Claire Lower

If you ordered a “baked potato” at a restaurant and were served a Yukon Gold, you’d probably be a little confused. Baked potatoes—“jacket potatoes” in the UK—are canonically Russets. But sometimes canon is worth fucking with.

Russet potatoes, with their thick skins and starchy insides, are the standard for baked potatoes. The tough skins get crisp, and the fluffy, sightly arid interiors beg for butter and sour cream. Yukons, on the other hand, have skins that are thin enough to blend into a mash, and creamy innards that are slightly sweeter than their larger, tougher counterparts. Baking the thin-skinned yellow potatoes may seem like a fools errand that could lead to burnt exteriors and dry insides, but I’m thrilled to report that isn’t the case. Yukons are incredible when baked low and slow.

This is not a new strategy. I first heard read about it on Martha Stewart’s Instagram account a couple of years ago. I tried it out immediately, then tried to write about it, only to be told that baking a potato was “too obvious.” (In retrospect I should have fought harder the first time—baking and serving a Yukon steakhouse-style is not obvious.)

Cooking a Yukon at 325℉ for an hour and half renders it burnished and shiny, with a crisp and delicate skin that shatters under slight pressure. It’s a textural delight, but it was the interior that won me over. It’s fluffy, sure, but still immensely creamy. Any and all dairy introduced to it emulsifies right into the flesh, with a slightly sweet flavor that holds up well to a heavy salting.

Again, this potato is best when baked at a low temperature for a long period of time—325℉ for 90 minutes to be exact. Martha specifies a “large” Yukon, but I baked a smallish yellow potato to these specifications and it turned out great. No need to oil the potato; just place it directly on the rack and let the oven do its thing, then eat your baked Yukon however you normally eat a baked potato. (Fully loaded, next to a steak.)

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