I tried recipes for 10-minute, 1-hour, and 10-hour baked potatoes to see which was worth it.
I thought the 10-minute microwave recipe was fine but wasn't a fan of the 10-hour slow-cooker one.
My favorite method was the classic no-foil oven recipe, which was close to how I already made them.
The first potato was cooked in the microwave.
I'm not against "baking" a potato in the microwave. When I really have a craving, it's the quickest, easiest way by far.
I started by washing the potato and poking plenty of holes in it with a fork.
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A recipe I found from the Kitchn said to rub the potato with oil and sprinkle salt and black pepper on the skin, which sounded like delicious additions.
The recipe ended up taking less than 10 minutes.
I placed the potato upright in a microwave-safe container and let it cook for five minutes.
Then I used tongs to carefully flip the potato over and cooked it for another three minutes.
The texture turned out OK.
The finished potato wasn't exactly undercooked, but it had a denser, tougher interior than a standard oven-baked potato.
The flavor of the skin with the oil, salt, and pepper was good, but the flimsy, papery texture wasn't pleasant.
Toppings greatly helped the 10-minute potato.
Fortunately, the texture issues, inside and out, were easy to mask with extra butter and toppings.
This method is great in a pinch when you just can't wait for a baked potato. But as someone who loves to eat the whole potato, skin and all, this isn't my preferred method.
The one-hour potato uses a no-foil method, which is closest to how I usually make them.
I started by washing a large russet potato, drying it thoroughly, and poking it a few times with a fork.
Then, like the microwaved potato, I rubbed oil and salt all over the skin.
I placed the potato in the oven on a tray.
The recipe doesn't call for the potato to be wrapped in foil. Instead, I placed the oiled-up potato on a small tray to bake it.
The recipe says 45 minutes to an hour, but this was a pretty hefty potato, so I let it go for the full hour.
I couldn't get enough of the skin on this potato.
The skin of the oven-baked potato had tons of flavor from the oil and salt, and it was thin and crispy, almost like potato chips.
I knew this recipe was going to be hard to beat.
The result was everything I hoped for.
I was a fan of the oven-baked potato.
The interior was soft, but it wasn't as fluffy as it is in my usual potato method. I typically bake mine slightly longer, score them, and bake them some more.
I expected the slow-cooker potatoes to turn out soft, but the result was quite the opposite.
Making "baked" potatoes in the slow cooker seems like a great idea if you're feeding a crowd or need space in the oven for other food. For dining solo, though, it doesn't seem practical.
I followed a slow-cooker potato recipe from Taste of Home, which starts with mixing softened butter and freshly minced garlic to coat the skin of the potato.
I wrapped the potato in foil and set it inside my slow cooker.
The recipe said to add 1 cup of water to the slow cooker, but that barely covered the bottom. I ended up adding a few cups until the water reached about one-third of the way up on the foil-covered potato.
My slow cooker tends to run hot, even when it's at a low temperature, so I set it to the lowest setting to prevent overcooking.
I started worrying about the potato's texture in the slow cooker.
After a few hours, I noticed the foil became discolored.
Around the halfway point, the potato still felt hard, so I turned the heat up between low and medium.
At the eight-hour mark, I was concerned. The potato still felt rock-hard when I squeezed it with tongs, and the recipe says this process should take eight to 10 hours on low heat.
After 10 hours of waiting on a single baked potato, I finally caved and took it out.
The potato was still incredibly hard.
When I took it out of the slow cooker, the skin was hot, damp, and dark, so the heat was definitely reaching the potato.
The inside was hot, too, but it was so tough I could barely pull out a full bite with a fork.
Aside from the horrible texture, the smell was bad. I expected the butter and garlic to smell amazing, but it created a very strange odor I really hope I never have to smell again.
I won't use the slow-cooker recipe again.
I didn't expect the slow cooker to become a go-to method for me, but I at least expected a soft potato from the steaming process.
Unfortunately, I won't be making potatoes like this again.
I'd use the microwaved recipe again if necessary, but the one-hour potato was the best by far.
Microwaving potatoes is quick and convenient, but the texture just pales in comparison with a standard oven-baked potato.
I understand the appeal of making potatoes for a crowd in a slow cooker, but I can't see myself attempting that method again.
The one-hour potato, complete with a delicious and crispy skin, was my favorite of the three.
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