I tried Martha Stewart’s tricks for making the best baked potato ever, and it’s so good I’d eat it plain

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On Instagram, Martha Stewart recently shared her tricks for making the perfect baked potato. Denis Contreras/Getty Images for SOBEWFF®; Paige Bennett/Insider
  • Martha Stewart recently shared her tricks for making baked potatoes super creamy and delicious.
  • Stewart uses Yukon gold potatoes, cooks them for about 90 minutes, and smashes them.
  • I tried her hack with a Yukon gold and was blown away by how creamy, buttery, and smooth my potato was.
  • As an experiment, I also tried this hack with russet potatoes, and it didn’t work nearly as well.
  • I also tried her hack without smashing the Yukon gold, and it wasn’t as great.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Looking for an easy work-from-home lunch idea? Martha Stewart has you covered with her tricks for making delicious baked potatoes.

In a recent Instagram post, she recommended swapping the classic russet potato for a Yukon gold, baking it on low heat for 90 minutes, and smashing it before serving it with plenty of butter, salt, pepper, and sour cream.

A few curious taste testers, including Meghan Splawn of The Kitchn, have already had success trying her hack.

But I wanted to see how slow-baked, smashed Yukon gold potatoes compared with the classic “big Idaho spuds,” as Stewart called them. I was also curious whether her baking method could improve russet potatoes and whether smashing was essential to the perfect interior texture, or whether slicing would suffice.

So I put Stewart’s tips to the test. Read on to see how it went.

I started by following Stewart’s exact instructions for Yukon gold potatoes

I gave my Yukon gold a scrub with warm water as my oven preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Normally, I poke a few holes in my potatoes with a fork and wrap them in foil before baking — typically at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time — but for this experiment, I skipped this step.

I simply wrapped it in foil and placed it on the middle rack of the oven for 90 minutes as directed.

When the time was up, I held the foil-wrapped potato with an oven mitt and smashed it against my counter with light force a few times until I could feel it slightly break open.

I tried this potato plain, and I immediately understood the hype

Smashed yukon gold final 3
Each bite of the smashed Yukon gold was so fluffy. Paige Bennett/Insider

Though it’s a bit uncommon to eat a baked potato plain, I gave each of these a try without toppings to test the texture.

This smashed Yukon gold potato had a smooth, light texture inside.

The exterior wasn’t brown or crisp; it was still light golden and flaky. Even without toppings, this had an almost buttery flavour to it. The texture was truly incredible for a baked potato.

Like most things, the smashed Yukon was even better with butter

Yukon gold with toppings
The smashed Yukon gold was so creamy, and the toppings made it even better. Paige Bennett/Insider

I added butter, flaky sea salt, pepper, and a bit of sour cream as Stewart recommended, and it was, of course, delicious.

The potato had a smooth, creamy interior, a lightly flaky exterior, and a flavour burst from the butter, salt, and pepper. The cold sour cream also balanced out the extra-hot potato.

I also applied the same smashing technique to a classic russet potato

Smashed russet potato
The smashed russet was huge. Paige Bennett/Insider

As I did with the Yukon gold, I washed my russet potato, wrapped it in foil, and baked it for 90 minutes.

I was interested to see whether this low-and-slow cooking method, plus the smashing, would help the russet mimic the Yukon gold potatoes’ signature buttery-smooth texture.

Though the interior of this was similar to that of a regular baked potato, the skin had a much different texture

Smashed russet potato final 3
The smashed russet didn’t have the fluffy quality of the Yukon gold. Paige Bennett/Insider

Using this baking method, I noticed the exterior of the russet potato, which can sometimes get too crisp and become tough when baked at higher temperatures, was light and flaky.

The insides were not nearly as smooth as the Yukon gold’s. In fact, they seemed a touch underdone.

With toppings, the smashed russet tasted like a standard baked potato

Russet smash toppings
The smashed russet wasn’t bad, though, especially with toppings. Paige Bennett/Insider

I added the same four toppings: butter, sea salt, pepper, and sour cream. It tasted like a normal baked potato, though, again, the interior had a texture that seemed slightly underdone.

I love to eat the skin of baked potatoes, and I appreciated that this baking method made the skin thin, flaky, and easy to eat.

I also tried slicing a Yukon instead of smashing it to see whether it’d make a difference

Slicing yukon
I tried slicing a Yukon gold to see what its texture would be like. Paige Bennett/Insider

I baked all of the potatoes in the same way, at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 90 minutes.

This time I wanted to see whether the step of smashing the potato against the counter was crucial for achieving a soft, creamy interior.

After the potatoes baked, I skipped the smashing (which is admittedly fun but a bit of a burn risk if you are clumsy like me) and sliced it across the top.

Slicing the potato did actually result in a different interior texture

Sliced yukon texture
The sliced Yukon gold wasn’t as fluffy. Paige Bennett/Insider

The first thing I noticed upon unwrapping the un-smashed potato was that a pool of liquid remained in the foil. This wasn’t the case with the smashed potato.

I tasted the sliced potato without toppings, and it was clear this interior texture was just a bit drier and less soft and creamy compared with the smashed Yukon.

I wondered if, when I smashed the first potato, the starchy liquid was reincorporated into the potato, resulting in the improved texture.

The toppings boosted the flavour, but I didn’t enjoy this potato as much as the smashed one

Sliced yukon gold final 4 with toppings
The sliced Yukon gold was tasty, but I get why Martha smashes her potatoes. Paige Bennett/Insider

Of course, I will never turn down a potato covered in butter (and salt, pepper, and sour cream), but I could definitely tell a difference in the texture of this potato compared with the smashed one.

There was a thicker, chunkier texture that was more solid and required more chewing.

Finally, I tried slow-baking a russet potato and slicing it as usual

Slicing the russet
I also tried slicing a russet to see whether it changed the texture. Paige Bennett/Insider

Last but not least, I set out to taste the standard, sliced version of the baked russet potato.

As with the sliced Yukon gold, this russet had liquid pooling in the foil after I opened it.

The sliced russet potato had the same exterior texture but a slightly grainier interior

Sliced russet potato final 3
The sliced russet was pretty standard. Paige Bennett/Insider

Baked potatoes typically have a somewhat grainy interior texture, and this one was no exception.

This trial resulted in a grainier, slightly drier potato compared with all of the previous potatoes.

Adding toppings didn’t fix the texture of the sliced russet

Sliced russet potato final 4 with toppings
The sliced russet wasn’t as fluffy. Paige Bennett/Insider

If I compared this with a standard potato baked for a shorter amount of time at a higher heat, this one would be quite similar but with a slightly undercooked interior — and no amount of toppings can drown that out.

I still preferred how this skin turned out compared with my usual potatoes, though, as it was easier to chew.

All in all, Stewart’s tricks work the best when they’re combined

Potato
All of the potatoes were pretty tasty, but Martha Stewart’s hack is the winner. Paige Bennett/Insider

Stewart’s tricks for making a killer baked potato are the real deal.

If you prefer a creamy, smooth potato with thin, easy-to-chew skin, bake Yukon gold potatoes instead of russet ones. And don’t forget to take out any frustrations of the day by smashing your potato onto your kitchen counter a few times.

But if you’re in a rush, this low-and-slow baked-potato cooking method may not be for you.

And if you have only russet potatoes on hand, you may want to adjust and bake your russet potatoes at a lower temperature for longer than 90 minutes to achieve a less-crispy skin.

But no matter which way you bake your potatoes, the more toppings the better.