Whenever I see people wrapping aluminum foil around a potato before popping it into the oven, I want to dive in front of them slow motion style, as if I’m saving them from an oncoming train.
That’s because the best part of the baked potato, without a doubt, is the crisp, crackly peel. Wrap that baby in foil, and you’re never going to get that slight crunch that makes the baked potato experience.
Yes, some people are all about the pillowy texture of the potato inside – ready to be fluffed with a fork and some non-dairy butter. And sure, I like that too. But the peel? That’s where the magic is at.In fact, one of my first memories is sitting at the dining room table, and I must have been only four or five. We would have baked potatoes for dinner, and I’d eat the peel first with just enough of the fluff that I’d be allowed to leave the table.
However, in my adult life, baked potatoes haven’t been a part of my usual dinner repertoire. It’s not because my love for them has dampened, but rather, I’m typically not thinking about what I’d like to eat in an hour from now. I usually top out at about 45 minutes, and cooking potatoes in the oven requires an hour of forethought. So over the years, I’ve generally opted for baked french fries instead when I was in a potato-y mood. They’re ready in 30 minutes, about the same time as everything else on my plate.
Air fryer baked potato
All of that has changed, though, with the air fryer. I’ve talked about my deep and unabiding love for my air fryer many times over. Now it has revolutionized how I feel about the baked potato. (Okay, so “baked” isn’t entirely appropriate since baking isn’t involved, but what else do you call a whole cooked potato?)
First off, the air fryer gets the peel perfectly crackling crisp. It’s flaky, and chewy, and everything you could want in a peel. And the inside? Oh, my gosh. It’s so steaming, and light. Airy even. And to finish off all of this sorcery, the whole shebang is ready to go in 35 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your potato. (I recommend throwing an extra baked potato into the air fryer for your bagged lunch the next day. Lunch sorted!)
I’ve been filling mine with non-dairy butter, Kite Hill chive cream cheese, freshly chopped chives, salt, and pepper. But you can go all out with the fillings and move this potato into meal category with the addition of browned seitan bacon, and kalamata olives. There’s really no wrong way to do this thing. You could even load it up with 3 bean chili and a ladling of cashew queso. It’s rife with possibilities!
But whatever you do, don’t wrap that potato in aluminum foil, or I will come looking for you.