Food

How to Make English Jacket Potatoes

When we were visiting our family in England last week, we ate our weight in jacket potatoes. They’re different from the baked potatoes we make because they have super crispy skin and a fluffy melty inside. SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.

They’re all over the place in England. Every pub and restaurant we went to devoted a section of the menu to them, along with a choice of toppings: grated cheddar, baked beans, tuna, cole slaw or plain with butter, salt and pepper.

My aunt Janey often made them for our dinners in Cornwall—as a side to roast chicken or sausages—and we all loved them so much, so she agreed to share the basic recipe…

“Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Cut a cross on the potatoes. Put the potatoes at the top of the oven—straight on the rack, not a baking tray. Cook 1-2 hours (usually closer to 2). When they feel crunchy on the outside, pull the rack out, cut the potatoes open again to release the steam, then put them back into the oven. The major important thing is NOT to turn the oven down as they go soggy and lose their crunch. After ten minutes, serve immediately with shedloads of butter, salt and pepper. Perfect.”

Have you ever had these? Do you have them all the time? Is this a no-brainer to you? They’re really different from the ones we make in the microwave! Any other toppings you love?

P.S. Crunchy roast potatoes aren’t half bad either:)

(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo)

  1. Is there an internal temperature to shoot for as the ideal? Sometimes potatoes “feel” done, but the inside core is still hard.

    • Marna says...

      That depends on the type of potato. Mealy ones like Russetts are the best. The waxier ones like Eastern, Gold, etc. just don’t like to bake up soft and fluffy.

  2. Mark Hughes says...

    Trying this tonight and looking forward to it! But I’m just curious about the size of the cross that you cut in the top before baking. Is it 1 inch, 2 inches, all the way down the length of the tater? Is it a half inch deep or 1 inch or more? Just had my first bite and it’s crazy how crispy the skin is! Awesome!

  3. Shelley Meyers says...

    Hi. How long did you microwave them for?

    • Michael D'Auben says...

      You don’t. You can’t duplicate these potatoes with a microwave. It will never give you the crispy outside and fluffy inside of a properly baked jacket potato.

  4. Kristina says...

    Love this recipe – can’t wait to try it. Growing up, my mom would always rub butter and salt on the outside of the potatoes before cooking them. The potato skin is still my favorite part! Thanks.

  5. Donna says...

    What about topping the potato with homemade chili with beans, cheese, sour cream, diced onions, etc.? Absolutely wonderful!!

  6. A. Rashid says...

    Worked great! Next time I put the potato in the microwave after poking holes all over then. I set the oven to 450*F rubbed canola oil all over the potato cut an X on the tops sprinkled sea salt on and put then in the oven for 20 min. Excellent result; way way less time and gas and electricity.

  7. Linda says...

    How large and how deep do you carve into the potato the first time?

    I want to see the difference between this method and just piercing skin with a fork.

    • Debbie says...

      Try baking the potatoes with salt butter and onions. Gives it a much fuller flavor.

  8. Kathy Oriotis says...

    There’s no mention of what kind of potatoes to use? Should this matter?

    • Debbie Cain says...

      Russet potatoes only. The skins are thick and the potato is starchy. You won’t have an English jacket potato with any other kind of potato.

  9. Barbara Stewart says...

    Wow! These comments are awesome …… it was like reading a little book about the history of baked potatoes…….and some even cited their own recipes…two of which I took a pic of and will try!!

  10. Marcia says...

    These were great! Thanks. I too was surprised by the baking time, but I had good sized Russetts and it worked perfectly. I had to put them LOWER in the oven, though because my heating elements are only on the top.

  11. Mary Ann Peddicord says...

    This is the best way to bake a potato ever. My Mother (now 101) baked potatoes like this all of our lives. So this is how I have always baked them. My husband loves them, his mother always wrapped them in foil in the oven, or in plastic wrap in the microwave…YUK! You can call these baked potatoes but the taste is horrid!
    I scrub the potatoes and let them dry, rub them in olive oil or Butter (REAL Butter) sprinkle them with Kosher salt, very lightly cut a cross in the top, place directly on oven rack. I bake for 1 hour at 375, and then 1 hour at 400. I place a piece of foil on the rack as low as possible to cat any salt that may fall off. When baked I cut deeper into the cross, squeeze to open, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash’s herb seasoning and put back into to the oven until I place one on each plate. YUM!

  12. Christina McKerrow says...

    I think, if I did this, my fire alarm would be going (in an apartment), and I think the potatoes would be burned to a crisp. 400 degrees sounds very hot for me.

    • Richard Jacobs says...

      Then you’ve never baked a potato before. 425 to 450 for about an hour in a more “traditionally “ baked potato method works fine.

    • Anita L Acosta says...

      Open a window. I live in an apartment like you and that is what I do. No alarm then.

    • Marna says...

      Nope, not unless your oven is messy to begin with (like mine, most of the time!)

  13. Angie says...

    Can you do this with sweet potatoes?

    • Margareta says...

      It should be perfectly possible, sweet potatoes need less time to bake – about an hour. Give it a try! I am having a go today.

  14. Leslie says...

    This reminded me of childhood. My Polish grandmother baked twice as many as necessary sliced, unpeeled potatoes with homemade sausage. The grandchildren chopped the leftover potatoes, mixed them with dill and eggs, shaped them into potato-size cakes, and she baked them, again. The cakes were crunchy on the outside and soft inside like these! They made a perfect lunch.

    • Marcia says...

      Thanks. Those sound delicious to this 1/2 Eastern European.

  15. David Boehringer says...

    I’m going straight past the microwave and running to the oven. This is the baked potato I’ve been waiting for all my life! “I get by with a little help from my friends” Joe Cocker My English friends. :)

    • Ms Hersty says...

      Lennon/McCartney.

    • El says...

      David – Ms. Hersty is correct – it is a Lennon/McCartney song, but the version that I always think of is done by Joe Cocker. That version was used as the theme song for “The Wonder Years”, a ‘coming of age’ TV series made in the late ‘80s but set in the late ‘60s. Cheers, El
      PS the spuds are awesome done this way, although I find that it doesn’t take as long for smaller potatoes or if you bake them in a toaster oven.

  16. Theresa says...

    I made this recipe, and I am amazed! They truly are the best home baked potatoes I’ve ever made or eaten.
    This will be my family recipe from now on.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  17. Even if microwaves had existed in the mid- 40’s we’d have required a large one to feed Mom, Dad and 7 kids (all born within a 10 year period because 2 sets of twins.) It was my job to scrub each potato, examine for and remove any icky spots and carefully place in 400F oven for about an hour. At table each of us split our own, scooped out the insides, put big pat of butter on that. While still hot, more butter tucked inside each 1/2 jacket to melt and drip and eat. “Taters” were a major part of our overall intake; I remember looking up at Dad with awe when he came home with 100 lb. bag of “spuds” on his shoulder every couple of weeks.

    • Sue Verbaan says...

      That is what my family did. Crispy skins with salt,pepper and butter. Top the insides how ever you wish. Delish!

  18. corky Oliver says...

    I always assumed this was the only way to back a potatoe in. Good old USA
    Did not realize it was an English version. As. Our family were French Canadian origin
    AND then the microwave came into being when I was an adult

  19. Debra says...

    Follow this recipe exactly! I’ve made them many times this way and they are the BEST baked potato you will ever have!

  20. Wow!! These sound amazing!! Guess it’s a “must try”! Baking them tonight! Hope they taste as good as they sound!!

  21. Maggie says...

    Try some barbque sauce with beef, pork, or chicken some sliced onion & pickles! One of my favorites

  22. Anyone ever try the potato “bags” that you use for microwave potatoes? We get fairly good results. More tender in middle, but not crispy on the outside.

    • Kathryn Gannon says...

      I microwave till just about done and then coat with olive oil and coarse salt then put in the air fryer until crisp and brown. Takes much less time than the oven tastes exactly the same.

    • Kimberly says...

      My mom uses those all the time… they’re okay, but I can’t wait to try the England Jacket way!!! My husband and I really enjoyed all the replies!!!

  23. jani says...

    so many comments about eating them with tuna , baked beans, sweet corn , & coleslaw -what do you do—just pile the toppings on top? what kind of tuna —tuna salad or just out of the can? not sure about baked beans either, but beans and potatoes would be very filling.

    • coco says...

      You do piled them on top. We always put the cheese on first, which melts and then put the beans on, or salsa. I’ve never tried coleslaw but I think that would work as a salsa type substitution. I can’t quite picture tuna but I’m sure she means pre-mayo tuna. Beans and potatoes and cheese and salsa is a filling and inexpensive and comforting meal….

    • Debbie Cain says...

      I usually mash the insides with butter and then top them with whatever:
      Loaded: cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions and bacon bits
      Pulled pork with bbq sauce
      Broccoli in a cheddar sauce
      You can top them with anything you want

    • diane adams says...

      Yes, tuna mixed with potato innards, butter, salt, pepper put back in shell, delicious! Also salmon, canned salmon–the only way I would eat canned salmon as a kid. By the way I had no idea anyone ever cooked baked potatoes in the microwave. They would be awful that way.

  24. Marsha says...

    Really? 2 hours at 400 degrees. That’s excessive. Maybe my oven is different but after that long at 400, I’d have charcoal.

    • MumsyB says...

      I agree. For a large potato around 75 minutes is enough for me, and one of my family’s favourite ways of eating it is with a side salad, and cheddar cheese piled onto the cut potato…no butter, cheddar is enough. I rub on a little oil – not much – before putting them in the oven. Mmm!!

      If you really don’t have much time then you can part- cook in the microwave (about half of the microwave time) and part-cook in the oven, again about half the oven-cooking time. It crisps the skin a bit and isn’t as boring as microwaving alone. The oven can be warming up while the microwave starts things off.

    • Jane Thorndike says...

      Maybe because its at the top of the oven, away from the coils at the bottom, it can be in the oven longer and not burn?

  25. Baker says...

    This “English” recipe is how we have always made baked potatoes — can’t believe anyone would think microwaved potatoes are “baked”. I guess some do call it a microwave oven … lol. Fun to read everyone’s variations on the lowly spud.

    • Denny Smith says...

      I agree! My grandma, born in 1899, showed me how to cook everything in the oven. Her potatoes and other vegetables, her chicken, pork, and of course, tarts and custards, were all heavenly. Boiled eggs or water for coffee were her only stovetop uses. I’ve never owned a microwave and have never enjoyed anything that was cooked that way.. No wonder everyone here is suddenly excited about potatoes!

    • Judy says...

      I do have to laugh here, having discovered this recipe for “jacket potatoes.” We always baked russets that way. 50 years ago the standard was sour cream and chopped green onions. Now, I like a French version with a tablespoon of red jam, cherry or raspberry. 🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔

    • Vikadoo says...

      Agreed. Microwaving potatoes should be illegal! Lol

  26. Amy says...

    Can’t wait to try jacket potatoes. Ive always rubbed them with oil and salt for the crispy outside. Not being a fan of sour cream my favorite topping for a baked potato by far is low fat cottage cheese. With or without butter, it is delicious (and healthier I think). Haven’t been able to convince too many people outside my family but if you like cottage cheese you should definitely give it a try! :)

    • Jane Wilcox says...

      There was a potato place next door to where I used to work. They had specials on certain days, one was the diet potato, topped with cottage cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes, sliced or chopped black olives and that’s all I can remember, but they were so good!

  27. I often eat my baked potatoes with pesto and a grating of good parmesan reggiano cheese. Yum!!

    • Philip R Koenig says...

      THAT, I’m gonna try.

  28. It’s common in England to Insert a metal skewer through the length of the spud, the theory is, this (slightly) speeds the cooking time by heat reaching the centre via tgd metal prong.

    • Tintaglia says...

      My grandmother had mettle rack that had Long spikes that you put the potatoes on. She rub them in oil and put them right on the rack in the oven.

  29. Patty says...

    Can something SO SIMPLE be SOOO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS??!! The crispy skin is my favorite part of the potato, besides the butter n bacon! Lol. As soon as I get my oven working again, ( today, fingers crossed), I’m gonna make these! Thank you!

    • SFC says...

      Sounds incredible. Any heat/timing suggestions for convection oven? What I missed in the directions was the salty bits on the skins. I don’t see it noted, but I may have missed something.
      Suggestions, please :-)

  30. Wow I love this and I am going to try this tonight

  31. Mike Morrison says...

    kartofel.
    Russian for potatoe.
    Very like the German I believe.

    • Karen Shepherd says...

      Yes, katofel is German for potato. One of my all time favorites is “cabbage und Katofel”. It’s potatoes sliced and browned in bacon fat. To that is added sliced cabbage and a mixture of vinegar, sugar and water to soften the cabbage. The liquid evaps and you are left with heaven on a plate.

    • Debbie Cain says...

      I have friends on a food forum that eat that combo all of the time. One is a German transplant and the other is Italian. Never tried it myself yet. I don’t like the smell of boiled cabbage but I am open to taste just about anything.

  32. Michael Morrison says...

    Jacket Spuds!
    Thank you America.

  33. Debbie Cain says...

    Two hours at 400 degrees? I would think you would end up with rocks for your garden.

    • Daniel Peelor says...

      You obviously haven’t tried it.

    • Debbie Cain says...

      Obviously I hadn’t tried it. I did so this weekend. The interior was fluffy but I found the exterior to be what I expected – hard as a rock. I will stay with my usual time, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The exterior is still crispy. the interior fluffy and there is no threat of breaking a tooth.

    • Denny Smith says...

      You’re right, Debbie. Potatoes don’t need two hours! I rube mine generously with oil or butter and cover them for 30 min, then uncover for another 30, all at 400.

    • Karen Shepherd says...

      I’ve never baked my spuds that long. I’m wondering if this length of time is because the potatoes are the size of a football?

    • Debbie Cain says...

      My potatoes usually take 1 hour 15 mins ’cause they are big. The grocery stores seem to sell only huge potatoes unless I buy a bag of them. they are a good size but they seem to sprout before i can use them all up.

  34. Terry C. says...

    Do you put any oil or salt on the skins? I would think if you do and then you just placed them on the rack of the oven the oil would drip down onto the oven floor and would create smoke in your kitchen?

    • RK in Denver says...

      You just rub them with a bit of butter to keep the skins soft— not so much that it drips off.

    • Debbie Cain says...

      I am lazy. I spray them with PAM and then salt and pepper them. I bake on a foil lined pan.

  35. Martini says...

    Thank you to COJ’s Joanna and her lovely Aunt Janey from Cornwall.
    I have been baking “Baked” Potatoes the standard American way since the 1960’s. I’ve always loved them, but none of them can compare to your recipe for them. What a joy to find a new and better way to do them so late in my life. Your’s are out-of-this-world delicious! Thank you very much.

    I baked mine in an Air Fryer and they turned out fantastic.

    And another bit of good news…normally you’d expect re-warming these crispy baked potatoes would render them soggy but my remained perfectly crispy and fluffy when I rewarmed them the next day in my toaster oven. Who knew? I just laid them unwrapped and open in the toaster oven for about 20 mins. at 350 and they were delicious all over again

    Aunt Janey’s Cornwall Jacket Potatoes will be on our Christmas menu this year and always.
    A very Merry Christmas to all.

    • Jennifer says...

      How long and at what temperature did you cook them in your air fryer?

    • Charvana says...

      This is one of the best cookery responses I’ve *ever* read. Thank you, “martini”!

  36. Linda Healey says...

    This is how I learned to bake potatoes—I grew up near Boston, MA.

    • Judy says...

      Me too. And I grew up in Philly but my grandmother was English that explains that

  37. Vicki says...

    Very Idahoan way to bake potatoes. We just pierced them liberally and deeply before baking though, then cut the cross at end and placing back in over adds to the fluffy yum mines. We call the microwaved ones steamed potatoes, not baked at all and the microwave produces a different flavor. I am afraid the actual baked method is a lost cooking method, even in Idaho, though.

    • BonBon says...

      There is no comparison in a microwaved potato and a baked one. Like you said, the flavor is even completely different. Are you saying that you cut a cross in it before you bake and then you take it out and cut if completely open and put it back in the oven? I’ve never done that but I would love to try it. It just seems like it would dry the inside of the potato out.

    • Nancy says...

      Scot/Irish/Eng background from MO & grew up always eating Baked Potatoes from the oven, 400 F for @ lesst an hr. My grandmother would rub skins with bacon grease prior to baking, & made sure the skins were sliced to let steam out. Fluffy potatoes w crispy skins to die for!

  38. I get the best baked potato using my air fryer! Wash and poke both sides with a sharp knife . Rub with olive oil and cover liberally with kosher salt. Bake at 400* til done, checking every fifteen minutes. Time it takes depends on how large or how many. Crispy crisp skin and fluffiness tater ever!

  39. Pat Oglesby says...

    I love oven baked potatoes. I scrub them really well and rub olive oil all over and then rub with salt. Puncture a few times with small sharp knife. Bake at 400 degrees about 40-45 minutes depending on size.) Serve with butter and sour cream.

  40. My mother cut a slice off one end of the potatoes and put them on the oven rack. I am guessing my dad called them “jacket potatoes” because his father emigrated from England in 1913. Mom used margarine because she grew up in the depression and WW2.

    I made them that way with butter until I discovered twice-baked potatoes, which my family loves even better. I use butter, milk, dill, and a wedge of cheese in each one.

  41. Max says...

    We scrubbed the potatoes clean, pierced them all over with a knife rubbed some margarine all over them wrapped them in tin foil. And baked them.

    • Karen Shepherd says...

      I’ve baked potatoes this way, but with olive oil and kosher salt. They come out tasty but are not the same as chucking the foil. The foil steams the potatoes.