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. Lora says...

    This is how I grew up eating baked potatoes and how I still make them today. And we always eat the jackets, too, once all the fluffy part has been eaten. Add extra butter, some salt, and pick them up with your hands. Microwave potatoes are completely wrong IMO and I’ve never made them in my own home.

  2. Ellen Barks says...

    I grew up eating baked jacketed potatoes…thought everyone did! Of course my mother was a Brit and my father was a scot so I guess that was why it was a staple…brought my children on them also. Nothing better!

  3. Yummy…Yummy
    Finally, i find this receipe! I do love potatoes

    thanks Joanna!

  4. Dee says...

    When I was in London I ate many a jacket potato. My dad took this awesome picture of me with a jacket potato that was nearly the size of my head, and me looking at it with pretend horror (but really it was the MOST delicious).

  5. I’ve never had such perfectly baked potatoes. It’s definitely worth of tasting.

  6. I always microwave the potatoes, until soft. then I bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, to crisp the skins. They taste good and don’t take as long to cook.

  7. These look so incredible and simple…I’m making them now! Happy Nesting.

  8. Its bizarre to see a recipe for this. I thought everyone knew how to make them, i now know. I stab them a few times put a little oil on and lots of salt before baking them.
    As for a filling, homemade coleslaw with plain tuna. Or on a cold night, chilli, sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese. So good.

  9. I just tried making these yesterday, after finding this recipe on your blog and they worked out really well. Crispy outside, fluffy inside plus the butter and salt! Delicious! Thanks for sharing. Bee

  10. One of my favorite memories is of visiting my dear friend when she was going for her doctorate at Oxford… We would go to a local caf for tea and jacket potatoes… Branston pickle and cheddar for me, tuna and sweet corn for her. YUM.

  11. i think this is a British caf classic! …not just England but all over the UK. espescally nice wrapped in foil and slung into the bonfire pit…yum!

  12. Love it! I was in England and Wales last fall visiting family….and 7 weeks pregnant. This and cheese sandwiches were the only thing I could stomach! This post reminded me of how sick I was during that trip! Lol

  13. I would not have gotten through my year in London with out them – a pint and a jacket potato!!! YUM!! xo

  14. These look fantastic!

  15. Mmmm, I LOVE jacket potatoes! They certainly are a staple here in England (whatever some other commenters may have said!) and they are on lots of pub menus. As some others have mentioned salt the outside too – rosemary salt, even better, lashings and lashings of butter and/or melted cheese, one of the best meals ever! Francesca http://londonlapin.me

  16. I lived in London when I was pregnant with my first daughter. Everyone at my office laughed at me because I’d go to the potato cart in the high street and get a beans and cheese jacket potato for lunch every single day. It was so tasty and hearty and filling on a cold day. Best 1 pound 75p I could spend!

  17. I never had jacket potatoes, but I studied in Edinburgh for a semester and I’m pretty sure I would’ve starved if not for beans on toast. Imagine my disappointment to discover upon my return to the States that the ‘baked beans’ in the UK are nowhere to be found in the US!
    It’s been almost 8 years and still I get cravings sometimes!! I’ve tried looking for recipes online, but couldn’t find a thing :(

  18. My potato consumption sky rocketed when I moved to London. My English hubby ate them so much for school lunches and dinner at home that he is ‘over them’, which I just can’t believe. Long live the potato!

    http://www.stateofsunshineblog.com

  19. Love jacket potatoes! I just prick my ones with a fork a few times, rub with sea salt and stick in the oven for a little bit over an hour. Sometimes we make them when we have friends over and then serve many bowls of toppings:baked beans, fried onions, crispy bacon, grated cheddar,dried peppers,sour cream, rocket and of course lots of butter!

  20. When I lived in England we made tuna, sweet corn, mayo jacket potatoes with cheese on top. It was delicious especially served with Jalapeno tartar sauce! Best thing ever!

  21. As an Aussie this is funny to me too! I will always remember my Mum fussing about what to cook for dinner when she was cooking for Grandfather (my Dad’s father) and he said “Put the potatoes on then decide what’s for dinner”. You can tell he was from good Irish stock! My Dad always washed the potatoes then covered them in salt and straight into the oven. Super crispy, salty goodness! And yep I read ‘shedload’ as ‘sh*tload’ as that’s the Aussie colloquialism!

  22. I haven’t seen Janey in years now but rememeber her being such a lovely woman :)

    You can put *anything* on a proper jacket potato. Bolognese, chilli, butter. My father rubs most jacket spuds with olive oil and salt before putting them in the oven. We also cook them in tin foil for the first half.

  23. This post made me smile – being English I found it funny that you managed to glorify the humble jacket potato!

    It doesn’t matter what potato you use but the result will vary. Generally speaking, you will end up with either a ‘waxy’ or ‘fluffy’ jacket. I much prefer waxy but it’s all a matter of taste – worth experimenting.

    Microwaved potatoes are pretty foul. HOWEVER, one good trick to reduce cooking time is to microwave a potato for about five mins, then put in oven. Don’t have to wait two hours then.

    Also, I read that the secret to a perfect potato was not to prick it before cooking, but when ready – or near ready – poke a very large hole in the skin very quickly. Apparently the steam exiting quickly makes the texture nice.

    Anyway, I’m going to stop talking about jacket potatoes now…

  24. I don’t really see how this counts as a recipe? = take potato, put in oven, eat. We have them all the time in winter, but really, this is not cooking. This is basic potato goodness in mouth yum time.

  25. I always ate a jacket potato at University (I studied in London) filled with baked beans and cheese. So yum!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  26. I love how some people in the comments call them “JPs” – so cute! I want to make these part of our dinner repertoire. First, a quick (possibly dumb) question which others have asked: how deep and big is the cross you cut on the potato? I’ve never seen this before! Also, what was the best topping you had?!

  27. These potatoes look so yummy! I am from the Eastern Europe where potatoes are also must-have on the table. I often cook baked potatoes but they come out rather soft than crunchy. Anyways, thanks for the recipe – I will definitely try it one day.

    http://www.stylishpetite.com/

  28. These potatoes look so yummy! I am from the Eastern Europe where potatoes are also must-have on the table. I often cook baked potatoes but they come out rather soft than crunchy. Anyways, thanks for the recipe – I will definitely try it one day.

    http://www.stylishpetite.com/

  29. These potatoes look so yummy! I am from the Eastern Europe where potatoes are also must-have on the table. I often cook baked potatoes but they come out rather soft than crunchy. Anyways, thanks for the recipe – I will definitely try it one day.

    http://www.stylishpetite.com/

  30. I studied abroad in London, and one of my favorite meals to get was a jacket potato with beans and cheddar. It made me so happy when I found heinz beans here in the US! I haven’t had one in years though- I think it’s time to bring it back!

  31. I had a six month internship in London a few years ago and I lived off of jacket potatoes! So so good.

  32. We have these all the time, except we wrap them in foil before putting them in the oven. Means the jackets get cooked, but not too overdone. They’re also great to bash in the oven in the morning and leave on all day on a low heat to slow cook them into a lovely mash-in-a-jacket.

    Ohhellojo.blogspot.com

  33. I had a Spanish language teacher who said it took her a while to get used to the Brits occupation with jacket potatoes as in Spain they feed them to the pigs! Glad you’re back – I live in Somerset and it was weird missing the posts while at the same time knowing you were down the road! x

  34. Haha, I thought it said a “shitload of butter.” Since they basically mean the same thing, I’m still pretty excited.

  35. You made my day, Joanna! I LOVE potatoes (and all things related to Mother England:), so I cannot wait to try these!! Thank you xo

  36. That’s so funny, my gran lives in Cornwall and makes it too!

    Xx

  37. Do you think this could work for sweet potatoes?

  38. Is it a deep cross or a shallow cross? Does that even matter? Is this a dumb question? :)

  39. I lived in London during college and my coworkers would eat these with the tuna, beans and slaw and it always grossed me out. I’m not a potato person anyways, but the toppings – no way.

  40. When I lived in Edinburgh years ago, I was basically a regular at the Baked Potato Shop there. While the simple ones are quite delicious, I had fun trying the crazier toppings too, maybe because the whole thing was such a novelty to me as an American!

    My favorite, seriously, was the delicious pasta salad-topped jacket potato. What can I say, I like carbs. :)

    • acorn says...

      what!? Im an American and potatoes with ALL kinds of toppings are nomal here! where do you live?

  41. As a Northern English girl I have grown up on JP’s as a cheap and cheerful staple, we do them slightly different but there are no hard and fast rules, my Nana used to cook them all day in the bottom of the oven when she was having a baking day, wrap in tinfoil and put in the embers of a camp fire the list goes on… My favourite is heat the oven up to 240c rinse the spud/s and pat dry, don’t cut or puncture the skin, pop in hot oven on wired rack on a high shelf for 20mins don’t open the door just turn the heat down to 200c and bake for 1-2hours depending on the size of spuds and number in the oven.
    Split and serve with your favourite topping.
    We also make stuffed JP’s. Follow as above whilst spuds are cooking boil some smoked haddock in water or milk whatever is your preference, when fish is cooked flake into a large bowl with a big dollop of mustard, a generous handful of grated cheese and a glug of salad cream. Cut the JP’s in half and scoop out the filling and mix this with the cheese etc. When mixed re-fill the half skins with the mix and pop back in the oven for 10-15mins. Eat on their own or serve as a side. Scrummy.

  42. I’ve lived in the UK my whole life, in Scotland and England, and these are very common (especially filled for lunch) all over the UK. You can get filled jackets as a main in most pubs, and simple buttered jackets as a side in most restaurants. Try them filled with prawn Marie Rose – tangy, creamy, and a lovely mix of hot and cold :)

  43. I’ve only been to England once… for a 24 hour layover in London and I had a “jacket potato” while there. It was the best baked potato I’ve ever had in my life! I’ll have to see if I can replicate it here.

  44. Another English girl vouching for the humble JP here! Best made in an Aga. Would advise taking them out a few minutes early, adding a bit of cheese in the middle, pushing them back together (hot – mind fingers) and then back in for the last few minutes. Delish.

  45. we love with bacon, sauted mushrooms and onions, sourcream and butter/garlic butter. YUM!!

  46. Baked potatoes have always been my comfort food, even if I only have time to nuke them in a microwave. I accept potatoes in all forms. :)

  47. marcello, thanks for your comment! we visited friends in durham up north, and then flew down for a week in cornwall, and then drove over to west sussex to stay with friends for a night before we flew out of heathrow, and we saw jacket potatoes in all three places. so maybe they’re more common in pubs/restaurants outside london? now i’d love to do a driving tour and find out :)

  48. Top tip from an English girl: prickly the potatoes with a fork and then microwave for 5-7 minutes. Then put them in the hot oven for about an hour (depending on qty and size). For some reason, this makes them super fluffy inside and crunchy outside :-)

  49. No, I have not had this, but it looks delectable. However I do eat a baked potato of some variety every night for supper. And this would be another variety.
    Brenda

  50. I am an English gal too so yeah! this is a common lunch for me. My favourite topping is strong cheddar & baked beans :) so comforting

  51. Love jacket potatoes. I cook my baked potatoes with a metal skewer going through them – you can get 4 on a kebab type skewer, cooks ’em quicker – also a bit of oil and salt on the skins after you’ve done them in the microwave – crisps the skins quickly.

  52. Fab! Love the simplicity! Thanks!

  53. My boyfriend thinks I’m a nut for loving plain potatoes so much but they’re SO good. And comforting! He says I have the taste buds of a 90 year old. I’m gonna try this out! :)

    Dakota Barber

    • acorn says...

      I love your post! :) Its comical and cute.

  54. Definitely an English staple. Rubbing salt on the skins helps to dehydrate and crisp them, and adds flavour!

    When I was wee, my ma used to scoop out the middle, mix it with cheese & chives, and then pop them under the grill. Delicious!

    It’s so interested to hear your take on our Englishnesses. I can’t wait to read more about your travels.

  55. By England do you mean Cornwall? I live in London and have family in Sussex, and contrary to a commenter below I hardly ever see jacket potatoes on any menu. They are indeed British, but not quite as prevalent as being “all over” here. Perhaps more so as a familiar guest at a family dinner table.

  56. I’m making these tonight. We normally make baked potatoes almost like this – since we both like them overbaked. I used to make baked potatoes in the microwave…when I was married to my first husband. Current husband is a good cook…no microwave potatoes now! I also used to always use Idaho or Russet potatoes for baking…but now we use either white or Yukon Gold. I like them better – the flesh isn’t as dry.

  57. I had no idea what you were going to say, and find it hilarious as they are such a staple food in my house that is never considered this a recipe! So much better than the microwaved version though (although two hours is a long time to wait for a potato!)

    Kat x
    https://thelondonplaybook.wordpress.com/

  58. I definitely need to start working “shedloads” into my vocabulary. It will certainly be a change for the better from my current “s”-loads word. :)

  59. This post is funny to me, as I am from the UK and LOVE jacket potatoes! I also love shed loads of butter, tuna and mayo, or chilli, ALWAYS with loads of grated cheddar cheese!
    However when i am being healthy, lately i am, i use coconut oil as a replacement, it really works. I also substitute cheese for nutritional yeast. Its so yum, and super healthy!
    So glad you love them Jo! x

  60. These look so delicious! i think I will buy some potatoes on the way home and make them for dinner! It’s perfect for me because potatoes are my favorite food, and it can be vegan friendly for my partner!

  61. How big of a cross do you cut, and where at on the potato? These look tremendous!

  62. One of my favorite comfort foods! I miss being able to have them anytime, I wish more restaurants in the states served them. My favorite is with beans, cheese and a little HP sauce :)

  63. Yum!

    You can pop them in the microwave and then crisp them up in the oven afterwards if you’re short on time

  64. Baked potatoes like this are really popular in Australia – except that we fill them up with coleslaw, sourcream, cheese… All sorts of stuff. They’re a popular takeout meal and most shopping centre food courts have a baked potato shop.

    I live in California now and I miss my baked potatoes. I’ve thought about making them at home but never knew how to get the skins like that. Now that I know the trick I’m going to have to give it a try :)

  65. My host mom made these last year when I was in England but I didn’t ask for the recipe. These couldn’t come at the more opportune moment – I just bought potatoes.

    Do you have any experience with sticky toffee pudding? I don’t know how traditionally English it is, but if you have any tips or a favorite recipe, I would be over the moon.

  66. We do these all the time but you can do them in the microwave then put them in the oven and it works just as good (as per my husband’s 95-year-old English granny)
    So basically you put the potatoes in the microwave for about 10 minutes. Once out of the microwave spread butter on the outside and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle some salt over the top and place them in a high oven for about 20 more minutes. Same result but a heck of a lot quicker!

  67. Yes, this is how I make them & seeing as how my mother was Welsh, probably the reason. I am now without a microwave & do not miss it a bit. But I used to make them the way Jamie Oliver did: nuke ’til nearly done. Meanwhile, oven hot hot hot & roll them in a bit of olive oil, salt then pop into oven for 10-15 minutes til crispy. I think that’s it. Anyway, welcome back! xo/Susan

  68. Does it matter what kind of potato you use? Are they russet? They look delicious!

  69. Having them tonight in London! They are a regular on our family table. Wash them the rub salt into the wet skin before baking yum! Never in the microwave!

  70. Having them tonight in London! They are a regular on our family table. Wash them the rub salt into the wet skin before baking yum! Never in the microwave!

  71. “Serve immediately with shedloads of butter, salt and pepper.” Hahaha cute phrasing!

    This looks so tasty, especially for these cool NYC evenings lately.

  72. I love eating them with a lot of butter, salt&pepper and Branston Pickle on the top and fresh salad as a side.

  73. haha, nicola, janey says “shedloads” all the time. also: “pants,” as in “this rainy weather is pants.” :)

  74. Yikes! As an English gal, microwaving a jacket potato seems so.. wrong! If you liked these try doing the same trick but for less time with smaller potatoes to make mini jackets, then grating parmesan over them. Utterly delicious :)

  75. I love baked potatoes, so I really need to get on this! They sounds lovely.

  76. 2 hours in 200 C! I am surprised that they don’t burn! I’ll try that.

  77. My current pregnancy craving is jacket potatoes with coleslaw, yum yum – I have them at least twice a week. Never tried letting the steam out and putting them back in the oven though – will try that tomorrow.

  78. As an English person I can confirm that these really are everywhere and super delicious :)

    I like reading your blog for an American take on English things, I find it really interesting, thank you.

    I love that you said shedloads as I think that’s such a British saying xx

  79. Yeah, this is a no-brainer since I’m married to an English dude lol. Baking potatoes in the microwave? Yuck. I didn’t realize people actually did that. My husband puts salt on the outside of them before popping them into the oven and stabs them a few times so they don’t explode. Pretty easy stuff. To me, this is just baked potatoes lol. Prior to meeting him, I’d just put them in the oven and that would be it.