Tin foil potatoes are a classic camping recipe because they are easy, delicious and filling. Plus, you only need a few ingredients. Baked red potatoes in foil can be enjoyed year-round and not just when you are sleeping under the stars. Make this recipe as a fiber-rich dinner or a tasty side dish.
The key to perfectly cooked tin foil potatoes has a lot to do with the temperature they are cooked at. A common mistake is burning the potatoes by raising the temperature too high. On the other hand, your potatoes may come out uncooked if your temperature is too low. Here is how to get your potatoes in foil packets in the oven just right every time.
Tin Foil Potatoes Ingredients
Making baked red potatoes in foil is not a complicated process. You will need minimal cooking equipment, such as a cutting board, chopping knife and potato peeler.
Recipes usually call for these simple ingredients:
- Red potatoes: Any potato will work, but baked red potatoes in foil are common for this cooking method. Wash thoroughly, peel the skin and cut into quarters or cubes.
- Olive oil: This will prevent the potatoes from sticking to the tin foil.
- Spices: Season the potatoes to your liking. Suggestions include parsley, paprika, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
- (Optional) Additional vegetables: Chopped bell peppers and onions may enhance the flavors as they marinate in the foil.
You will also need an oven to cook your tin foil potatoes. Any type of oven will work — gas, electric or toaster oven — as long as it can reach the desired temperature settings. For safety purposes, you may also prefer to use a baking sheet, tongs and oven mitts.
Read more: Nutrition in Red Potatoes
Prepare Your Foil Packets
Cooking baked red potatoes in foil yields a unique, satisfying texture. It also allows the flavors to meld together, which is a different experience than frying or traditional baking. Wrapping red potatoes in foil packets in the oven allows the middle of the potatoes to soften and often results in a naturally buttery texture.
Start by tearing your foil in large but similar size pieces. They should be large enough to hold approximately one pound of potatoes. Using heavy-duty aluminum foil is recommended to prevent tearing. Depending on how many people you are serving, you may need several large sheets of aluminum foil.
Despite the delicious flavor and the nostalgia of camping, some people have concerns about placing red potatoes in foil packets in the oven. This is due to the food directly touching aluminum foil, which contains naturally occurring metals. However, an October 2014 study published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology found that more research is needed to study the potential health risks.
Read more: Why Potatoes With More Color Are Healthier
Cook Your Potatoes
Making potatoes in foil packets in the oven breaks down into three main parts: preparation, seasoning and cooking. Though cooking requires the most time, the preparation and seasoning processes require the most effort. Here is how to breeze through this LIVESTRONG.com recipe for oven baking tin foil potatoes:
1. Rinse and peel your red potatoes: Always thoroughly wash produce before cooking it. Some people prefer to clean produce with vinegar for but water works just fine as well. Once rinsed, peel the potato skin since the inside flesh is the softest.
Though the skin contains nutrients, peeled potatoes are still a source of many nutrients. According to the USDA, one baked potato without skin contains 145 calories, 2.3 grams of fiber and 3.1 grams of protein. Baked potatoes are also high in potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.
2. Cut the red potatoes: Once rinsed and peeled, cut into quarters or cubes. The thickness and shape depend on your preference, but a 1/2- to 1-inch thickness will yield bite-size pieces. Use a sharp knife to safely slice through the potatoes.
3. Prepare optional vegetables: There are some vegetables that pair well with potatoes. In this cooking method, bell peppers and onions are a popular addition. You can also add fresh garlic or fresh herbs to enhance the aromas and flavors.
4. Transfer ingredients to a mixing bowl: Add your cut potatoes and optional vegetables to a large mixing bowl in order to season them evenly. For every pound of potatoes, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of mixed spices. Toss to coat evenly. The olive oil will prevent burning as well as coat the potatoes so the spices stick to them.
5. Place mixture in tin foil packets: Lay the large sheets of tin foil on an even surface and place the potato mixture in the middle of the foil. Fold the sides of the foil to cover the potatoes completely. Separate the potatoes into smaller batches rather than one large foil packet as this will encourage even cooking. Make sure the foil packets are sealed.
6. Cook potatoes in foil packets in oven: At 375 degrees Fahrenheit, cook your tin foil potatoes for approximately 40 minutes. For really soft potatoes, cook up to 50 minutes. You can also check out this easy LIVESTRONG.com recipe for cooking foil-wrapped potatoes on the grill.
Serving Tin Foil Potatoes
Since potatoes in foil packets in the oven conduct a lot of heat, always allow your potatoes to cool before serving. Avoid serving in the foil packet to prevent injuries related to burning. If using a grill, the National Park Service recommends using grilling gloves to protect your hands from the flames.
For vegans and vegetarians, potatoes can make a starchy dinner that is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Potatoes are also a source of plant-based protein. For meat lovers, potatoes make the perfect side dish.
- Critical Reviews in Toxicology: “Systematic Review of Potential Health Risks Posed by Pharmaceutical, Occupational and Consumer Exposures to Metallic and Nanoscale Aluminum, Aluminum Oxides, Aluminum Hydroxide and its Soluble Salts.”
- USDA: “Nutrition Facts for Baked Potato (No Skin)”
- National Park Service: "Meals in Foil"