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How to Bake a Potato in the Oven at a High Altitude

author image Amelia Allonsy
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.
How to Bake a Potato in the Oven at a High Altitude
A baked potato with cheese, bacon and sour cream. Photo Credit: Iamthatiam/iStock/Getty Images

A baked potato can be part of a nutritious meal when you make healthy topping choices, but you'll have to make some minor adjustments when baking a potato at altitudes 3,000 feet above sea level or higher. The drier air, lower oxygen levels and reduced atmospheric pressure mean it takes longer to cook food than it does closer to sea level. Try reducing the amount of butter and using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make a baked potato healthier. Alternatively, spoon vegetarian chili or steamed vegetables and low-fat cheese over top to make a complete meal.

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Step 1

Scrub the potato thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt on the skin. Russet potatoes work well for baking because they have thick, firm skins and starchy flesh that doesn't fall apart when cooked.

Step 2

Coat the potatoes lightly with a bit of olive oil and season with your choice of spices such as sea salt and black pepper.

Step 3

Pierce the potato in about four different places with a fork so steam can escape while cooking. Failure to provide vents for steam results in an exploded potato in the oven.

Step 4

Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're only baking a single potato, you can save energy by using a toaster oven instead of a conventional oven.

Step 5

Place the potato on a baking tray and set it in the oven on the center rack. Alternatively, place the potato directly on the oven rack with a tray on the rack below to catch any falling sea salt or other drippings.

Step 6

Bake the potato for about 50 minutes for a medium-sized potato and up to 1 hour for a large potato. Squeeze the center of the potato while wearing an oven mitt. Alternatively, see if you can insert a fork easily in the center of the potato. Add 5 to 10 minutes of extra cooking time if the potato is firm and doesn't feel soft to the center.

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