Put simply, most big potatoes will do and they can often be found in stores packaged as ‘Baking potatoes’. These are the larger spuds that have been selected out of the crop from varieties that have the potential to make great jackets. Some popular favourites include Melody, Nectar and Marfona, which are good all-rounders. But it really depends on what texture of jacket you like, as everyone has their own preferences whether it’s firm and dense or light and fluffy with crispy skins.
A denser potato like Saxon or Marfona can take a bit longer to bake, while a creamier variety like Nectar or a rich golden Georgina will tend to be a little more moist. Potatoes like Maris Piper, that are high in starch and low in moisture can make great jacket potatoes, but you may need to add some extra butter!
Best potatoes for baking
Melody potatoes are a flexible all rounder and work well in a number of dishes, served different ways. They make particularly flavourful jackets but also work well as roasties and chips. With a smooth creamy skin and buttery white insides, they’re the perfect candidate for a warming jacket potato.
Nectar is fast becoming one of the more popular all rounders and it’s quite a smooth and creamy variety. Nectar has a slight pinky blush around the eyes and a pale cream coloured flesh. The skin crisps up well when baked, while the insides cook to a soft and unctuous texture that doesn’t need to have lots of butter added.
With its golden skin and creamy flesh, a bold Georgina potato makes a smooth and decadent jacket that has a naturally rich flavour, crispy skin and buttery smooth texture.
7 tips for the ultimate jacket potato
- Rubbing on a little oil and sprinkling with salt flakes before baking will help the skins to crisp up and achieve a depth of colour and flavour that will encourage you to eat every tasty morsel.
- Pricking your potatoes before cooking allows steam to escape and can stop them bursting or splitting in the oven.
- Personal preference plays a role, but most find that placing the potato directly onto the wire rack in the oven rather than a tray allows for even cooking on all sides.
- To reduce time in the oven, you can kick-start cooking with 5 minutes in the microwave.
- Oven time can also be reduced by sticking a metal skewer through the middle of your jacket to conduct the heat through to the centre.
- There’s no need to wrap in aluminium foil, unless you’re cooking your jackets in the barbecue or bonfire. It can help to protect from the fierce heat, but can also trap moisture and result in soggy or leathery skins.
- You can check if your potato is done by piercing with a knife, if you feel any resistance in the centre it may need a little longer in the oven. You can also give it a gentle squeeze while wearing oven mitts and see if it feels soft enough to serve.
The best jacket potato recipes
The beauty of a jacket potato is its versatility. You can top with traditional cheese, baked beans, coleslaw or a tuna mayo mix, or you can step out of your comfort zone and try soured cream, bacon and spring onion, smoked mackerel and horseradish or a hearty bean chilli.
It’s not just big potatoes that should get all the recipe love, our baked new potatoes with a blue cheese glaze are a real showstopper if you’re entertaining. It makes a deliciously summer side dish with a veggie quiche or a spring tart and green, leafy salad.
Not sure what to do with your leftovers and hate food waste as much as we do? Try our leftovers jacket potato. We’ve taken inspiration from Christmas dinner but your regular leftovers will do just as well. A variety of cheeses, leftover meats and veggies pair perfectly with a fluffy potato.