Salt Baked Potatoes {with Roasted Garlic & Rosemary}

CATEGORIES: Gluten Free, Potatoes

salt baked potatoes smallI have this friend Stacey, my oldest friend in the world, who I have literally known since we were babies–there’s a picture of us when I was six months old and she was a brand-new little thing and I was trying to steal her bottle. When Sara and I were traveling last fall, I was so excited to see her and her mom (and her sister Shelly, but she’s not in the picture).

stacey tofw

ย I am not naked under my cardigan, I promise. I was 3 months postpartum, so nude public speaking was not high on my to-do list.

Every time I see Stacey and her family, we talk and laugh and then at some point in the conversation, someoneย sharesย the tale of when Stacey and I were 8 and we went to dinner at a [fancy for Logan, Utah] restaurant. The server was asking everyone what they wanted with their meal, and all the adults and all the kids and all the almost-adult-kids enthusiastically ordered fries. Until they got to me. And I primly replied, “I’d like the baked potato.” I really don’t think I was that fancy of a kid, I just liked the sour cream and bacon… ๐Ÿ™‚

I love me a baked potato. Crispy skin, tender, fluffy insides, what’s not to love?

I will tell you what’s not to love: a gummy, dense, yucky baked potato.

I’ve always subscribed to the rub-’em-down-with-shortening-and-bake-at-400-until-done method, but I recently saw this method in my copy of America’s Test Kitchen Best Recipes and Reviews 2013ย and I was intrigued. I immediately thought of the baked potatoes from Outback (say what you will, haters, those things areย good!)

You’re going to need 4 medium russet potatoes, 2 sprigs (plus a few leaves) of rosemary, a whole head of garlic, 4 teaspoons olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of kosher salt. Yes, that’s 2 1/2 cups of kosher salt. Just in case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of salt. Have faith, chickens.

baked potatoes, rosemary, garlic, and salt


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Wash the potatoes and pat them dry with a paper towel. Pour the salt into a 9×13″ baking dish.

kosher salt for salt baked potatoes


Arrange the potatoes on top of the salt, kind of nestling the potatoes into the salt (but don’t worry about burying or covering the potatoes with salt). Make sure the potatoes aren’t touching. Then add the sprigs of rosemary. Slice top off of the bulb of garlic and add that to the salt (cut side up).

potatoes, rosemary, and garlic in salt


Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Your house will smell like heaven, I am not kidding you (just in case you didn’t know, the smell of rosemary and roasting garlic makes me swoon).

When the potatoes are done cooking, remove the pan from the oven. Turn the oven up to 500. Carefully remove the foil and remove the head of garlic from the pan. Brush each potato with 1 teaspoon of oil. When the oven is heated, place the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are baking at 500, combine 4 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary, and the entire head of garlic–just squeeze it straight from the papery skins into the butter. Add a little salt to taste, especially if you’re using unsalted butter. Set aside.

When the potatoes are done baking, remove from the oven and serve with the roasted garlic rosemary butter. Resist any temptation to nibble on the rosemary that you roasted. You will be sad. Not speaking from any firsthand experience here.

The verdict? Incredible baked potatoes.ย Iย personally think the skins are delicious–crispy and salty and kind of like potato skin chips (like there is such a thing). And the insides are fluffy and flavorful and sweet. The rosemary butter in the potato is incredible, but you could also omit the whole rosemary/roasted garlic step altogether if you just want to do the whole butter/sour cream/bacon/whatever else you put on potatoes thing.

America's Test Kitchen Salt Baked Potatoes with roasted garlic and rosemary from Our Best Bites





  1. Do you have to poke the potatoes with a fork or something? I’ve never baked a potato without doing that before… I’m too afraid they would explode (just like in Farmer Boy, for all you Little House fans out there).

    This looks delicious, by the way!

    1. Ha!! Nope, no poking required. I give my “scientific” hypotheses all the time at home and I’m usually at least semi-wrong, so I’ll refrain here, but I think it has something to do with the salt and the moisture.

    1. That was my exact same question! LOL I love baked potatoes, but microwaved always kinda make me sad, so I can see me having this huge jar in my cupboard labled “Potato Baking Salt – Back off heathens” (so my husband doesn’t try to cook w/ it, or someting)

  2. These sound heavenly!! I’m a CARB person for sure!!! LOL Thanks for sharing..printing out the recipe now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh Kate, you always crack me up with your little asides and tangents! I didn’t notice that you looked naked under the cardigan until you pointed it out. lol! Thanks for the recipe;I love baked potatoes too, and these sound amazing!

  4. So for those of us who only have regular old table salt in bounds and bounds, do you think it would work to just use it?

  5. I have made these twice since seeing the episode on ATK. The potatoes are wonderful tasting, but I have yet to get the crispy skin. Mine stays soft. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I am trying it again today.

    1. You might check the tempature of your oven to make sure it isn’t a little cool. In my experience potatoes can be very particular to tempature (and I grew up in a home where 3 to 5 diners a week were baked potatoes). You might just have to wait 10 more minutes or turn the tempature up that last little bit.

  6. I have made these a LOT–they are SO good. My husband even asks specifically to have them prepared this way. I don’t use Kosher salt to bake them, tho. I buy sea salt in bulk (it’s like $0.30/lb.) and use that instead. It works just as well.

  7. I saw these in CI a while back and wondered if they were really good. Now that I know they are (according to you), I will have to make them myself.

  8. Oh I saw this on American’s Test Kitchen and even though I usually jump right into their recipes, the huge amount of salt held me back. So glad to hear it works. Thanks for this post, I am going to give it a try!

  9. I’ve wanted to try those ever since I saw that on the show! Thanks for being the brave one to try it first. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I can’t wait to try it!

  10. Oh Kate … It’s been so fun reading your posts and trying out the amazing recipes here… This is one of my favorites so far because of the mention of some of my favorite people in the whole world …. So great to see what wonderful things my former friends and neighbors are doing with their lives … A visit to your blog is now part of my daily routine …. The Anderson family “gems” indeed!!! Glad to know you all and call you friends!!! Thanks Kate !! Great things have sure come out of the old Logan 8th ward ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thanks Kate … I’m loving all the marvelous new recipes I’ve been reading here, I just recently started reading food blogs (it’s how I pass the time while I nurse my baby .. #7)… My family thanks you for the variety that has been added to their lives… Even getting the teenagers more involved in cooking…. Last Sunday my daughter made the Sunday slow cooker stew… It was awesome !!! We’ve tried plenty of others we love too!!!

  11. Ooo, a big old baked potato with all the fun stuff on it sounds like a great idea for dinner. I’ve never made them this way so tonight is as good a time as any to try something new ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. these potoes look so good love all your suff on here and love how you are all sister Bless everyone of you and your familysssssssssssssssssss sending you HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSfrom Canada Ont

  13. Oooh, yum! Wondering if the technique would work on sweet potatoes?!

    Not a fan of russets in general, but for this, I may have to give in and try it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. These look wonderful! We take a stick and a half of butter, one package of “real” bacon bits and a bunch of fresh chives and melt together in a small saucepan to put on our taters. Might try and combine the two!

  15. I think this recipe takes the next step from a recipe I use from Veggie Venture. That one cooks the potato at 350 degrees for 3 hours. The skin is crisp and the potato fluffy. The only thing I do to that is after cleaning them, I rub EVOO over them and sprinkle kosher salt all over them. Really good, but I need that 3 hr timeline and sometimes I don’t have it. Going to try yours, I can taste and smell it now.

    1. That’s exactly how I was taught by my gran. She was the best cook I ever met, but these may be quicker. I am just scared without the OO they won’t be crispy enough…

  16. After removing the garlic & rosemary and rubbing down with oil, you put the potatoes back in the pan with salt and into the oven right? Wasn’t sure if its solo or with the salt.

  17. Thanks for posting this. Just yesterday I was wanting a good baked potato recipe, looks good. I still don’t get why all that salt is needed.

  18. My husband loves baked potatoes. He ordered one from Applebee’s once. When it was served, he said “this is not a baked potato.” The server was perplexed because it looked like a baked potato. Bud then asked if it was baked in an actual oven. The server was new and went to check. Upon returning, he had to confess that the kitchen did not even have an oven on the premises. So much for baked.
    Your baked potato looks ah-maze-zing!

  19. Can you save the salt and use it again, or is this a one time deal? They look so good I can’t wait to try them.

  20. So, I am the only weird one that had a huge clump of salt stick to the bottom of the potato or is that normal? I couldn’t get it to come off!

  21. I learned the trick of great baked potatoes in a culinary class I took in college. It changed my whole outlook on them. We rubbed the outside of a scrubbed baked potato all over with salt and stuck them on the rack in the oven to bake. The salt wicks out the moisture so you are just left with a nice mealy inside and crispy salty skin outside. My husband won’t eat them any other way now. Your way seems like a good way to achieve the same thing without as much consumption of sodium in the end. I will have to try it.
    p.s. I actually had a discussion last week with someone at work about Stacey (random!)

  22. I always find exactly what I needed on your blog. I’ve got a huge bag of potatoes sitting in my kitchen right now (sent hubby out for 4, got a bag), and we don’t eat potatoes often. Definitely going to try this.

  23. Made these for lunch after church today and they were AWESOME! Hubs says it’s the best potato he’s ever had! I made the delicious garlic/rosemary butter, but honestly these were so moist and fluffy they really didn’t need anything but a sprikle of salt and pepper. THANK YOU for changing the way we bake potatoes!!! DELICIOUS!

    1. I don’t even really measure the salt anymore…just make sure that whatever pan you have has enough salt in it to completely cover the bottom. There needs to be enough so the potatoes “rest” on the salt but don’t touch the bottom of the pan. I would put another head of garlic in, too, so you have enough to make that amazing garlic butter!

  24. I do this on my bbq and they are so good. I wash and dry and place directly on the grill let cook till fork goes through then take off and rub with butter or oil and roll in salt and place back on till done. yummy

  25. I too get a big clump of salt on the bottom that was very hard to get off. Does anyone have any suggestions? Otherwise they were very delicious!

    1. Mine have that almost every time, but it usually just pops off with a fork or spoon. Maybe has something to do with it not being completely dry when you put it in the pan before cooking?

  26. I had the same question as DeAnn. I am trying to make 8-10 potatoes and wondered the best way of cooking those. Do you just create two pans of 4 potatoes each and double the cooking time?

  27. I read this recipe here and in the Chicago Tribune. I was a excited to make them and finally did it last night. I have to say that I was seriously underwhelmed. It didn’t differ substantially from any other baked potato I’ve ever had. The skin was a bit crispier as described, but that was about it. I found that the insides, while initially fluffy, dried out extremely quickly upon opening the jacket. I might try this one more time with a red or white potato and see if it’s any better. If not, my vote is don’t bother.

  28. The 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking, which taught me to cook, mentions putting potatoes on a bed of rock salt. The entire purpose is to draw moisture out of the potatoes. Wrapping in foil was not to be heard of. There is also a recipe for heating up 25 pounds of resin in an iron kettle and cooking potatoes in that for the ultimate in flakiness. These are very welcome after some hours of skiing or skating, according to ‘Joy’.

  29. These look so good! I think the smell filling the house is one of the best parts of cooking. Does the rosemary flavor come through strong in the potatoes? I love it and was wondering if it would be smart to use a rosemary olive oil for that last little bit of cooking. I might have to experiment with that. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. I followed this recipe exactly but with sweet potatoes instead of russet and it was HEAVENLY!! That garlic rosemary butter is to die for!

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