Depending on size, potatoes should bake in the oven for around 50 minutes to 1 hour. Flipping the potatoes every 20 minutes during the baking process helps to ensure consistent baking throughout the entire potato.
Before baking potatoes, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly under running water, and then pat them dry using a towel or paper towel. Use a paring knife to trim away any blemishes.
Rub the potatoes with vegetable oil, using a pastry brush if desired. Sprinkle salt and ground black pepper on all sides of the potato. Use the tines of a fork to make a few pricks in the potatoes; this allows steam to escape during baking.
Position the potatoes directly on the rack or on a baking sheet lined with foil. Allow them to bake for up to an hour. Pierce the potatoes with a fork to test for doneness. The potatoes should feel soft when pierced, and their skins will be dry.
To speed baking time, microwave the potatoes for around 5 minutes prior to putting them in the oven. Foil wrappers on each potato can leave the potatoes with softer skins, if desired.
Russet potatoes are generally preferred for baking because they have a thick skin, fluffy texture and sweet flavor when baked.