‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten Said Her Crusty Baked Potato Recipe Is ‘the Best’

Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten has elevated the classic baked potato to new levels with a simple recipe that gives the side dish a salty crust and a new twist on the traditional sour cream topping. Find out how to make Garten’s crusty baked potatoes with whipped feta.

'Barefoot Contessa' Ina Garten smiles during a segment on the 'Today' show in 2017
‘Barefoot Contessa’ Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ina Garten gives traditional baked potatoes a delicious upgrade

A traditional baked potato is pretty good, but Garten’s spin on the traditional side is next level.

“I’m amping up humble baked potatoes with a lemon and herb crust and a dollop of whipped feta,” Garten explained while demonstrating the recipe on Barefoot Contessa.

After scrubbing the potatoes and placing them on a sheet pan, Garten explained the need to pierce them with a fork. “Otherwise you’ll have potatoes exploding all over your oven, which isn’t pretty,” she shared. “Not to mention, you wouldn’t have dinner.”

To make the herb and lemon rub for the potatoes, Garten blended the ingredients in a food processor. She noted that using fleur de sel or sea salt provides “kind of a briny flavor, rather than being too sharp and salty.”

The potatoes are coated in olive oil, then rolled in the rub to coat them before baking. “Olive oil actually does three things,” she explained. “It keeps the skin tender, which is good, when you’re eating it. It flavors the potato. But it also allows the lemon and all the herbs to adhere to it. Lots of flavor.”

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Ina Garten’s crusty baked potatoes with whipped feta recipe is so easy to make

While Garten’s crusty baked potatoes were in the oven, she made her easy whipped feta topping. “Very simple potato, but it really takes it to another level,” she explained about the topping.

“Lemon and herbs and salt, who wouldn’t like that?” Garten shared as she removed the potatoes from the oven and cut a slit into each, then piled the whipped feta on top.

“This is not a boring potato,” she said. “Almost everybody likes a baked potato. But trust me, if you make these, people are going to say they’re the best baked potatoes they’ve ever had.” (You can find the recipe on The Food Network website.)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon coarse fleur de sel or sea salt
  • 4 large (8- to 10-ounce) Idaho baking potatoes
  • Olive oil

Whipped feta ingredients

  • 6 ounces Greek feta, crumbled
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scrub the potatoes and dry them before piercing each potato with a fork and placing them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Rub each potato with olive oil.

Combine the ingredients for the salt rub (rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, and fleur de sel) in a food processor and pulse everything until it’s finely chopped. Place the rub in a shallow bowl and roll each potato in the mixture.

Bake the potatoes for 60 to 75 minutes, until tender.

For the whipped feta topping, place the cheeses, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor and pulse until it’s creamy.

Slice a slit in the top of each potato and place a scoop of the feta on top, then sprinkle the potatoes with chives.