Martha Stewart's Secret Baked Potato Ingredient Is Her Countertop

Martha Stewart's got a lot of tips, tricks, and secret ingredients up her sleeve. Whether she's mastering one-pot dinners or perfecting pound cake, there's always something to learn from this legendary lifestyle guru. Even when it comes to something as simple as a baked potato.

You may think you have the whole baked potato thing down. Poke it a bit, throw it in the oven, let it bake a while until it's soft inside, then serve. It's a pretty fool-proof food, and, plus, once you lather it in butter or sour cream it's bound to taste good. But with the right method, a baked potato can be so much more. And Stewart's got a method.

Think about everything you want out of a baked potato: crisp skin, perfectly fluffy insides, and well-seasoned starchy goodness that melts in your mouth. Stewart has a secret to achieving that perfect result every time — and it involves a little game of hot potato.

For ultimate fluff, drop that potato

Martha Stewart's baked potato method is pretty standard, except that it requires one interesting step. As soon as the hot potatoes come out of the oven, she drops them forcefully, directly onto her countertop. She explains how to do this in an Instagram post: "Pick up each potato and smash it straight down on the counter just hard enough to break up and fluff the interior without completely breaking all the skin."

This seemingly strange potato drop is what transforms the insides of the hot baked potato into fluffy goodness. When enjoyed piping hot, you get the best of both worlds: a delicate, crisp potato skin that encases a mountain of creamy, fluffy potato interior. From there, it's up to you to elevate your baked potato with whatever toppings your heart desires.

As far as the actual baking, Stewart typically recommends piercing the potato with a fork, brushing it in olive oil, salting it, and baking it at 400°F for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. But you can also opt to bake your potato low and slow at 325°F for an hour and a half. And you may be tempted to wrap it in foil, but don't — that'll trap the moisture in and ruin the crispy jacket you're going for.

The best kind of potatoes for baking

There are lots of varieties of potatoes available at the grocery store, each with its own characteristics that work best with certain cooking methods. There are waxy potatoes like fingerling and new potatoes, starchy potatoes like Russet and Idaho, and all-purpose potatoes like Yukon Gold and white potatoes.

So if you plan on making this perfectly fluffy baked potato, which kind of potato should you grab? Martha Stewart recommends Russet potatoes. This type works great when baked whole (or mashed!) because it's an especially starchy potato, with a low amount of moisture. The high starch content results in a softer interior that's more absorbent, while the low moisture makes for a crispy, flavorful skin.

But you can certainly play around with your baked potatoes and try different types — per her Instagram post, she tried her usual potato-smash method with a Yukon Gold potato and loved how it turned out. When choosing your potatoes, just be sure to look for firm potatoes with smooth skins; stay away from blemishes and greenish coloring.