The Real Reason British Baked Potatoes Taste Better

Imagine a fluffy baked potato piled high with butter, sour cream, and chives... irresistible, right? It is for most Americans, as we consume about 110 pounds of potatoes per person every year, according to the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. In fact, there's even a museum dedicated to America's favorite side dish in (where else?) Idaho. But did you know our friends across the pond actually eat twice as many spuds as we do and have a few secrets up their sleeves for making them taste even more delicious?

Instead of pricking a potato all over with a fork, try slicing an "X" into the skin, suggests Joanna Goddard on her blog A Cup of Joe. She snagged the recipe trick from her aunt who lives in Cornwall, England. It helps steam to escape, leaving a fluffy inside, without making the skin soggy. You also want to cook them at a lower temperature for a little longer, recommends the BBC's GoodFood. So, instead of 400 degrees for an hour and 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an extra hour. Presto, super-crispy skin and a tender interior.

More secrets of British baked potatoes

Also per the BBC, the British don't do tin foil. And there's a good reason: "If you bake in foil, all the moisture from the potato just circles back into the potato skin, which can leave you with a sad state of skin," explain the experts at Allrecipes. Sounds pretty gross, so unless you're tossing them on the grill, skip it. Instead, they suggest placing your potato right on the oven rack, which helps it cook all the way through evenly. "If a potato bakes with one side touching a sheet pan, you'll get a hard spot."

Tempted to massage your spud with olive oil? The Guardian gives that a firm no. Instead, "wash your spuds, and while damp sprinkle on some coarse sea salt. Do not oil them! Oiling creates a thin, insufficiently crispy skin."

Now you know how to make a perfect British baked potato — but you can still add the all-American cheese and bacon toppings!