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How to cook a PERFECT Jacket Potato

Perhaps the humblest of camp foods yet not content with staying a mere side - the potato is really the star of the show! They also make a decent hand warmer…

So how do you cook the perfect baked potato, aka jacket, getting it light and fluffy in the middle, with a crisp (not burnt!) flavourful skin? Discover the tricks below:



The Camp Fire – let’s face it this is what you’re really dreaming of isn’t it? Does anything beat the camp fire for a kitchen centre piece? I think not… For health reasons don’t cook over wood from poisonous trees or any wood dipped in chemical treatments like fence posts and old tree supports!

NOTE: a good cooking fire is not a bonfire ! You want a bed of glowing embers to utilise so get your fire going well to start with but allow it to die down to a gentle burn once you have a nice bed of coals to rake out, cook on these coals and not in the centre of the flames.


To wrap in foil or not to wrap? Foil helps to protect the potato from the direct heat of the flames and ash from a campfire but by using foil you really get a steamed potato, and whilst you might achieve the fluffy centre the soggy bitter skin is just not the same experience. There’s also the fact that aluminium toxicity has been linked to degenerative brain diseases like Alzhiemers – yikes! While we have utilised the convenience of foil for cooking potatoes, by far THE BEST fire-cooked jacket potato experience for us has been with the aid of our Cast Iron potato pot.

For more handy foil packet recipes (with ways to NOT use foil!) check out our article here>


Step away from the microwave! You might have one in your caravan or camper to save dealing with a gas system but don’t you dare use it if you’re angling for the PERFECT jacket potato! Ever suspicious of the reported dangers we did not install a microwave in Waki the motor home and to be honest food tastes better cooked on a hob or other methods anyway so we haven’t missed using one for a second.


Gas Oven – We’ve enjoyed some decent potatoes with the help of our trusty gas oven. Sometimes I cheat a little and pre cook some potatoes in the oven until they’re just about done so they just need a further warming with the campfire when we set up (handy if you might be arriving late and don’t want to wait an hour for the perfect spud from scratch!). Cook your potatoes on the rack instead of a tray to avoid the tough spot that sometimes develops on the bottom if you don’t get to turning them quick enough.



Pick the freshest of potatoes for the best flavour and texture. Greened potatoes or ones sprouting ‘eyes’ tend to have a funky flavour tang due to the presence of the toxin solanine so needless to say should be avoided or at least severely limited in consumption!

Choose a floury variety (if you have the option) such as Maris Piper, Desiree or King Edward.

Oversized ‘new’ varieties like Charlotte and Elfe don’t have the fluffiest texture but make up for it with a naturally buttery flavour so can be worth giving a chance at baking.


Always prick your potato thoroughly with a fork or skewer so it doesn’t explode, trust me when I say it makes a serious mess of an oven and is definitely not something you want to happen in the centre of your campfire!


Rub the skin with a dab of olive or rapeseed oil to stop it drying out – rub any excess oil on your hands and arms since it’s also great for your skin, especially after a day outside battling the elements!


Season with a little salt to enjoy a crispier, well favoured skin though it’s not entirely necessary.


Low and slow is the way to go.

Follow our cooking fire advice above and don’t put your precious potatoes into the centre of a raging bonfire! As a guideline timing you want to give 3 inch potato at least an hour, sometimes longer - it’s hard to give an exact cooking time since potatoes come in such different sizes and densities!


Turn regularly to prevent scorching.

Since the intensity of the campfire is often changing as we add more wood etc make sure you check on your potatoes regularly turning them over and around to cook evenly. The perfect jacket potato needs a little love and attention, like the best of us… If you’re cooking with fire, expect that you’re going to get the odd black mark but if you discover the skin turning completely black shift it into a cooler zone.


Test with a skewer.

Campfire temperature isn’t exactly programmable so to check if it’s cooked yet, carefully poke your potato with a skewer. If there is any resistance in the centre of the potato give it more time, but if your skewer glides all the way through like butter then you should have yourself a perfect fluffy potato ready to enjoy.


Don’t forget your heat-proof gloves!

Once your potatoes and cookware are hotting up in the fire, you’ll be needing something to enable you to fetch them out again without burning your hands and arms so remember to bring a good quality oven mit (don’t use silicone near naked flames!), a leather gauntlet, or heat proof gloves.


THE FILLINGBacon bits + leeksBacon bits + leeks

Sometimes simple is best like a lovely lump of butter, or the British favourite tinned treat Baked Beans but since we’re looking for the perfect jacket potato we might as well go all in, check out the fillings below for some ideas:


Wild Garlic

Chopped chilli & cheese

Chilli-con-carne or Veggie Chilli

Bacon bits & spring onion/buttered leeks

Camp-Fire cooked Chorizo


What’s your favourite filling or technique? We’d love to hear from you so leave us a comment below!


< Back to Fire/BBQ recipes

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Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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