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How To Bake A Potato

In The Campfire

Once you know how to bake a potato in the coals of a campfire, you'll want to eat campfire potatoes every time you go camping!

For some reason, a potato cooked in the campfire tastes infinitely different (and better) than a potato cooked any other way. I don't know why!

baked potato on plate

I look forward to these all year!

Here's how to bake a potato in the campfire.

Build a fire.

Be sure to start the fire long before you want to eat the potatoes!


Keep adding wood so that you have a hot fire. It doesn't have to be big - just hot.

Let the fire burn down to coals.

This will take a while!

You can get ready while you wait.

Gather your supplies.

Here's what you'll need:

  • fist-sized potatoes (at least one per person)
  • aluminum foil
  • butter
  • salt
  • tools

Potato cooking tools

You'll need some way to get the potatoes safely into and out of the hot coals. After trial and error, we've discovered the perfect set of campfire cooking tools:

  • a small spade with a long handle
  • a set of tongs

Using these tools allows you to cook over a campfire without worrying about getting burned. You can read more about campfire cooking equipment here.

Prepare the potatoes.

  • Wash the potatoes.

four potatoes on a plate

  • Poke each one with a fork.
  • Wrap each potato in foil.

foil wrapped potatoes

Don't poke them after you wrap them in foil. Ashes will get in through the holes.

Check the coals.

Be patient! If you put the potatoes directly into the flames, you'll get burnt potatoes!

Wait until the flames have died down completely and there is nothing left but red glowing coals.

campfire coals

You might want to rake the coals to one side of the grate and keep the fire going on the other side to supply yourself with fresh coals - especially if you are cooking for a crowd.

fire on one side, coals on the other side
Click here for details, and for more campfire cooking tips.

Put the potatoes in the coals.

Be careful! Those coals are hot! 

Use the spade or tongs to place the potatoes on top of the coals.

Turn the potatoes occasionally.

You want to make sure that all sides cook evenly.

Check the potatoes frequently.

Part of learning how to bake a potato in a fire is gauging how long they will take to cook.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you how long it will take. That will depend on the temperature of your coals and the size of the potatoes.

When you suspect that the potatoes might be ready, rake one of them out of the coals and remove it from the fire.

foil wrapped potato on a spade

  • Put on your old oven mitts or campfire glove.
  • Pick up the potato.
  • Squeeze it. If it is soft, it's probably ready.
  • Take a fork and poke the potato to be sure. If the fork slides in easily, your potato is ready to eat!

What if the potato isn't soft?

This means one of two things:

The potato isn't cooked yet.

Put it back in the coals and wait.

The potato is burnt.

If you have left the potatoes in the fire for too long and they have burned, they won't be soft. The burnt parts will be hard and you might mistakenly think that they are not yet cooked!

Checking the potatoes frequently will avoid this problem.

Burnt potatoes

The good news is that a potato that is burned on the outside will still be edible on the inside!

burnt potato

You won't want to eat the skin, but the innards will be delicious.

Remove the potatoes from the fire.

  • Carefully (with your oven mitted-hand) brush off the ashes from each potato.
  • Remove the foil, taking care not to get ashes on the potato.
  • Place the potato on a plate.
  • Cut it open.
  • Add a pat of butter and some salt and pepper.

baked potato with butter



  • If you get ashes on your hands, get out the homemade baby wipes for a quick cleanup before you eat.
If you enjoyed cooking in the fire, you may want to try making some tin foil dinners.

Now that you know how to bake a potato in the coals of a campfire, I'm guessing that you'll want to take along a sack of potatoes every time you go camping! I do!

Now that you know how to bake a potato in the campfire, check out more of my easy camping food ideas!

Planning a camping trip? Be sure to visit The Camping Family home page for lots of helpful hints.

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