Vegan/vegetarian toppings: olive oil, margarine, fresh herbs (chives, sage, thyme, etc.), diced vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.), mushroom gravy, all-bean chili, baked beans, salt, pepper.
Dairy toppings: butter, cream, sour cream, cream cheese, grated cheese (gouda, cheddar, swiss, etc.), melted cheese sauce (velveeta, mozzarella, etc.), cheese chili.
Carnivore toppings: bacon bits, beef gravy, beef chili, beef tips in gravy, loose-fried hamburger, sausage chunks.
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Brush baking pan or cookie sheet with olive oil.
Scrub the potatoes and pat them dry. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the top of each potato. Brush the entire surface of each potato with olive oil. Place the potatoes in the baking pan and cook for 45-60 minutes. Potatoes are done when they are soft inside; test by pushing a fork into the X cuts.
Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Open the X cuts to expose the potato flesh. Add toppings to taste.
Potatoes are cheap, and nutritious unless you do something like fry them into potato chips. With modest toppings, they are low in calories. With abundant toppings, a baked potato can be a meal in itself, which makes the calorie count reasonable. Baking them without foil, just the oil coating, makes them fluffy rather than mushy or dry. Good potatoes for baking include russet, long white, purple, blue, Yukon Gold, and Idaho potatoes; russets are best.
If you have fancy salts or peppers, this is a good time to use them.
We all put different things on our potatoes: margarine/shredded cheese, margarine/sour cream/shredded cheese etc. Offering different toppings is an easy way to please several people with divergent tastes.