How to Cook Several Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave

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Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

“This was great,” according to VIOLETSIVA. “One tip – if you want your potatoes to come out extra ‘steamy’ and have problems with your potatoes drying out, try wrapping the potatoes in plastic wrap before microwaving. The skin doesn’t dry out and get crisp, but the inner part comes out the way it does in the oven.”

“Yum,” says ecphan. “Great recipe! I’ve been looking for a good microwave baked potato recipe (I’m too lazy to oven bake them). This is very good. I’ve never tried a baked potato with cheese on it…I’ve been missing out. It adds a whole different dimension to the flavor.”

“This was soooo good,” raves newtshe. “I used olive oil and oregano to flavor the potato. Another reviewer added a tip to place a bit of water on the bottom of the plate to prevent drying out and it worked. Will be cooking another one tomorrow.”

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Types of Potatoes

The type of potato will also make a big difference when it comes to how long it takes to microwave.

For example, a standard baking potato will take much longer than a sweet potato. This is due to the density and texture of the flesh. 

A white baking potato has very dense and heavy flesh. This is why they are so thick and heavy when mashed or cooked. A sweet potato (which is a fibrous complex carbohydrate) has flesh that is much less dense.

So they will microwave much more quickly. It is also why white potatoes are not considered to be one of your 5-a-day. 

For sweet potatoes, size is also important. But, generally, sweet potatoes will cook in the microwave in around 10 minutes.

If you have very large sweet potatoes, then they might take a bit longer. But, similarly to white potatoes, you can keep returning them to the microwave for incremental periods of time. 

Microwave Settings

Depending on the type of microwave you have, you will potentially have some very specific settings.

While a lot of microwaves simply have a timer or numbers indicating a setting. Some have settings for specific foods. For example, many have settings for popcorn or for fish.

Some, usefully, have a setting specifically for potatoes. If your microwave has this, then it’s definitely a good idea to use it. It will cook the potato slightly differently and give you a better texture.

How to Steam Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave

Now that you know the basic quick and easy method for how to cook fresh sweet potatoes in the microwave, it’s time to learn how to steam sweet potatoes in the microwave and other tips for ensuring your sweet potatoes turn out and light and fluffy. 

  1. Clean each sweet potato under running water and pat dry.
  2. Piece the sweet potato skin with a fork five to six times. 
  3. Place the sweet potato on a microwave-safe plate.
  4. Microwave for five minutes (five minutes to cook one sweet potato) — rotating the potato at the two and a half mark. 
  5. Check the sweet potato after five minutes to see if a fork can easily spear the potato. If they are still too firm, continue to cook your sweet potato in the microwave in one-minute increments. 

If you’re not up for learning how to microwave sweet potatoes whole, Autmun Boyle, a food and wellness blogger, says she likes to microwave sweet potato cubes when steaming sweet potatoes. 

  1. Cut each sweet potato into large cubes. Boyle cuts about eight pieces per potato. 
  2. Add one inch of water to a covered-microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Place the sweet potato cubes in the bowl. 
  4. Microwave on high for five to 10 minutes.
(Photo Credit: HelloFresh)

(Photo Credit: HelloFresh)

Microwaving One Sweet Potato

One medium-size sweet potato should take about 5 minutes to fully cook in the microwave on the highest power setting. Add or subtract a few minutes for larger or smaller than average yams. Also add a minute or two if you’re cooking firmer, pale-fleshed sweet potatoes rather than the softer, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, known commonly as yams. For a single, medium sweet potato, microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, turn it over, and microwave it again for another 2 to 3 minutes. Poke a knife or fork into the middle of the sweet potato – if it’s soft all the way through, it’s done. If there’s still some resistance in the middle of the yam, give it another 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave before testing it again, and repeat if necessary.

What Are the Best Potatoes for Boiling?

Because the starch content in potatoes differs from type to type, some are better for boiling than others depending on what you plan to make with them. The amount of starch in the potato can affect the texture, so use the right type of potato for the dish you’re making.

  • High-starch Potatoes: Potatoes such as the Russet or Idaho, have a light, mealy texture. Once boiled, they are ideal for mashing.
  • Medium-starch Potatoes: Varieties such as the Yellow Finn and Yukon Gold, contain more moisture so they don't fall apart quite as easily as high-starch tubers. They work well for mashing, adding to soups or casseroles, and serving as a side dish. They can also be used for potato salad.
  • Low-starch Potatoes: Potatoes such as the Round Red, Round White, and New Potatoes, are often called waxy potatoes. They hold their shape better than other potatoes when boiled, making them perfect for potato salads or tossing with seasoned butter as a side dish.

Test Kitchen Tip: Many people like to substitute sweet potatoes for standard spuds in their favorite recipes. Learn the best way to boil sweet potatoes to make the swap.

Is it safe to microwave potatoes?

Yes! There’s some risk of whole potatoes exploding in the microwave when steam can’t escape. When microwaving whole potatoes, always prick at least 3 holes an inch deep using a skewer or fork to avoid pressure buildup during cooking.

How long do you microwave a sweet potato?

Before you start prepping your spuds, make sure you know how long to microwave sweet potatoes — because, let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than serving a firm, sweet potato that requires a hammer and chisel just to cut it up!

The good news: To fix this mistake, all you need to figure out is how long to bake sweet potatoes in microwave. So, if you’re wondering how long to microwave two sweet potatoes or maybe even how long to microwave three sweet potatoes, follow these guidelines:

  • To cook one sweet potato, microwave five minutes. 
  • If you are trying to cook multiple sweet potatoes, then add two minutes of cooking time for each potato. For example, microwave two sweet potatoes for seven minutes and three sweet potatoes for nine minutes. 

And if you’re looking to make your sweet potatoes part of a delicious meal, check out this recipe for Rapid Maple Balsamic Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli.

Bet you never knew your microwave could work so hard — and for a kid-approved food that’ll turn out soft, fluffy, and delicious. 

How long to microwave potatoes for mashing?

If the potatoes are cut into 1-inch chunks, they’ll take 10-12 minutes on full power in a 1200-Watt microwave (the strength of most built-in microwaves).

You’ll need 13-15 minutes on full power in a 600-800 Watt microwave, which is the strength of most countertop models.

If you cut the potatoes into larger chunks, you’ll also need extra time. Medium starch potatoes such as red potatoes can also require a few minutes more to become soft.

What can you do with microwaved potatoes ?

When microwaving potatoes you get a much drier cooked potato, as opposed to boiling it. So these would work best in recipes where you need a very low moisture level, like shepherd’s pie, potato lasagna, or if you want to use them as a topping, or to stretch meatball composition.

A great idea would be to crush and mash microwaved potatoes, then mix them with the grated cheese of your choosing. Add seasoning as you like, we recommend a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Mix them together, and shape into tiny rolls or sausages. Bake them in a very hot oven for a few minutes, or just set them under the broiler.

You’ll get some really nice cheesy potato rolls, and you can mix in whatever else you want aside from cheese.

If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.

Ioana Ciuraru I’m the main writer of foodiostiy.com. and I like to write about food curiosites. I have a lot of questions myself and I love finding out the answer.

How to Boil Potatoes on the Stove

The most common way to boil potatoes is on the stove in a pot of water. However, if you want more flavorful potatoes, consider boiling them in broth or a mixture of broth and water.

Cut into Smaller Pieces

Cut the potatoes into quarters or cubes to speed up cooking time. Leave small new potatoes whole, halving larger ones. No matter the size you cut the potatoes, keep pieces similar in size so they finish cooking at the same time.

Test Kitchen Tip: If you’re doing your prep in advance and won’t be cooking for a while, submerge the cut potatoes in water and store in the refrigerator. Potatoes left out at room temperature and uncovered will brown. You can keep them in water up to 24 hours before you cook them.

Boil the Potatoes

Put cut up potatoes onto a large saucepan or Dutch oven ($70, Target). For three pounds of potatoes use a 4- to 5-quart pot. Add enough cold water to cover the tops of the potatoes. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon salt to the water.

Turn the burner on high and bring water to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low. Cover the pot with a lid. Cook the potatoes in gently boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes for small Red Potatoes, New Potatoes or cubed large potatoes, and 20 to 25 minutes for quartered potatoes. Remember a huge factor in how long to boil potatoes is the size of the potatoes.

You can use a fork to test to see if they are tender enough. Your fork should easily slide through the potato when they're properly cooked.

Drain Potatoes

Pour cooked potatoes into a colander ($26, Bed Bath & Beyond) or use a slotted spoon to remove large pieces of potato from the hot water and place in bowl. If your recipe calls for cooled potatoes, run them under cold water or submerge in an ice bath to speed the cooling process.

Test Kitchen Tip: You can boil potatoes ahead of time for use later as long as you cover and refrigerate them. They’ll last for up to three days in the fridge.

How to microwave the potatoes safely

When using the microwave for cooking any kind of vegetable or fruit, you need to keep certain things in mind in order to cook them safely.

First and the foremost use only the microwave-safe container for cooking your potatoes.

Try not to use plastic containers or bags for cooking in the microwave. They don’t always keep their shape during cooking, and aren’t the most durable. So, always use either glass, ceramic or other microwave-safe utensils for cooking in a microwave.

Then remember that potatoes do contain water, and they may burst if you don’t prick their skin a few times on each side. Yes, they burst just like sausages if you’re not careful.

Just a few pricks with a fork will do. It may be best to cover the potato with a bowl, just so you don’t get too much extra moisture on the inside of the microwave.

When microwaving potatoes:

  • do not use any oil, as it will spray the inside of your microwave
  • always use the safety lid, or a ceramic or glass bowl
  • don’t crowd the microwave, if you have a lot of potatoes it’s better to boil them
  • always prick the skin !
  • do not use saranwrap or clingfilm

Tips to reheat mashed potatoes in the microwave

When mashed potatoes are reheated on the stove, there is high chance of sticking to the bottom of the pan making it hard to scrape off afterward. When heating up in the microwave, you can prevent this from happening.

But with microwave, there is high risk of drying up or cooking unevenly. 

In order to reheat mashed potatoes in the microwave properly, use these helpful tips to achieve success quickly: Avoid making them crispy in the microwave. Mashed potatoes are supposed to be soft and tender, so add milk, butter or cream to prevent from being dry or overcooked.Leftover mashed potatoes should be eaten within 3 days of being cooked, any longer and they may be spoiledTake them out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before heating so they have a chance to gradually warm up to room temperature.2-3 minutes should be enough for reheating one or two servings of mashed potatoes in a microwave. Let the heated mashed potato sit in the microwave for a minute to allow the heat to evenly distribute throughout the dish.For extra creamy texture, consider adding extra butter, milk or cream before microwaving. Adding more liquid will help with reheating mashed potatoes if they’re dried out a bit from moisture evaporation during the cooking, cooling or storing process.Cover the mashed potato tightly with microwave safe plastic wrap to keep the steam inside and prevent from drying up. A damp paper towel or microwave cover also work well.

How to Microwave a Potato

Learn how to microwave a potato! The result is as fluffy as a baked potato, but with less hassle and quicker cooking time. It is perfect for busy weeknights! 

5 from 7 votes

Save Share Print Pin RatePrep Time: 5 minutesCook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Servings: 1 potatoCalories: 343kcalAuthor: Catalina Castravet

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