Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious food that can be prepared quickly and easily in the microwave. This cooking method results in tender, sweet potato flesh infused with flavor in just minutes.
Benefits of Microwaving Sweet Potatoes
Microwaving offers several advantages over other cooking methods when making sweet potatoes:
- Speed – Microwaves cook food much faster than conventional ovens. A medium-sized sweet potato takes just 5-10 minutes to cook through in the microwave, while baking it in the oven can take 45 minutes or longer. This makes microwaved sweet potatoes an ideal quick side dish or snack.
- Convenience – With a microwave, there’s no need for extra pots or pans – you can cook the potato right on a microwave-safe plate. It also doesn’t heat up the kitchen like using the stove or oven.
- Retained nutrients – Microwaving is a moist-heat cooking method, so the potato flesh retains more vitamins and minerals compared to dry heat cooking.
- Flavor – The shorter cook time helps preserve the natural sweetness of the sweet potato. The steam created in the microwave gives it a soft, creamy texture.
- Customization – Microwaves make it easy to cook just a single potato, perfect for a personal snack or side. You can also customize toppings and ingredients to suit your taste.
Choosing Sweet Potatoes for Microwaving
Not all sweet potatoes are created equal when it comes to microwaving. Here are some tips for selecting the best ones:
- Size – Choose medium sweet potatoes around 6-8 ounces. Larger potatoes may not cook through fully, while smaller ones will cook too quickly and potentially dry out.
- Shape – A uniform, oval shape helps the potato cook evenly in the microwave. Avoid oddly shaped potatoes.
- Firmness – Select sweet potatoes that feel firm with smooth, taut skin. Soft spots or wrinkles indicate a potato past its prime.
- Color – Pick brightly colored oranges and reddish-oranges over pale sweet potatoes, as they’ll be sweeter and richer in nutrients like beta carotene.
Preparing Sweet Potatoes for the Microwave
Before popping your sweet potato in the microwave, follow these simple steps:
- Clean thoroughly – Gently scrub the potato under running water to remove any dirt. Dry the skin with a paper towel or clean kitchen cloth.
- Pierce skin – Use a fork or knife to poke holes all over the potato. This allows steam to escape and prevents the potato from exploding.
- Place on plate – Put the potato on a microwave-safe plate and keep uncovered. Avoid using plastic wrap or paper towels which can trap steam.
- Consider oiling – For a crisper skin, brush lightly with olive oil or coconut oil before cooking.
How to Microwave a Sweet Potato
Microwaving sweet potatoes takes just minutes and requires only a few simple steps:
- Place the prepared potato on a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave on high power for 5-7 minutes, until soft when squeezed. Cooking time may vary based on size, your microwave wattage, and number of potatoes cooked.
- Carefully remove the plate, as it will be very hot. The potato should feel very soft when gently squeezed.
- Let the sweet potato rest for 2-5 minutes. The insides will continue cooking from the residual heat.
- Cut open and enjoy! Use a knife to slice down the center lengthwise. The flesh should look tender and pull away easily from the skin when ready.
- Be cautious of steam when cutting into a freshly microwaved sweet potato. Consider wearing an oven mitt or draping a kitchen towel over the potato for extra protection.
|Sweet Potato Size||Cook Time (Minutes)|
|Small (4-6 oz.)||3-4 minutes|
|Medium (6-8 oz.)||5-7 minutes|
|Large (10-12 oz.)||7-10 minutes|
Cooking times are based on a 1100 watt microwave oven. Adjust cook times for higher or lower wattages.
Microwaving Multiple Sweet Potatoes
Making more than one microwave sweet potato? Here are some tips:
- Arrange the potatoes in a ring pattern, at least 1 inch apart, for even cooking.
- Add 1-2 minutes to the cook time for each additional potato. Monitor closely and redistribute if needed.
- Let the potatoes rest 2-5 minutes before serving. The retained heat will finish the cooking process.
- Consider putting a sweet potato on a paper towel or tortilla to absorb excess moisture when microwaving 4-6 potatoes at once.
Checking for Doneness
The best way to test if your microwaved sweet potato is cooked through is by:
- Squeezing – Gently squeeze the sides. It should feel very soft throughout when ready.
- Piercing – Use tongs or a fork to pierce deep into the potato. There should be little resistance.
- Cutting open – Slice the potato down the center. The flesh should look tender and pull away from the skin easily when fully cooked.
If your potato is still firm or raw in spots, return it to the microwave at 30 second intervals until perfectly soft and cooked through.
Flavoring Your Microwaved Sweet Potato
One of the best parts of cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is how easily you can add different toppings and flavors. Here are some tasty ways to dress up your baked spud:
- Butter and cinnamon-sugar – Mash in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Simple and classic.
- Chili or curry – For savory flavor, top with heated chili, curry sauce, or lentils.
- Salsa – Dice and top with fresh pico de gallo, or pour on your favorite salsa variety.
- Cheese – Melted cheese is hard to resist. Opt for shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or queso fresco.
- Greek yogurt – For a lower-fat option, top with a big dollop of creamy Greek yogurt.
- Chili crisp – Sprinkle with Asian chili crisp or chili oil for some crunchy heat.
- Broccoli and cheese – Add steamed broccoli florets and shredded cheddar.
Let your imagination run wild when it comes to microwaved sweet potato toppings!
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Storing Leftover Microwaved Sweet Potato
Love the convenience of microwaved spuds but wind up with leftovers? Here are some storage tips:
- Allow the potato to cool completely before refrigerating. Seal in an airtight container.
- Refrigerate for 3-5 days maximum. The sweet potato will gradually lose moisture, resulting in a drier texture.
- Reheat leftovers pieces in the microwave with a splash of water or broth to restore moisture.
- Slice into rounds and pan fry in butter or oil for potato cakes.
- Blend into a sweet potato soup along with spices and broth.
- Mash leftovers into a sweet potato casserole or gratin to use up any extra.
With proper storage, you can enjoy microwaved sweet potato leftovers for several days. The reheated potato skins may not be quite as crisp, but the tender flesh will still taste great.
Tips for the Best Microwave Sweet Potatoes
- Choose medium sized sweet potatoes with smooth, unblemished skin.
- Poke holes over the potato with a fork prior to microwaving.
- Place potato directly on a microwave-safe plate, no plastic wrap.
- Adjust cook times based on your microwave wattage.
- Let potato rest for a few minutes before slicing open.
- Check for doneness before removing by squeezing gently.
- Embrace creative toppings – spices, cheese, salsa and more!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to microwave a whole sweet potato?
A medium 6-8 ounce sweet potato takes about 5-7 minutes to cook through in an 1100 watt microwave oven. Larger potatoes may need 7-10 minutes. Always check for doneness before removing.
Can you microwave sweet potatoes with plastic wrap?
It’s best not to use plastic wrap when microwaving sweet potatoes, as it can cause steam buildup that makes the potato burst. Simply place on a microwave-safe plate uncovered.
Do you need to poke holes in sweet potatoes before microwaving?
Yes, piercing the skin several times with a fork prior to microwaving allows steam to vent and prevents the potato from exploding.
Should you flip sweet potatoes over during microwaving?
There’s no need to flip the potato during microwaving. Placing in a ring pattern allows for even cooking. Simply rearrange potatoes halfway through if needed.
What is the nutrition of microwaved sweet potatoes?
Microwaving retains nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and more. Skin and flesh hold the highest nutrition. Toppings add extra flavor and nutrients.
The Convenience of Microwave Sweet Potatoes
With their impressive nutrition, versatility, and ease of preparation, microwave sweet potatoes make for a speedy, wholesome meal or side any time of day. Follow the tips in this guide for tender, flavorful spuds ready in minutes. Ditch the oven and enjoy the convenience of microwave baked sweet potatoes!
Microwave Sweet Potato
- 1 medium sweet potato about 6-8 oz.
- Wash and dry the sweet potato. Poke several times with a fork.
- Place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes, until very soft when squeezed.
- Let rest 2-5 minutes. Carefully slice open and top as desired.