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How to Cook a Sweet Potato in the Microwave

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You may have seen some YouTube videos of potatoes exploding in the microwave. What the creators of those videos don’t tell you is that it was done on purpose for dramatic effect. However, don’t let those videos detour you from enjoying those delicious spuds prepared quickly and easily in the microwave.

What many people don’t know is that potatoes are one of the more microwavable veggies, as long as you do it correctly. Sweet potatoes are a healthy alternative to regular potatoes and processed foods, providing vitamins and a good source of fiber. They’re filling and surprisingly easy to cook with the right tools. You have several options for preparing sweet potatoes, but one of our favorite methods uses your microwave.

It’s time to take advantage of the health benefits and great taste sweet potatoes have to offer. Here’s how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave and get the best results. Plus, we’ve answered a few questions you may have about the process.

Microwaving a Sweet Potato: The Basics

Microwaving provides a quick, effective cooking method. The only thing you have to do to prepare is to poke holes into the potato to release pressure (unless you’re making a YouTube video). We can do so much better than that, however.

You’ll need:

  • A microwave-safe dish
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Salt
  • Fork or small knife
  1. Wash and dry your sweet potato and place it on the microwave-safe dish.
  2. Poke holes into the potato with your knife or fork. Pierce the skin four or five times all over the potato to release steam and cook evenly.
  3. If you plan to serve the potato whole, season the skin by spreading just a bit of butter or olive oil over the potato. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. The oil or butter helps the seasoning stick.
  4. Microwave at 100% power for five minutes. Use oven mitts or tongs to remove the dish and to handle the potato. It will be very hot.
  5. Use your knife or fork to check for doneness gently. Your fork should slide easily through the potato with no resistance.
  6. If it’s not done yet, microwave in one-minute bursts until finished.

Some Extra Steps For Variety

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  • If you want crispy skins — Once your microwave sweet potato is finished, pop it underneath your oven’s broiler for a few minutes to finish off the skins. (We’re partial to a small slab of butter just before the broiler!)
  • If you want something sweet — Slice open the finished potato and add a mixture of butter, cinnamon, and sugar inside. Broil for a few minutes to caramelize the sugar mixture.
  • If you want chips — Thinly slice the sweet potato before you microwave. Season with salt and pepper, arrange on parchment paper on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for two to four minutes until crisp.

All Your Questions — Answered

Let’s talk about the humble sweet potato. It’s such a versatile option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, sweet or savory. Here’s what you need to know.

Does microwaving a sweet potato kill nutrients?

There’s a rumor going around saying that microwaves kill off nutrients. Fortunately for everyone’s schedule, this isn’t true.

Microwaving is a safe and time-efficient method for cooking a lot of things. In fact, microwaving may help retain some of the water-soluble vitamins present in the sweet potato flesh. Plus, anything that helps you cook more efficiently so that you actually eat healthier options like sweet potatoes is a good thing.

Can you microwave a sweet potato without the skin?

If you don’t want the skin, you can cook a sweet potato just fine without it. This method can help you add your potato to salads or mixed into other dishes. We encourage you to cook your sweet potato with the skins on sometimes, however. The skins are rich in fiber and prebiotic material that can help keep your digestive system healthy.

How long are you supposed to microwave a sweet potato?

Sweet potato microwave time varies depending on the size of the potato and how you cut it. Cook it too long, and it will explode. Undercook it, and you’ll have something inedible. It’s best to start on the short side and cook in short bursts until you’re finished.

A standard, medium-sized sweet potato should take four to five minutes in the microwave. Listen for popping sounds and cook in short bursts of 30 or so seconds until it’s completely done. Be flexible when deciding how long to cook a sweet potato in the microwave.

Why are sweet potatoes good for you?

One standard-sized sweet potato has nearly 400% of your daily serving of vitamin A. This can keep your eyes healthier as well as support your skin and immune system. It offers around 3.9 grams of fiber and two grams of protein per potato. With approximately 26 complex carbs, you’ll have a meal all in one.

In addition to that, sweet potatoes contain vitamins and minerals in their rich skin, supporting a variety of bodily systems. They’re filling and help add bulk to a simple salad, can be worked into an omelet, or just make a simple meal on the go.

Some great microwave sweet potato recipes:

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Build your sweet potato repertoire with some of our favorites:

  • Sweet potato casserole — Season, butter, and microwave three average-sized sweet potatoes (or enough to fill your dish). Mash the potatoes once finished and add cinnamon sugar, pecans, and mini-marshmallows on top. Broil until the marshmallows are nicely browned.
  • Sweet potato tacos — Dice sweet potatoes and microwave until slightly crispy. Add your favorite taco toppings (Chicken, black beans, beef, etc.), plus the additions (tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, avocado, and more!) Customize until you’re satisfied.
  • Sweet potato breakfast — Grate your sweet potato and microwave until crispy. Cook your egg your favorite way and add the eggs to the top of your sweet potato. Add your favorite breakfast toppings. May we suggest a great cheese?

Sweet Potatoes are a Slam Dunk

These sweet potatoes are a dietary staple. They’re so easy to cook and can help make a meal out of just about anything. Now that you’ve got such a versatile ingredient, you can open up your recipe book and get those essential vitamins and minerals you need while helping care for your immune system and digestion.

If you need one small step toward a more healthy life, this is your chance. A microwave sweet potato takes just a few minutes, but the benefits are great. It’s time to build your healthy recipes one simple sweet potato at a time.

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Steven Johnson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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