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How to Microwave a Potato

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Have you tried to cook a whole potato in the microwave? A fluffy and soft baked potato is perfect easy side dish to pair with any meaty main course, but firing up the oven to bake a potato takes a really long time. 

Lo and behold, a potato can be cooked in the microwave with less hassle and quicker cooking time.

Generally, baking potatoes takes longer time whether it is in the oven or another cooking method. However, microwaving a potato produces the same results as baking potato. 

But without caution and proper techniques, potatoes tend to explode in the microwave. 

How do you microwave a potato? Wash and scrub the potato thoroughly. Prick several times with a fork or tip of a sharp knife and place them on a microwave-safe plate. 

For quick results, cut the potato in half lengthwise and place the cut edges facing up.

Microwave on full power for 5 minutes. Carefully, flip it over and continue to microwave for 5 more minutes. Check to see if the potato is soft, and microwave for 1 minute increments is necessary.

Slice the top open and season with salt and pepper, then mash up the inside with a fork to add butter and grated cheese. Return to the microwave to nuke for another minute to melt the cheese and butter. 

Garnish with sliced green onions and sour cream, and enjoy!

Using microwave saves meal prepping time, and with correct procedure making potatoes for quick snack or side dish is easy to do. Understand that cooking time may vary depend on the types and size of potato, and also the wattage of the appliance.

If you have been having difficulty baking a potato in the microwave, this article discusses the best way to microwave potato. Answered below are frequently asked questions including experts tips and cooking time to achieve soft and delicious cooked potatoes you can enjoy at anytime. 

Can you put a potato in the microwave?

Yes, you can put a potato in the microwave. However, always rinse and scrub the potato, then pat dry to remove any moisture before microwaving. 

This will ensure to serve once it is cooked and also the lightly coated water moisture can keep the potato moist while heating instead of drying out. Also, piercing the potato skin with a fork will help to speed up the cooking process.

Is it safe to microwave potatoes?

Yes, it is safe to microwave potatoes. As long as the potato is poked a few time with a fork or knife, then it should not explode due to trapped steam underneath the skin.

Before microwaving, always prick the potatoes so that steam has a place to vent out of the skin. 

How do you know when potatoes are done?

In order to find out when potatoes are done cooking, use the skewer method to poke through to the center. If a skewer easily slides through the center of the potato without any resistance, then the potato is done cooking. 

For alternative tool, replace with a knife, toothpick, fork, or  chopstick to poke the center to check the doneness.

Following the cooking time intervals of 5 minutes may not determine if the potatoes are done or not. It is difficult to tell if the potato is whole and cannot visually see the inside to check doneness.

Whether you are making baked potatoes, mashed potatoes or french fries with them afterwards, overcooking the potatoes instead of undercooking may affect their quality slightly, but it is safe to consume. 

What types of potatoes are best for microwaving

Not every kinds of potato bakes the same in the microwave. Each has different sugar content, thickness of skin, and flavor profile. 

From yellow to red, white and buttery, waxy or starchy flavors, there are many types of potatoes to consider when it comes down to which one works best in the microwave.

Starchy potatoes are the best type of potato for microwaving, especially russet potatoes and Idaho potatoes. Starchy potatoes also perform well when mashed and transformed into latkes and french fries. 

Waxy type of potatoes generally have thin skins and holds their shape well as they cook. These potatoes is great to use for potato salad, soup, and scalloped potatoes, but tend to become gummy and gluey when mashed.

The all-purpose potatoes or Yukon Gold, blue, and purple potatoes are semi-waxy and semi-starchy, which bake, roast, and boil well. These type of potatoes are perfect for roasted potatoes and gnocchi. 

Know that all-purpose potatoes work for most dishes but it is not as starchy nor waxy as the others.

How long to microwave potatoes

In general, to cook potato in the microwave takes about 10 minutes in total on high power using 1000 watt microwave. Be ware that cooking time may vary based on the wattage of the microwave, size of the potato and amount of potatoes you are baking. 

Based on 8 ounces of weight or one medium-sized potato, here is the average microwave time to bake potato depending on the type of potatoes:

  • Russet potatoes: 8 minutes
  • Yukon gold: 4 to 6 minutes
  • Idaho potatoes: 7 minutes
  • Fingerling potatoes: 3 to 5 minutes
  • Red potatoes: 4 to 6 minutes
  • Sweet potatoes: 8 minutes

Tips to microwave a potato

Microwaving a potato not only saves time, but also an easy way to prepare potatoes for mashed or potato salad of your choice. Other than selecting the right type of potato, there are more steps and precaution needed to be taken when microwaving a potato for best results.

  • Smear the potato with vegetable or olive oil before microwaving it. Alternatively, rinse with water and pat it slightly dry so there is a little water left on the skin to prevent from drying it out. 
  • Use a microwavable Ziploc bag to cook a few smaller sized potatoes. Peel the skin and wash thoroughly without drying them. Also, leave the corner of opening to let the steam escape. 
  • Poke the potatoes with a fork, knife, or chopstick. This will help to reduce cooking time, heat more evenly and prevent the skin from trapping steam and causing the potato to explode. 
  • For baked potatoes that will add topping later on, skip piercing the potato. Instead create a long and deep cut lengthwise from one end to another along the top edge.
  • Once the potato is hot, if needed, peel the skin with a paper towel. Ensure the potato is not cooled down yet to easily peel the skin. If the potato is already cooled down, use a knife to gently peel the skin.

It is recommended to microwave one medium-sized potato at a time for best results. When cooking multiple potatoes at the same time, select ones that are similar in size to help to cook evenly. 

Check frequently, and remove any smaller size potatoes few minutes early when they are done.

Best way to microwave potatoes

Once potatoes are cooked, it can be served as baked, mashed, or fries of your choice. Due to the thickness and density of different types of potato, microwave time may be adjusted to fully cook them thoroughly. 

The microwave method is quick, safe, and effective way to prepare potatoes with the press of a button. Also, this method works in starchy, waxy, and all-purpose potatoes.

In order to microwave potatoes, wash and scrub the potatoes. Afterwards, pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel but ensure there is slight water left on the skin.

Pierce 3 to 4 holes through the potato skin with a fork. This will help to vent steam which reduces cooking time and also prevent the potato from exploding. 

Lightly coat the potato with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or any other spices or herb for added flavor.

Place the prepared potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and line with a paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes on high setting.

Turn to cook the potato on the other side to distribute the heat evenly. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until a skewer easily lies through the center of the tuber. 

Use a skewer method to check the doneness of the potato. If the skewer easily penetrates through the center of the potato, carefully remove the potatoes from the microwave. 

Add crispy bacon, chopped green onions, and cheese with a scoop of sour cream to enjoy the fresh baked potatoes, or peel the skin while it’s hot to make into mashed potato of your choice. 

How to microwave potato

Microwaving Potatoes: Conclusion

Microwaving potatoes is pretty easy, straightforward, and fool-proof. The household appliance is great cooking tool to get the job done to create healthy and nutritious side dishes when you are limited on time for cooking or preparing recipes.

However, whole potatoes tend to explode in the microwave. That is why it is necessary to poke or pierce around the potato skin with a fork to avoid from exploding as this allows the steam to escape easily.

Since you are serving and cooking the potatoes with the skin on, wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly. Pat the potatoes dry and poke the tuber with a fork all around.

Lightly smear olive oil and season with salt and pepper to enhance the flavor.

Place the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and uncover. Cook the potatoes on full power for 5 minutes. Flip the potato and continue microwaving for another 3 to 5 minutes. 

Check the doneness of potato by poking with a skewer. Once the potato is fully baked, remove from the microwave, garnish with toppings and serve while hot.