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Food & Recipes

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave — Chef’s Trick for Perfect Results in 5 Minutes

These tender and soft spuds are even tastier once filled with sweet or savory ingredients.

When you’re craving the sweet flavor and soft texture of an orange spud, waiting an hour or more for it to bake can feel like an eternity. That’s why learning how to microwave sweet potatoes comes in handy as you can cook each spud to tender perfection in 5 minutes. But before you nuke your spud on high, use a simple chef’s tip to ensure an evenly cooked potato. Once the tuber is completely soft, top it with your favorite sweet or savory ingredients. Keep reading to learn how to cook whole sweet potatoes in the microwave hassle-free!

The basics of cooking sweet potatoes

Just like any potato variety, sweet potatoes can be boiled, roasted, steamed or grilled to delicious perfection. Though, one cooking method that stands out from the rest is microwaving. This method is perfect if you’re cooking whole sweet potatoes as you don’t need to peel or chop them beforehand. Also, it cooks the spuds nicely so you’ll savor its earthy sweet flavor on its own or with toppings. (Read this story on the health benefits of sweet potatoes to learn the nutritional perks of enjoying these spuds.)

How your microwave produces perfectly cooked spuds

A microwave’s fast distribution of heat means that a whole sweet potato can go from solid to tender in about 5 minutes. This saves you time as baking these potatoes typically takes around an hour. Plus, it’s ideal if you’re cooking one or a few sweet potatoes as you don’t need to wait for your oven to preheat. Microwaving a sweet potato correctly is key for cooking a hot and fluffy spud that’s tender instead of hard or mushy.

Chef’s secret to tender microwaved sweet potatoes

While poking the potato’s skin allows heat to reach the flesh, chef Claudia Sidoti also suggests wrapping it in a damp paper towel. This trick prevents the skin from drying out and allows the spuds to steam while they’re microwaving. The end result: Cooked sweet potatoes that are soft and creamy in no time! (Use this handy appliance to also make these recipes for Microwave Salmon, Microwave Potato Chips and Microwave Poached Eggs.)

How to microwave sweet potatoes

Below, Sidoti shares her simple method for microwaving sweet potatoes so they’re fluffy and tender.

  1. Wash and pat dry 1 to 3 medium sweet potatoes.
  2. Pierce the skin of each one with a fork.
  3. Individually wrap the sweet potatoes in a damp paper towel.
  4. Place a sweet potato on a microwave-safe plate, and cook on high for 5 minutes. Rotate the potato at the 2½-minute mark. 
  5. Check the sweet potato after 5 minutes to see if a fork can easily spear the potato. If they’re still too firm, continue to cook your sweet potato in the microwave in 1-minute intervals. Repeat this process with any remaining sweet potatoes.
  6. When ready to serve, slice open the potatoes and fill with preferred ingredients.

5 ideas for dressing up cooked sweet potatoes

Cooked whole sweet potatoes as part of a guide on how to cook them in the microwave
Anna_Shepulova/Getty

Whether you love sweet or savory toppings, these flavor combinations are sure to produce your best-ever loaded sweet potato.

1. Brown sugar and butter

This classic duo, along with a dash of cinnamon, adds a rich and aromatic flavor to plain spuds.

2. Baked beans and shredded cheese

Sweet and smoky baked beans and sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese are the perfect pairing for your sweet potato.

3. Sour cream and chives

You can’t go wrong with a dollop of tangy sour cream and onion-y chives to liven up this tuber.

4. BBQ meat and coleslaw

BBQ chicken or brisket and creamy coleslaw are excellent options for turning the potato into a hearty meal.

5. Yogurt and nut butter

Top the potato with your favorite yogurt and nut butter to enjoy for breakfast or a sweet snack.


Keep reading for more yummy sweet potato recipes!

Chef’s Foolproof Secret to Perfectly Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes Every Time

11 Baked Sweet Potato Recipes That Will Light Up Your Fall With Nutritious Flavor

Sweet Potato Popsicles Are a Healthy and Delicious Treat — And They’re So Easy to Make

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