Here's How Long It Actually Takes To Microwave A Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes make a tasty treat any time of the day, whether for a light lunch or a satisfying side dish. They're especially delicious when baked in the oven, when the skin becomes crisp and the insides are soft and tender with toasty, nutty flavors. Baking them can take around an hour, however, and sometimes you just don't have that kind of time available. If that's the case, the microwave makes cooking sweet potatoes super easy, as well as incredibly speedy.

When comparing the best ways to cook a baked potato and the methods you should avoid, the microwave is commonly seen as a poor substitute for oven-baked or air-fried baked potatoes. But with sweet potatoes, that's not the case as they still can retain the sweet caramelized flesh when cooked this way. And they can be ready in as little as five minutes.

How long it takes to microwave sweet potatoes depends on the size and number you have to cook, as well as the power of your specific machine, of course. But, as a rough guide, it takes around five minutes to cook one sweet spud that weighs 8 ounces while using full power. With such little time needed, you can have lunch or dinner on the table in a flash, as well as a quick filling whipped up in mere minutes.

How to microwave sweet potatoes for the best results

The method for microwaving a sweet potato is much the same as when roasting it in the oven. Once it's scrubbed and dried, pierce the skin to prevent it from exploding in the microwave, as well as helping the skin to puff up and separate from the soft orange flesh. You can also rub the pricked skin with olive oil and kosher salt for a tastier result. 

Then microwave the potato on high for five minutes, placing the potato on a microwavable plate. If you're cooking multiple potatoes, add on two extra minutes for each one; but know that larger potatoes will take longer. You can check to see if they're fully cooked by taking a fork or sharp knife and seeing if it slides easily to the center; if not, continue to cook in bursts of one minute before repeating the test. 

The skin of the sweet tuber will not crisp in the microwave in the same way it does in the oven, as it's a method more akin to steaming than roasting or baking. If you prefer the skin to be crisp rather than soft, place the microwaved potato under the broiler for a few minutes to help it develop a drier and more crispier texture. Alternatively, you can start the cooking process in the microwave for a couple of minutes, then finish it off in a 425 degrees Fahrenheit oven for around 15 minutes for crispy results.

Different ways to serve microwaved sweet potatoes

Microwaved sweet potatoes are delicious served whole and sliced lengthwise, with the flesh lightly fluffed up with a fork. You can keep it simple with a drizzle of oil or butter and a sprinkling of salt, or load up the potato with your favorite fillings, like beef or bean chili with sour cream, smoked fish, or leftover ragu. You could even eat them sweet for breakfast, served with diced apples, cinnamon, and nut butter, for example.

Since the skin slips off with ease when cooked in the microwave, if you want to serve the root vegetable in a different way, there are several options there, too. It's quick and easy to make sweet potato mash using the microwave method. Simply cook the potatoes whole, and then scoop out the soft flesh, and mash it in a bowl with butter and seasonings for a tasty side to accompany meat, chicken, or fish. Or use the mash to upgrade your grill game by making sweet potato burger buns.

You could also turn the flesh of the cooked tubers into a quick and easy puree in the food processor. It's great as a base for soups, or you could use it to make sweet potato pancakes. And if you're just using the insides, then hold on to the skins, too; they're delicious drizzled with oil and seasoning, and quickly crisped in the oven or air fryer to serve with creamy dips.