How to Cook a Sweet Potato in the Microwave

The sweet potato has deep Southern roots, and can be enjoyed easily with this method.

A steaming hot sweet potato topped with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of flaky salt is one of the best and easiest side dishes you can make. I've been known to eat them for snacks too.

Bite Into A Wholesome Snack

The health benefits of a sweet potato are surprising, and worth mentioning. These sweet tubers are high in fiber, and rich in the antioxidant beta carotene. They are also high in potassium, one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. A high-potassium diet has been reported to help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Microwave Method

It's easy to say yes when the sweet potato is part of a larger recipe, but enjoying the earthy sweet flavor all on its own also has merit, and might even have you eating more.

While an oven-baked potato is a truly delicious thing, it can take more than an hour for the flesh to fully cook through. You can get great results in much less time by cooking the potato in the microwave. (Just don't bother boiling it!)

Here's how to do it:

1. Wash and scrub the potato skin clean, then dry it.

2. Prick the potato all over with a paring knife. (The holes allow steam to escape.)

3. Place the potato on a microwave-safe plate (sugar may leak out as it cooks) and cook on HIGH for five to six minutes. Halfway through the cook time, rotate the potato—be careful, it will be hot. Check the potato for doneness. If it is still a little too firm, continue microwaving one minute as a time.

Tips for Success

If you are cooking multiple sweet potatoes in the microwave, increase the cook time by two to three minutes per potato.

My favorite way to cook sweet potatoes is to soften them in the microwave for two to three minutes, then bake them in a 425˚F oven for 15 to 20 minutes on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet. (This prevents sugar from leaking out and making a mess of your pan.)

Microwaving jumpstarts the cooking process and cuts down the total cook time by almost an hour, but you will still get the sweet, caramelized flesh and crisp skin that only comes from oven baking. It's the best of both worlds.

Sweet Potato Recipes to Try

01 of 05

Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes

Oven-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Torie Cox; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Recipe: Oven-Baked Sweet Potatoes

02 of 05

Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes

03 of 05

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

04 of 05

Hasselback Sweet Potato Casserole

Hasselback Sweet Potato Casserole
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Hasselback Sweet Potato Casserole

05 of 05

Sweet Potato Stacks

Sweet Potato Stacks
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Sweet Potato Stacks

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