How to Microwave a Sweet Potato

Need room on the stove, don’t have space in the oven, trying to get food on the table quickly? Whatever the case may be, you can utilize your microwave to cook your sweet potatoes in a flash. 

Baked sweet potato with yogurt and chives


 

At this point, I think you all know that I am a huge fan of the time saver. For those of you who don’t this about me here’s why: two kids under the age of three, a husband, and a job. Time is a precious commodity and that is something I am sure we all agree on.

And while I love cooking potatoes slowly in the oven or boiling them in a pot of water on the stovetop to get them nice and soft, it just isn’t always an option. 

Enter your favorite familiar appliance: the microwave as I like to refer to it, the “science oven.” (I fully blame Jennifer Lawrence in the movie, American Hustle for that one.)

There are lots of cooking methods for sweet potatoes, but I’ve found that the fastest way with the shortest cook time is to cook them in the microwave on high power. It’s the easiest way to make the perfect side dish in a fraction of the time.

Ingredients

A sweet potato is such a versatile ingredient with lots of flavor on it’s own. While being a good source of fiber and having good nutritional value, I don’t like to add too many ingredients to mine. This list is simple, but check out the section below for more topping ideas.

  • Medium-sized sweet potato – You want this to be a medium sized whole sweet potato. The size of the potato matter because the larger potatoes take longer to soften in the microwave.
  • Pat of butter – If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I always opt for unsalted butter. That way I can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Flaky sea salt – If all you have is salted butter, make sure to use this to taste. You don’t want an overly salty sweet potato!
  • Coarsely ground black pepper – This is optional, but I like adding some fresh ground pepper to my potatoes. If you’re going for sweet toppings, omit this.
how to microwave a sweet potato instructions

How to Microwave a Sweet Potato

  1. Prepare sweet potatoes. Rinse and scrub the potato to make sure any dirt or debris that might have been stuck to the skin has been removed. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Using a fork, carefully pierce the potato all over 5-8 times.
  2. Microwave potato. Wrap the potato in a damp paper towel and place it on a microwave-safe plate and place it in your microwave. About halfway into the cooking time, open the door to the microwave and turn the potato over with an oven mitt or a doubled-up kitchen towel so it cooks evenly throughout.
  3. Check microwaved sweet potato. When the five minutes is up, take your potato out. The skin will have loosened a bit. Using a knife, pierce the skin. If it goes through to the center of the potato easily, you are ready to go. If not, keep cooking the potato in 30-second increments, checking between each round, until it is done. The amount of time will vary based on the size of your sweet potato.
  4. Add toppings. Allow it to cool for a minute or two and then cut it down the middle and spread it just a bit. Top with a pat of unsalted butter and sprinkle with flakey sea salt and a little bit of ground black pepper if you want a touch of heat.

Toppings and Variations

You can use the usual stuff: butter, yogurt, chives, green onions, sour cream and bacon, or you can take it up a notch!

We’d love to hear about your favorite toppings in the comments below! Also check out traditional baked potatoes and how to make them in the Instant Pot and AirFryer!

Cooking More Than One

In terms of cooking more than one, you can, but you should be cautious. If you need to do a bunch of them in batches, I would say no more than 1-2 at a time. Always be sure to keep an eye on them as you would when microwaving anything. 

The time listed in this recipe is accurate for my microwave, but as we all know, every microwave is different. Adjust the timing up or down accordingly. You will know they are done when their skin is puffed up or if you can pierce them easily with a knife all the way through.

It is also thought the more quickly you cook your sweet potato the more nutrients you retain and hold onto. Compared to regular potatoes, they are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin b5, and have other beneficial properties and water-soluble vitamins you don’t want to miss out on.

And for those skeptics out there, the texture is the same as you would get if they were baked in the oven the old fashioned way. 

Did You Know SweetPotato is One Word?

Did you know that sweetpotato is actually one word? Most people still use two, so we do as well, but in 1989 this nun (not an adjective) was officially changed to one word to help standout against it’s very commonly confused cousin the yam.

And as we know, sweet potatoes are not yams! You’ve likely never even had a yam in your lifetime because they aren’t grown in the US. So bring up this little bit of trivia at your table tonight.

Storage and Freezing

Storage: Store any leftover cooked sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last up to three days.

Freezing: The best way to freeze a baked sweet potato is in a freezer-safe bag. It will stay for up to three months.

how to microwave a sweet potato for Pinterest

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a delightful side to serve with just about any main dish. They're easy to make and perfectly crispy!
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Sweet Potato Hash Browns are a simple breakfast recipe made with shredded sweet potatoes. Only 3 ingredients and a few minutes to cook! #sweetpotatohashbrowns #shreddedsweetpotatoes www.savoryexperiments.com

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close up of microwaved sweet potato
close up of microwaved baked sweet potato

Microwaved Sweet Potatoes

5 from 41 votes
Cooking sweet potatoes doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process. All you need are your spuds, a microwave, and a fork, and you are in business. 
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  • 1 pat unsalted butter
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper , optional

Instructions

  • Rinse and scrub the potato to make sure any dirt or debris that might have been stuck to the skin has been removed. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Using a fork, carefully pierce the potato all over 5-8 times.
  • Wrap the potato in a paper towel and place it on a microwave-safe plate and place it in your microwave. Set the timer for 5 minutes. About 2 ½-3 minutes into the cooking time, open the door to the microwave and turn the potato over with an oven mitt or a doubled-up kitchen towel so it cooks evenly throughout.
  • When the five minutes is up, take your potato out. The skin will have loosened a bit. Using a knife, pierce the skin. If it goes through to the center of the potato easily, you are ready to go. If not, keep cooking the potato in 30-second increments, checking between each round, until it is done.
  • Allow it to cool for a minute or two and then cut it down the middle and spread it just a bit. Top with a pat of unsalted butter and sprinkle with flakey sea salt and a little bit of ground black pepper if you want a touch of heat.
  • If you've tried this method, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

Video

Notes

Total cooking time will, of course, depend greatly on the size of your potato, so please watch them closely! 
 
In terms of cooking more than one, you can, but you should be cautious. If you need to do a bunch of them in batches, I would say no more than 1-2 at a time. Always be sure to keep an eye on them as you would when microwaving anything. This could require more cooking time. 

Nutrition

Calories: 212 kcal, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 73 mg, Potassium: 438 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g, Vitamin A: 18793 IU, Vitamin C: 3 mg, Calcium: 39 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 212
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked sweet potato, microwave sweet potato
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

5 from 41 votes (32 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This is the perfect side dish for my kids! They love sweet potatoes and this easy prep is just what I need!

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks for the idea! I microwave white potatoes often, but never thought about doing it with a sweet potato!

  3. 5 stars
    I remember my mother bringing home our first microwave oven in 1972. It was a Tappen microwave and it was huge. We eat a lot of sweet potatoes and glad to have the instructions for the microwave cooking.

  4. 5 stars
    I never knew that you only need to pierce the skin. I grew up poking holes in potatoes because I thought it helped with cooking time. I’m always excited to learn new tips when it comes to food.

  5. 5 stars
    Definitely the easiest way to prepare sweet potatoes. It’s super fast and perfect when I’m hungry. 🙂