Sweet potatoes are an absolute favorite, but they don’t always fit nicely into traditional cooking methods.
They take too long to cook, the flavor isn’t as desirable, and the nutrient density suffers when cooked with other foods. Luckily, there’s a solution: cooking sweet potatoes in your microwave.
This method requires only a few minutes of hands-on time and yields delicious results every time.
Here’s how to cook sweet potato in the microwave.
Wash and scrub your sweet potato thoroughly and remove any eyes or blemishes. Pat the potato dry, then prick it four times with a fork or a clean, sharp object.
Place it on a microwavable plate and nuke it on full power for 5 minutes. After 2 minutes, remove it from the microwave and turn it over. Return it to the microwave and cook in 1-minute increments until soft.
And that’s it! Remove your sweet potato from the microwave and, if desired, open lengthwise, fill with toppings or mash for a tasty sweet potato side dish.
In today’s post, we’ll lay out a step-by-step guide for microwaving sweet potatoes from start to finish. We’ll also share some tips and address common concerns that you might have while microwaving.
Can You Cook Sweet Potato in Microwave?
Yes, you can cook sweet potato in the microwave. Microwaves are known for their ability to cook food quickly, and sweet potatoes are no exception. This makes microwaving a convenient way to prepare sweet potatoes, especially if you’re short on time or don’t have access to an oven.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and versatile food that belongs to a family of root vegetables. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, making them an excellent addition to any diet. You can serve them as a side dish or incorporate them into your main meal for added flavor and nutrition.
There are various ways to cook them, including baking, boiling, steaming, and frying. And like most root vegetables, sweet potatoes take longer to cook. This may interfere with your busy schedule or prevent you from eating them as often as possible.
Fortunately, microwaving provides a quick and easy way to prepare your sweet potatoes. The process takes only 5 minutes and requires minimal effort on your part. The result is a tender, moist, and flavorful sweet potato that will leave you feeling satisfied.
Moreover, it ensures that they retain their nutrients, unlike conventional ovens, which expose them to excessive heat and cause nutrient loss.
How Long To Cook Sweet Potato in Microwave?
Unlike baking or roasting, microwaving sweet potatoes is a swift process. For most people with an average microwave, cooking one medium-sized sweet potato will take around 5 minutes. That should weigh about 8 ounces with skin on.
However, it’s important to note that cooking times can vary depending on your microwave’s wattage, the size, and the number of sweet potatoes you are cooking at once.
For instance, if you were to cook two medium-sized sweet potatoes at once, they would likely take longer than 5 minutes. If you don’t have a kitchen timer handy, use one minute as a rough estimate for every additional sweet potato.
Similarly, the type of microwave you own also plays a role in how long it takes to cook sweet potatoes. Generally speaking, more powerful microwaves will complete tasks faster than less powerful ones. This means that cooking time may differ between different brands and models of microwaves.
A good rule of thumb is to start by microwaving your sweet potato for two minutes and then check its progress. If it still needs more time, give it another 30 seconds bust while turning it over halfway through. You want to avoid overcooking your sweet potato, so make sure to stop when it’s tender but not mushy.
Why Do Sweet Potatoes Spark In The Microwave?
We’ve all seen it happen. You put the sweet potato into your microwave, set it for 5 minutes, and then turn around to find that you have a bowl of sparking electrical death.
What’s going on? How can something as innocent as a sweet potato create such havoc?
There are two reasons why sweet potatoes can cause sparks when microwaved—first, their high mineral content, and secondly, their rough skin. Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these causes.
1. High Mineral Content
Sweet potatoes contain high levels of minerals like potassium and magnesium. These minerals are highly conductive, which means they help carry electricity from one place to another.
When you heat a sweet potato in your microwave, some of these minerals become ionized (i.e., charged) by microwaves. This causes them to try and move towards an area with less energy – namely, through any cracks or holes in your microwave. This movement creates friction, which generates heat and sparks.
However, this should not cause concern since the arcing only occurs at high temperatures. As long as you don’t leave your sweet potato in for too long, it won’t generate enough heat to spark or ignite anything.
2. Rough Skin
The skin of a sweet potato is very rough, which means it has a lot of surface area exposed to air. This allows moisture to evaporate and create steam when microwaved. Steam creates pressure, which builds up inside your sweet potato, causing an explosion.
Due to friction with oxygen molecules, the water vapor then escapes and turns into plasma – i.e., ionized gas. So as plasma moves towards an area with less energy, it causes arcing between its path and any metal objects nearby.
Again, these sparks are harmless but can be startling if you’re not expecting them. Poke holes in your sweet potatoes before cooking them in the microwave to prevent explosion and sparking.
Tips for Cooking Sweet Potato in Microwave?
Every cooking method is different, and that includes microwaving. If you’re used to baking or boiling your sweet potatoes, here are a few tips to help you get started with a microwave.
- Follow hygiene standards when handling your sweet potato, as you would with any food product. Wash your hands before and after handling, as well as after removing it from its packaging.
- Make sure to wash your sweet potato under running water before cooking.
- Avoid microwaving more than one sweet potato at a go as it will take longer to cook and may result in unevenly cooked potatoes.
- Don’t forget to pierce your sweet potato with a fork before nuking it. This will help release steam and prevent your potato from exploding in your microwave.
- Cooking times vary depending on your microwave wattage and the size of your sweet potato. So check for your potato doneness every minute and adjust accordingly.
- To check if your sweet potato is done, use a fork or knife to pierce it. If it slides through to the center with little resistance, it’s ready.
- Make sure to use microwave-safe containers when cooking your sweet potato. Avoid paper or plastic bags, as they may melt leaching chemicals into your sweet potato.
How to Cook Sweet Potato in the Microwave (Step By Step Guide)
Now that you understand how microwaves work, it’s time to learn how to microwave sweet potatoes. Simply follow these steps to get started:
Step 1: Wash Your Sweet Potato Extensively
Wash your sweet potato thoroughly before cooking. This removes any dirt or bacteria which could potentially contaminate your food and make you sick. If necessary, use a brush to remove any dirt from crevices and trim off any brown spots. Lastly, rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
Step 2: Poke Holes in Your Sweet Potato with a Fork
You need to poke holes in your sweet potato before cooking it. This allows steam to escape while cooking so you don’t end up with a soggy mess and prevent it from exploding all over your microwave.
Use a fork or paring knife to make evenly spaced holes all over your sweet potato. Be careful not to cut through entirely.
Step 3: Place Your Sweet Potato on Microwavable Plate
Place your sweet potato on a microwave-safe plate once cleaned and dried. If you’re cooking more than one sweet potato at once, leave space between them, so they don’t stick together while cooking.
Step 4: Nuke Your Sweet Potato for 5 Minutes
Place your sweet potato in your microwave and cook it on high for 5 minutes. If you’re cooking more than one, increase the cooking time by one minute per sweet potato.
Step 5: Check After 2 Minutes and Continue Cooking if Necessary
Remove your sweet potato from your microwave after two minutes and check for doneness. If not done, continue cooking on high for one-minute increments until it is soft all the way through. Don’t forget to flip it over at every interval so that all sides cook evenly.
Final Step: Remove From Microwave and Enjoy
Pierce your sweet potato with a fork or paring knife to check for doneness. Your potato will have cooked when either prong penetrates the sweet potato to the center. Use potholder or oven mitts when removing from microwave as it will be hot. Serve with butter, salt, pepper, or other seasonings if desired.
Faqs On How to Cook Sweet Potato in the Microwave
What is the healthiest way to cook sweet potatoes?
If you’re looking for a healthier way to cook sweet potatoes, cooking them in your microwave is one of your best options. The method retains most of your sweet potato’s nutritional value and allows you to cook without any additional fat or oil.
It also ensures that your sweet potato cooks evenly and comes out tender on the inside with a crispy skin on top.
Are sweet potatoes healthier raw or cooked?
Sweet potatoes are healthy, both raw and cooked, but cooking them has some pluses. Cooking sweet potatoes increases the bioavailability of their nutrients, allowing your body to absorb more vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it helps break down cell walls so that they’re easier for your body to digest.
Is it better to microwave a sweet potato or bake it?
Microwaving and baking are two great ways to cook sweet potatoes. Both methods have pros and cons, so it comes down to personal preference.
Baking takes longer but gives you more control over your final product. On the other hand, microwaving is quick and easy and doesn’t require extra equipment.
Can you microwave more than one sweet potato at a time?
Although microwaving more than one sweet potato at a time is possible, it is not recommended. If you do so, your potatoes will take longer to cook and may even cook unevenly. It’s best if you only microwave one sweet potato at a time.
Can you microwave potatoes in plastic wrap?
You can cook potatoes in plastic wrap, as long it’s microwave-safe. Most plastic wraps will melt under high heat, leaching chemicals into your food and causing health problems.
If you’re unsure whether or not a specific type of plastic is safe for microwaving, check with its manufacturer or do some research online.
Can you eat the skin of a sweet potato?
The skin of a sweet potato is edible and quite nutritious. It’s a good source of fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamin B and C. Plus, it contains antioxidants called carotenoids that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
What toppings are good on sweet potatoes?
There are a lot of different toppings that you can put on sweet potatoes. Some people like marshmallows, while others prefer brown sugar or cinnamon. Whatever your preference is, there’s something for everyone regarding sweet potato toppings.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal. They’re also easier to cook and can be eaten whole or mashed as a healthier alternative to white potatoes.
The best part about cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is how quick and easy it is. It’s ready in minutes, ideal for those hectic weeknights when you don’t have time to slave over a hot stove.
Follow our step-by-step instructions and tips for making your sweet potato just right. You don’t want to miss out on a single delicious bite of one of nature’s healthiest foods.
Check out this video for more