Here’s how to microwave a sweet potato: the right way! Cook it with this method and it comes out perfectly moist every time.

Microwave Sweet Potatoes

Want to cook a sweet potato…fast? Try this Microwave Sweet Potato recipe! Here’s the thing: it’s actually easy to screw this up. Microwave the potato too long and it comes out dried up and shriveled. (Yep, it’s happened to us many times.) So we’ve tested every variable to hone this microwave sweet potato method! Here are the tricks to how to cook a tender and moist sweet potato every time.

Why microwave a sweet potato?

Is a microwave sweet potato as good as a baked sweet potato or steamed sweet potato? Short answer: No. A microwave sweet potato slightly drier, doesn’t have the caramelized sweet flavor like a roasted potato, and the skin is less appetizing (it becomes slightly shriveled). But don’t worry: it’s still worth nuking your potato! It comes out beautifully tender, and it’s great quick shortcut method. A microwave sweet potato is ideal for:

  • Quick single-serving meals
  • Lunches or dinners at an office
  • When you don’t have access to an oven or stovetop
  • If you’re using mashed sweet potato in baked recipes, like sweet potato muffins, sweet potato bread, sweet potato brownies, and more
Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes vary widely in size: reference the table below for cook time!

How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave

First rule to remember: The cook time depends on the size of the sweet potato. It also depends on the microwave strength and the age of the sweet potato. It will slightly vary every time! Here’s a table that shows an easy starting point. It’s best to cook one potato at a time, but you can microwave up to two potatoes at once. Reference this easy chart to see how long to microwave a sweet potato:

How long to microwave a sweet potato

Sweet Potato SizeHow Long to Cook on High Power
(Rinse, prick with a fork and wrap in a wet paper towel!)
Small: 6 to 8 ounces, 2″ thick2 to 3 minutes per side
(then 1 minute intervals until fork tender)
Medium: 9 to 12 ounces, 2″ thick 3 to 4 minutes per side
(then 1 minute intervals until fork tender)
Large: 13 to 16 ounces, 3″ thick4 to 5 minutes per side
(then 1 minute intervals until fork tender)
Extra large: 1 ¼ pound, 3″ thick 6 to 7 minutes per side
(then 1 minute intervals until fork tender)
Two potatoesDouble the cook time; start checking a few minutes before to assess doneness

Prick and wrap in a wet paper towel

Cooking in a microwave is tricky because it cooks food in an uneven manner. The biggest challenge to a microwave sweet potato is that it can come out dry and shriveled. After many tests, here’s what we found:

  • Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. This prevents explosions in the microwave from the steam that escapes when cooking.
  • Wrap the potato in a wet paper towel. This helps to infuse moisture while cooking and prevent shriveling.
How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave

How to tell when it’s done

Once you’ve pricked and wrapped it, you can cook a sweet potato in the microwave! Cook it for the minutes specified in the table above, then flip and cook the same amount on the other side. When it’s done, do the following:

  • Prick it with a fork on both sides, taking care because it’s hot!
  • If the potato is tender and fork goes in with no give, it’s done. Testing both sides is the best way to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

How many potatoes can you microwave at once?

It’s best to make one microwave sweet potato at a time for the most even cooking, but you can cook up to two at once. Want to cook more than two? Your best bet is an oven: try this Quick Baked Sweet Potato method. In our tests, we found a simple formula for how to microwave two sweet potatoes:

  • Multiply the cook time by 2. Base this on your largest potato and reference the table above. For example, if you have two large sweet potatoes, expect to cook them 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  • Start checking a few minutes before to assess doneness. Check to see if it is fork tender on both sides.
Stuffed sweet potatoes

Toppings for microwave sweet potatoes

There are so many great ways to top a microwave sweet potato! Ideas depend on whether you’re eating it as a side dish or loading it up as a healthy meal. Here are some of our favorite ways to top a sweet potato:

  • Butter, salt and pepper
  • Sour cream and chopped chives
  • Black beans, avocado and salsa: go to Stuffed Sweet Potato
  • Chili: Top it with black bean chiliquick chili, or vegan chili 
  • Peanut butter sauce: Make a Thai-style Sweet Potato with Thai slaw and peanut sauce
  • Nachos: Add refried beans, cheddar cheese, salsa, chopped lettuce, crushed tortilla chips
  • Salmon: Top with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onions and chives

More ways to cook a sweet potato

Got more time? Or want to cook more than 2 sweet potatoes at once? There are a few other great ways to cook a sweet potato to try, listed in order of timing:

This microwave sweet potato recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Microwave Sweet Potatoes

Perfect Microwave Sweet Potato


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: Varies
  • Total Time: 44 minute
  • Yield: 1 potato 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to microwave a sweet potato: the right way! Cook it with this method and it comes out perfectly moist every time.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 sweet potato (see notes below on timing based on size)

Instructions

  1. Prick and wrap in wet paper towel: Rinse the potato, removing any attached tendrils. Prick it all over with a fork and wrap it in a wet paper towel.
  2. Cook, flip, then cook again: Microwave on High power using the following chart for timing, making sure to flip and continue cooking on the second side:
    • Small (6 to 8 ounces, 2″ thick): 2 to 3 minutes per side
    • Medium (9 to 12 ounces, 2″ thick): 3 to 4 minutes per side
    • Large (13 to 16 ounces, 3″ thick): 4 to 5 minutes per side
    • Extra Large (1 ¼ pound, 3″ thick): 6 to 7 minutes per side
    • Two potatoes: Double the cook time; start checking a few minutes before to assess doneness
  3. Assess doneness and continue if necessary: Prick both sides to assess doneness, taking care because it is hot. If the fork goes in all the way with no give, it is done. Otherwise, continue cooking at 1 minute intervals until tender. 
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: Sweet potato

Keywords: Microwave sweet potato, How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave, How long to microwave a sweet potato

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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