Knowing how to cook a baked potato in the microwave is one of the first signs of culinary skill. Okay, baking a potato in the microwave does not render the micro-cook a top chef, but it will certainly prevent him–or her–from starving while offering an affordable and easy side dish.
Baked potatoes are versatile dinner sides that can be served with anything from a grilled chicken breast to a hearty steak or a bowl of soup. Baking a potato in the conventional oven, however, takes over an hour depending on the size of the potato—and in a fast paced, busy home, waiting an hour for a side dish is just not reasonable. Luckily, the microwave can turn even this tough little tuber into a tasty dish ready for potato toppings in minutes.
- 1 Medium Sized Baking Potato with Skin, Washed and Patted Dry
- A Dinner Fork
- A Microwave Safe Plate
- Paper Towels
- Baked Potato Toppings, such as Grated Cheese, Butter, Sour Cream, Chives, or Bacon
- Poke the potato five to seven times with the dinner fork in many spots all around the potato—making sure to push the tines of the fork into the potato at least a 1/4 inch.
- Wrap the potato loosely with paper towels.
- Place the potato on the microwave safe plate and put into the microwave.
- Microwave the potato at 100% power for five minutes.
- Test the potato for doneness by gently pressing the sides of the potato. If it still feels like a raw potato, return it to the microwave for another two minutes, then retest for doneness.
- Top with your favorite potato toppings and serve with the main dish.
Cooking Tips and Tricks for Preparing a Baked Potato in the Microwave
- Food in a microwave cooks from the inside to the outside, unlike other cooking methods—so if the outer skin of potato is able to be pushed inward, the potato is cooked.
- The potato will be very hot—especially on the inside. Be sure to cut it open down the center to release some of the heat while you add your favorite potato toppings.
- Try not to overcook the potato or the skin will turn dry and wrinkled—making it less than appetizing. If the potato is slightly “squeezable” to the touch, without feeling like a raw potato, it is done!
- If the microwave does not have a turntable, the potato will need to be flipped and rotated a half-turn after 2 ½ to 3 minutes of cooking time. Some microwaves may require extra cooking time and additional rotation to fully cook the potato.
- Keep the potato warm in the closed microwave or in a conventional oven set on its lowest setting until the other dishes of the meal are ready to serve.
Enjoy the micro-baked potato and your new found skill.