How to Microwave a Sweet Potato (2024)

Learn how to microwave a sweet potato (or two) in minutes.

Updated on September 29, 2023

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How to Microwave a Sweet Potato (1)

If you are big on sweet potatoes but short on time, there's an easy solution: Microwave your sweet potatoes. It's really the best way. Microwaving sweet potatoes cuts down cook time by 45 to 55 minutes, and, according to a 2018 study, helps maintain the potato's nutritional value. All cooking methods cause foods to lose some of their nutrients, but the quicker your potato cooks, the more nutrients it will retain. Baking a sweet potato in the microwave preserves far more nutrients (folate, vitamins A and C) than boiling it, for example. To learn how to microwave a sweet potato, read on.

How Long to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave

Because sweet potatoes vary so much in size and weight, there's no one-size-fits-all time limit. In general, it takes five minutes to cook one sweet potato in the microwave, and add two minutes in the microwave for each additional potato.

How to Microwave Sweet Potatoes

Don't bother covering your potato in plastic wrap or with a towel because the sweet potato comes in its own jacket—its skin!


  1. Clean sweet potatoes under running water with a produce scrubbing brush, and pat dry.
  2. Pierce the sweet potato skin with a fork 5 to 6 times.
  3. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 5-10 minutes—five minutes to cook one sweet potato in the microwave, and add two minutes for each additional potato—rotating them halfway through.
  4. You are done microwaving your sweet potatoes when a fork spears into them easily. If they are too firm, continue to cook your sweet potatoes in the microwave in one-minute increments.

Bonus Sweet Potato Recipes

Microwaving sweet potatoes doesn't need to stop with the simple potato in its jacket! Enjoy these microwave-friendly sweet potato side dishes in under 10 minutes.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

How to Microwave a Sweet Potato (2)


  • 1 or more sweet potatoes
  • Unsalted butter
  • Salt


  1. Cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave as directed above.
  2. Slice the potatoes in half with a knife.
  3. Transfer sweet potato flesh to a bowl, and mash with plenty of butter and salt with a potato masher, or just a fork. If you like a rustic look, you can leave in the skins, which also ups the nutrients.

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Sweet Potato Chips

How to Microwave a Sweet Potato (3)


  • 1 or more sweet potatoes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit a microwave-safe plate; lightly coat parchment with cooking spray.
  2. Slice a sweet potato very thinly, ideally with a mandolin, also known as an adjustable blade slicer.
  3. Arrange one-quarter of the potato slices in a single layer on parchment. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Check for crispness.
  5. Continue to microwave in 30-second intervals until crisp. Repeat procedure with remaining potato slices, salt, and pepper.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a difference between the terms "baking," "cooking," or "steaming" sweet potatoes in the microwave?

    No, in this context there is no difference between these terms. These are all different ways of describing this simple microwave process.

  • Can I microwave cut up sweet potato?

    Yes, you can microwave a sweet potato that has been cut up into smaller pieces. For the best results, cut the potato into similarly sized pieces, such as one-inch cubes. Spread the cubes out in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate and loosely tent with a dry paper towel. Cook on high for approximately 3 minutes, then check for doneness using a fork. You’ll know the potato pieces are done when the fork pierces them easily. If the pieces still feel too firm after 3 minutes, microwave them in 30-second increments until they reach your desired texture.

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How to Microwave a Sweet Potato (2024)


What is the best way to microwave sweet potatoes? ›

Pierce the sweet potato skin with a fork 5 to 6 times. Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 5-10 minutes—five minutes to cook one sweet potato in the microwave, and add two minutes for each additional potato—rotating them halfway through.

Why is my sweet potato hard after microwaving? ›

If you don't cook it long enough, it may still be hard in the middle when you cut into it. After cooking, make sure a fork can go into the center of the potato without much resistance. If it still seems hard, continue to cook it in 30-second increments, checking for doneness.

Which is the best way to cook sweet potatoes? ›

A good rule of thumb for whole baked sweet potatoes: 45 minutes to 1 hour at 400 degrees F; 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees F; 1 and 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F. You'll know the sweet potatoes are done by piercing the center of the sweet potato with the tip of a sharp knife; the flesh should yield easily.

Can you overcook a sweet potato in the microwave? ›

No matter what you are cooking and how you are cooking it, there is always the possibility of overcooking it. To make sure this doesn't happen with your microwaved sweet potato, cook it for the minimum time called for in the recipe. If it is soft enough, take it out right away. If not, try another minute.

How long should I put a sweet potato in the microwave? ›

Step 1Wash sweet potato thoroughly, pat dry, and pierce 3-4 times with a fork. Place potato on microwave-safe plate and microwave 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Step 2If your potato isn't fork tender after 5 minutes, continue microwaving in 30 second increments.

Why do you need to soak sweet potatoes before cooking? ›

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: The main secrets to achieving that incredible crispy texture, is to soak the cut sweet potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This helps remove the starch from the sweet potatoes so they´re not limp & soggy.

Are microwaved sweet potatoes good for you? ›

All foods lose some of their nutritional value once they've been cooked. But, microwaved sweet potatoes actually retain more of their nutrients as opposed to boiled sweet potatoes. So, if you're ready to see how this little kitchen hack can change your life then continue reading.

When not to eat sweet potatoes? ›

How to tell if sweet potatoes have gone bad. If your sweet potato is soft in spots, smells rotten, or oozes a mysterious liquid, that potato should be discarded. Another sign that sweet potatoes have taken a turn for the worse is if they start growing stalky purplish sprouts.

How do you know if a sweet potato is done? ›

Place your clean (and jabbed) sweet potatoes on the prepped baking sheet. Pop it in the oven and them cook for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato. You'll know they are done when your sweet potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork.

Is it better to microwave or bake a sweet potato? ›

Can You Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave? Yes, you can! In fact, the shorter cook time will help the sweet potatoes retain more nutrients that are often lost in the long oven-baking process. It's not all that different than baking a sweet potato in the oven, except it's a whole lot faster.

What makes sweet potatoes taste better? ›

Freeze Time for Sweeter Sweet Potatoes

So if you want a sweet, sweet potato, you have to cook it until it reaches 135–170°F (57–77°C). And you want to keep sweet potatoes in that range for as long as possible. That will maximize how sweet the potatoes taste.

Do sweet potatoes get sweeter the longer you cook them? ›

The longer and slower you cook a sweet potato, the more maltose is formed and the sweeter it will taste. So if you want a much less sweet potato try steaming it, or cut it into small pieces and roast on a higher heat.

How many sweet potatoes can you microwave at once? ›

Tip. To cook 2 or 3 sweet potatoes at once, you'll need to up the cook time by about 2 minutes for 2 potatoes (7 minutes total), and 3 minutes for 3 potatoes (8 minutes total).

What's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? ›

Yams and sweet potatoes differ in flavor and appearance, and they are not related. Sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family, while yams belong to the lily family. Yams aren't as sweet as sweet potatoes, and they are starchier and drier. Their texture and flavor are more similar to potatoes or yuca.

Can you eat sweet potato skin? ›

You can eat sweet potato skin. It's a good source of fiber, a nutrient that may help lower the risk of heart disease and keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. The next time you make a sweet potato dish, whether it's a roasted side dish or a hearty, cozy casserole, leave the peel on.

Is it better to bake a sweet potato in the oven or microwave? ›

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.

Does microwaving sweet potatoes make it easier to cut? ›

Drain the water, allow the potato to cool, and it should be much softer, easier to cut, and have a shorter cooking time, too! Microwaving – Use a knife or fork to poke several holes around the sweet potato. Then, microwave it for two to three minutes or until soft, depending on its size.

Can you microwave sweet potatoes in plastic wrap? ›

Prick the potato all over with a fork. Place the sweet potato, lemon wedge (if using) and 1 tsp of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes. Cut in half and serve with your favorite sweet or savory toppings.

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