How to Cook a Sweet Potato in the Microwave

Karen Frazier
Cooked yellow sweet potato

Cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is a quick way to incorporate this nutritious ingredient into your menu. You can save nearly an hour (or longer) from cooking time by using the microwave oven without the loss of nutrients.

Basic Method

For the basic cooking method, all you need is a sweet potato, a paper towel, a sharp knife, a fork, and a microwave.

  1. Wash the sweet potato, scrubbing off any dirt from the surface and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Using the sharp knife, trim off any brown spots from the surface of the potato.
  3. Using the fork, poke multiple holes all around the sweet potato.
  4. Turn the microwave on high and microwave for seven to 10 minutes until it is tender.

Determining Cooking Time

The length of time required for the sweet potato to become tender in the microwave depends on the size of the potato and the wattage of your microwave oven. Smaller potatoes will cook more quickly while larger potatoes will take more time. Likewise, if your oven has lower wattage, it will take longer for the potato to cook than in ovens that are higher in wattage.

The best way to determine whether your sweet potato is ready is by checking it with a fork after about six minutes and checking every minute or so thereafter. When it is done, the sweet potato will be soft and the fork will pierce the flesh with little resistance.

Sweet Potatoes for Mashing

If you wish to use your sweet potato for sweet potato mash, you may wish to cook it in the microwave with a little more moisture. Cooking peeled, cubed sweet potatoes in a small amount of water in the microwave will yield the appropriate texture for mashing them.

  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and pat them dry.
  2. Peel the potatoes with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Use a paring knife to remove any brown spots in the potato flesh.
  4. Cut the potato into one-inch cubes and put them in a microwave safe bowl.
  5. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the bowl of potatoes and cover them with a damp paper towel.
  6. Microwave on high for five minutes.
  7. Stir, dampen the paper towel again and re-cover them.
  8. Continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender - anywhere from eight to about 15 minutes depending on how many potatoes you have. Check every few minutes to ensure you don't overcook them.
  9. Drain the potato cubes in a colander before using them in your favorite mashed sweet potato recipe.

Reheating Sweet Potatoes

You can also reheat sweet potatoes in the microwave.

  • For a cooked, whole sweet potato, wrap it in a damp paper towel and reheat on high for two to three minutes, or until the sweet potato is hot.
  • For cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, cover them with a damp paper towel and microwave on high for two to three minutes, until hot.

Recipes Using Microwaved Sweet Potatoes

You can enjoy your sweet potato hot with a little butter and seasoning, or you can use the cooked potatoes in many recipes.

Microwave to Save Time

Microwaving your sweet potatoes saves time, but it still yields flavorful, tender sweet potatoes. The next time you're pinched for time, consider heading to the microwave.

How to Cook a Sweet Potato in the Microwave