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How To Cook A Sweet Potato In The Microwave

How To Cook A Sweet Potato In The Microwave

Learn how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave for a delicious, fast meal or side dish. 

We offer easy steps below that will tell you how to prep a sweet potato before putting it in the microwave, how long to cook it in the microwave, a full microwaved sweet potato recipe, some sweet potato topping ideas, and links to even more sweet potato information on our site. 

Microwaving is by far the easiest and fastest, and maybe even the best way of cooking a delicious whole sweet potato. 

Dressed with a pat of butter, brown sugar, and a touch of maple syrup, a microwaved sweet potato makes for an easy side dish.

Depending on the size of your sweet potato, the amount of time needed for the cooking process may vary, but not by more than a minute or two.

So, if you are in a pinch, this is the ideal cooking technique for you, really the fastest way we’ve found.

In just a few minutes, you will have a sizzling hot sweet potato ready for a filling dinner side dish or a quick lunch. 

Cooking sweet potatoes in advance makes for a great option for meal prep, too. 

We have a few sweet potato recipe toppings for you also. 

If you need an easy 3-ingredient (or less!) recipe for a microwaved sweet potato, keep reading!

How To Prep A Sweet Potato For The Microwave

You don’t have to do much to prepare a sweet potato to cook in the microwave.

  1. Wash and dry the fresh, raw, whole sweet potato.
  2. Poke small holes in the fresh, raw sweet potato flesh with a paring knife or fork. You only need to poke it three or four times, just enough for steam to escape.
  3. Add your uncooked sweet potato that now has a few small holes to a microwave-safe plate or bowl, or just set it on top of a paper towel.

Without these small holes, the potato may burst while cooking, getting sweet potato all over the inside of your microwave and then maybe leaving you without your lunch.

We like seasoned sweet potatoes, so our recipe below will show you how to coat your sweet potato in oil and sea salt.

But you can also wait until it is done cooking before adding anything to it.

How To Cook A Sweet Potato In The Microwave

Here are some tips for how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave:

  1. Make sure you pricked the sweet potato all over according to the instructions above. This will help to release steam and prevent the sweet potato from exploding in the microwave.
  2. Microwave the sweet potato on high for 5-7 minutes, or until it is soft when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the sweet potato.
  3. Use tongs to help you safely remove a hot sweet potato from a microwave oven.
  4. Let the sweet potato cool slightly before cutting it open, about three minutes. This will help to prevent the steam from burning you.
  5. Eat plain, just as it is, or dress your sweet potato with toppings like brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, butter (or margarine), flavored olive oil, crumbled cooked bacon, spice blends like steak seasoning or lemon pepper, chopped herbs, marshmallows.

Scroll down to get more details and simple instructions for how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave.

How Long Does It Take To Cook A Sweet Potato In The Microwave?

The cooking time varies, depending on the size of the potato and the cooking power of the microwave.

However, the general rule of thumb is that a medium-sized sweet potato, weighing around 8 ounces, cooks around five minutes on 100% power. 

As there is no hard and fast rule in regards to the cooking time, it is best to cook large sweet potatoes in 30-second increments after the first five minutes.

Tips For Cooking Food In The Microwave

We have a 4Ts method of microwaving food that we’ve learned is a good way to end up with the best outcome for evenly heated food because microwave oven power varies so much, and the size and density of food can be so different. 

“Turn, Time, Test, Taste”:

  1. Turn food over halfway through total cook time.
  2. Watch the time because it’s so easy to overheat food, especially when reheating.
  3. Test vegetables for doneness with a poke. 
  4. Taste to make sure it’s adequately heated through.

How To Store A Microwaved Sweet Potato

Now that you know how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave, let’s take a look at how to store a microwaved sweet potato.

Pro Tip: It’s important to bring hot foods to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator.

Here are tips for storing a microwaved sweet potato:

  • Let the sweet potato cool completely before storing it. This will help to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Cut the sweet potato into small pieces before storing it. This will help the sweet potato to cool more quickly and prevent it from browning.
  • Cooked sweet potatoes will sometimes “sweat”—their sugary flesh breaks down into a syrup-like material. It’s still okay to eat as long as it is not older than three days and has been chilled properly.
  • Store the sweet potato in an airtight container or bag. This will help to prevent the sweet potato from drying out.
  • Refrigerate the sweet potato for up to 3 days. After 3 days, the sweet potato may start to lose its flavor and tender texture.

How To Tell When A Sweet Potato Is Cooked All The Way

If you can easily pierce it with a fork or slide a knife all the way through the skin of a sweet potato to the center of the potato, your sweet potato is ready to eat.   

If it gives resistance after only a ⅓ of an inch or so, it needs to keep cooking.  

You want it to be fork-tender.

Cook the sweet potato in bursts of 30 seconds or so after the initial five minutes on high. 

Check the vegetable after every minute or two of cooking to see if it is cooked all the way. 

You can tell when a sweet potato is cooked all the way when you pierce it with a fork or knife and the utensil slides a full two inches or more easily into the flesh of the potato.

Should I Wash My Sweet Potato Before Cooking It?

Yes, especially if you are eating a whole sweet potato from its fresh, raw state.

It is recommended to wash the sweet potato before cooking it even if you plan on removing the skin later.

Can I Microwave More Than One Sweet Potato At A Time?

Yes, it is possible to cook multiple sweet potatoes simultaneously. 

However, you will have to add 3 minutes for each additional vegetable. 

So, for example, if you are cooking two sweet potatoes, you should set the timer for 9 minutes (original cooking time of 5 minutes + 3 minutes for the additional sweet potato).  

To heat evenly, most food cooked in the microwave should be turned over at least once during cooking. 

(Even when you have a turntable that spins the food slowly.)

What Are Some Good Sweet Potato Toppings?

Use a mixture of protein, veggies, and cheese to top your microwaved sweet potatoes and turn them into a full meal or lighten it up for a quick snack. 

Remember, you can top leftover sweet potatoes, too.

Here are some ideas for sweet potato toppings and delicious fillings.

  • Bacon, onion, and rosemary topping 
  • Any nut butter (like almond butter, some decadent Nutella, or cashew butter) and agave
  • Sour cream
  • Feta cheese and paprika 
  • Thai curry paste and coconut milk topping  
  • Chopped pecans and maple syrup topping 
  • Coconut oil and cinnamon sugar

Want even more ideas? Check out our list of even more sweet potato toppings here.

Supplies To Gather


  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Kitchen towel
  • Paring knife or fork
  • Kitchen tongs


  • One medium-size sweet potato
  • Optional: Salt, oil
  • Optional: Toppings like butter and brown sugar

The Bottom Line

Microwaving sweet potatoes instead of baking them in a traditional oven cuts down the cooking time by around 45 minutes to an hour. 

Now that you know how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave, you can prepare sweet potatoes and enjoy them with your favorite toppings in minutes!

More About Sweet Potatoes

Microwave Sweet Potato Recipe

Microwave Sweet Potato Recipe

Yield: 1 Sweet Potato

Wondering how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave? Check out this simple, three-ingredient recipe + tips.


  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 t olive oil
  • ½ t coarse sea salt or ⅛ t table salt


  1. Wash and dry the sweet potato. Be sure to scrub the sweet potato to remove any dirt that may be stuck to it. 
  2. Pierce the sweet potato with a paring knife or a fork three or four times all around the potato.
  3. Set potato on a microwave-safe plate.
  4. Rub the potato with olive oil using clean hands or a pastry brush. 
  5. Sprinkle salt all over the potato to coat it. 
  6. Set the microwave to full or high power and cook the sweet potato for 5 minutes.
  7. Check for doneness. The potato is done when you can easily pierce it through the center without much resistance. Cook times vary based upon the microwave wattage and the size of the potato. If it isn't done, cook it in 30-second increments until it is. 
  8. Remove the potato from the microwave with tongs or a clean kitchen towel. Be careful, it will be very hot.
  9. Let the potato cool for three minutes. 
  10. Cut the potato with a knife to open it up lengthwise.
  11. Add your desired toppings, such as butter and brown sugar, or none at all.

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