Microwave sweet potato is the perfect side dish. It is easy, quick, delicious, and leftovers are great too!
You can serve it plain (and it's excellent that way!) or add butter and seasonings to make it a bit more interesting.
I love using the microwave. It's not suitable for everything, of course, but for cooking vegetables, it's often just as good as other methods. So I often make microwave cauliflower, microwave spaghetti squash, and microwave broccoli.
"Baking" a sweet potato in the microwave is easy and quick. And you can make several of them, keep the leftovers for a few days in the fridge, and briefly reheat them when you want to enjoy them.
You'll only need one ingredient to make this super-easy recipe - a medium sweet potato. It should weigh about 7 oz. If yours is bigger than this, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
An optional ingredient is some butter to put on the cooked potato (salted or unsalted, depending on your own preferences). Some people also like to sprinkle it with cinnamon or even drizzle it with a little honey or maple syrup.
How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave? It's so easy and fast! Simply pierce the skin and place the potato on a paper towel.
Then microwave it for 2-3 minutes per side, depending on its size. You will know it's ready when you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork.
As always when using the microwave, it's best to err on the side of not cooking it for long enough, then gradually adding more sessions. You can't save it if it's overcooked. But you can cook for a bit longer if it's not fully cooked.
Once done to your liking, allow the potato to slightly cool, then cut it in half. The recipe card below provides detailed instructions.
Frequently asked questions
You don't have to. You can simply wash it well, then cook it with the skin on. Sweet potato skin is edible, so it's up to you if you want to remove it before eating or not. I like to leave it on.
For a medium potato, it takes about 5 minutes. I cook it for three minutes on the first side, then add 2 more minutes on the second side.
A bigger potato will take longer, so check for doneness by piercing the flesh with a fork. It should be tender.
The idea is to allow some of the steam created by cooking to escape, thus preventing the potato from exploding in the microwave.
Variations and substitutions
After cutting the cooked potato open, for a sweet treat, you can sprinkle it with a pinch of ground cinnamon and drizzle it with melted butter and honey.
Alternatively, for a savory option, drizzle it with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and just a little smoked paprika and/or cumin.
I enjoy cooked sweet potato just as it is, warm and tender and flavorful. Sometimes I add a sprinkle of kosher salt. Obviously, you can add a pat of butter. My husband likes to sprinkle his with a little fine-grated parmesan cheese.
I know that many people like a sweet version. I haven't tried it myself, but you could try a pat of unsalted butter or coconut oil, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and perhaps a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
If you'd like to try other savory seasonings, a few tasty options include cumin, smoked paprika, or a sprinkle of grated parmesan.
Recommended main dishes
This is such a wonderfully versatile side dish. It goes with so many main courses. And since it's so easy to prepare, it frees you up to cook anything you like, even complex dishes.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. Sometimes I turn the leftovers into mashed sweet potatoes.
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10-Minute Microwave Sweet Potato
- 1 medium sweet potato (7 oz)
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- Wash and dry the sweet potato. Don't peel it. Pierce it in a few places with a fork.
- Place the potato on a paper towel and microwave it on high for 3 minutes. Turn it to the other side and microwave for 2 more minutes, or until fork-tender.
- Allow the potato to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
- I like to simply slice the cooked potato and enjoy its natural sweetness - I don't even sprinkle it with salt, as I find the saltiness detracts from its natural flavor. But obviously, you can cut it in half, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and top it with a little butter.