How to Cook a Perfect Baked Potato in the Microwave

So you love the aromatic taste of the good old baked potato but don’t want to spend ages preparing one in the oven? You’re not alone, as most baked potato lovers find making their favorite dish quite a pain. From pre-heating the oven to getting the temperature right, to waiting for what seems like eternity, baking potatoes in an oven is quite an arduous task. Not many of us know how simple it is to actually whip up a perfect baked potato in the microwave. And, you wouldn’t know the difference from an oven-baked one if you didn’t see it cooking.

The microwave baked potato is wonderfully simple and fast, though the actual cooking time may vary with the size of the vegetable and the power rating of the microwave. On an average, medium to large potatoes take around 10-12 minutes to cook at full power.

The Cooking Process

It’s an easy step-by-step method you need to follow to get your baked potato just right.

  • Cook the potato for 5 minutes, turn it over to the other side, and then cook for another 5 minutes to get that perfect tenderness which you love. If the potato is still not soft enough for your liking, you can proceed with further cooking by microwaving in one-minute bursts till you get it right.
  • Adding potatoes to the dish simply means you need to scale up the cooking time by two-thirds.

Overcooking will cause the baked potato to become too soft and sometimes split, in which case the solution is to take it immediately out of the microwave and halve it. Wrinkling is also a sign that your baked potato is overdone and you need to reduce the time for the next lot.


Before you start cooking, here are a few things you’d do well to keep in mind.

  • To begin with, it’s important to choose the right kind of potatoes for baking. Russet or yellow-fleshed potatoes are ideal for this purpose due to their high starch content. Go for fresh ones, without wrinkles or patches.
  • Uniformly sized potatoes will ensure uniform and even baking all across the vegetable, to give you some of the best baked potatoes ever.
  • Scrubbing the potatoes clean is another important step in the entire process. You can use a brush to do a thorough job. Since the best baked potatoes come with their skin intact, washing them thoroughly is a must. If you’re hygiene conscious, then this is one step you simply can’t afford to give a miss.
  • For that extra flavor and crispness, rub some olive oil into the potato skin and then sprinkle a little salt and pepper, before putting it in the microwave.
  • Prick the potato with a fork a few times on all sides to ensure it doesn’t explode in the microwave.

For those of you who find the microwave-cooked baked potato a bit too soft for your liking and would rather go for the crispy taste of the oven-baked potato, a mix of both the methods is a good way of resolving the problem. You’d still end up getting the appetizing snack ready in much less time without having to compromise on the taste. All you need to do is undertake the initial cooking in the microwave, for about 5-6 minutes, and then cook further in a regular oven (preheated to 400 degrees F) for 20 minutes. Alternatively if you have a convection microwave you can continue to cook on a low heat and on a low rack for around 5 mins then turn over and continue to cook for another 5mins. That’s less than 20mins for a perfect baked potato in the microwave.

Enhancing The Cooking Experience

There are several little things you can do to further enhance the cooking experience.

  • You can confirm that the potato is properly cooked by sticking a fork into the center of it. The center needs to be soft, yet firm.
  • Resting the potato in the microwave for a few minutes will ensure the right level of fluffiness inside. You could also remove from the microwave and wrap in aluminum foil for best results. The foil will also keep the potato nice and warm for a considerable period of time, in case your guests are delayed.

Serving Suggestions For A Perfect Baked Potato

Serving a good dish is as much an art as preparing it, so here are a few serving suggestions.

  • Slice the potato in the middle and garnish it with some nice toppings to give your baked potato that extra tasty flavor. You can of course just sprinkle some salt and pepper on it after mashing the inside of the baked potato. But there are a huge variety of exciting toppings you can match it with to give you a complete range of baked potato dishes if you want something more elaborate.
  • The simplest topping is just a mix of butter, salt and some grated cheese. Or you could garnish with some sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, or chives. Green onions are another great topping option.
  • If you’re looking for something more substantial, possibly as a full meal baked potato, you have the choice of many more luscious toppings, including bacon, scrambled eggs or mushrooms (fried in olive oil). Then there are other toppings such as yogurt, stewed tomatoes, steamed vegetables like broccoli florets and carrots, mustard, salsa, among other things.
  • You can even scoop out the soft center of the baked potato, mash it and mix with a whole lot of ingredients or toppings, such as corn, kernels, green chilli etc. The filling can then be put back into the potato center for an amazingly scrumptious dish.
  • Regional tastes often determine the choice of seasoning and topping for a baked potato, which is also called a jacket potato in some places. Tuna salad or baked beans are known to be the preferred choice in the UK. Frozen toppings are another popular way of enhancing the taste without spending too much time on it.

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