Cooking – 7 Tips for Baking a Potato in the Microwave

Hello, I typically don’t microwave my baked potatoes. Quite frankly, I prefer to bake my potatoes in the oven, or in the air fryer. However, I’ve been house-sitting for the last couple of weeks where I have no air fryer and I find that using the oven in a small apartment quickly overheats the apartment. So, with a supply of potatoes in the apartment I have ventured into baking my potato in the microwave. Not such a big deal but for best results, I have kind of come to the conclusion that a few tips might be helpful. So, tips below if you’re unaccustomed to baking a potato in the microwave may help you to find the experience more rewarding.

First Tip:  How Long To Cook The Potato

Well, it really depends on the size and number of potatoes you are baking. Generally, it takes about 6 minutes total for each medium-sized potato. Begin by cooking the potatoes for just 3 minutes first on the first side. Then turn the potatoes over and cook them for 3 more minutes. Then test with a fork, which should enter smoothly and with much force.  If not, cook for an additional minute and test again. Please keep in mind that how long the potato needs to cook will also be determined by the strength of the microwave you’re using so you may have to experiment a little bit this is just a general guideline.

Second Tip: How To Keep The Potato Skin From Drying Out

To keep a potato skin from drying out and being all wrinkly and gross. It’s really kind of a two-step process:

  • first, after you thoroughly wash the outside of your potato you will want to coat the skin with a moisturizer. There are several choices here personally I prefer olive oil. I find it nice coating of olive oil and the outside of the potato works just fine and it’s a little healthier than some of the other choices. However, other things can be used to coat and moisturize the outside of your potato this is purely a personal preference, among them are:
    • olive oil, of course,
    • cooking oil,
    • butter,
    • shortening or lard.
  • Second, is to put your potato in covered bowl and cover with a plate with a non-vented microwave cover. I have found that using a microwave safe bowl with a weighty microwave safe plate setting on top works well. However, a microwave safe plate covered with a microwave cover also works okay. The critical point of this approach is to keep the steam in the area where the potato is being cooked.

Tip Three: Went To Salt And Or Season Your Baked Potato

This is also a point where I will probably differ from most of the gains you will get when baking potatoes in the microwave especially if you’re watching some of the popular YouTube videos. Most of these sources indicate that you need to salt your potato to finish the baking process. However, if you think about it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Salt in his dry form it’s basically a stone.  Cooking a Stone doesn’t do you a lot of good. Adding salt to the outside of the potato may attach it to the potato skin for a pretty look, but it really doesn’t do any good from a cooking standpoint. So, if you add the seasonings after cooking you have more flexibility. Once you have sliced open your baked potato then you can salt and season according to your preferences, as well as, adding any condiments like cheese, sour cream, and or butter you desire. Please note, feel like cheese on your potato you may want to pull the potato 30 seconds early make a nice little lengthwise slice switch the ends of the potato slightly to open a slice, add a little cheese, and pop it back in the microwave for the last 30 seconds. This is only necessary if you like your cheese really melted and you don’t think a hot baked potato will not melt the cheese thoroughly enough for your taste.

Tip Four: How To Vent Your Potato

Venting the potato is necessary to prevent the potato from bursting and being messy. However, the venting required really is minimal. A gentle fairly deep puncture on both ends of the potato is sufficient to allow internal steam to escape. This advice may run contrary to some of the popular themes that seem to think you need to basically murder the potato with a fork on all four sides to prevent them from bursting, this is patently inaccurate and can prove to be detrimental to the overall quality of your baked potato.

Tip Five: Turning Your Potato

At the midpoint of baking your potato in a microwave who normally wants to turn the potato over. Turning the potato over is a simple enough task, however, the potato will be hot so you may want to use tongs or a paper towel to turn the potato over to protect your fingers. Personally, I use tongs that remove less oil from the potato skin, and I find tongs work satisfactorily.

Tip Six: What Size Potato To Bake

Typically the best-sized potato to bake in the microwave is a medium-size potato (about 1/3 of a pound right). If the potato is too large is difficult to get it to cook thoroughly and still have the desired quality and appearance most folks want from a baked potato. If a potato is too small, it is easy to overcook them.

Tip Seven: what is the best variety of potato to bake

Now which variety of potato to bake in the microwave really is a matter of preference. It really boils down to the texture you want in your big potato. Personally, I go for a medium-sized Yukon gold potato because I like a smooth fine-grained moist baked potato. However, a typical red skin potato will give similar results as a Yukon gold potato. If you’re looking for a dryer more mealy-starchy baked potato then go with the traditional Russet.