Learn how to cook potatoes in the microwave, and have fluffy, tender “baked” potatoes on the table in just 10 minutes. It’s baked potato magic. Just follow a few simple steps and get perfect potatoes every time.
It’s funny because I often think of this process as baking a potato in the microwave, since the end result is essentially a delicious, fluffy “baked” potato.
But, it actually isn’t baked at all!
That’s why I decided to be more accurate by answering the question: How to cook potatoes in the microwave.
Cook? Bake? Zap?
Whatever you want to call it, the end result is a warm, perfectly textured potato that’s ready to eat — in minutes!
Also, even though I am now the proud mom of two amazing little ones, and I therefore have a family to feed every night, this recipe is one that I used to rely on ALL THE TIME when I was single. Because, well, you can pop a single potato into the microwave, zap it, and then load it with your favorite toppings and — voila! — dinner for one is done!
But, even though cooking potatoes in the microwave is super easy for a single lady lunch (or dinner), it’s also easy enough to scale it up and make potatoes for the whole family. Yes — POTATOES FOR ALL.
How to Cook Potatoes in the Microwave
Step 1: Select your potato. For a classic baked potato, you’re going to want to use russet potatoes. I opt for medium-sized potatoes, and when cooking a bunch together, I try to make sure they’re all roughly the same size, to keep cooking times even. But, if you have potatoes of different sizes, don’t worry. See the “notes” section below.
Step 2: Clean your potatoes. Wash your potatoes in the sink using a potato scrubber, making sure to scrub off any dirt.
Step 3: Poke your potatoes! This is an important step. If you don’t poke some holes in the potato skin, your potatoes might explode in the microwave, which is messy and not what we want to have happen. So, using a fork, I like to poke each potato about 3 or 4 times on each side.
Step 4: Prep your potatoes. I love eating all parts of the potato — including the skin. That means getting the outside of the potato coated in olive oil, and sprinkled with some course sea salt and pepper.
Step 5: Pop ’em in the microwave. Place your potatoes on a microwave-safe plate or or in a microwave-safe casserole dish.
Step 6: Cook your potatoes. Microwave your potatoes for 5 minutes on High or Full Power. Then, using tongs, flip the potatoes and continue microwaving the potatoes:
- 1 potato: microwave for an additional 3 minutes
- 2 – 4 potatoes: microwave for an additional 5 minutes
Step 7: Squeeze or poke your potatoes. When done, your potatoes should be easy to poke with a fork or knife, or easy to squeeze with a towel or oven mitt. If any of your potatoes are still firm, simply cook on High for an additional minute at a time until the desired texture is achieved.
Step 8: Top your potatoes and enjoy! Slice the “baked” potatoes in half, give them a squeeze to fluff them up a bit, and then add your favorite toppings, like butter, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon bits, and chopped chives.
- Potato sizes. If you’re cooking potatoes of varying sizes, don’t fret. That just means that when you check your potatoes after your first cook cycle, you can pull out any of the smaller ones, and then continue to cook the larger ones. Or, if the smaller ones accidentally get a tad overcooked, it really isn’t a big deal. This is a very forgiving cooking process.
- Dietary restrictions. Without the toppings, this recipe is naturally vegetarian and vegan, and free of the Top 8 allergens. Just top with soy-free Earth Balance buttery spread and some chopped green onions and — Yum! If you’re on a special diet like Paleo or Whole30, just watch your toppings. But the potato itself is good to go!
Favorite Baked Potato Toppings
- Butter or dairy-free buttery spread
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Blue cheese, crumbled
- Bacon, crumbled
- Green onions, chives
Or, you know, you could get even more wild and top your baked potatoes with a scoop of chili! Baked potatoes are really a blank canvas for all sorts of toppings experimentation, so get creative!
Baked Potato Bar
This is especially a fan favorite for families with young kids. But, it’s also a great idea for large gatherings. To set it up, bake (or “bake”) a bunch of potatoes, and then set out bowls with various toppings, so everyone can create their own baked potato masterpiece. Include some proteins, some veggies, and some other fun toppings and turn the usual baked potato side dish into the main event! It’s a fun and filling way to get a quick and easy meal on the table that can easily scale for a crowd.
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10 Minute Microwave Baked Potatoes
Get perfect "baked" potatoes on the table in roughly 10 minutes using your microwave!
- 2-4 medium-sized russet potatoes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- sea salt & pepper, sprinkle
- sour cream
- cheddar cheese, shredded
- bacon, crumbled
- chives, chopped
- Wash the potatoes and then coat with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
- Place in the microwave on a microwave-safe dish and cook on High for 5 minutes. Then, flip them over and continue cooking: for 1 potato, cook for an additional 3 minutes; for 2 to 4 potatoes, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Give the potatoes a poke or squeeze to check if they're tender. If any are still firm, continue to cook those potatoes for an additional one minute at a time until done.
- OPTIONAL: To crisp up the skin, you can place them in a preheated, 425℉ oven after they're fully cooked in the microwave. Bake for an additional few minutes until the desired crispiness is reached.
- OPTIONAL: Slice the potatoes open and top with your favorite toppings, like butter, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and chives.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 298Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 25mgSodium 313mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 4gSugar 2gProtein 9g
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Love this hack for a quick easy “baked” potato!!
This is perfect for when you are in a hurry and don’t want to wait ages for the potatoes to bake!
This is such a lovely and delicious option to making potatoes amazing. Some information really makes life easy and simple and yummy too.
Heidy L. McCallum
This is a wonderful idea for my husband when I work late. I usually never use our microwave to cook but lately, I have been working a ton of nutty mid-shifts and have a 45-minute drive home which puts me at home at almost 7 pm and dog tired, maybe he can actually help out a little more in the kitchen with recipes like this. So glad I stumbled on your recipe!
I don’t know why I have never tried making ‘baked’ potatoes in the microwave! I love them but they take a bit of time in the oven! Def want to try this asap!
While I do not own a microwave, so I’m not very used to having one for more than just reheating my lunch boxes at work, I think it can be a great ally in the kitchen. I made this exact recipe once, as I was staying in an airbnb with no oven – but with a microwave. We were keeping the budget low so we bought potatoes, but did not want to get too much crockery dirty. So we just popped them in the microwave and it worked great!! It is a fantastic alternative to baking or boiling and the bonus points are that it saves a lot of time!
Thank you so much for your comment! I agree — it’s a great idea to have in your back pocket. My son has a food allergy that means we’re eating in hotel rooms a lot on vacation, so microwave cooking is key! 🙂
I like the tip about crisping up the skin as my fiancé loves the skins a little crisp as do I. And I have never rubbed them with olive oil and salt for microwaving. But I have done them like that to cook in the oven. Thanks for the great tips. I will definitely prepare my baked potatoes like this all the time now!
Thanks for the comment! I still love them in the oven, and will toss them in if it’s on for another reason, but this is such a great, alternative method that’s FAST. Plus, with summer coming, keeping the oven off as much as possible is ideal. Hope you enjoy!
I’ve been preparing my Baked Potatoes this way for years with a couple of little variations. Instead of seasoning them with plain old salt and pepper, I use McCormick’s Garlic Pepper. I’m not shy when I sprinkle the seasoning on the potatoes, It makes the whole potato taste outstanding. This variation is a nifty addition. When I am grilling steaks or chicken or whatever, I Microwave the potatoes till they are close to being done and then I move them to the outdoor grill and finish them off on the upper rack. This gives your potatoes a nice crispier outer skin. I also use the Microwave for baking my potatoes when I am making Twice Baked Potatoes. You can prepare the potatoes earlier in the day and then just warm them in the Microwave. Great shortcut and no one ever knows unless you tell them.