Is there any better side to a hearty meal than a tender, fluffy baked potato with all the toppings? I think not. While making a baked potato is easy, it takes time. In fact, a potato can take over an hour to bake fully.
This microwave baked potato cuts way down on the cook time with nearly identical results (especially if you use my finish-in-the-oven hack below).
For a Better Baked Potato, Use the Microwave
There are two main reasons to use a microwave to make a baked potato:
- Time. You shave off over 75% of the cook time for a baked potato if you microwave it rather than bake it. Instead of baking for an hour, the potato cooks for about 10 minutes (plus 10 minutes in the oven if you want crispy skin). That’s a big deal!
- Fluffiness. Because a microwave steams the inside of the potato rather than baking it from the outside, the resulting potato has a fluffier inner texture. The only downside of microwaving potatoes is that the skin gets soggy and doesn’t have the crispy texture that you get from the oven. We can fix that with a quick trip in the oven.
How to Get Crispy Skin
If you cherish the crispy potato skin of a baked potato (I know I do), there’s a trick to achieving a crisp exterior on a microwave potato. Once your potato is done in the microwave, place it on a baking sheet. Rub it with some olive oil and sprinkle it on all sides with kosher salt. Bake it in a hot oven for about 10 minutes and it’ll crisp up beautifully.
This adds a few minutes to your total time, but it’s worth it for that crispy potato skin. No one will know you didn’t cook the potatoes in the oven from start to finish.
The Best Kind of Potatoes for Baked Potatoes
There’s no need to overthink it. Russet potatoes make the best baked potatoes. They are economical, a good size for stuffing with toppings like cheese and butter, and have a really fluffy, tender interior that works perfectly for baked potatoes.
Whether you’re using your microwave or the oven, use russet potatoes to make baked potatoes.
Don’t forget to poke holes in the potato before microwaving it so steam can easily escape. While I’ve never seen it, it is possible that the potato could explode in the microwave if you skip this step.
Adjusting the Cook Time
All microwaves are a little different and you’ll have to do some checking on your potato. If you know the wattage of your microwave, you can get a rough guideline of timing with this recipe. I have a 1,000-watt microwave (a pretty standard wattage), and my potatoes were perfect after 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
If you have a 1,200-watt microwave, you can probably knock a minute or two off that total time. If you have an 800-watt microwave, then you might need to go up to 12 or more minutes.
The potato size will also impact the cook time. The bigger and thicker the potato, the longer it will take to cook. Smaller potatoes will take less time. Old potatoes also take longer to cook, and may never get completely soft. Once you figure out a formula that works for your microwave, stick to it.
How to Microwave More Than One Potato
You can microwave up to four potatoes at a time if your microwave is big enough. Ensure the potatoes are laying flat on the plate with a little space between each one. Start by adding an extra minute to the cook time for each additional potato. If the potatoes aren’t quite done, return them to the microwave in 30-second to 1-minute increments until cooked through.
A Leftover Potato Idea
This leftover idea is one of my favorites and I’ve even started microwaving an extra potato so I can do this the next day. Store the leftover potato in the fridge. When it’s breakfast time, cube it up and cook it in a skillet with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of paprika. It makes incredible breakfast potatoes!
Microwave Baked Potato
1 large (10 to 12-ounce) russet potato
1 teaspoon olive oil, optional
Pinch of kosher salt, optional
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon minced chives
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the potato:
If you would like a crispy skin on your baked potato, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Scrub the potato well. Dry it off and poke it a few times on all sides with a fork.
Microwave the potato:
Place the potato on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it for 8 to 12 minutes, flipping it once halfway through. For a medium-large potato cooked in a 1,000-watt microwave, the cook time will be about 10 minutes.
Your potato will be steaming hot when it is done. Press on it a bit with your thumb and it should give easily to pressure. You should be able to pierce it through the center with a fork or paring knife with little resistance. If it feels firm at all, place it back in the microwave for 1-2 minutes longer.
If you have an 800-watt microwave, you might need to go up to 12 or more minutes.
Crisp the skin (optional):
If you would like a crispy, salty skin on your potato (my favorite), coat the microwaved potato on all sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until the skin is cracking and crispy, about 10 minutes.
Crisp the skin faster in an air fryer. 425°F for about 5 minutes works great.
Serve the potato:
Slice down the length of the hot potato halfway through to expose the interior. Top with your choice of toppings while hot, such as butter, cheese, sour cream, and/or chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat in the microwave, but I prefer to reheat the potatoes in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes so they get crispy on the outside.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 73g||27%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||28%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 28mg||141%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|