I know it’s not THAT difficult to steam or roast some sweet potatoes on the stovetop or in the oven, but the waiting time of 40-60 minutes to get this orange veggie cooked and ready to go when I need it the most is such a headache. That’s when I tried cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave. And boy, they DO work!
This shortcut method of cooking sweet potatoes uses a microwave-safe container that can be partially covered with a lid. Just wash and assemble the potatoes in the dish and nuke them in the microwave until completely cooked through. No stopping in the middle to turn them over. No steaming pans and heavy roasting pans to wash at the end. It only takes about 10 minutes. Absolutely no fuss.
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Sweet potatoes - this common starchy veggie is a versatile ingredient that can be mashed, sliced, fried or baked inside a dessert. And it's healthy, too. The vibrant orange color comes from its abundance of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant beneficial for good vision and eye health, as well as for immune health. Sweet potatoes also contain an excellent source of fiber which helps you feel fuller and helps control blood sugar.
This recipe guide uses orange sweet potatoes, but this method can be used for other types of potatoes or sweet potatoes as well. More details below on the substitution section!
- Pyrex 8" Square Baking Dish with Blue Plastic Lid - in this shortcut recipe, we'll use a square pyrex dish for cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave.
Step by Step Guide
How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave (just 10 Minutes!)
Wash/scrub sweet potatoes under cold running water
Use a sharp knife to cut sweet potatoes into thirds
Note: If you're using small or medium-sized sweet potatoes, you do not have to cut the sweet potatoes before cooking, and you can use them whole.
Arrange the cut potatoes face up inside the pyrex dish so that they don't overlap
Close the lid halfway, keeping one side slightly open. THIS IS IMPORTANT since we want the steam to be able to escape while cooking.
Note: If you don't have a fitting lid, you can also cover the entire dish with plastic wrap and use a fork or knife to poke holes into the plastic wrap.
Transfer the dish with the sweet potatoes to the microwave and cook high for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the pyrex dish (it's HOT!) and be sure to wear gloves or use tongs when removing the lid from the dish.
Poke through the sweet potatoes with a fork to ensure they're cooked through. If not, return the sweet potatoes back in the microwave and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes
Let cool before serving, or mash potatoes while still warm. Enjoy!
On the Different Types of Sweet Potatoes
This recipe guide uses orange sweet potatoes, but this method can be used for other types of potatoes or sweet potatoes as well. Here are some varieties of sweet potatoes you can use below:
- the Covington (orange) Sweet potato has copper-colored skin, super sweet with a soft orange flesh, but has more water content than other potatoes and cooks faster in the microwave.
- White Sweet Potato has a golden skin with creamy white flesh, almost like a potato, but is sweet, slightly crumbly and ideal for soups and stews. Requires slightly longer cooking time but not very much (1-2 minutes).
- Asian sweet potatoes - also called Japanese Yam or Murasaki Sweet Potatoes -have reddish or purple skin and very dense flesh that more resembles the texture of a Russett potato or a cooked chestnut than the orange sweet potatoes. Usually requires longer cooking time, about 2-3 minutes more in the microwave. Also, because of this density and less water content these sweet potatoes can end up feeling dry if cooked in the microwave too long. To get around this, I sometimes add 2-3 Tbsp of water inside the Pyrex bowl with the sweet potatoes before microwaving so that the sweet potatoes retain some of the moisture. The same applies to purple sweet potatoes (like the Okinawan sweet potato)
On other glassware/ container options
- This shortcut recipes uses a square pyrex dish for cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave, but the dish doesn't necessarily have to be a pyrex brand, be made of glass or even have a lid. Here are some alternative containers you can use instead:
- Microwave Safe Silicone Bag
- Microwave Safe Plastic or Silicone Containers with lid
How to Cook just 1 Sweet Potato
- I often add mashed sweet potato to my dessert recipes like this sweet potato mochi, sweet potato donuts, sweet potato bagels and sweet potato pancakes recipes, but there are times when I just need a single sweet potato to use for my recipe. If this is the same for you, here's what I do:
- Just use a smaller pyrex bowl with a lid and reduce cooking time from 10 minutes to 6-7 minutes.
- Or you can wrap the whole sweet potato individually in a microwave-safe silicone bag (like this one) or in a plastic wrap, then microwave on high for 6-7 minutes (or more depending on the size of the potato).
- Always ensure it’s cooked by sticking a fork or toothpick into the center. If not, return the sweet potatoes back in the microwave and cook an additional 1-2 minutes
How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave (just 10 Minutes!)
- Pyrex® 8" Square Glass Baking Dish with Lid , or other microwave safe glass container
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- Wash/scrub sweet potatoes under cold running water
- Use a sharp knife to cut sweet potatoes into thirds. Note: If you're using small or medium sized sweet potatoes, you do not have to cut the sweet potatoes before cooking.
- Arrange the cut potatoes face up inside the pyrex dish so that they don't overlap
- Close the lid half way, keeping one side slightly open so that steam can escape while cooking. Note: If you don't have a fitting lid, you can also cover the entire dish with plastic wrap and use a fork or knife to poke holes into the plastic wrap.
- Transfer the dish with the sweet potatoes to the microwave and cook high for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the pyrex dish (it's HOT!) and be sure to wear gloves or use tongs when removing the lid from the dish.
- Poke through the sweet potatoes with a fork to ensure they're cooked through. If not, close the lid again and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
- Let cool before serving. Enjoy!