How to cook a sweet potato in a microwave

Here’s the easy route to a tasty meal in minutes

A close up of a cooked sweet potato with melting butter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sweet potatoes are a healthier choice compared to white potatoes. They’re higher in fiber, and they’re rich in vitamins too. Most importantly of all, sweet potatoes are delicious and comforting. As the main part of a meal, they work very well with all kinds of meat or vegetarian toppings, but they’re also a fantastic side dish to accompany other foods. 

One of the fastest ways to cook a sweet potato is in the microwave. It’s an easy way to make a healthy but hearty lunch. As much as we love a good air fryer, they can dry out sweet potatoes. 

After just a few minutes in the microwave, however, you'll have perfectly fluffy potatoes. You can finish the potato with the toppings of your choice, be it lashings of indulgent butter and sour cream, or leftovers like a meat ragu or brisket. They even taste great served simply with butter and a sprinkling of salt. 

Here’s how to cook a sweet potato in the microwave, with some expert tips. 

You will need

  • Microwavable plate
  • 1 sweet potato
  • Butter to serve (optional)
  • Toppings of your choice (optional)


Two sweet potatoes topped with feta and parsley

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  1. Wash your potato thoroughly
  2. Pat dry and pierce the skin 3-5 times with a fork
  3. Place on a microwavable plate
  4. Heat on full power for 5 minutes
  5. Using a fork, check if the potato has softened all the way through. If not, continue microwaving in 1 minute increments until cooked and softened.

Expert tip: Coking times will vary depending on the size of the potato and the power of your microwave. It can take between 5-15 minutes. For for the best results check frequently and adjust times as needed. 


Will the potato explode or mess up my microwave?

As long as you pierce the skin to allow the steam to escape as the potato cooks, then you shouldn’t have any problems. Do make sure you microwave it on a plate though as sometimes the sweet liquid inside can leak out and start to caramelize, which will be tricky to clean off the bottom of your microwave. You can read our tips on how to clean a microwave here

How many sweet potatoes can I microwave at once?

 You can microwave several sweet potatoes at once. But for best results we wouldn’t recommend any more than four. Always space them out on the plate and try to choose similar size potatoes so that they cook at the same speed. The cooking time will depend on the size and number of potatoes. But the more potatoes, the longer the cooking time. After an initial 5-10 minute cook time, check them regularly and continue cooking in increments of 2-5 minutes as needed.

Can you get crispy skin in the microwave?

Microwaving a sweet potato won’t crisp up the skin. But, if you really want crisp skin in a hurry, after microwaving the potato, you can air fry or broil it to get that desirable crisped texture. To do this, lightly coat the skin in oil and transfer the potato to an air fryer or place it under a hot broiler. Turn regularly and keep an eye on it as the high sugar level means sweet potatoes burn easily. 

Can you make microwave sweet potato mash?

Yes, you can make sweet potato mash in a microwave. Once your sweet potatoes are cooked, simply scoop the potato out of the skin. Add it to a bowl along with some seasonings and butter, then mash as you usually would. Don’t toss away the skins, turn them into a tasty snack to go with dips. Lightly coat them in oil and a little salt, then crisp up for a few minutes in an air fryer or a hot oven. 

What are the best toppings?

Sweet potatoes are versatile and work really well with most foods. Any kind of cheese or a dollop of sour cream make for a quick and tasty option. Or, for something more hearty, you might add a spoonful of classic beef chili or why try BBQ beans or a fajita mix. Anything goes, so be adventurous. Buttered sweet potatoes are a lovely side dish, too; enjoy them alongside grilled meats and corn on the cob for a tasty al-fresco summer meal. 

Helen McCue
Contributing Editor

Helen McCue is a freelance contributor who trained as a Home Economist. After starting her career in the food industry, she moved into home appliance reviews, utilising her cooking skills and experience to put all kinds of products to the test, and over the years has reviewed hundreds of home and kitchen appliances for a variety of publications.

Having completely renovated her current house, Helen reviews kitchen appliances from her open plan kitchen at home in a beautiful Berkshire village. When she’s not working, Helen can be found enjoying the local countryside or dreaming about her next house renovation project.