How To Tell If Your Microwave Sweet Potato Is Done Cooking

Microwaving sweet potatoes is one of those cooking hacks that sounds too good to be true. Baking a sweet potato in the oven can take up to an hour, not including the time it takes for the oven to preheat. But in the microwave, it may be ready to eat in as little as five minutes. And not only is it quicker and more convenient to do the latter, but microwaving your sweet potato may even ensure you're retaining as much vitamin C, protein, and fiber as possible. In fact, a study from Food Science and Biotechnology found that microwaved sweet potatoes retained about 90% of their vitamin C content.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you nuke your potato, however. For one, it's essential to poke it first to allow the steam to escape during microwaving. Otherwise, you may end up with an exploding sweet potato on your hands. Also, it can be a little difficult to tell exactly when your sweet potato is done — five minutes is a general rule of thumb, but depending on a few different factors, yours may take more or less time. 

So how can you tell when it's good to go?

A knife or fork will slide in easily

After you've poked your sweet potato and microwaved it for about five minutes, make sure to check that it's really done before digging in — a hard potato won't be quite as fun to eat, after all. You want to make sure that the insides are soft and tender, meaning a knife will slide in easily and you could mash them with a fork if you wanted to. If your potato hasn't quite reached that point, try popping it back in the microwave for 30 second intervals, checking for doneness in between. This may sound tedious, but you'll want to avoid overcooking the sweet potato, which can make it dry on the outside and soggy on the inside.

The timeframe for cooking may depend on the size of your sweet potato and the wattage of your microwave, so it's essential that you check for doneness yourself. If you're microwaving a few of them at a time, add about two minutes onto your cooking time for each extra potato. And if you'd like yours to have a crispy skin, try finishing them off in the oven for just a few minutes after microwaving — they'll still be done quicker than if they were fully baked.