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Potatoes in the Microwave?

Is there a way to cook potatoes in the microwave without ending in a soggy mess?
We'd like to accompany our steaks on the grill with some form of potato- but I would rather not heat up the regular oven on this hot summer day.
Anyone got any suggestions?

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  1. When I'm pressed for time I may toss a potato or two in the microwave for 5 mins. This gets it softened up a bit and then I will finish them off in the toaster oven @ 400 for a quick, easy baked potato.

    You could also cut up some new potatoes, microwave them for a few minutes with just a small amount of water and then saute them in equal parts butter and olive oil w/ some fresh rosemary, s&p. If you wanted to expand on this option, after sauteing toss them in a bowl w/ some fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes and a light vinaigrette.

    1. Wash potatoes (don't dry), pierce, place in glass bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap or glass lid, microwave: 1 eight oz potato about 6-7 minutes to 4 potatoes 18-22 minutes. let sit for five minutes. Cut open, fluff with fork, and top.

      15 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        What are you doing that makes them a soggy mess? I've never had that happen. If anything, I might overcook and shrivel them.

        I agree with Sam's method, but I don't cover ... just pierce and nuke. Cooking times vary by oven.

        Love the toaster oven idea, maybe finish halved nuked potato on the grill?

        1. re: rworange

          I just pierce and nuke too - but I place the potatoes on a paper towel. Then let sit for a few minutes before I squinch the ends together to open to reveal the flesh.

          1. re: Gio

            I stopped piercing my potatoes. I read somewhere that it's better not to (i have yet to have one blow up on me). When I do run of the mill baked potatoes I just wash them and then slather them in butter and sprinkle w/ kosher salt and bake. It produces the flakiest potato w/ a nice crunchy salty skin.

            1. re: lynnlato

              I've had one blow up on me when I forgot to pierce. Some potatoes probably do have small tears in the skin during the journey from field to table, so that might let the steam escape. Maybe the butter does something to prevent that ... or cooks it quicker since fats cook on maxi-speed in the microwave.

              Yeah, I used to put my potato on a piece of wax paper, but I'm trying to be greener these days and not use paper products as much so it works just plopping it in a plastic container or on a dish ... though the engery to heat water to clean the dish probably makes it a ... wash ... green-wise.

              1. re: rworange

                Yes but - that paper towel can go into the compost heap. Just saying.

                1. re: rworange

                  Just to clarify, I do the butter, kosher salt & pepper when I am baking them - not nuking them. If I nuke them before I bake them, I will nuke them "naked".

                2. re: lynnlato

                  Yours don't explode because you are baking them. They explode when microwaved unless you pierce them.

                  1. re: gariposh

                    rare that any potato that jfood has MV'ed has exploded.

                    1. re: gariposh

                      Never ever ever have I a.) pierced a potato to be "baked" in the microwave, and b.) had one explode for any reason, including lack of piercing.

                      And I'm going back to the first microwave my family got back in the late 1980's, and thousands of potatoes!

                      1. re: gariposh

                        My last post was over a year ago and since then I had a potato explode in the oven while baking. What a mess. This was the first time this has ever happened to me. I'm going to poke atleast one hole in my potatoes from now on, because that is a mess I don't want to clean up again.

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          Was it a Russet? They have the thickest skin so I can imagine they might build up enough pressure without cracking. I have never had an exploding spud in 30yrs of microwaving - I just put the whole potato in, using no towel or dish. Usually it's AP, Yikon Gold, or Red Bliss, sometimes sweet potato. After I few minutes there is a hissing noise as the pressure creates a tear in the skin, through which the steam escapes. I think I have always pierced Russets (Idaho is a russet) because I later put them in the oven to crisp the skin, so I don't want an obvious tear/crack in the skin.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            My guess is that the way potatoes are handled have a lot to do with not exploding as often. After being dug up, dumped in trucks and bins it would be unusal that a potato didn't have some sort of nick or scrape that allows the steam to escape. Rather than playing potato roulette, I'd rather just poke a few holes into it to be safe.

                            1. re: rworange

                              jfood also washes the heck out of them and they are wet when they go in, if that makes any difference.

                            2. re: greygarious

                              Yes, it was a russet. But this was in the oven, not the microwave. I'm poking a hole or two from here on out. That was one nasty mess to clean up. :)

                3. If I'm going to get the outdoor grill going, I start baked taters in the microwave (just poke them a few times, and turn them over once so they don't get mushy) Don't cook them all the way, then put split open, stuff with goodies depending on the diner's preference, wrap in foil, and let finish on the grill. Never had a bad one.

                  1. I have tried a bunch of suggestions for microwaveable and maybe Lynn and Sam's ideas do help, but the short answer is "no": they still don't taste like a bake potator should and the skin is lame and limp...so why not wrap in foil and cook on BBQ?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LJS

                      My neighbor did this for me last year. She cooked them in the microwave and then put them on the grill as is, no foil, for a few minutes, turning as necessary and the skin was like it was baked in the oven.

                      1. re: jesoda

                        I get excellent results doing the partially cooked (well...if 90% is considered partial) potato in the mirowave, and then finish on the grill technique. I'll split them in half lengthwise, brush with rosemary infused olive oil, and then put the flat part directly on the grates. You can flip them if they are getting overdone on that side, and that is when I just move them to the back corner to just stay warm until the meat is done.

                      2. re: LJS

                        I forgot--I do salt the skin. The result can be a somewhat crispy skin. When I MW a potato to make my daughter mashed potatoes (which come out great, BTW), we fight over the skin.

                      3. My favorite way to serve potatoes when the grill's fired up is to cut them into thick wedges, toss the wedges in a bowl with lots of good olive oil and coarse salt, par-cook them in the microwave, then brown 'em up on the grill while the steaks rest.

                        1. jfood cooks them in the MV then placed them on the warming rack which hovers over the grill (where he heats up the buns for dogs and burgers). this gets the skin dry and crispy.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: jfood

                            Agreed, jfood. As far as I can tell, finishing partially microwaved baked potatoes is the one and only reason that little swinging grill attached to the lid of a Weber gas grill exists!

                            1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                              Here's one more. Cheeseburgers.

                              Jfood takes the hamburger bun and splits. Then he places the cheese on the bun and then the bun and the cheese go on the shelf for about 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bun is warm.

                              Works great.

                              1. re: jfood

                                That's a hamburger on a cheesebun, not a cheeseburger on a bun!!! ;-)

                                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                                  Very nice... :-))

                                  OK now let's kick it up a notch. sautee onions and place on the bun before the cheese melt. when you bite into the hamburger on cheese bun you receive....bun, onion, cheese, ketchup, burger, cheese, onion, bun.

                                  A perfect bell curve with a ketchup outlier.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      If you put the cheese on the bun first....With each bite you get:
                                      Bun, *cheese*, onion, ketchup, burger, onion, *cheese*, bun.
                                      As per your original description. (~_^)

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        to be clear (jfood's description is correct) on the process.

                                        take the bum and open with flat side facing up; place a dolop of fried onions on the bun; place the cheese on top of the onion; transfer to grill.

                                        when completed take bottong half of bun which hase from bottom-up, bun-onion melted cheese. place burger on cheese, squirt the ketchup on top. take the top half of the bun and place cheese-to-ketchup on top of pile.

                                        so it is a jfood described....sorry for the confusion.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          Ohhhhhhhhh...........Now IC! I thought the cheese went on the bun first.

                            2. Barbara Kafka's "Microwave Gourmet" has a fabulous, easy recipe for garlic potatoes. I make these often, they are great right out of the oven, eaten cold, or reheated the next day for the cook's lunch! I'll paraphrase the recipe for you:

                              Scrub and dry one pound of new potatoes (about 10). I've substituted round red potatoes, quartered, with good results, when new potatoes aren't available. Put the potatoes in a one-and-one-half-quart souffle or casserole dish, throw on six cloves of garlic that you've peeled and smashed, toss in 3 tablespoons good olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then toss it all together to evenly distribute the garlic and coat the potatoes evenly with the oil.

                              Cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap, cook at 100% for 10 to 15 minutes. Shake the pan once, halfway through cooking, to redistribute the potatoes. Check for doneness at 10 minutes; they are done when a paring knife can easily pierce the potato to the center. Serves four; serve hot from the oven.

                              To make enough potatoes to serve 8 to 10 people as a side dish, use 4 pounds potatoes, 15 garlic cloves, 3/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and FGBP to taste, put in a 14"x11"x2" pan, cook for 20 minutes.

                              This is so good, it is one of our very favorite, make again and again recipes.

                              1. I am not a fan of microwave cooking but the reason baked potatoes come out over cooked in the microwave is that they were cooked too long. You have to take into count the residual heat factor. It is better to cook them until they are still a little under cooked in the center and then let them rest to continue to cook until done.

                                I have also done a quick start in the micro and finished in the oven.

                                1. potatoes in the microwave usually come out rubbery for me.
                                  i need to figure out the proper timing if i try this again.
                                  i have to be in the mood for a baked potato so we don't have them often (husband doesn't ask for them much.) now SWEET potatoes, those we both love and i'll just have to deal with the oven because i dont want to screw with those lovely little darlings...

                                  1. I agree with a lot of what has already been said. I wash, dry, and stab the potatoes a few times. Microwave most of the way, maybe 7-8 minutes if they are large. Then finish off in the toaster oven on around 400 for about 15 minutes so the skin gets crispy.

                                    I haven't made a baked potato in my regular oven in years.

                                    If I am using small red potatoes, I cut them in half or quarters if they are big, and microwave for about 4 or 5 minutes until they are soft-ish. Then toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper, wrap in 2 layers of foil and throw them on the grill to finish. They get nice and browned on the bottom and creamy on the inside. Mmmm...

                                    1. I haven't microwaved potatoes in a long time, but I used to, and I recall putting them in the microwave for as long as was needed to get them good and hot through and through, 3 - 5 minutes per potato, and then wrapping them in tinfoil to insulate them. After another 10 minutes, they were good and done, and I don't recall them being soggy.