Perfect in Minutes: How to Make the Best Microwave Baked Potatoes

Is there anything more comforting than a hot, fluffy baked potato? The good news is you don’t need to wait an hour for oven baked potatoes – you can make perfect microwave baked potatoes in minutes right in your microwave.

This guide will cover the top cooking methods, how to choose the right technique, creative topping ideas, FAQs, and tips for making the best microwave baked potatoes every time. Read on to transform this humble spud into a quick, delicious meal.

Methods for Microwaving Baked Potatoes

Here are 5 easy methods for cooking baked potatoes in the microwave:

Method 1: Plain and Simple

  • Scrub 1-4 medium russet potatoes well under water. Dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Pierce potatoes several times all over with a fork or knife. This allows steam to escape.
  • Arrange potatoes in a ring on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on high for 4 minutes per potato, flipping over halfway.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before topping and serving.

Cook time: 4-8 minutes per potato

Pros: Super quick and easy, no oil or prep needed.

Cons: Skin may be soft, uneven cooking.

Method 2: Rub in Oil or Butter

  • Scrub potatoes as above. Dry well and rub lightly with oil or butter.
  • Pierce potatoes several times with a fork or knife.
  • Arrange in a ring on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on high for 4 minutes per potato, flip and rearrange at halfway point.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before eating.

Cook time: 4-8 minutes per potato

Pros: Butter or oil helps soften and season skin.

Cons: Adds calories from oil or butter.

Method 3: Wet Paper Towel

  • Scrub potatoes and pierce skins.
  • Wet two paper towels and wring out excess moisture.
  • Wrap each potato in a damp paper towel.
  • Arrange in ring on microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on high for 5 minutes per potato, flip over halfway.
  • Let stand 5 minutes wrapped in towels.

Cook time: 5-10 minutes per potato

Pros: Steams potato, ensures even cooking, moist tender skin.

Cons: Uses extra paper towels.

Method 4: Microwave Steam

  • Scrub and pierce potatoes.
  • Add 1/4 cup water to microwave-safe dish.
  • Arrange potatoes around water, not touching.
  • Cover with microwave-safe lid or vented plastic wrap.
  • Microwave on high for 6 minutes per potato, rearrange halfway.
  • Let stand 5 minutes covered.

Cook time: 6-12 minutes per potato

Pros: Steams potatoes evenly using water in microwave.

Cons: Careful not to let potatoes touch water while cooking.

Method 5: Convection Microwave

  • Scrub potatoes and pierce several times with fork. Rub with oil if desired.
  • Place directly on convection microwave turntable.
  • Cook on convection bake setting for 12-15 minutes until tender, flipping over halfway.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before eating.

Cook time: 12-15 minutes per potato

Pros: Convection setting cooks baking-style with crispy skins.

Cons: Requires convection microwave model.

As you can see, perfectly cooked microwave baked potatoes can be achieved in just minutes using several easy methods.

Choosing the Right Method

Consider the following when selecting the best microwave baked potato technique:

  • Number of potatoes – Short 1-2 minute methods work best for just 1 serving. For 2-4 potatoes, convection and steam methods cook evenly.
  • Size – Allow 4-5 minutes per medium potato. Add 1-2 minutes for larger russet potatoes. Halve time for small new potatoes.
  • Texture preference – Steaming methods yield softer skins while rubbed oil crisps skin. Convection makes skins baking-crisp.
  • Flavor additions – Rubbing potato skin with oil, butter, or spices before cooking adds flavor.
  • Equipment needed – Convection microwave required for that technique only. Other methods just need a microwave-safe plate and vented plastic wrap or lid.

I recommend the wet paper towel method for 2-4 medium russet potatoes. It steams them evenly with tender moist skin in just 5-10 minutes total!

10 Creative Baked Potato Toppings

Don’t settle for just butter, cheese, and bacon. Take your microwave baked potato to the next level with these fun topping ideas:

1. Chili

  • Make or use canned chili.
  • Hearty, protein-packed flavor.
  • Pairs well with cheese, sour cream, chives.

2. Broccoli Cheese Sauce

  • Cook fresh broccoli florets and toss with cheese sauce.
  • Cheesy, veggie-licious comfort food.
  • Delicious as-is or add bacon.

3. Tuna Salad

  • Flake canned tuna and mix with mayo, celery, onion.
  • Protein-packed, classic flavor combo.
  • Garnish with sliced hard boiled egg.

4. Taco Bar

  • Set out taco meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, etc.
  • Mexican-inspired loaded taco potato.
  • Customize with favorite taco toppings.

5. Chicken Fajita

  • Sauté chicken with onions, peppers, and fajita seasoning.
  • Tex-Mex inspired potato with southwest flair.
  • Finish with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

6. Greek Baked Potato

  • Top with lemon chicken, feta cheese, red onion, olives, tomato.
  • Mediterranean-inspired flavor.
  • Drizzle with Greek yogurt sauce.

7. Caprese Potato

  • Dice fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil.
  • Simple but delicious Italian-inspired combination.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction.

8. Pot Roast Dinner

  • Pile on sliced pot roast, carrots, celery, onions, gravy.
  • Hearty, homestyle comfort food potato.
  • Garnish with roasted garlic.

9. BLT Potato

  • Top with cooked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
  • Classic sandwich flavors transformed into a potato.
  • Garnish with green onion and parmesan.

10. Chili Cheese Dog

  • Top with all-beef chili, mustard, onion, shredded cheese.
  • Fun dinnertime twist on a backyard barbecue classic.
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of bacon.

With endless possibilities, you’ll never get bored with baked potato dinners again!

Microwave Baked Potato FAQs

Here are answers to some common questions about making baked potatoes in the microwave:

Are microwave baked potatoes safe to eat?

Yes, microwave baking is completely safe if the potato reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Properly scrubbing and piercing the skin allows steam to escape rather than building up pressure.

Can I prepare microwave baked potatoes in advance?

Potatoes can be fully cooked in the microwave up to 5 days ahead. Let cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat wrapped in a damp paper towel for a few minutes before serving.

What about special diets like keto or vegan?

Substitute olive oil for butter, use vegetarian chili or meat substitutes, and skip cheese and sour cream for plant-based diets. Focus on lower carb toppings like taco salad or BLT filling for keto.

Why are my microwave potatoes uneven or still hard in spots?

This happens if potatoes are crowded too closely together, not rotated, or not cooked long enough. Make sure to arrange in a ring with space between and flip halfway through. Cook for the recommended minutes per potato size for evenly done results.

Can I adjust cook times for different watt microwaves?

Yes – for lower wattage microwaves under 1000W, add 15-20% more cook time. For higher watt convection models, reduce cook times slightly. Check potatoes early and adjust time as needed.

Tips for Microwave Baked Potato Perfection

Follow these top tips for success:

  • Choose medium-sized russet potatoes, about 6-8 ounces each.
  • Allow at least 1 inch space between potatoes as they cook for even heating.
  • Pierce skins several times all over before cooking to allow steam to vent.
  • Flip potatoes over halfway through microwave time to promote uniform cooking.
  • Allow potatoes to rest for 5 minutes wrapped in a towel after microwaving.
  • Top with butter right after cooking for maximum absorption.
  • Get creative with bold flavors, spices, herbs, and toppings!

With the right techniques, you can enjoy fluffy restaurant-worthy baked potatoes from your microwave in minutes. Ditch the takeout and dig into these easy, delicious spuds instead!
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