We all love those delicious grilled potatoes right off the barbecue, but sometimes we don’t have hours to prepare and cook them for that long because of our tight schedules.
In such situations, the only option we are left with is, cooking our potatoes in the microwave. It takes only 5 to 10 minutes and we can finish making dinner or lunch much faster.
However, some people remain skeptical regarding microwaving their potatoes due to some safety concerns. With this in mind, we have decided to clear all your doubts and take a look at whether it’s safe or not to microwave potatoes.
Is it safe to microwave potatoes ?
It is completely safe to cook potatoes in the microwave, as long as you remember to prick the potatoes beforehand. By pricking the skin you avoid a messy, hot potato explosion in your microwave.
Microwaving lowers the time of cooking, you can cook the potatoes in 5 minutes instead of 20 minutes.
You may have been concerned due to nutrient loss, as well as exploding potatoes. There is some nutrient loss when microwaving potatoes yes. It’s mostly the sensitive vitamins like vitamin C that dissolve during cooking.
But this happens even when boiling or frying potatoes. Vitamins break down in high heat and/or water. Microwaving is no worse for a potato’s nutrients than boiling them.
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How to microwave the potatoes safely
When using the microwave for cooking any kind of vegetable or fruit, you need to keep certain things in mind in order to cook them safely.
First and the foremost use only the microwave-safe container for cooking your potatoes.
Try not to use plastic containers or bags for cooking in the microwave. They don’t always keep their shape during cooking, and aren’t the most durable. So, always use either glass, ceramic or other microwave-safe utensils for cooking in a microwave.
Then remember that potatoes do contain water, and they may burst if you don’t prick their skin a few times on each side. Yes, they burst just like sausages if you’re not careful.
Just a few pricks with a fork will do. It may be best to cover the potato with a bowl, just so you don’t get too much extra moisture on the inside of the microwave.
When microwaving potatoes:
- do not use any oil, as it will spray the inside of your microwave
- always use the safety lid, or a ceramic or glass bowl
- don’t crowd the microwave, if you have a lot of potatoes it’s better to boil them
- always prick the skin !
- do not use saranwrap or clingfilm
How long does it take to cook a potato in the microwave ?
The cooking time of potatoes in a microwave depends upon certain factors like the type of potatoes, type of your microwave, what dish you’re cooking etc. Generally, potatoes get 10 or sometimes less minutes to soften in a microwave.
The best idea is to set the timer for 5 minutes on high and check them if they’ve cooked or not. If not, keep increasing the timer for 30-second intervals.
Keep in mind that the thicker the potato, the slower it will cook. It may also cook faster at the edges than the middle, due to the way microwaves work.
You can cook them (almost) evenly if you set the microwave on medium, though this will take longer.
Is it better to microwave potatoes or boil them ?
Depending on your need, it may be quicker and less messy to just microwave potatoes. That being said, the best method to be sure your potatoes are cooked through is to boil them.
Whether you need them for mashed potatoes, a gravy, casserole, or anything else, it’s best to boil the potatoes.
This is because you get a much clearer idea of how cooked they are, you can easily control when to stop them, and they get cooked through evenly.
A microwave will produce inconsistent results, and shouldn’t be used more than a backup plan.
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What can you do with microwaved potatoes ?
When microwaving potatoes you get a much drier cooked potato, as opposed to boiling it. So these would work best in recipes where you need a very low moisture level, like shepherd’s pie, potato lasagna, or if you want to use them as a topping, or to stretch meatball composition.
A great idea would be to crush and mash microwaved potatoes, then mix them with the grated cheese of your choosing. Add seasoning as you like, we recommend a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
Mix them together, and shape them into tiny rolls or sausages. Bake them in a very hot oven for a few minutes, or just set them under the broiler.
You’ll get some really nice cheesy potato rolls, and you can mix in whatever else you want aside from cheese.