baked potato with toppings

Welcome back to “potato week” here at Simple Life and Home! Yesterday, I shared one of my favorite potato side-dish recipes: creamy potato casserole. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite potato-cooking shortcuts: how to bake a potato in the microwave.

This tip has been revolutionary at my house. It all started when we invited friends over for dinner years ago. I had the chicken ready to put on the grill but had forgotten to place the potatoes in the oven to bake. Yikes! There was no way I could bake the potatoes in time to serve with the chicken.


That’s when my friend graciously shared this baked-potato shortcut, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Here’s how to bake a potato in the microwave:

washing baked potato

1. Scrub the potato under running water.

wrapped baked potato

2. Pierce the potato several times with the tines of a fork and wrap it in a wet paper towel.

3. Place the wrapped potato in the microwave and cook it on HIGH for five minutes. (The steam from the wet paper towel will keep the potato from drying out.)

baked potato cut in half

4. Carefully remove the potato from the microwave with a potholder and give it a slight squeeze. If the potato squeezes easily, it’s done. If not, put it back in the microwave in one-minute increments, checking after each minute to see if it’s done cooking.

Easy peasy. Potato squeezy. 🙂

Here are a few more tips:

  • If you’re baking several potatoes at once, you’ll have to increase the baking time. I recommend starting with five minutes, then increasing by two-minute increments until they all test done.
  • If you are grilling, start the potatoes in the microwave. After five minutes of baking in the microwave, remove the damp paper towels and wrap the potatoes individually in aluminum foil. Place them on the top rack of the grill for another five to ten minutes of baking time.

baked potato with toppings

These days, I always start baking potatoes in the microwave first, then finish the baking on the grill. It cuts the baking time in half, and I don’t have to have the grill on so long.

Lately, my kids have picked up on this baked potato tip. They often make themselves a baked potato snack in the afternoon, or they add toppings to a baked potato for a healthy lunch. So many possibilities!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a roasted potato recipe that’s sure to please!

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