Microwaving Small Potatoes: A Guide to Perfectly Cooked Spuds

Introduction: Harnessing the Power of Microwave Cooking for Small Potatoes

Microwaving small potatoes is a quick and convenient method to achieve tender, delicious spuds in a fraction of the time it takes to cook them on the stovetop or in the oven. With the right technique, you can enjoy perfectly cooked potatoes that are versatile and ready to be used in a variety of dishes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of microwaving small potatoes to perfection. From selecting the right potatoes to adapting cooking times based on microwave wattage, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to master this speedy cooking method.


Microwaving Small Potatoes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Cooked Spuds

  1. Selecting the Perfect Small Potatoes

a. Size and variety: Look for small potatoes that are uniform in size to ensure even cooking. Choose varieties such as baby Yukon gold, baby red, or fingerling potatoes for their natural buttery or waxy textures, which lend themselves well to microwaving.

b. Freshness and quality: Opt for firm potatoes with smooth skins and minimal blemishes. Avoid selecting potatoes that are soft, sprouting, or showing signs of decay.

c. Washing and cleaning: Thoroughly wash the small potatoes under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Use a vegetable brush to gently scrub away any stubborn dirt or impurities. Pat the potatoes dry with a clean kitchen towel.

  1. Preparing the Potatoes for Microwaving

a. Poking holes: To prevent potential steam buildup, use a fork or a small knife to poke several holes into each potato. This allows steam to escape during microwaving and prevents the potatoes from bursting.

b. Seasoning options: Before microwaving, consider adding seasonings to enhance the flavor of the potatoes. Coat them in a light layer of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs like rosemary or thyme for a simple yet flavorful touch.


  1. Microwaving Techniques for Small Potatoes

a. Single-layer arrangement: Arrange the small potatoes in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate or dish. Leaving space between the potatoes allows for even cooking and ensures that each potato receives sufficient heat.

b. Covering with a microwave-safe lid or wrap: Cover the plate or dish with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap to trap steam and promote faster, more even cooking. This helps retain moisture within the potatoes, preventing them from drying out during microwaving.

c. Microwaving in intervals: Start by microwaving the small potatoes for 3-4 minutes on high power. Carefully remove the plate or dish from the microwave and use a fork to check the doneness. If the potatoes are not yet tender, return them to the microwave and continue cooking in 1-2 minute intervals until they reach the desired level of tenderness. Keep in mind that microwave wattages vary, so adjust cooking times accordingly.

d. Rotating and flipping: For more consistent results, halfway through the cooking process, rotate and flip the small potatoes to ensure they cook evenly on all sides. This helps prevent any cold spots or uneven cooking.


  1. Testing for Doneness and Resting the Potatoes

a. Fork tenderness test: To check if the small potatoes are done, use a fork to pierce the largest potato in the batch. If the fork easily slides into the potato with little resistance and the flesh is tender, the potatoes are ready. If they still feel firm or require more cooking, return them to the microwave for additional time.

b. Resting time: Once the small potatoes are cooked to perfection, it’s important to let them rest for a few minutes. This allows them to cool slightly and continue cooking with residual heat, resulting in a more evenly tender texture.

c. Handling with care: Be cautious when handling the hot plate or dish and potatoes. Use oven mitts or kitchen towels to protect your hands and avoid any burns or injuries.

  1. Additional Tips for Successful Microwaving

a. Adjusting cooking times for different quantities: When microwaving varying quantities of small potatoes, such as a larger batch, adjust the cooking time accordingly. More potatoes may require longer cooking times, while fewer potatoes may cook slightly faster.

b. Size consistency: For optimum cooking results, try to ensure that the small potatoes are roughly the same size. This helps promote even cooking and prevents some potatoes from overcooking while others remain undercooked.

c. Using microwave wattage guidelines: If your microwave has adjustable power levels, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the appropriate power level for microwaving small potatoes. Lower wattage settings may require longer cooking times, while higher wattage settings may require shorter cooking times.

d. Experimenting with settings and preferences: Everyone’s taste preferences and desired texture for small potatoes may vary. Adjust the cooking times based on personal preference for a softer or firmer texture. Additionally, you can experiment with different seasonings or consider adding butter, garlic, or cheese after microwaving to enhance the flavor.


  1. Incorporating Microwaved Small Potatoes into Recipes

a. Roasted small potatoes: After microwaving, transfer the small potatoes to a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with desired seasonings, and roast in a preheated oven at 425°F (220°C) for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Serve as a delightful side dish or use them as a base for various toppings, such as sour cream, chives, or cheese.

b. Mashed small potatoes: Mash the microwaved small potatoes with a potato masher or fork, adding butter, milk, or your preferred dairy-free alternative. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs for additional flavor. This creamy and fluffy side dish pairs well with roasted meats, grilled veggies, or as a standalone comfort food.

c. Potato salads: Let the microwaved small potatoes cool, then cut them into halves or quarters. Toss them with your favorite salad dressing, chopped herbs, diced red onions, celery, or any other desired ingredients. This quick and refreshing dish is perfect for picnics, barbecues, or potluck gatherings.

d. Potato toppings: Microwave small potatoes and then slice them into thick rounds. Use them as a base for various toppings like salsa, guacamole, or melted cheese. Broil the topped potatoes for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve as a delicious appetizer or party snack.

e. Smashed potatoes: Microwave the small potatoes until tender, then place them on a baking sheet. Gently flatten each potato with a fork or spatula to create a flat surface. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and desired herbs, and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15-20 minutes until crispy. Enjoy these delightful smashed potatoes as a side dish or as an alternative to traditional fries.


Conclusion: Mastering Quick and Tender Small Potatoes in the Microwave

Microwaving small potatoes is a game-changer when it comes to fast and convenient cooking. With attention to detail, selecting the right potatoes, and considering microwave wattage, you can achieve perfectly cooked spuds in no time. From single-layer arrangement to rotating, flipping, and checking for doneness, mastering the microwaving techniques will result in tender and delicious small potatoes every time.

Embrace the flexibility and efficiency of microwaving small potatoes, allowing you to enjoy them as a side dish, in salads, or as a versatile ingredient in numerous recipes. With practice, you’ll become adept at microwaving small potatoes to suit your taste preferences and time constraints, elevating your cooking repertoire with this speedy and delicious method.