Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

You can make a baked potato in the microwave

The microwave oven certainly has many legitimate uses, but baking potatoes (or anything else) is not one of them. Sure, you can cook a whole potato in the microwave, but what you get is a steamed potato. The crispy skin and fluffy interior of the genuine baked potato require a long cooking in dry heat.

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9 responses to “You can make a baked potato in the microwave

  1. danm July 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I use the microwave all the time for a “baked potato.” The secret is to throw it in a toaster oven for 10 minutes or so afterwards to crisp the skins a bit.

  2. kitchenmyths August 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Yes, I have done that myself – but a “real” baked potato has not only crisp skin but fluffy insides, and I don’t think you’ll get that with your technique. When I am in a hurry, I’ll microwave the potatoes just until they are good and hot and then bake for 30-40 minutes, which provides some time savings.

  3. Star September 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I was not aware that a baked potato was supposed to have crisp skin to be considered a “true” baked potato! I consider it a good day if I can learn something! Certainly, the inside should be fluffy. We love to consume the skin of the potato, and we actually prefer it to be somewhat soft – and sometimes the crispy skin can also be quite dry; which we don’t favor. When we got our first microwave, I experimented with cooking a whole potato in it, and have mastered the ability for them to turn out with fluffy insides, and nice soft outsides (which we prefer over the crisp). So, I guess we’re just eating a cooked potato, not a baked one! I smooth butter (never margarine) around the entire potato initially, and if necessary, do it again midway. Cooking them in the microwave saves markedly not just in time; but in cost as well. That conventional oven pulls a lot
    of power for the amount of time it typically takes just to bake potatoes; and it’s one way that we can cut down on our power consumption. I guess in a high-end restaurant, it matters whether something is cooked true to it’s name; but we just like to cook foods to suit our personal preferences; regardless of what it’s called!

    • kitchenmyths September 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

      To me, it’s the fluffy insides that define a “real” baked potato. The crispy skin is a bonus for those of us who like it! If you rub the skin with a little oil before baking, it’ll stay soft.

  4. Steve November 6, 2011 at 11:44 am

    They are called ‘baked’ for a reason!

  5. Adam Weber November 9, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I recently e-mailed a friend about a very ‘quick and interesting’ steak sauce and referred to the ‘fake-baked’ potatoes we serve on the side. My wife has developed the art of using microwave technology for the cooking and a gas grill (for the ‘crisping’). The ‘art’ is in heating several times and letting the spuds ‘rest’ for a while between MW cycles and testing for ‘done-ness’ with skewers. Takes one-third of the time and much less energy. I prefer the REAL baked potato, any day, but our work schedules and the local climate don’t always allow it …’next best’ is 90+% as good! [Just in my opinion...]

  6. Melissa December 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    A trick to a crispy skin when microwaving is one that most chefs also use when using other methods to make a baked potato that you receive at the table with crisp flavored skin. I’ve been using this method for a long time and always end up with excellent baked potatoes via the microwave. Wash your potato, stab the potato a few times all over to allow steam to escape, sprinkle the outside of the potato with kosher or sea salt (and pepper or whatever other spices you prefer), dampen a paper towel with water and wring out any excess and wrap your potato in that damp paper towel, place in microwave and cook accordingly. When it comes out of the microwave you’ll have a nicely done potato that has those wonderfully crisp and seasoned skins we all love.

  7. paulskav February 3, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    true but the insides never quite come out right and sometimes I find the edges of the potato to be rock hard and inedible. I can’t believe no one mentioned this solution: the toaster oven. Preheats in a few minutes and uses very little energy compared to the regular oven, also radiates very little heat into my house. Dinner takes 30-40 minutes to make anyway, so I just chuck the potato in there first.

  8. Gregory Takemoto November 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I always use microwave ovens at home because they are very very convenient..

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