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Paleo Diet Tips: Microwave the Perfect Sweet Potato

Updated on May 30, 2015
A common sweet potato, also called a "yam" in North America.
A common sweet potato, also called a "yam" in North America.

The Sweet Potato

The sweet potato, often known by the misnomer "yam" in North America, is a root vegetable available at any grocery store and packed with essential nutrients. Unlike its cousin, the potato, the sweet potato contains glucose--the type of sugar utilized in restoring glycogen in your muscles-- and specific starches that work to counteract the high blood acidity encouraged by the over-consumption of grains in modern diets. Where the classic American food white bread has a glycemic load of 34.7, sweet potatoes deliver a load of 13.1 -- high enough to make them the perfect addition to a meal or post-workout snack without causing the massive insulin spikes of other carbohydrates like bread. What's more, sweet potatoes contain a healthy amount of necessary nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, and beta-carotene. To top it all off, sweet potatoes are amazingly easy to prepare! All you need is a microwave, wet paper towel, and fork!

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 12 min
Yields: Produces one perfectly cooked sweet potato

Ingredients and Equipment

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 paper or cloth towel, on the wetter side of damp
  • 1 fork

Step 1: Washing and Prep

Wash the sweet potato. This will remove any residual dirt left on the skin as a result of the sweet potato being a root vegetable.


Pierce the skin of the potato with a fork several times -- don't go too overboard, however, or your potato might dry out.
Pierce the skin of the potato with a fork several times -- don't go too overboard, however, or your potato might dry out.

Step 2: Fork It

Stab the sweet potato in several different spots with a three-pronged fork. This allows the steam formed from the sweet potato's moisture to escape without interfering with the cooking process or causing the potato to explode. Stab it 2-4 times -- any more than that, and you risk losing too much moisture and wind up with a dry potato

Wrap the potato completely in a wet paper or cloth towel. This will prevent the potato from drying out.
Wrap the potato completely in a wet paper or cloth towel. This will prevent the potato from drying out.

Step 3: Wrap and Microwave

Wet a paper towel and wring it out until it is slightly wetter than damp. Wrap it around this sweet potato. This will help prevent the sweet potato from drying out. After you have done this, place the potato in the microwave on high. The cook time of sweet potatoes is generally slightly longer than that of normal potatoes; a small sweet potato might take 5 minutes total, a medium one around 7 minutes, and a large one might take 10 minutes or more. In general, it is best to divide your cook time in two. For instance, if you have a small sweet potato, put it in the microwave initially for three minutes. After that time is up, take it out, re-wet the paper towel and re-wrap the potato, and put it back in the microwave for another three minutes. When fully cooked, the sweet potato should feel soft and squishy to the touch, with no firm patches.

TIP: Not every microwave cooks evenly nor does every potato; you often have to play it by ear. If, after the allotted cooking time, your potato still has hard spots, put it back in the microwave and check again after another two minutes. Do not be surprised if you find the really large sweet potatoes take more than 12 minutes to cook all the way through!


The finished potato -- tender, flavorful, and ready-to-eat!
The finished potato -- tender, flavorful, and ready-to-eat!

Step 4: Remove and Eat


After your sweet potato feels uniformly soft , take it out of the microwave, discard the paper towel, and plate the potato. You're ready to eat! Sweet potatoes can be eaten this way with or without the skin, though the skin contains many nutrients and is laden with fiber. Enjoy!


2.9 stars from 110 ratings of The Perfect Microwaved Sweet Potato

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    • hannahwaguinao profile image

      Hannah Guinao-wa 

      23 months ago from Rizal Philippines

      Wow! Sounds tasty! Thanks for sharing this cool recipe. Never thought that there's a difference between an ordinary potato from a 'sweet potato'. Pretty cool!

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