How to Microwave Red Potatoes

How to Microwave Red Potatoes (Image: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages)

Do you love red potatoes but don't have time to cook them on the stove top? Cook them in your microwave instead. You can make perfectly seasoned, soft red potatoes in the microwave in about 10 minutes. It's all the flavor without the fuss when you microwave red potatoes.

Basics of Red Potatoes

You can spot red potatoes in the produce section by their smooth, reddish skin. They hold their shape well during cooking, so they don't get mushy. Red potatoes are usually small to medium in size and have a mild, earthy flavor. That makes them a versatile side dish that works well with many different seasonings and flavors.

When choosing your red potatoes, look for spuds that are free of blemishes, bruises, cuts, wrinkles or soft spots. Avoid any potatoes that have a rotten scent. You want potatoes with a fresh dirt smell.

Buy your red potatoes no more than 10 days before you plan to cook them. They're better when they're fresher. Keep the red potatoes in a paper bag or perforated plastic bag in a cool spot until you're ready to cook them in the microwave.

Prep the Potatoes

Potato prep when steaming potatoes in a microwave oven starts with cleaning. You don't want any dirt or other gunk in your potatoes messing up your microwave side dish. If you plan to keep the skins on your potatoes, take your time scrubbing the skins. Dirt can get stuck in nooks and crannies or near any eyes on the potatoes.

Wash the red potatoes under warm water. You can also fill a sink and soak the potatoes. Rinse each potato and scrub with a clean vegetable brush as needed to get rid of any remaining dirt. Give the potatoes one final rinse before preparing them for the pan.

Cut the red potatoes into pieces. For small red potatoes, quartering them works well. If you're using medium-sized red potatoes, you might need to cut them into more pieces. You want consistent-sized pieces so they cook evenly.

Add the Seasonings

Toss your cut potatoes into a microwave-safe dish. Choose a dish that lets you spread out the potatoes so they're not in one dense pile. This helps them cook more evenly.

Top your potatoes with 1 tablespoon of butter for every pound of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and your choice of seasonings. Options include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley flakes or other dried herbs or seasoning mixes.

How to Microwave Red Potatoes

You can microwave red potatoes with or without a cover. Covering the microwave-safe dish keeps the potatoes and butter from splattering, which makes your microwave easier to clean. You can use paper towels, wax paper, heavy plastic wrap and parchment paper safely in the microwave to cover your dish.

Microwave the potatoes on high for eight to 12 minutes. Stir the potatoes every few minutes for better heat distribution and consistent cooking. Smaller pieces will cook faster than larger chunks, so watch closely and adjust your time as needed.

When you stir the potatoes, check their tenderness by poking them with a fork or knife. They're done when you can poke through the skin easily and the inside feels soft. If they feel almost done but not quite, put them back in for short intervals of 30 seconds to a minute at a time. These shorter bursts help you finish cooking the potatoes without overcooking them.

Finish the Potatoes

Serve the potatoes as soon as you finish microwaving them for the best results. You can top the potatoes with more seasonings or fresh toppings such as chopped green onions. Serve sour cream, more butter or other favorite toppings on the side for the perfect, quick side dish that everyone can customize.

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