Craving baked potatoes, but short on time? One way to reduce the cooking time is to prepare a baked potato in the microwave and oven, in this order. This is a quick, easy way to satisfy your cravings without spending hours in the kitchen.
To cut down the cooking time, microwave the potatoes for about six minutes. Next, bake them in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until their skin is crispy and their flesh soft.
Why Eat Baked Potatoes?
Baked potatoes are not just delicious, but healthy too. They're chock-full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin C, offering both flavor and nutrition. A small baked potato, which equals one serving, has fewer than 138 calories and provides 16 percent of the daily recommended potassium intake. Plus, it has less than 1 gram of fat and no cholesterol.
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According to a November 2018 review published in Nutrients, these starches have a role in a balanced diet. The humble potato is more satiating than rice, pasta and other starches, making it easier to maintain your weight. Moderation is the key, however.
Read more: Are Baked Potatoes Healthy?
Potassium, one of the most abundant nutrients in potatoes, may protect against stroke and heart disease due to its ability to lower blood pressure, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This starchy vegetable is also rich in vitamin B6, which plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mental health, as reported in a July 2018 review in the journal Cells. Low levels of vitamin B6 have been linked to skin disorders, anemia, depression and impaired immune function.
Cook a Jacket Potato in the Microwave and Oven
Despite their high nutritional value, potatoes are not always the healthiest choice. It all comes down to how you cook them. French fries, for example, may increase your risk of cardiovascular mortality and death from all causes when consumed in excess.
Baked potatoes are a better option as long as you don't top them with cream cheese, sour cream and other fat-laden ingredients. The downside is that they take over one hour to cook. If you're in a rush, you can first cook the potatoes in the microwave and finish in the oven. With this trick, you'll cut down the cooking time and get a more intense flavor.
First, wash the potatoes thoroughly and pierce them with a fork to keep them from bursting open. Bon Appetit recommends using Russet potatoes because they're larger and can hold plenty of toppings, from sliced tomatoes to cottage cheese and veggies.
Read more: Healthy Toppings for a Baked Sweet Potato
Microwaving doesn't yield the same results as baking, notes Bon Appetit. Potatoes baked in the oven are much creamier and have beautiful golden skin. Therefore, you should microwave them on high for no longer than six minutes, advises the Irish Food Board.
If you're cooking several potatoes, add a few extra minutes. Cook them until they become soft in the center — use a knife to test them. Flip the potatoes after the first two or three minutes of cooking. Once they're ready, remove them from the microwave.
Finish in the Oven
Preheat the oven at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the microwaved potatoes to the oven shelf and place it in the middle so that the heat distributes evenly. For extra flavor, cut them in half and brush them with a little olive oil and salt before cooking (or do that after cooking).
Bake your potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes. When they're ready, their skin should be crispy and wrinkled and their flesh should feel soft. Let them rest and massage them gently with your fingers to break up their flesh, recommends Bon Appetit. Refrain from adding toppings straight from the fridge.
Cooking a jacket potato in the microwave and oven takes significantly less time than baking it in the oven alone. You'll save at least an hour by using this simple trick.
Read more: Baked Sweet Potato With Guacamole
Next, top your potatoes with leftover chicken, canned tuna, roasted tomatoes, sunflower seeds, hummus or raw bell peppers. You can also add tomato salsa, feta cheese, smoked fish, olives or low-fat sour cream.
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Baked Potatoes"
- Nutrients: "Starchy Carbohydrates in a Healthy Diet: The Role of the Humble Potato"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "The Role of Potassium and Sodium in Your Diet"
- Cells: "Vitamin B6 and Its Role in Cell Metabolism and Physiology"
- BMJ: "Association of Fried Food Consumption With All Cause, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality: Prospective Cohort Study"
- Bon Appetit: "Don't Be the Person Who Screws Up a Baked Potato—Avoid These Common Mistakes"
- Irish Food Board: "How to Make Jacket Potatoes"
- BBC Good Food: "How to Make the Ultimate Baked Potato"