You a big potato guy or gal? Baked (or jacket) potatoes can be awesome when combined with a microwave oven. A couple of buttons and you’ve got dinner in ten minutes flat. Far more simple and easier than turning you potatoes into fries, wedges or mash…
We’ve researched countless microwave ovens on the market to bring you a comprehensive round up the best microwaves for baked potatoes. We’ve looked at things like ease of use, reliability, features and how the microwave works for baked potatoes in particular.
Read on for in-depth reviews and more.
High quality all round microwave suitable for all home cooking needs.
Inexpensive price tag.
Rock solid reliability from a known and reputable brand.
First up for best microwave for baked potatoes is this fantastic feature-laden and modestly priced microwave from Toshiba.
Its size is 0.9 cubic feet which is respectable, if modest. It fits a 10.6″ turntable, so big enough for most dishes but might struggle to contain larger plates or bowls.
Its 900W power output is more than enough for most cooking needs, including cooking baked potatoes through in a timely manner.
Use the Toshiba’s mute button to turn off the loud beeping sounds for a bit of peace and quiet, and enjoy the peace of mind from its eco mode which reduces electricity use in standby.
You also have six different preset options to make life a little easier. Many of these features are only seen in more expensive microwaves.
Any drawbacks? Well, at 900W it’s not the most powerful. If you’re impatient, and baked potatoes in particular take a while to cook as they are so dense, you might want to look at the convection oven hybrid which is next on this list.-
Offers convection element to get the real crisp on your baked potatoes.
Three appliances in one comes in super handy.
Rock solid reliability from a known and reputable brand.
The next model is a microwave and convection oven hybrid that also comes from Toshiba and gives you unrivaled versatility. Baked potatoes, oven cooked pizzas, homemade cookies and a whole other host of treats are available to you with one purchase.
A more expensive and larger model which comes in at 1.5 cubic ft capacity with a 13.5″ turntable and respectable 1000W power output, this thing is large enough and powerful enough that you’re not waiting around all day for your food to cook.
On top of that, you have convection cooking and a grill. It’s three appliances in one, basically.
The convection oven itself works really well, with the preheat time no longer than a regular oven. It fits in seamlessly with the microwave function, too.
The convection function is accessed using the same control panel as the microwave and setting it off is a breeze, especially with its many “one touch start” options. In fact, you would hardly know it was anything more than a normal microwave on first inspection!
One thing I like about using convection for potatoes is you can use it to melt cheese. I’m a fan of cheese and beans or cheese and tuna on my potatoes, and getting that hot, melted cheese spread out makes it that bit tastier!
As a top of the line model, the Toshiba packs in plenty of extras, too. Timesaving sensor technology which uses humidity to automatically set cooking, reheating and defrosting times is a gamechanger.
Throw in power saving eco mode for when the microwave is in standby, “auto menu” filled with presets for cooking and silent mode all into the mix as well.
High 1250W power for blazing fast cooking speeds – about as fast as anything currently available.
Loads of features to make cooking easier than ever.
A touch more expensive than the others in this list.
The last option is a superb microwave that sits at the top end of the market. It’s larger than the other two, coming in at a whopping 2.2 cu. ft with a 16.5″ turntable – do make sure it’ll fit your kitchen however!
With that size comes a fantastic 1250W of power and rapid cooking times, almost twice as fast as you might get with a small 700W microwave. (Oher size options in the range are available).
This microwave uses Panasonic’s patented inverter technology. What this means is when you use low power modes like defrosting, the magnetron uses a steady stream of power rather than just turning off for a few seconds then on for a few seconds, like most microwaves.
This gives you much more consistently cooked and reheated food. It’ll also give you full control over heating up baked potatoes if you find a recipe that suggests not to use full power.
The Panasonic tops all that off with a child safety lock, a delayed start feature, turbo defrost and loads and loads of pre-programmed stuff to make cooking and reheating super simple.
It’s even got a keep warm mode to keep soups and gravies hot while you are prepping the rest of the meal. For potato aficionados though, it can keep your spud piping hot while you prepare your accompaniment.
What makes a microwave good for baked potatoes?
As awesome as cooking potatoes in a microwave is, it’s technically not “baked”. That word is reserved for being cooked in an oven at high heat.
Making real baked potatoes comes with its own issues, however. It takes upwards of an hour to bake a potato, a long time and a lot of gas or electricity for a single meal.
And not everyone has an oven in their kitchen, especially those in dorms or small apartments. So the right microwave can be a solid replacement.
A good microwave for baked potatoes needs a decent power output. Microwaves can only penetrate a centimeter or two into any food. Not nearly enough for most potatoes.
And this is compounded by how dense they are which is why microwaving potatoes takes so much longer than, for example, soup.
In a microwave, large and dense foods like a potato are cooked by convection. Where the edges are cooked and the heat moves slowly towards the center. A high power microwave cooks the potato quickly and evenly with little risk of cool, uncooked spots in the middle.
You also have the option of a microwave with a convection oven element built in (number 2 on this list). Useful if you don’t have an oven but still want that “crisp” of a freshly baked potato.
Buyer’s Guide For Best Microwave For Baked Potatoes
Your first and most important decision when choosing a microwave is to decide what amount of watts is necessary. The wattage of a microwave is a measure of its power, or more simply, how fast it cooks.
Generally speaking, the more the better. A higher wattage cooks things more quickly, a huge advantage whether you’re preparing a meal for ten people or just reheating yesterday’s leftovers.
The upper end of microwaves at around 1300W are almost twice as fast as the 700W or 800W microwaves you might be used to.
One caveat is that instructions and cooking times on packaged meals are for microwaves in the 700-900W range. However, you can simply reduce the power for most microwaves or just work out the time difference.
For example, a cooking time of 3 minutes (180 seconds) at 900W can be converted into 1200W using the following equation.
You might wonder why anyone would get a low wattage microwave. The technology used in microwaves gets exponentially more expensive to produce those higher wattages. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether the extra power is worth the cost.
Dial or keypad
Microwaves use either a rotating dial or a keypad for input.
The keypad is the modern option. You have an LED display showing the remaining time and a plethora of buttons that offer different features or preset options.
A dial-based microwave is more simple and provides less information. You spin the dial to the amount of time you want. It’s tricky when doing smaller cooking times and doing increments of 30 seconds is often a guessing game!
Although nowadays you see some modern microwaves offer a dial input and LED display.
This option is useful for those who might have issues with a button-based input such as the disabled or elderly.
Size / Capacity
The standard measurement for size of microwaves in the USA is using cubic feet. Personally, I find this clunky and unhelpful. Here’s a rule of thumb to make sense of this measurement.
0.7 cubic feet – small microwave
1-1.5 cubic feet – normal-sized microwave
1.7+ cubic feet – larger microwave
It’s easier to judge size based on the diameter of the turntable on which you place your food. All microwaves I have reviewed have this diameter in the listing for your convenience.
To work out if a microwave will fit in your kitchen, it is best to use the dimensions of length, width, and height. These are available on any Amazon listing you can find by clicking on the links in the article.
The materials that make up the inner components of the microwave oven are standardized across the industry. For example. the inner panels of the microwave are made from stainless steel which reflects the radio waves (or microwaves) and prevents them from leaving the oven. They are the same in all microwave ovens.
Typically, the outside body of the microwave is made of aluminum which is strong and cheap. In terms of buying a microwave, you don’t need to think too deeply about the material it is made from.
You won’t always want to use your microwave at full power. For example, one neat trick you can do with the microwave is to run it at 10% power to make beautiful and warm melted chocolate. Some microwaves give you more control over power settings than others.
The standard in modern microwaves is to have ten “power levels” where a five corresponds to 50% and a nine to 90% and so on. This gives you a lot of control.
On the other hand, you also come across microwaves that simply offer “medium” and “medium-low” heat, sometimes without even telling you the percentage of the full power that it’s using.
Older and cheaper microwaves have a peculiar quirk when using low power modes. For example, when using a 50% power they will not run at 50% power but will alternate between 100% power and then 0% power. This shortcut is not ideal and can lead to unevenly cooked food.
The issue is that the magnetron, the “engine” of a microwave, can either be turned on or off. Creating a microwave that can produce a steady stream of lower power requires a touch of tech wizardry.
You need to decide if it’s worth the investment to have this “inverter technology” for low power modes like defrosting, softening, melting and so on.
Sensor heating is one of the highlights of modern microwave technology and takes the guesswork out of cooking and reheating.
Essentially, the microwave can detect moisture levels in the food and use this to calibrate precisely how much cooking time is needed. You select the type of food as different foods have different moisture profiles.
No need to put in an amount of time. In fact, some microwaves tell you how long is left before your food is ready.
Sensor technology can be used for reheating but also for cooking some foods from scratch. A valuable feature you may want to splash the cash for in your new microwave oven.
The “keep warm” feature can be a lifesaver for a busy cook trying to juggle cooking five different things at once. Put this setting on and the microwave will keep gravy, soup, desserts or anything else at a steady heat, giving you room to manage the finer points of the meal.
Power saving / eco mode
An “eco mode” offers a reduction of up to 50% of the power used in standby mode, helping you to take a little off your electric bill and do your bit for the environment.
What an “eco mode” cannot do is reduce the amount of power used to cook food. The magnetron uses power at the output of the wattage itself and cannot be made more efficient.
Child safety lock
A microwave with a child safety lock will allow you to “lock” the microwave from being turned on when not in use. This can stop children from fiddling with a potentially dangerous appliance.
Sound on/off option
A “sound on/off” button will turn electric sounds off when selecting options or time and also when the food is finished. Handy for those who share living arrangements to mute the constant buzz of sounds.
A “soften” or “melt” button on a microwave allows you to soften butter or melt chocolate with a single touch. All microwaves have this capability with their low power modes, but a standalone button takes the guesswork out of it.
A microwave with an in-built convection oven offers a great all-in-one appliance for those in dorms or with small kitchens where a separate oven is not an option. It can fulfill almost all the functions of a traditional oven but will rarely be as powerful. The cost is bumped up a fair bit, too.