Baked sweet potatoes are arguably one of the best things that can grace your dinner table. Actually baking them in the oven is a tried and true method, but we wondered if the microwave and slow cooker could yield similar (or better) results. So we put all the techniques to the test to find out which appliance will give you the best baked sweet potato.
Our control sweet potato was pricked with a fork and baked in a 400°F on a foil-lined baking sheet oven for about an hour. The results were reliable: a soft, sweet interior, dry exterior. Pretty much what you’ve come to expect from a sweet potato.
For our microwave sweet potato, we poked it with a fork a few times and popped it in the microwave on high for about 6 minutes. It could take several minutes longer depending on your microwave and the size of your sweet potato, but regardless, this is still the fastest way to get a sweet potato on your plate. Unfortunately, the results were a bit lackluster. The interior is starchier, and the flavor is not as deep or sweet. Still, once you load it up with condiments, it’s completely edible. If it weren’t for comparing it to the other two potatoes, we would have liked it just fine.
The slow cooker method took a couple tries to perfect, but once we got the right technique down, it was superior to both the microwave and the oven. To get the most out of the slow cooker, you really need to wrap the sweet potatoes in foil. Leaving them unwrapped makes your sweet potato at risk for burning and drying out, whereas the foil will keep the moisture trapped inside. You can do 4 hours on a high temperature or 8 hours on low—perfect for if you want to come home to baked sweet potatoes right after work! The long and low method helps caramelize the starches in the sweet potato, creating a beautifully soft interior with a deep, sweet flavor.
So if you have the time, the slow cooker will give you the softest, most flavorful sweet potato around. But the oven and microwave are perfectly decent options, too, so don’t sweat it if you don’t have 4-8 hours.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours and 2 minutes