Exploding Potatoes in the Microwave: How to Avoid It

Exploding Potatoes in the Microwave: How to Avoid It

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for a potato to explode in the microwave? You’re not alone! In this article, we’ll explore the potential dangers of microwaving potatoes and learn how you can keep your kitchen safe. So, grab your trusty microwave and let’s find out if a potato can really explode!


Cooking with a microwave is a great way to quickly and easily prepare food. But have you ever heard of a potato exploding in the microwave? While it may sound far-fetched, this phenomenon can actually occur, and understanding why and how it happens is key to successfully microwaving potatoes.

In this guide, we will answer the question “can a potato explode in the microwave?” by looking at the science behind exploding potatoes, exploring ways to cook potatoes without them exploding, and giving tips for safe microwave cooking.

What Causes a Potato to Explode in the Microwave?

When a potato is heated in the microwave, the water inside it heats up and builds up pressure. If the potato is not punctured to allow the steam to escape, this pressure can eventually cause it to violently explode.

When microwaving a potato, it is important to take steps to minimize the risk of an explosion by ventilating it with a fork or knife. Puncturing a few holes into the skin will allow steam to escape while cooking. If cooking more than one potato at once, increase the cooking time slightly and try to space out each potato so that they don’t touch each other.

When working with potatoes, you should always ensure that they are dry before placing them in the microwave. Additionally, some potatoes may need extra-long times for venting steam as well as for fully cooking them. Make sure to adjust your settings and prep accordingly for larger potatoes like russets and sweet potatoes. Finally, check on your potatoes every few minutes during a longer cook time—remember that they can still explode if left unattended!

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How to Avoid a Potato Explosion in the Microwave

When microwaving potatoes, it’s important to prevent them from exploding. Baked potatoes are a favorite comfort food and can be cooked quickly and easily in a microwave. But due the uneven heat distribution of microwaves, potatoes can explode if not managed properly. To keep your potato from exploding in the microwave, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Prick multiple holes in the potato skin with a fork prior to microwaving. This will allow steam to escape during cooking and prevent the potato from exploding or popping.
  2. Wrap the potato with a wet napkin or paper towel before putting it into the microwave. Moisture helps transfer heat throughout the potato evenly, preventing pockets of heated air that cause explosions while cooking.
  3. Cook on high power for at least 5 minutes per side (or 10 minutes total). If you time is too low, portions of your potato may still be cold; too long and you risk burning yourself when you take it out of the oven!
  4. Test for doneness by squeezing or pressing each side of the potato—it should feel soft when cooked through,. If not yet done, turn over and cook on high for an additional 2-3 minutes until done.

Following these steps will help ensure your baked potatoes are cooked evenly and avoid explosions in your microwave!

What Happens When a Potato Explodes in the Microwave?

Potatoes have a high moisture content and many of these internal pockets of water are subjected to rapid and intense heating when a potato is cooked in a microwave. When microwaving, be sure to pierce the skin several times, as this will allow the steam to escape from these pockets before they explode.

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If they are not pierced, steam builds up inside the potato and causes it to expand rapidly until it bursts, which often happens with a loud bang. Such explosions can cause considerable splattering of hot potatoes in the oven and may noisily bounce around inside, creating an unpleasant mess.

Hence, it is important to ensure that potatoes are properly pierced before being placed in the oven. If possible, try cutting them into smaller cubes or slices without removing the skin as this can maximize their surface area while minimizing their thickness which helps them cook more evenly. Remember that microwaves tend to heat food from the inside out so larger chunks take longer and can explode if left in too long – don’t take chances!


The short answer is yes, potatoes can explode in the microwave if they are not cooked properly. The longer answer is that it depends on the type of potato, how much moisture is present in the potato, and about how long it is microwaved for. Potatoes can also explode when other vegetables are added and cooked together since different vegetables have different microwave cooking times.

The result of an exploded potato in the microwave will be objective – food splattered across the inside of your microwave and a starchy mess to clean up. To ensure that your potatoes make it out of the microwave unscathed, it’s best to cut them into small pieces and check on them throughout cooking (even if you’re using a pre-programmed setting). Additionally, adding a bit of water before cooking can help keep them moist while they cook.


A common question many people have is whether a potato can explode in a microwave. Unfortunately, while it is possible for this to occur, it is not likely and can be avoided by following certain safety tips.

Potatoes contain high levels of water which needs to be heated to boiling point for the potato to cook properly. If the potato does not have sufficient water, or if other pockets of super-heated steam are created within the potato, then the potato has the potential to explode after being placed in the microwave.

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To avoid such an occurrence, make sure that you poke several holes in your potatoes before microwaving them. This will help release steam from within and keep the potatoes from reaching their high stress points which can cause an explosion. Additionally, make sure to check on your potatoes periodically while they are cooking and stop if they start to expand too much. Turning down or pausing cooking time may help as well.

It is also important to remember that exploding potatoes are generally caused by user error and therefore can be prevented with proper precautionary measures such as checking on your potatoes during cooking and adding additional water prior to microwaving if necessary. Following these simple steps will keep you safe when preparing your meals!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can a potato explode in the microwave?
A: Yes, potatoes can explode in the microwave if they are not properly vented or poked with a fork before microwaving. The steam created from the heat of the microwave can cause pressure to build up inside the potato, leading to an explosion.

Q: How can I avoid a potato explosion in the microwave?
A: To avoid a potato exploding in the microwave, make sure to always pierce the potato a few times with a fork before microwaving. This will allow steam to escape during the cooking process and prevent it from building up too much pressure inside the potato.

Q: How long should I microwave a potato for?
A: The amount of time needed to microwave a potato will depend on its size. Generally, it takes about 4-5 minutes for a medium-sized potato, 8-10 minutes for a large potato, and 12-15 minutes for an extra-large potato.

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