Can you barely fry an egg? Toast bread? Congrats on checking out Chowhound then. While most of you are beyond microwave meals, even experienced cooks need to be reminded of the fundamentals. From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from something raw to something cooked using simple ingredients, free of measurements and complicated techniques. A method that you can have in your back pocket and whip out whenever you like. We call it recipe-free cooking.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Fork and knife
  • Tongs or an oven mitt
  • (Optional) sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives


  1. Scrub the potato under running water to get rid of any residue. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Rub with olive oil to taste—we recommend about using a couple teaspoons.
  3. Using a fork, pierce the potato a few times on each side (top, bottom, left, right) to let the steam out during baking.
  4. Microwave on high for five minutes.
  5. Using tongs or an oven mitt, flip the potato.
  6. Microwave on high for another 5 minutes.
  7. Stab the potato with a fork to check if it’s done. You’ll know it’s done when the fork slides in easily, but the center is still a little firm.
  8. Let the potato rest for three minutes. The center will finish cooking and the outside will start to cool.
  9. Cut the potato in half and add any additional toppings you desire, such as sour cream, chives, or cheese.
  10. Let cool and serve!
See more articles