Recipe Spotlight

Grilling Potatoes? Jump-Start Them in the Microwave.

Your trusty microwave is the key to perfect grilled potatoes.

Published July 14, 2023.

Grilling season is upon us, so fire up your grill and throw on some . . . potatoes?

Yes, you heard me right: grilled potatoes! Soft and creamy on the inside, crisp and toasty on the outside with just a touch of smoky char, grilled potatoes have become my family’s favorite way to eat America’s favorite vegetable. 

While I’m no novice when it comes to grilling vegetables, I hadn’t ever considered trying potatoes. The high direct heat of the grill—while excellent for adding char and smoky caramelized flavors, and for quickly cooking my favorite tender veggies—seemed like the wrong move for dense, starchy potatoes. Wouldn’t they get burnt to a crisp before they cooked through? And wouldn’t they be a pain to cook, either rolling around if left whole, or falling through the grates if sliced? 

But while developing recipes for our cookbook Five-Ingredient Dinners, I learned a few tips that will make grilled potatoes your family’s favorite too. 


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First, let’s start with the size and type of potatoes. Similarly sized small yellow or red potatoesabout 1½ to 2 inches in diameterare what you want. Sliced in half, these little guys lay perfectly flat across the grill grates with little risk of falling through, and they won't roll around.

But hold onbefore you head outside to the grill, we need to give them a jump start.

Enter my favorite secret weapon: the microwave. (I wrote about a few of the fun and lesser-known things you can do with your microwave here.) Starting dense vegetables such as squash or potatoes in the microwave before transferring them to the oven or grill is a tried-and-true test kitchen method to significantly cut down subsequent cooking times. Microwaving the potatoes for about 6 minutes means that in just 10 minutes on the grill, we’ve got soft and creamy insides and perfectly golden-brown and crispy outsides. 

So fire up that grill, but zap those spuds first!

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Five recipes and five kitchen hacks to make mealtime manageable.

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Pesto

From Five-Ingredient Dinners

Serves 4

Total time: 40 minutes

  • 1½ pounds small (1‐ to 2-inch-wide) red or yellow potatoes, halved
  • 1½ pounds broccolini, trimmed and stems halved lengthwise
  • 3 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved so peppers lay flat
  • 4 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  • ½ cup pesto
  • You’ll also need extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper for this recipe.

1. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in bowl. Cover and microwave until potatoes offer slight resistance when pierced with tip of paring knife, about 6 minutes, stirring halfway through. Drain, if necessary, then toss with additional 1 tablespoon oil.

2. Toss broccolini with 2 tablespoons oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Rub peppers all over with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pinch pepper.

3. Grill peppers and potatoes over medium fire until well browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes, flipping as needed. Transfer grilled vegetables to cutting board and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Add broccolini to now-empty grill and grill until charred and tender, 8 to 10 minutes, flipping as needed.

4. Slice peppers into 1-inch-wide strips then arrange potatoes, sliced peppers, and broccolini on serving platter. Sprinkle with feta and serve with pesto.

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