A new microwave pouch called "Potato Express" promises perfectly baked potatoes in just 4 minutes. According to the commercial, the secret is in the unique insulation design of the cotton and polyester bag, which creates a steam pocket to "cook potatoes to perfection." But does it work?
According to the instructions, you can place up to four washed potatoes into the pouch. In our test, the bag could only hold three of the large baking potatoes we used. Insert potatoes, close the flap, then place the bag in the microwave, flap side down and cook for four minutes. The instructions warn: "DO NOT heat on HIGH".
After four minutes, the three potatoes were still hard as rocks and not even too hot to hold. So I popped the pouch back in the microwave for another four minutes, but the potatoes were still under-cooked. That's when I noticed the disclaimer printed at the bottom of the bag: "Cooking times may vary based on microwave power output, and other factors. If needed cook for additional 1-minute increments to achieve perfect results."
The bag also warns: "DO NOT heat in microwave for more than four minutes at a time."
When I tried the Potato Express again with just one large potato, it took seven minutes of cooking, checking, and cooking some more. In the end, Potato Express did do a good job of baking my potato, but it was not faster that my method of rubbing a clean potato lightly with olive oil, cooking for 5 minutes in the microwave, then wrapping the hot potato in foil to retain heat- while I work on the rest of the meal. My five minute, potato came out tender on the outside, fluffy (and done) on the inside with no problem.
Again, the microwave power output could be a factor- and Potato Express is obviously faster than using the oven. Overall, I give it three stars for cooking. Two and a half stars for cooking speed. It's a convenient option for people who have trouble getting a good baked potato by simply putting it on a microwave-safe dish and zapping it. Just remember- the instructions warn only 4 minutes at a time and no high heat.The product sells for $10 at Bed Bath and Beyond and other stores that carry As Seen on TV products.