If you like your sweet potatoes golden brown and crispy, roasting them in the oven is the most effective cooking method. But with so many different baking techniques to choose from, it’s hard to decide which method is the quickest, easiest and tasiest.
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The first step is to zero in on the reason you’re using the root vegetable. If you’re serving it as a steakhouse-style side, consider baking the sweet potato whole and loading it with a smattering of toppings. You also can slice the vegetable into cubes before baking and use the chopped sweet potato in a hash, grain bowl or salad.
How to bake a whole sweet potato
When a perfectly grilled steak or roast chicken is on the menu, no side comes to mind more readily than a perfectly baked potato. When you think about a baked potato, you likely envision a russet or Yukon Gold potato sliced open and piled high with sour cream, chives, bacon, cheese and more. But you can achieve a similar effect with a sweet potato.
If you opt for a sweet potato, the baking process isn’t that different from cooking a white potato. Preheat the oven to 425F. Because sweet potatoes are so firm, they need a high heat and longer cooking time than softer varieties of spuds.
Wash the potatoes, then use a fork to puncture holes into the top of the veggie. This gives the steam that builds up while baking a way to escape. Skipping this step can result in a potato explosion — and no one wants to clean that up.
Although some people may recommend wrapping your sweet potatoes in foil before placing them in the oven, it isn’t necessary. It traps the moisture and can make the skin of the potato soft instead of crispy.
Bake the sweet potatoes for about 40 minutes or until tender. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them down the middle and load them up with your desired toppings. You can also eat it plain with a pat of butter, salt and pepper, as the recipe below suggests.
Baked Sweet Potato
- 4 rubbed sweet potatoes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425F.
Step 2: Add four sweet potatoes to a pan lined with foil. Poke holes in the top of each sweet potato with a fork.
Step 3: Bake sweet potatoes for 40 minutes or until tender.
Step 4: Let sweet potatoes cool for about 10 minutes. Slice potatoes down the center with a knife and add a tablespoon of butter to each.
Step 5: Season with salt and pepper.
How to roast cubed sweet potatoes
Cubing and roasting sweet potatoes is perhaps the most popular way to enjoy the root vegetable; it’s how it makes appearances on most Thanksgiving tables. It’s also great if you want to dip the sweet potatoes in ketchup or other condiments.
Like baking sweet potatoes whole, this process can take up to 40 minutes. But if you want to expedite things, try blanching the sweet potatoes first. Start by cubing the potatoes while you’re waiting for a pot of water to boil. Each cube should be the same size so they cook evenly; not doing so is one of the biggest cooking mistakes.
Once the water is boiling, sprinkle salt into the pot and add the sweet potatoes. Keep the potatoes in the boiling water for about three to five minutes. At this point, the sweet potatoes will be tender but not soft. Immediately drain the sweet potatoes and put in a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking process. Once cooled, drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the potatoes in olive oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika, pepper and other seasonings you prefer. Add the potatoes to a foil-lined baking sheet and cook until golden brown. Serve the potatoes alongside a salad, steak, baked chicken and more for an easy dinner perfect for busy weeknights.
Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 6 cups cubed sweet potatoes (about 3 large sweet potatoes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400F.
Step 2: Toss 6 cups cubed sweet potatoes with 1/4 cup oil in large bowl.
Step 3: Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Step 4: Toss again to coat well.
Step 5: Spread in a single layer on foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.
Step 6: Roast 35 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through cooking.