Baked sweet potato fries are an easy to prepare side dish or appetizer. By adding a seasoned starch coating to the sliced sweet potatoes, each bite will have an extra layer of crispy irresistible crunch!
Baked sweet potato fries are a favorite savory and delicious side dish that’s easy to prepare. You can often find them on restaurant menus, rivaling traditional french fries. The roasted sweet potato slices are a gluten-free healthier alternative to their fried counterparts. The challenge is how to create a similar crisp texture without having to deep fry the potatoes.
Two things help achieve the sought out texture; adding a starch coating and baking the fries at high enough temperature to kick-start the drying process. Handfuls of tasty sweet potato fries will disappear in an instant!
How to make crispy baked sweet potato fries
After testing various batches of sweet potato fries with different coatings or without any at all, I finally found a recipe that adds just the right amount of extra texture. The no-coating method created baked fries that were okay, but not crunchy. If you’re in a hurry, it will still taste yummy, but not as good as it could be.
Potato starch works best
What worked well was to create a blend of potato starch with salt, pepper and garlic powder. This process coats the outside of each potato and seasons it at the same time. It also helps to soak up any additional surface moisture so that the fries bake up more crisp.
Adding the coating is similar to breading chicken before you fry it for more crunch, it would taste good without it, but takes the experience to the next level. I also tested cornstarch, and even though it has a similar crispy texture, there was an off taste that my husband quickly picked up on. The potato starch was a clear winner!
Ready to bake
A little bit of olive oil is drizzled on the potato starch coated fries to prevent sticking on the pan and encourage quicker development of crust on the surface. Melted coconut oil or ghee can also be used as a substitute for olive oil.
I selected an oven temperature that would promote quick drying for crispy fries in a relatively short period, but it didn’t make the sugars in the potatoes burn the minute it hit the oven. We do however want the sugars to lightly break down and caramelize to enhance the sweetness of the potatoes naturally.
Sweet potatoes have a high ratio of sucrose, and caramelization begins at about 320°F (160°C). Therefore a temperature of 400°F (204°C) was just the right amount of heat to create crispy, sweet and savory fries.
Something I learned when I was selecting ingredients is that if you get large sweet potatoes, make sure to cut them into finger length pieces, about 3 to 4 inches long about 3/8-inches wide. Even though longer fries look pretty, they don’t hold their shape. Plus shorter pieces are crisper. If you’re a dip fan, they are perfect with ranch sauce, ketchup, or homemade spicy mayonnaise.
When I was on the Whole30 diet, I obsessively ate a lot of baked sweet potatoes. This baked sweet potato fries recipe is an excellent switch up because its’ made with just a few simple ingredients and something my entire family enjoyed. I hope you gobble them up just like we did!
What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and regular potatoes?
Sweet potatoes, may it be bright orange-fleshed or the cream-colored variety have become the star stud on the plate. They’re considered waxy potatoes because of the high starch content and the flesh flakes when baked. They contain more moisture and sugar (in particular sucrose) than other types of potatoes and can brown quicker under high heat due to the sugar caramelizing in the flesh. Keep a close eye on the baking time when roasting sweet potatoes to prevent burning.
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Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 400°F (204°C).
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place in oven to heat before roasting the potatoes.
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 3/8-inch thick and about 3 to 4 inch long pieces. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together potato starch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
- Add spice mixture to the potatoes and mix to evenly coat.
- Drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes and mix to evenly coat.
- Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Evenly space the sweet potato fries on the pan so they do not touch.
- Bake fries for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the fries over and cook until lightly brown and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Enjoy the sweet potato fries hot from the oven. The fries will not be as crispy once completely cooled.
- Cornstarch can be substituted for potato starch, however, will have a slightly different taste.
- Potato starch can be omitted altogether. However, the outside surface will not be as crispy.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30: Use sea salt instead of kosher salt.
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