Baked sweet potato fries are an easy-to-prepare side dish or appetizer. Adding a seasoned starch coating to the sliced sweet potatoes will give each bite an extra layer of crispy irresistible crunch!
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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 a high enough temperature to kick-start the drying process. Get ready for handfuls of tasty sweet potato fries that will disappear in an instant.
How to make 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
Creating a blend of potato starch with kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder worked well. You can even add some smoked paprika. This process coats the outside of each potato and seasons it simultaneously. It also helps soak up any additional surface moisture to make the fries more crisp.
Mixing the coating in a large bowl 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 olive oil is drizzled on the potato starch-coated fries to prevent sticking on the pan and encourage quicker crust development 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 they hit the oven. However, we 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 placing them on baking sheets in a single layer at an oven temperature of 400°F (204°C) was just the right amount of heat to create crispy, sweet, and savory fries.
Cut the sweet potatoes into finger-length pieces, about 3 to 4 inches long and about ⅜ 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 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 it’s made with just a few simple ingredients and something my entire family enjoyed. I hope you gobble them up just like we did!
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What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and regular potatoes?
Sweet potatoes, which have bright orange-fleshed or cream-colored, are 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.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 400°F (204°C). Line a baking sheet with foil and place it in the oven to heat before roasting the potatoes.
- Prepare the Sweet Potatoes – Peel and cut into 3/8-inch thick and 3 to 4-inch long pieces. Place them in a large bowl.
- Toss with a Coating – In a small bowl, whisk together potato starch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Add spice mixture to the potatoes and toss to mix. Drizzle with olive oil and mix to evenly coat.
- Spread onto the Pan – Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Evenly space the sweet potato fries on the pan so they do not touch.
- Bake – Bake the fries for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip them over and cook until lightly brown and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- To Serve – Enjoy the sweet potato fries hot from the oven. They will not be as crispy once completely cooled.
- Starch Substitute: Cornstarch can be substituted for potato starch. However, it will have a slightly different taste.
- Omit the Starch: 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.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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