Baked Sweet Potatoes

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Learn how to make perfectly baked sweet potatoes with this easy oven method. Wrapping each tuber in foil, then roasting at a moderate temperature ensures a tender flesh and a burst of caramel notes.

Three baked sweet potatoes on a white serving platter

Sweet potatoes provide the indulgence of a dessert with nutritional benefits of a vegetable. Cut the root in half and you’ll see the carotenoid and antioxidant beta-carotene which gives its vibrant carrot-colored pigment. The balance of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and honey-like taste makes it a wonderful side dish or the base of a great entree.

Baked sweet potatoes are a staple in Whole 30 and Paleo diets, great for stuffing, and easy to make in batches for meal prepping. My ideal sweet potato is one that is roasted in the oven then simply topped with salt and pepper to enhance the natural flavors.

Step 1: Selection

Four uncooked sweet potatoes on a cutting board

Make sure to select potatoes that are similar in shape and weight. This helps to keep the cook time consistent. If that’s hard to find, just remove the potatoes that are ready and keep the larger ones in the oven until the flesh is tender.

Step 2: Wrap in foil

sweet potatoes in the process of being wrapped in foil and placed on a sheet pan

To prevent moisture loss and create an evenly roasted spud, it’s best to wrap them individually with foil. Use just enough foil to cover the surface, no need for excessive layers, but make sure they are wrapped up tightly.

Step 3: Roast

Heating causes enzymes in the potato to change the starches into sweet-tasting maltose, at an internal temperature of 135ºF (57ºC). This transformation stops at 170ºF (77ºC), so the longer and more gradual rise in temperature allows more sugar conversion. The result, the sweetest potatoes ever!

I use a moderate temperature of 375ºF (191ºC) throughout the entire cooking process. It takes about 75 to 90 minutes to bake a sweet potato, depending on its size. A little past halfway through cooking, flip the potatoes over. This ensures that both sides get exposure to the oven’s trapped heat for even cooking.

Step 4: Check for doneness

piercing a knife into a baked sweet potato to check for doneness

How do you know when the potatoes are ready? First off, you can smell the caramel aromas filling the kitchen, thanks to the Maillard browning happening inside the fold wrapped tubers. To check for doneness, quickly squeeze the sides of the potatoes, if the surface still feels rock hard with no give, it needs more time. When a fork or knife can easily pierce through to the center of the potato with no resistance, it’s ready to eat.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Fork scooping the insides of a baked sweet potato

The starchy potato root fluffs up easily with a fork, creating and light and creamy texture. I like to just grab a spoon and take big bites of the piping hot potato, it really doesn’t need much extra. This fool-proof method yields the most flavorful potatoes.

BONUS: Toppings

baked sweet potatoes on a plate topped with salt, pepper, and chives

To give this naturally sweetened base an exciting taste, you can top with sauces such as my Coconut curry sauce or Pesto sauce. You can also enhance the flavor by adding browned butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, a touch of brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or my Mexican-inspired quinoa. The flavor combos are endless. This recipe also the perfect base for mashed sweet potatoes. For a Thanksgiving-inspired casserole, you can add chopped nuts or even toasted marshmallows!

Start in a cold oven

Contrary to what is always done in baking or roasting recipes, you don’t need to preheat the oven before adding sweet potatoes. The reason being is that you want to give the enzymes in the potato a longer time to convert the maltose into sugar thus maximizing flavor.

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Baked Sweet Potatoes

Make perfectly baked sweet potatoes in the oven by wrapping them in foil and roasting at a moderate temperature to ensure maximum flavor.
Pin Print Review
4.6 from 10 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Servings 4 people
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes, about 1 pound each

Instructions 

  • Line a large sheet pan with foil.
  • Clean and dry the sweet potatoes, then wrap each one in foil.
  • Place sweet potatoes on the sheet pan and transfer to the center rack of a cool oven.
  • Heat oven to 375ºF (191ºC) and bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour.
  • Flip the potatoes over and bake until they pierce easily in the center with a knife, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size.

Notes

  • When the potatoes are closer to being fully cooked they will start to seep out some sweet juices from the foil and smell caramelized. This is a good indication to start checking for doneness.
  • For a 1 pound sweet potato, it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes of cook time. Adjust timing according to size.

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Nutrition Facts
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
% Daily Value*
Sodium 71mg3%
Potassium 438mg13%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 18445IU369%
Vitamin C 3.1mg4%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Peggy Melzer says

    My husband and I have been instructed by our doctor to not eat any potatoes, rice, bread or pasta. The reason for our restrictions is for us to lose weight. The sweet potato seems to be healthier than a white potato. Do you think the sweet potato is on the do not eat list? We both really love sweet potatoes. Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Peggy- Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, however, if you are looking for weight loss it would be best to consult with your physician.

    • Judy Caywood says

      I just wanted to share for weight loss I have found having your starchy carbs before 2 and then switching to fiberous carbs like lettuce, celery, tomato later in the day I lost any cravings and lost weight. Maybe that will help you too. However I am not a doctor. : O

  2. Paulette says

    I cooked 6 sweet potatoes exactly per your recipe for 4 people and they were devoured in a flash. Sorry no time for pics. Very happy with your scientific explanations for why you do things!

  3. Judy Caywood says

    This sure is pretty and it is nice that it is a sweet potato and that is it. Their built-in sweetness is all we need. Thank you Jessica.

  4. Megan says

    Can I make the sweet potatoes in the instant pot instead of baking them? I saw your mashed sweet potato blog for the instant pot.

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