Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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Oven-roasted sweet potatoes with a caramelized crust of flavor. The trick to nailing the perfect taste and texture is easier than you think. Just grab a roll of foil because it will be a game-changer.

Oven roasted sweet potatoes on a white plate.
Table of Contents
  1. How to roasted sweet potatoes
  2. Perfecting the cut
  3. Should the sweet potatoes be peeled?
  4. Keep the seasonings simple
  5. Don’t preheat the oven!
  6. Cover and steam
  7. Then uncover and roast
  8. I serve this with
  9. Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Oven-roasted potatoes are a simple side dish with just a few simple ingredients. The thick rounds of tubers are first tossed in olive oil and savory seasonings. It’s essential that the vegetable is consistent in shape for even cooking.

Covering the slices for the first part of cooking steams the interiors, creating a creamy texture. The final step is to remove the foil to develop the most delicious, naturally sweet, slightly crisp crust. The contrasting textures will have everyone raving about it.

Five sweet potatoes on a table.

How to roasted sweet potatoes

  • Line a large baking sheet with foil and grease with oil.
  • Wash and peel sweet potatoes, then cut them into ¾-inch rounds.
  • Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and seasonings.
  • Place potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Cover potatoes with foil.
  • Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake until the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Flip the potatoes and bake until golden brown on both sides.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, then serve and garnish with thyme.

Perfecting the cut

The easiest way to ensure that the sweet potatoes are cooked consistently, void of undesirable burnt edges, is to cut them into cylindrical pieces. These types of potatoes contain more sugar than typical spuds, so preventing charring is critical.

As long as the thickness is the same from piece to piece, the diameter of the potato can range without much impact on the final taste and texture. A round shape, about ¾-inches thick, provides just the right ratio of creamy interiors to a beautiful golden crust.

Circular slices of sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Should the sweet potatoes be peeled?

Yes! Sweet potatoes have a relatively thin outer skin which can be eaten when roasted. However, caramelization will not occur around the entire potato with the skin left on. For the best eating experience, pull out the peeler when roasting smaller pieces. I prefer to leave the skin on when making whole-baked sweet potatoes.

Keep the seasonings simple

To accentuate the candied-like flavor inherent in sweet potatoes, all that’s needed is garlic powder, salt, and pepper. A toss in olive oil adds a touch of earthiness while preventing some from sticking to the pan. The oil also helps the crust form more effectively towards the end of cooking.

Don’t preheat the oven!

The key to coaxing out more sweetness from the potatoes is to start cooking them in a cold oven. This may sound strange, but it comes down to converting starch to sugars. The goal is to gradually increase the internal temperature of the flesh to allow more sugars to be created. According to Cook’s Illustrated, this change occurs between 135 to 175ºF (57 to 79ºC) and halts past that limit.

Heating the oven to 425 degrees and progressively elevating the temperature guarantees sweeter spuds. Imagine shoving the baking sheet in an already screaming hot oven. The starches would stick around instead of changing. I noticed that after about 30 minutes of roasting, the potatoes already hit the upper limit, and were soft and honeyed.

Roasted sweet potatoes with darken char.

Cover and steam

To extend the sugar conversion process, cook the sweet potatoes tightly covered in foil. This steams them by releasing moisture from their cell walls as they cook. This process eliminates the need to parboil the sweet potatoes before roasting. In 30 minutes, they will soften, but the texture is underwhelming. It’s time for the last phase!

Then uncover and roast

Once the starches convert to a mix of sucrose, fructose, glucose, and maltose from the steaming process. Exposing the slices to the dry heat towards the end of cooking elevates the surface temperatures.

Any sucrose present will begin to caramelize between 320 to 350ºF (160 to 177ºC) and form a wonderful crust. Those caramelized sugars will slightly harden as it cools down, making each bite a bit crisp.

I serve this with

Serving platter of roasted sweet potato side dish.

Watch for the caramelization

The most simple cue is visual change. The surface will go from bright orange to golden brown and look drier. It will be glossy and feel slightly sticky. It’s important to keep an eye on the potatoes as they are flipped. Beyond 350ºF (117ºC), sugars quickly turn deep amber color to a blackened appearance with a burnt flavor.

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Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Oven roasted sweet potatoes with a caramelized crust of flavor. The trick to nailing the perfect taste and texture is easier than you think.
4.79 from 142 votes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American


  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme


  • Prepare the Pan – Line a large baking sheet with foil. Grease with olive oil, spreading into an even layer to prevent sticking.
  • Prepare the Potatoes – Wash and peel the sweet potatoes, trim off the ends, and cut them into ¾" thick rounds.
  • Toss with Seasonings – In a large bowl, evenly coat the sweet potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper, and stir to combine.
  • Roast – Add the slices to the baking sheet in a single layer, then tightly cover with foil. Set the oven rack to the center position. Place the tray inside and heat to 425ºF (218ºC). Roast for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the top layer of foil and discard.
    Continue to roast until the pieces turn golden brown, about 15 to 25 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and carefully flip the potatoes. Finish roasting until the top and bottoms are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Cool the Potatoes – Cool for 10 minutes on the sheet pan before transferring them to a serving platter. Garnish with chopped thyme and serve warm.


Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.
Nutrition Facts
Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 178 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 384mg16%
Potassium 573mg16%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 24132IU483%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* 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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42 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Lucie says

    I tried the recipe yesterday and it was very good. Best sweet potatoes recipe !!
    They burned a little but was still pretty good I will do this recipe again. I will just be more careful with the cooking ??

  2. Lynette says

    Thanks for sharing this roasting tip. It’s a great way to bring out the natural sweetness! I tried lining the sheet with foil to make for easy clean up; I would not do that again because it made flipping the potatos more difficult and some of the yummy carmelization stuck to the foil.

  3. Katie says

    These were soooo good! Had sliced them thinner before I found the recipe but tried the technique of starting them in a cold oven and it really worked to get that creamy interior texture with a caramelized exterior. Tasked like candy with just the natural sugars from the sweet potato. Thanks for this classic recipe!

  4. Fireo says

    Hi, the 30 mins start when the oven reaches the 425oF or since we place them I n the oven? Thanks!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      The oven is not preheated for this recipe. Add the potatoes to the oven, then heat it to 425, cook for 30 minutes. Continue to roast as directed in the instructions.

  5. Denise F Edwards says

    I made these yesterday for company. We all really liked the flavors that the garlic and kosher salt brought out.
    It’s a keeper

  6. Heather says

    Hi, making this recipe in a few days. Just a bit confused about when the 30 minute countdown starts. Is it when you immediately put the potatoes in the non preheated oven or after the oven reaches 425 degrees? Thanks.

  7. Alexandria DaSilva says

    Hi Jessica I want to make this recipe but want to know can I use fresh chopped garlic instead of powder?

  8. Jeffrey Kolitz says

    Anyway, I love this recipe. I use nonstick foil, and they don’t stick, but I was wondering; could one use parchment paper? Have you ever tried that?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can do cubes, but I haven’t tried it yet. I would make sure that they are well coated with oil, and oil the foil as well. I would think that you would need less roasting time once the foil is removed.

  9. Maria says

    This recipe is fool proof and was enjoyed by all at our Canadian Thanksgiving. Finally, a recipe that delivers tender caramelized sweet potatoes. They taste great the next day too!

  10. Kim says

    Hi Jessica,

    I’m actually roasting these right now and I’m a bit confused about the temperature of the oven after the foil comes off. You mention on a side note that above 350 the sugars can burn easily. Mine actually burned a little on the bottom before I flipped them. They still came out delicious! Flavor is perfect and they do caramelize nicely.

    If you could just clarify about whether or not the temp Is supposed to be lowered. Thanks!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You don’t have to reduce the temperature, perhaps just flip a few minutes earlier so it browns less. The burning happens when the temperature of the food goes above 350-degrees, not the oven. It takes some time for the temperature of the potatoes to increase. I hope that helps!

  11. Jenny Sobo says

    We love this recipe! The sweet potatoes are like healthy cookies. We use olive oil, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.

  12. Bernard Iulo says

    Made this dish and it was thumbs up from all and a recipe to repeat!!! Best rating I can get. I did cook the potatoes a bit too long on side on so a lot of caramelizing!! I have a “hot” oven so I should have made a bigger adjustment. Even with that thumbs up and repeat!. Also it was very easy to make. Thanks you for this recipe.

  13. Adele Nelson says

    I’m planning to make these with Thanksgiving dinner. I only have one oven, so will have to make sure I take the turkey out at least an hour before, then cook the sweet potatoes. however the oven will still be warm but will put them in then raise the temperature to 425. Hope that works okay. I can’t wait to try them.

  14. Stella says

    I’m extra excited to prepare this dish!
    Would extra glazing only include more olive oil or additional seasoning as well? Planning on making them the day before and refrigerate overnight. Any tips on reheating since they will already be caramelized?
    Thank you very much for this recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would lightly brush the surface with olive oil, then loosely cover it with foil. Reheat at 350 degrees until warm. Then you can uncover it for a few minutes until the surface gets a little crisp again. Let me know how it goes!

  15. Teresa Feuerstein says

    This sounds like an amazing recipe, I can’t wait to try it. I was wondering, could you add a “shot” of Vermouth to this? My grandmother would make this variation and everyone loved the taste. Please let me know. Thanks.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You could add some vermouth during the first step when you cover the potatoes. This will helps steam it, and may cook it a little quicker. I would check around 20 minutes to see if they have softened. Then continue to cook without the foil on. Let me know how it goes!

  16. Cecilia Duarte says

    This was ridiculously delicious! The natural sugars of the sweet potatoes caramelized perfectly and balanced with the salt and seasonings! Prep was super easy. I actually opted to dice and left the skins on for the extra nutrients they provide. Made sure everything was coated with oil (foil and sweet potatoes) and nothing stuck nor was it greasy. Will definitely be making this again as a go-to dinner side! Did I mention how delicious it was??!!!!

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