Perfect Baked Sweet Potato
We enjoy sweet potatoes year round, but when fall hits, it’s really their time to shine. They’re a total superfood (packed with vitamin C and fiber), are delicious sweet or savory, and can add color and variety to your plate. You can roast them, mash them, air fry them… the possibilities are endless. One of our favorite ways to prepare them is to bake them whole in the oven. It’s also arguably the simplest (only the microwave might have it beat), and the most versatile (see below for some recipe ideas). Check out our easy instructions below for baking perfect ones every time.
Wash 'em clean & keep ‘em dry
The worst way to ruin a sweet potato casserole is with a gritty texture. Scrub the skins lightly to get rid of any dirt and soil. If you’re planning on eating the skin, rub them in a small amount of olive oil before baking to crisp them up and add extra flavor.
Wrap your baking sheet, but not your potatoes
Sweet potatoes tend to get a little juicy while baking and these juices can caramelize and be a pain to deal with afterwards. Lining the baking sheet first with foil or parchment ensures an easy clean up. No need to wrap your potatoes in foil though—you want them to really feel that oven heat, rather than steam.
The pricking technique is always used when baking regular or sweet potatoes—the holes help to reduce baking time and ensure the potatoes won't burst during the long bake time by providing steam vents. Speaking of, depending on your oven and size of potato, it will likely take between 45 and 55 minutes to achieve perfect potatoes. Just be patient and test by sticking a knife or fork into the thickest part of the potato. If there’s no resistance, it’s good to go.
Once they're baked you can slice ‘em open, add a big pat of butter and dig right in. If you want to jazz them up, try them topped with everything from BBQ chicken to taco fillings. You can also use the roasty, nutty flesh to make any number of dishes like sweet potato pancakes, sweet potato bread, or even sweet potato gnocchi. Just make sure you mash with a fork or potato masher for the best texture possible.
- 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- Olive oil, optional
- 4 tbsp. butter
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425º. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Rub the outsides with a small amount of olive oil if you intend to eat the skins.
Bake until tender, 45 to 50 minutes.
Let cool, then split the tops open with a knife and top with a pat of butter.
Season with salt and pepper before serving.