How to Bake the Perfect Sweet Potato

Updated 05/09/19
how to bake a sweet potato
Half Baked Harvest

Did you know sweet potatoes may be the ultimate food? It’s one of the best sources of beta-carotene, which loads up our bodies with vitamin A. It also has healthy doses of vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6, biotin, potassium, and fiber. Whether you’re hoping to promote healthy vision, keep stress levels under control, or maintain your blood sugar, sweet potatoes can serve as an excellent dietary supplement. Oh, and they also taste fantastic—whether they’re being eaten on their own or mixed into a favorite recipe.

Baking is an especially great way to bring out the flavor of sweet potatoes. Baked sweet potatoes have a subtle sweetness that complements both sweet and savory recipes, so there are endless ways you can dress up this delicious root vegetable. Ahead discover the secret to baking sweet potatoes for your next gathering or family dinner.

How to Prep

First, preheat your oven to 400°F. There’s some controversy about the ideal temperature, as some experts also recommend baking at 350°F or even 425°F. Any of these temperatures will do the trick, but baking your potatoes at 400°F is a good place to start if this is your first time. At this temperature, you’ll achieve potatoes that are firm on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside. Make sure to wash the potatoes thoroughly, preferably using a vegetable brush if you have one available.

Then, while waiting for the oven to heat up, place your sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and pierce them several times with a fork. The tin foil is important, as it ensures even cooking and keeps the potatoes moist throughout the baking process. Poking holes releases steam to prevent mushiness.

Start Baking

Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, bake your potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour. Baking sweet potatoes brings out their sweetness, so if you prefer to unlock the full flavor, leave the potatoes in the oven for the full hour. If you prefer a more subtle flavor that you can enhance with your own sauces and seasonings, take them out of the oven after just 45 minutes.

After removing your potatoes from the oven, use a knife to make a narrow slit along the top of each potato. Let them cool for five minutes.

To enhance the flavor, you can add butter to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper to your liking. If you prefer sweet over savory, you may opt to season with brown sugar, cinnamon, or even maple syrup. For a savory, Mediterranean-style arrangement, drizzle with olive oil.

Now that you have achieved the perfect sweet potato, it’s time to take it to the next level. Read on for seven healthy sweet-potato recipes to add to your meal rotation.

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