How to Cook Sweet Potatoes

Amber Bracegirdle | Bluebonnet Baker

Wondering how to cook sweet potatoes? We’ve got some options for you!

Is there anything better than a food that’s absolutely delicious, plus full of vitamins and minerals? Sweet potatoes, or yams, deserve a spot on your grocery list.

Did you know American yams are a type of sweet potato? It’s true!

How to Bake a Sweet Potato Photo

The U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to call the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes “yams” to differentiate them from the white-fleshed ones known as “sweet potatoes.” Who knew?!

Now that we’ve cleared up years of confusion, let’s cover the various ways to cook all the sweet potatoes!

One of the best ways to enjoy a sweet potato is to simply bake it, slice it open and top it with butter, cinnamon, salt and pepper. You can use your oven or microwave.

How to Bake a Sweet Potato Picture

How to bake a sweet potato in the oven

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Scrub the sweet potato with a brush under cold water until you’ve removed any dirt.
  3. Pat the spud dry with a paper towel.
  4. Rub the sweet potato with butter or oil, if you wish.
  5. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape during baking.
  6. Place your sweet potato on a foil-lined baking sheet. (Oozing will occur during baking, so the foil will help with cleanup.)
  7. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until you can easily stick a fork in the sweet potato.
How to Bake a Sweet Potato Pic

How to bake a sweet potato in the microwave 

Want to quickly make a baked sweet potato? Use your microwave and enjoy the delicious results!

  1. Scrub the sweet potato with a brush under cold water until you’ve removed any dirt.
  2. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
  3. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape during baking.
  4. Place your sweet potato on a microwaveable plate, cover it with wax paper, and heat on high for 5-7 minutes, or until tender.
Smashed Sweet Potatoes Photo

Roasting Sweet Potatoes

This editor has to admit, my favorite way of enjoying sweet potatoes is to roast them at a high temperature in this Easy One-Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables. The caramelized sweet potatoes are as sweet as candy!

Smashed Sweet Potatoes Image
  1. Peel your sweet potatoes and slice them into 1 ½-inch- thick rounds.
  2. Place them in a greased or foil-lined sheet pan with or without other vegetables.
  3. Add olive oil and seasonings.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, flipping over the sweet potatoes at the halfway point.
Parboiled Sweet Potatoes Photo

Boiling Sweet Potatoes

If you’ve made a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving, you know it starts with boiling your spuds. This method also can be used to make mashed sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Tacos Picture
  1. Peel (if desired) and chop sweet potatoes into 1” chunks.
  2. Bring a saucepan 2/3 of the way full of clean, cold water to a boil. You’ll need enough water to cover your potatoes.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
  4. Add sweet potatoes to the water, cover and boil for 15-25 minutes, until they reach the desired tenderness.
  5. Drain and cool.
Parboiled Sweet Potatoes Image

How to Parboil Sweet Potatoes

Parboiling involves partially cooking your sweet potatoes ahead of time so you can later roast, fry or even freeze them. Boil your sweet potato chunks for just 5-7 minutes.

Sweet Potato Sheet Pan Tacos Pic

How to Cook with Parboiled Sweet Potatoes:

  • Season, then roast the sweet potatoes with other vegetables or meats at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
  • Fry, for a different kind of hash or breakfast potato!
  • Stir-fry with soy sauce, oyster sauce, or white wine sauce and other vegetables.

Sauté with chunks of chicken and green beans for an easy one-pan supper

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Sweet Potatoes Recipes

    The most delicious and easy-to-make Instant Pot Candied Sweet Potatoes side dish recipe. Sweet, starchy sweet potatoes mixed with a homemade caramel sauce and chopped pecans make for a must-make Thanksgiving accompaniment!
    Sweet and creamy, these Streusel Topped Sweet Potatoes are loaded with an irresistible crispy oat topping. The perfect toaster oven side dish for your holiday table!
    Made with creamy baked sweet potatoes and hearty tempeh, these BBQ Tempeh Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a quick and easy weeknight dinner for two. Ready in just 35 minutes!
    Roasted Tahini Maple Sweet Potatoes are the perfect side dish when you're cooking up a roasted chicken. They can also be a whole meal! Just add some warm grains and a light dressing.
    Leftover Thanksgiving Enchiladas take your leftover turkey to a whole new level of flavor. The unique combination of turkey, sweet potato, black beans, and cranberries makes for a savory and tangy filling for the spicy dish. It’s the best way to keep Thanksgiving going throughout the weekend!
    Gluten Free Sweet Potato & Sausage Egg Cups are a quick, on-the-go breakfast that everyone will love. They’re great for busy commutes!
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Amber Bracegirdle

About Amber

Amber is a native Texan, born to a family of fabulous cooks. She shares her love of all things Tex-Mex and Southern both on her blog, Bluebonnet Baker, and here on Food Fanatic. She heavily endorses the use of the contraction "y'all".