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A plate of crispy sweet potato oven fries with parmesan and thyme at lynnecurry.com.

5 Dos and Don’ts for Crispy Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Sweet potato oven fries are something everyone seems to agree on. They’re as irresistible as a side dish or as a snack on their own

And using the oven is a handy trick to make a batch whenever the craving hits. For me, this is several times a week.

A lot of people have trouble getting them crisp. I learned this first hand when I posted a photo of this salt-seared burger on instagram and the sweet potato oven fries got all the attention.

Some bloggers have tricks for getting them as crunchy as deep fried, like:

While those methods work, you can get crispy sweet potato fries without taking extra steps.

Sweet Potato Varieties

There are different varieties of sweet potatoes sold–and generally lumped together at the store. {Mind you, even those labeled yams are actually sweet potatoes.}

Generally, there are either orange-fleshed with a copper skin and cream-fleshed with a taupe skin–at least where I shop.

The orange-fleshed sweet potatoes have a higher water content, and I find they’re best for baking whole. For sweet potato oven fries, I choose the cream-fleshed variety.

A plate of crispy sweet potato oven fries with parmesan and thyme at lynnecurry.com.

They tend to crisp up better in the heat of the oven.

They also tend to be more even in shape, more slender and long, so they’re easier to cut into the french fry shape called bâtonnet. Of course, you can also slice them into rounds.

Here is a list of dos and don’ts I’ve discovered from batches and batches of homemade sweet potato oven fries. {BTW, these principles apply to regular oven fries, too.}

Oven Fry “Dos”

  1. Choose sweet potatoes that are long and tapered (rather than plump) for the most even cuts & cooking.
  2. No matter the fry shape you choose, make the cuts fairly thin (about 1/2 inch max.)
  3. Preheat the baking sheet in a 400-degree F oven for best browning.
  4. Toss them with the oil so they are evenly coated on all surfaces.
  5. Give them enough space to feel the heat from the oven on all sides.
An overcrowded pan of sweet potato fries at lynnecurry.com.
This sheet pan of sweet potato fries is a bit overcrowded for optimal browning and crisping.

Don’ts

  1. Never crowd the pan. I made this mistake a lot before I realized that I had to give them lots of elbow room so they wouldn’t steam.
  2. Don’t check the fries too often by opening the oven and letting the intense heat escape.
  3. Don’t turn them before they brown on the side in contact with the sheet pan.
  4. Don’t worry if the fries look a little dark in spots. These tubers have much more sugars than white potatoes.
  5. Don’t expect sweet potato fries to be as crispy as regular fries. Even deep fried, sweet potato fries are a different animal. {I mean fry.}
A sheet pan of well spaced sweet potato oven fries at lynnecurry.com.
Spaced out fries get more browned and crispy.

One Final “Do”

While they’re completely delectable with oil and salt, sweet potatoes seem to invite warming spices, like cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne and a host of other seasonings before baking.

A plate of crispy sweet potato oven fries with parmesan and thyme at lynnecurry.com.

For this batch, I doused them with fresh thyme leaves and grated hard cheese after they came out of the oven.

They made a perfect late working lunch for one.

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A plate of crispy sweet potato oven fries with parmesan and thyme at lynnecurry.com.
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Sweet Potato Oven Fries

This recipe highlights the techniques I use to get sweet potatoes crisp in the oven. I've been making these two to three times a week to eat with roast chicken, salmon burgers or on their own topped with fresh thyme and Asiago. I can't seem to get enough!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sweet potato, cut into french fry shape about 2 medium
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated hard cheese, such as Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven with a sheet pan set on the upper rack to 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes while you prep the potatoes.

  2. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and salt in a bowl and spread out in a single layer on the hot sheet pan so that none are not touching. 

  3. Roast without moving for about 8 minutes, then turn with tongs and continue cooking for 8 minutes more. Turn once again and roast until golden brown overall, about 5 minutes more. 

  4. Season with additional salt to taste. Mound on a plate and sprinkle with the thyme leaves and parmesan, if desired, before serving.

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