Roasted sweet potatoes are my favorite! They’re pillowy-tender and sweet on the inside, and deliciously salty and caramelized on the outside.
Unlike sweet potato casseroles with marshmallows on top, roasted sweet potatoes have an inherently savory side to them. That’s why I love them.
In fact, I didn’t even like sweet potatoes until I discovered sweet potato fries. Roasted sweet potatoes were just a sidestep away, and they’re certainly healthier than deep-fried varieties. Do you know that sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, plus vitamins A and B6?
Since we’re going back to basics this month, I’m sharing my tested and perfected roasted sweet potatoes recipe. As you’ll see, roasted sweet potatoes make a wonderful side dish, snack or hearty plant-based meal component. Crank up the oven and let’s get to it!
How to Roast Sweet Potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes are easy to make and delicious, if you know these basic tips and tricks.
1) Buy good sweet potatoes.
Look for sweet potatoes that feel heavy for their size, with even skin and no squishy bits. I try to buy sweet potatoes that are more rounded and evenly shaped, which is helpful when it comes to slicing them into even pieces. Store your sweet potatoes in a dry, cool, dark place (like a pantry or cupboard, not the fridge). They should keep for a week or two.
Any variety of sweet potato will work for this recipe. The more colorful your sweet potatoes are on the inside, the more antioxidants they contain—truly! That’s why I always buy orange-fleshed (or occasionally purple-fleshed) sweet potatoes, rather than white. Note that in the United States, “yams” are typically just sweet potatoes by another name (here’s what a real yam looks like).
2) Peel or scrub them clean.
This is up to you. I tend to peel my sweet potatoes out of habit, but you can leave the skin on if you don’t mind some additional texture. If you decide to leave the skin on, be sure to scrub them clean under running water and pat them dry before slicing.
3) Cut them into even cubes, or close to it.
Start by slicing each sweet potato into one-inch wide rounds. Then, cut each round as necessary to make chunks that are roughly one-inch cubes. They won’t be perfectly even, but that’s fine.
4) Don’t overcrowd the pan.
Like all vegetables, sweet potatoes need some breathing room on the pan. Otherwise, the cubes will produce so much steam that they’ll never turn golden on the edges. It’s better to use two pans, arranged on separate racks near the middle of the oven, than to cram too much onto one pan.
Tip: Here are my favorite large, rimmed baking sheets (they’re called half-sheet pans, and that’s an affiliate link). Each of these pans can accommodate up to two pounds of sweet potatoes.
5) Roast at a relatively high temperature, turning halfway.
We want the oven turned up high enough to yield delicious golden edges. Not so high that the olive oil burns, which both smells and tastes bad. I recommend baking at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
6) Don’t stop until deeply caramelized.
If you roast the sweet potatoes long enough, their sugars will start to caramelize against the pan. Those caramelized bits are the best parts! Don’t worry if you see a few spots that look burnt—take it as a sign that your sweet potatoes are done. In all likelihood, the sweet potatoes will still taste great.
Uses for Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes make a great side dish for a wide variety of meals. They’re an especially good option for quick stovetop dinners. Put your sweet potatoes in the oven before you get started on the rest, and they’ll be done around the time your entrée is finished.
As you skim through the suggestions provided below, you’ll see that I love to incorporate sweet potatoes into Mexican (or even Thai) meals. They’re sweet enough to contrast with spicy ingredients, and I can’t get enough.
Perfect Roasted Sweet PotatoesCourse: SidesCuisine: American
Roasted sweet potatoes are truly delicious, and so easy to make! This healthy recipe will become your new favorite side dish. Recipe yields 4 side servings.
2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Optional: 1 teaspoon chili powder or freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Either scrub the sweet potatoes clean and pat dry, or peel them (I generally peel mine). To slice, use a sharp chef’s knife to cut them into 1-inch thick rounds. Then, cut up each round to make 1-inch cubes. The “cubes” won’t be perfectly even, but that’s ok.
- Place the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil on top. If using, sprinkle the chili pepper or several twists of freshly ground black pepper on top, followed by the salt. Toss until the sweet potatoes are all evenly coated in oil, and arrange them in a single layer.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelizing at the edges. Serve while warm. Leftover sweet potatoes will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days. Gently reheat in the microwave or oven if desired.
- EASY DIPPING SAUCE IDEAS: For a snack, I’ll serve these roasted sweet potatoes with ketchup, my shortcut aioli, or spicy mayonnaise (mayo mixed with sriracha, gochujang or hot sauce, to taste).