Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries can be tricky. I learned this when my friend Amberly challenged me to develop a baked fry recipe for the sweet potatoes her family grows in Central California. After a WHOLE BUNCH of trial and error, I can share these sweet potato fry-baking tips with you.
There are several varieties of sweet potatoes, but really two types: orange or white flesh. Orange sweet potatoes are dense, velvety on the inside and sweeter. White sweet potatoes are starchier and more like “standard” potatoes. In either case, sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index and higher in vitamin density than other potatoes. That’s why they are included in the Paleo diet and other low-carb diets. This recipe works with either type. (Also, sweet potatoes and yams are NOT the same thing. But that’s a post for another day.)
Let’s talk about cutting the fries. I cut mine about 1/4 inch by 1/2 inch wide. You can leave the peel on or remove it – I usually peel the potatoes because some of the skins can get a little tough. I find it’s easiest to make one cut through the center of the sweet potato lengthwise, so I have flat surface. Then I make 1/4 wide slices from each half, and then cut those into fry strips. If I have some pieces left that are too small for fries, I throw those in a bag in the freezer for my next pot of soup or stew.
You can cut extra fries and pop them in the freezer for your next batch too. If you’re using frozen fries, make sure they are fully thawed to room temperature, then use paper towels to dry them before coating. Frozen fries lose some moisture when they thaw, so they can cook a little faster. Check them about 5 minutes earlier than fresh fries.
Tips for success with Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries:
- Potato starch provides the best results and is considered a “clean” ingredient, and is also grain-free. Cornstarch will also work, so I’ve listed it as an option. Tapioca starch produces a gummy exterior on the baked fries.
- Fries won’t cook properly with silicone or similar pan liners. Parchment will work, but best results were from baking directly on a greased sheet pan.
- Crowding the pan with too many fries or allowing fries to overlap will produce soggy results. You’re better off doing two pans.
- A hotter oven will produce scorched fries. Lower temps will not crisp or pass the “stand up” test.
- Fries really do need to cool 3-5 minutes (minimum) on the sheet pan.
- Frozen potatoes should be fully thawed to room temperature and patted dry. Potatoes that have been frozen may cook faster because of moisture loss.
If you love sweet potatoes, check out my Honey BBQ Baked Sweet Potato Chips and this recipe for Sweet Potatoes with Gingersnap Cranberry Crumble. The gingersnap cranberry recipe is one we developed for Food Network, when we made the World’s Largest Sweet Potato Casserole. Yes, that happened.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 lb fresh-cut Sweet Potato Fries
- 3 TBSP potato starch or cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2-3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spray a sheet pan liberally with non-stick pan spray. Set aside.
- Combine the potato starch, sea salt and paprika in a shallow dish (a 9x9 baking pan works well). Set another shallow dish next to the one containing the starch mixture.
- Toss the fries in the starch mixture to fully coat (this may work best in 2-3 batches) and place them in the clean dish. Drizzle the oil over the fries and toss to fully coat.
- Arrange the fries in a single layer on the sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Use a flat spatula to flip the fries, and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until fries are crispy with a golden exterior.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 3-5 minutes. Season with additional sea salt if desired, and serve.
Photo courtesy of Mininger Foods, my favorite sweet potato farmer!