When the air starts to get crisp in the fall, I start craving two things: a bowl of soup and a big, puffy baked sweet potato. Both are warming, cozy, and healthy. But while making butternut squash soup might be one of my favorite Sunday activities, a baked sweet potato is my weeknight standby. They’re incredibly easy to make, as your oven does 95% of the work. While they bake, you’re free to do as you please! Prep the remaining components of your meal, finish up with the day’s work, or catch up with family or friends. Then, take them out of the oven, top them to your liking, and dig in to a yummy baked sweet potato dinner!
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
For a long time, I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes. When I was growing up, I only ever had them in casserole form, smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar. Turns out, I love sweet potatoes, but I have to prepare them the right way! I like mine puffy, with caramelized edges and a crispy skin. Here’s how I make them:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Use a fork to poke holes into the sweet potatoes, and set them on the baking sheet.
- Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the skin has puffed up and you can easily pierce them with a fork.
The most important thing to note here is that I DON’T wrap them in foil. If you do, the sweet potato flesh will still cook, but the skin will be very moist and almost slimy. In order to get delectable, puffed up crispy skin and caramelization on the outside of each baked potato, place them onto the baking sheet bare!
If you’re in a hurry, you can also roast sweet potato halves for 30 minutes. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, rub them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook cut-side up until lightly browned and tender.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Recipes
Of course, a perfect baked sweet potato with butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of chives is great, but your options for baked sweet potato recipes don’t end there. To make one into a full meal, I like to stuff it with a flavorful veggie filling and a yummy sauce. Find my 4 favorite fillings for stuffed sweet potatoes here, or click the picture below.
If you’re serving your oven baked sweet potatoes as a side dish, pair them with your favorite protein or vegetarian chili. For a topping, stick to butter, Greek yogurt, or sour cream, or try adding a dollop of cilantro lime dressing, tzatziki, chipotle sauce, pesto, or guacamole.
If you have leftover baked sweet potatoes, save the soft flesh for another recipe. I blend it into the frosting of my vegan chocolate cake, transform it into a luscious Alfredo sauce, use it to bind quesadillas, or mix it into hummus!
Do you have any favorite baked sweet potato recipes? Let me know in the comments!