Baked Sweet Potatoes turn out perfectly tender EVERY time with this easy cooking method. Their natural sweetness and creamy interior make them a delicious addition to your next meal!
Baked sweet potatoes are a comforting vegetable to add to your meal prep routine, especially when it’s cold outside. They make an easy side dish and can be used in a variety of different ways throughout the week.
Tips for Choosing Sweet Potatoes
When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for ones that are firm with relatively smooth skin. Avoid sweet potatoes that have soft spots (they shouldn’t give when you squeeze them) because that’s a sign they’ve gone bad.
When you want to bake several potatoes at once, it’s important that you choose ones that are relatively the same size (within an ounce or two of each other by weight) and it’s best if they have a similar shape.
Narrow sweet potatoes will cook faster than ones that are thick or wide, so if you pick several that are the same shape, you’ll get the most consistent results. (If you can’t find potatoes that are a similar shape, just let the wider/thicker potatoes cook for a little longer in the oven.)
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
Preheat your oven to 425ºF. This is the perfect temperature for baking sweet potatoes that are sweet and tender on the inside, without a starchy texture.
Start by scrubbing the potatoes under running water to remove any dirt, then dry them with a towel to remove all of the moisture. Carefully pierce each sweet potato several times in the center to vent. I think it’s easiest to use a sharp knife, but a fork will work as well.
Update Note: I recently learned that you don’t have to poke holes in a sweet potato before baking it. If you skip this step, the potato will not explode in the oven and it won’t have quite as much “ooze” release during the baking process. (If you’re attempting to microwave a potato, however, I’d be more nervous to skip this step.)
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and use your hands to rub the oil evenly, all over the outside of each sweet potato.
Place the pan of sweet potatoes in the preheated oven and let them bake on the parchment-lined baking sheet for 45 to 60 minutes. Sweet potatoes that are not too thick and roughly 8 ounces in weight should be ready in about 45 minutes, but larger ones will take longer.
Feel free to err on the longer side of cooking, because it’s difficult to over-cook the inside of a sweet potato. I usually assume my potatoes will take 60 minutes to cook and always start with that amount of time, because I like them to be very tender inside.
You’ll know the sweet potatoes are done when they smell fragrant (your whole kitchen should smell good!) and a fork can easily slide in and out of the center.
If you keep an instant-read meat thermometer on hand, you can be sure by making sure the internal temperature of the sweet potato reaches at least 205ºF in the thickest part. Reaching an internal temperature of 210ºF is even better!
Serve baked sweet potatoes warm with any toppings you love, like butter, sour cream, green onions, salt, and pepper. Or sprinkle a little brown sugar and cinnamon on top for a sweet flavor.
Baked sweet potatoes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
You will consistently get good results when you bake sweet potatoes at 425ºF. Potatoes baked at 400ºF tend to have a slightly more stringy, less creamy interior, even if you add 10 minutes to the baking time. Potatoes baked at 450ºF start to blacken on the outside of the potato, and the interior results didn’t seem much better when compared to the potatoes baked at 425ºF, so the middle-temperature range will give you the best results.
No, wrapping a sweet potato in foil will not make the sweet potatoes cook any faster (or better) and the skin will be wet and soggy when you remove the foil. Skip this step and simply use a piece of parchment paper on the pan for easy clean-up later.
Typically holes are poked into a sweet potato to prevent a potato exploding in your oven. However, the chance of that happening is low, and according to Lifehacker, sweet potatoes will retain more flavor if you don’t poke them. I tested this theory right away and found that flavorwise it didn’t make a huge difference. But, my potato did not explode while roasting in the oven so I think the choice is up to you.
Perfectly Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 8 to 12 ounces each)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub the sweet potatoes under running water to remove any dirt, then dry them well with a towel.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork or knife to vent, then rub them with a bit of olive oil, using about a 1/2 teaspoon of oil per potato. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. (If you plan on eating the sweet potato skins, feel free to sprinkle them generously with salt.)
- Bake at 425ºF for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a fork can be easily inserted into the thickest part of the sweet potato. Potatoes that are 8 ounces or smaller should be done in 45 minutes, but larger potatoes will take at least 60 minutes. Err on the side of over-baking if you don't like the potatoes to be firm in the center.
- Let the sweet potatoes cool briefly on the pan, then slice and serve warm with any toppings you love. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you try this baked sweet potato recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.