I have been on a quest to make baked sweet potato fries for several months. Sweet potatoes are a staple in our house, so I am always looking for new ways to make them. White potatoes get nice and crispy in the oven, but sweet potatoes don’t always. I have done absolutely no research on this, but my private theory is that the high amount of sugar in the sweet potatoes makes them burn before they crisp.
I think I have found the method to get mostly crispy sweet potato fries. I have decided that unless I get out the oil and deep fry them, I am never going to get 100% crispiness, but as I said in my post on Roasted Parmesan Potatoes, if I fry anything it will be a doughnut, not a vegetable.
The baking method isn’t hard, and it doesn’t require constant babysitting, unlike baked sweet potato chips. I cut the sweet potatoes into long fries and arranged them in even rows on the pan (this was a little fiddly, but it’s worth it). I drizzled them fairly heavily with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and baked them on the bottom rack of a 400-degree oven, turning them over after 15 minutes. I checked on them after another 10 minutes and they were almost there. A few more minutes in the oven and they were as close to perfection as I think baked sweet potato fries are going to get.
The fries were crispy on most of the outside surfaces, especially on the ends, and soft inside. They had a nicely caramelized, concentrated sweet potato flavor. And they were crispy enough to eat with my fingers, with no hint of flabbiness. Pretty much everything I was looking for in a sweet potato fry. Try them and tell me what you think.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
From The Cook’s Life
4 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, approximately
Cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne powder, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
Peel the sweet potatoes, if desired, and cut them into long strips, like French fries. Try to make them as uniform in size and shape as possible, but don’t make yourself crazy over it.
Arrange the fries on the baking sheet in several rows, lining them up side by side. Try to leave a little space between them. This will help them to cook evenly and make turning them easier later. Put any smaller fries toward the middle of the sheet where they will cook more slowly.
Drizzle the fries with olive oil. Don’t drown them, but do use a couple of tablespoons. Sprinkle the fries with salt.
Place the pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn fries over with a spatula or tongs and return them to the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes. Check the bottoms to make sure they aren’t getting too brown. Turn them again and bake for another 5 minutes if they aren’t crispy and browned. Stay in the kitchen at this point, as they can go from brown to black in minutes. Bake until the fries are well browned and crispy. Sprinkle fries with cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne powder, or all three. Or leave them plain. Serve hot.