How to cook sweet potatoes in oven

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Roasted sweet potatoes make a delicious side dish throughout the year and these simple are an all-time favorite!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes make a quick and easy side dish perfect the whole family loves! //

Sometimes, the simplest of recipes are the ones that are the most requested at my house. Like these humble roasted sweet potatoes. There is seemingly nothing all that special about them, but they have this amazingly crisp exterior while still having a soft and tender inside. It is like the best of all worlds between sweet potato french fries and a baked sweet potato!

To make them, I start by preheating my oven to a piping hot 500º F. This ensures they potatoes will cook quickly and give us that crispy exterior that we love in these roasted sweet potatoes.

While the oven is preheating, I scrub my potatoes clean and then dry them with paper towels. Do you prefer your potatoes peeled?  At this step, you can peel your sweet potatoes if you do. But, I’m going to just go ahead and say it. I’m usually rushing against the clock to get supper on the table and I usually skip the whole peeling part.

Once I have my potatoes cleaned and dried (and peeled, if you are peeling them), I quickly cut up my sweet potatoes and toss them onto the roasting pan. Once I have all of my potatoes cut and onto the pan, I drizzle them well with olive oil and then sprinkle on my salt and pepper.

Then, I just use my hands and toss the potatoes to make sure they are well-coated in the oil and salt and pepper and distributed in an even layer on the sheet pan. I pop them into the oven and let the magic happen.

Here’s how I make my Roasted Sweet Potatoes. I think you’ll love them as much as we do!

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review »

  • 2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper

  1. Clean and dry sweet potatoes and peel, if so desired. Cut sweet potatoes into large chunks and place onto a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Toss potatoes to make sure well coated with oil, salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven to bake until fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Enjoy! Robyn xo

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Instant Pot Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato next to instant pot

In full disclosure, I am not as impressed with the process of making Sweet Potatoes in the Instant Pot as I am with making Baked Potatoes in the Instant Pot.

With russet potatoes, I can have baked potatoes in less than 15 minutes cook time (and in less than 30 minutes total time.)

So I expected this to be true with sweet potatoes. After all, I can often bake a sweet potato in the oven quicker than a russet potato.

BUT in the Instant Pot, sweet potatoes take time to get their soft, velvety interior. DOUBLE the time a russet potato takes.

Instant pot with text overlay saying let's rock your instant pot with step by step recipes, troubleshooting advice, and pressure cooker tips with button to subsribe to get cooking

How to Make Sweet Potato Puree

  1. Cook Sweet Potatoes in Instant Pot as directed
  2. After sweet potatoes have cooked, allow to cool until cool enough to handle.
  3. Remove skin from sweet potatoes by peeling with hands or peeler. Another option would be to cut sweet potatoes in half and scoop out inside.
  4. Mash cooked sweet potato with fork, potato masher, or in a blender or food processor for extra smooth puree.
  5. Use in recipes like Sweet Potato Casserole or Sweet Potato Burritos.

How to Freeze Sweet Potato Puree:

  1. Follow steps on how to make sweet potato puree.
  2. Let cool and then place by 1-2 cup amounts into freezer safe bags or containers.
  3. Thaw in refrigerator for 12-24 hours before using.

Notes on Cooking Sweet Potatoes in the Instant Pot:

  • Is it time saving to cook your Sweet Potatoes in Instant Pot? Not as much as you would think. To reach pressure you are looking at about 12 minutes, to cook about 22 minutes, and to release pressure another 10 minutes. Total time is therefore just about 45 minutes. However, if you were to cook a sweet potato in the oven it would take about 45 minutes to cook properly at 400 degrees and it does take about 10-15 minutes to reach oven temperature to 400 degrees.
  • So when is it worth making Sweet Potatoes in Instant Pot over Oven? I think it is a smart idea to use your Instant Pot to cook sweet potatoes when you need oven space or when it is hot outside and you don’t want to heat your house. Otherwise, plan to bake sweet potatoes when you are baking something else in your oven.
  • What is the texture like of sweet potatoes cooked in Instant Pot? Fluffy and creamy–the sweet potatoes almost melt in your mouth.
  • Do you have to use your trivet? YES!! The trivet prevents the potatoes from getting watery;
  • Do you have to add water to bottom of Instant Pot? Yes, that moisture allows the pressure to build up in your instant pot.
  • Do you have to use cold water in your Instant Pot? Yes! If you start with warm water, the cooking time will vary and that may result in under or over-cooked sweet potatoes.
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Tips and Trouble-Shooting Cooking Sweet Potatoes in the Instant Pot:

  • I have tested this recipe out with 4, 6, and 8 sweet potatoes. All cooking times remained the same.
  • I would not recommend cooking more than 8 potatoes at a time. Doing so, would overcrowd your Instant Pot and therefore would cause it to take forever to reach pressure.
  • In all my tests, it has never taken longer than 12 minutes to reach pressure for this recipe.

More Instant Pot Recipes

Recipe for Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes

  • 4-8 sweet potatoes scrubbed clean
  1. Place 1 cup of water in bottom of Instant Pot Pan. Add trivet to pot.

  2. Place potatoes on trivet and seal the Instant Pot. 

  3. Cook for 18 minutes for small potatoes, 22 for standard, 27 for large. 

  4. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing pressure manaually. 

It should take 10 minutes to reach pressure, 22 minutes to cook and 10 minutes before you release pressure, leaving this at 42 minutes total. 

Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes Total Carbohydrates 16g 5% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

My Must Have Instant Pot Accessories

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe:

These easy roasted sweet potatoes are made with just 5 ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes. Versatile enough to eat for any meal of the day!

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced into small chunks
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt, to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Toss diced sweet potato chunks with the remaining ingredients in a bowl until everything is oily and coated
  3. Spread out on an even layer on a baking sheet
  4. Roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip and stir
  5. Roast an additional 10-15 minutes, until the edges start to blacken slightly and crisp, but are not burnt

by Joy Shull

Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave me a star rating below!

Yam vs. Sweet Potato

First things first: A yam is not a sweet potato, and a sweet potato is not a yam.

Sweet potatoes and yams are from two different plant families. Sweet potato skin and flesh come in a variety of colors, but most people are familiar with the red skin/orange flesh combo.

Yams often have dark brown, bark-like skin (they can also come in purple), with white flesh that’s firmer and starchier than sweet potato flesh, which is more moist and sweeter.

Yams are generally imported to the U.S. from Africa and Asia and are usually found in specialty grocery stores, rather than your market down the street.

So why do people use the terms interchangeably? The most common theory is that in the 1800s, sweet potatoes were called “yams,” short for “nyami,” the African word for “to eat.”

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Sweet Potato chunks on cutting board

How to Buy, Store, and Prep Sweet Potatoes

How long do sweet potatoes stay fresh? How can you spot a “good” one? Here are the sweet potato basics you need to know.

Buying Sweet Potatoes

  • Look for firm sweet potatoes with clean, relatively smooth skin.
  • Avoid potatoes that are soft or have brown/black spots.

Storing Sweet Potatoes

  • At room temperature, sweet potatoes will most likely last 1 to 2 weeks. Ideally, store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark, well-ventilated space; they can be safely stored this way for 3 to 4 months.
  • Don’t refrigerate them, because cold temperatures will convert the potatoes’ starch into sugar, which may affect the flavor.

Prepping Sweet Potatoes

  • Wash them right before you cook with them. Don’t wash them sooner — water may get trapped in the eyes of the potato and make it musty or moldy.
  • Use a food-safe scrub brush — not the same one you use to clean around the house, obviously — to dislodge any dirt.
  • If your sweet potatoes have “eyes,” or sprouts, don’t toss them — just scoop them out with a peeler or knife.

Woman putting food in oven

For optimal texture, baking sweet potatoes in the oven — or toaster oven, if you’re only making one or two — is your best bet.

How to Bake Sweet Potatoes in the Oven

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet.
  3. Pierce each sweet potato three to four times with a fork.
  4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender.

Pro tip: If you want to get fancy, cut your sweet potatoes into small cubes and toss them with oil, herbs, and spices before you roast them. Or slice them and spice them for homemade sweet potato fries.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave

Note: While you can cook a sweet potato in the microwave, it may cook unevenly and the result can be a gummy-like texture if you get the timing wrong.

Depending on how fancy/not fancy your microwave is, you may want to experiment with cooking times until you get your preferred texture. But in general:

  1. Place sweet potatoes on a microwavable plate.
  2. Pierce each sweet potato three to four times with a fork.
  3. Microwave on HIGH for 5 to 8 minutes, rotating halfway through.

How to Bake Sweet Potatoes in Foil

When you bake a sweet potato in foil, it traps the potato’s moisture — so it’s more like steaming it than baking it.

This can leave you with slightly soft potato skins, but it’s great in a pinch — for example, if you’re cooking a big meal and your oven is already full.

If you wrap each potato in aluminum foil, you can place them right on the rack around or between large pans that hog precious oven real estate.

Cooking a sweet potato in foil is the same as baking it on a sheet:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Pierce each sweet potato three to four times with a fork. Wrap each individually in foil.
  3. Place directly on the oven rack and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender.

Mashed sweet potatoes in a pot

Healthy Sweet potatoes

Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, they are also super healthy! Just take a look at all the nutritional benefits you will get from munching on these:

  • You only need to eat 1/4 of a potato to get your daily intake vitamin A.
  • They are lower in calories but very filling. One sweet potato only contains about 104 calories. This is great news for people who are looking to shed a few pounds!
  • They help maintain lower blood pressure while protecting against certain types on cancers.
  • They are packed with potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
  • They are high in fiber, which is good for digestion and to lower blood glucose levels in people who suffer from diabetes.

How to bake sweet potatoes

Cooking sweet potatoes in the oven is very easy! Brush the exterior with a little olive oil, place them on a cooking tray and bake at 400ºF for 40-50 minutes. Test their doneness by sticking a fork or knife in the center. Turn the oven off and leave them in for an additional 10-15 minutes for best result.

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Baked sweet potato recipes:

How to boil sweet potatoes

This is for 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 3 cups, chopped).

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bit size cubes. Fill a pot half full of water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and add sweet potatoes. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Drain well and let cool for a few minutes before using.

For mashed sweet potatoes, boil for an additional 5-1o minutes, until very tender. Drain well, transfer back to the pot and mash using a potato masher or a fork.

bowl of tomato soup with chives

Boiled and mashed sweet potatoes recipes:

How to Steam Sweet Potatoes

Fill the bottom of a steamer with about 2-3 inches of water. Peel sweet potato and slice into 1-inch thick pieces. When the steamer is ready, add pieces, cover and steam for 7-10 minutes, or until the potato slices are tender.

Steamed sweet potato recipes:

How to cook sweet potatoes on the stove (pan fry)

Chop the sweet potatoes into bite size pieces. In a pan over medium high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (or other oil) and when the oil is hot, add potatoes. Sautee for 8-10 minutes, until the outside is a caramel/dark orange color and the inside is tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Sautéed sweet potatoes recipes:

How to cook sweet potatoes in the microwave

Prick holes throughout the sweet potatoes using a fork and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Flip it over and microwave again for 4 minutes. Check the doneness by piercing the potato with a knife. If it goes through easily it’s ready, otherwise microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes.

How to Make Sweet Potato Fries

These directions are for 1 pound of sweet potatoes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cut the potatoes into matchsticks – about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on top. You can use all kinds of seasoning to play with the flavors here. I like to add a little cumin and chili powder and plenty of ground black pepper!

Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil and spread the sweet potatoes, laying flat. You may need two baking trays for this. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.

How to Make Candied Sweet Potatoes

Recipe is below!


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons 100% orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Peel the potatoes, slice it in half lengthwise and chop into 1-inch thick pieces.
  3. Put the potatoes in a pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 7 minutes.
  4. Drain and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer sweet potatoes to a baking dish and lay them flat.
  5. Put sugar, maple syrup, orange juice, butter and olive oil in a microwave safe container and zap for 15 second. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Microwave for an additional 5-10 seconds if the sugar isn’t melting.
  6. Pour sugar mixture over the potatoes and bake for 30 minutes, until sauce is thicker and bubbly. Serve.

How do I roast sweet potatoes in the oven?

First thing to roasting these sweet potatoes in the oven is getting them prepped. 

  • Peel the potatoes.
  • Cut into 1 inch cubes. 
  • Drizzle with olive oil. Stir to make sure the potatoes are coated in the oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and seasonings.

How do I make roasted sweet potatoes crispy?

  1. Roast them at a high heat. To make the sweet potatoes crisp up we will be roasting them at 425 degrees. Roasting them at a high heat gives that almost caramelized coating to the potato.
  2. Ensure that the sweet potatoes are coated in the olive oil.
  3. And most importantly, stir the sweet potatoes halfway through the bake time to help all the sides get crispy. 

Peeled and chopped sweet potatoes ready to be roasted, coated with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and herbs.

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