Baked Sweet Potatoes ♥ Recipe & Temperature

Baked Sweet Potatoes, time and temperature to bake whole sweet potatoes in the oven ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. | roasted sweet potato | how to cook sweet potatoes | great for meal prep | vegan sweet potatoes |
Back to Basics: How to bake whole sweet potatoes in the oven. It's as easy as easy can be: just rub the sweet potatoes with a little oil and bake. (We're baking whole sweet potatoes here, no need for any knife work at all!) This is a great way to cook a lot of sweet potatoes at once, also my favorite way to cook just a couple of sweet potatoes for dinner or for later when the oven is already on. Wonderful for sweet potato meal prep. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

What To Do, What To Do

Awhile back, I needed to cook a pile of sweet potatoes for a recipe calling for cooked sweet potatoes. So many choices! The cooking options were:

STEAMING OR BOILING But all that added moisture would leave the sweet potatoes too wet, even soggy.
MICROWAVE Cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is a smart technique for one or two whole sweet potatoes, not so much for a lot of sweet potatoes.
ROASTING But I didn't want the crispy caramelized edges that develop in the roasting process and besides: all that peeling and chopping, it seemed like unnecessary effort when what I wanted was soft, cooked sweet potato flesh.

Baking Sweet Potatoes Made the Most Sense

So instead, I rubbed an entire trayful of whole sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, then slipped the tray into the oven for an hour. It couldn't have been easier!

The results? I couldn't have been happier. The skins stripped off so easily, no work at all. Inside was just what a sweet potato-lover dreams about: soft, fully cooked, moist sweet potato, such a pretty orange color, not muddled at all! Baked Sweet Potatoes turned out to be the perfect solution!

When to Bake Sweet Potatoes

Ever since, baked sweet potatoes are a staple in my kitchen. Here's when I recommend baking sweet potatoes in the oven:

When you need to cook a lot of sweet potatoes at once, maybe for a large family or a big gathering, maybe for a casserole recipe that calls for a large volume of cooked sweet potato.
When you're short on prep time but have at least an hour before the sweet potatoes need to hit the table.
When your hands are too tired (or perhaps, arthritic? some of my friends are starting to talk about arthritis in their hands ...) to deal with peeling and chopping uncooked sweet potatoes.
When the oven is already on and it's easy to throw in a couple of sweet potatoes to bake at the same time.
When you want the house to smell sweet-potato-good!
When would you bake sweet potatoes? Let me know in the comments!

Baked Sweet Potatoes vs Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Many people love how easy (and delicious) roasted vegetables are. Me too! You too? I think so, readers love my step-by-step, no-recipe tutorial, How to Roast Vegetables.

And really, baking sweet potatoes = roasting sweet potatoes since both methods cook sweet potatoes in the oven at a relatively high temperature. After that, it's word dancing. I call this recipe "Baked Sweet Potatoes" because the sweet potatoes are cooked whole. If I were cutting the sweet potatoes up into wedges or cubes, I'd call them "roasted sweet potatoes". It's a small distinction, perhaps. But it works for me. What about you?

RECIPE for BAKED SWEET POTATOES

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 75 minutes
Bakes 1 to many sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, scrubbed well
Olive oil

Set the oven to 400F/200C. Place parchment, foil or a silicone mat on a baking sheet, this is essential for easy cleanup. With your hands, rub the sweet potatoes with oil, you don't need a lot, just a light rub. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches room between the potatoes. Place in the oven (there's no need to wait for the oven to finish preheating) and bake for 60 minutes plus as many minutes left to complete preheating.

To check for doneness, insert a knife into the center, if it's soft clear through the center, the sweet potatoes are fully cooked. With a knife, cut the length of the sweet potatoes, peel back and discard the skins. At this point, the sweet potatoes are so soft they can be mashed with no more than a fork for something slightly rustic, or use a hand mixer for something that's smoother.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
EASY CLEAN-UP Do line the baking sheet with something. Occasionally, a sweet potato will spew sugary stuff and it will burn. The sweet potato itself is fine but without a lined baking sheet, clean-up is a bear. Yeah. #ExperienceTalking.
SIZE DOESN'T MATTER BUT CONSISTENCY DOES For consistent doneness, choose sweet potatoes of similar size. Yes, you're welcome to join me in the produce department, picking out specific sweet potatoes from the pile of loose sweet potatoes. One good thing about buying a bag of sweet potatoes is that they're often smaller!
EXCEPT AVOID SUPER-LARGE SWEET POTATOES Do watch out (and probably avoid) the giant sweet potatoes found in that pile this time of year, late in the season: at least in my experience, they're often woody in the centers.





HANDY FOR BAKING SWEET POTATOES

(and other vegetables and cookies and ...)

BAKING SHEETS Some times these are called "rimmed baking sheets" (the "rim" is the shallow side wall) or "sheet pans" or even, colloquially, just "cookie sheets" – because, you know, warm cookies right from the oven! But no matter the name, we're talking about flat, aluminum flat pans with shallow sides. (In contrast, a 9x13 pan has higher sides than a baking sheet.) Baking sheets come in three sizes.
FULL SHEETPANS A "full" size sheetpan is a super large baking sheet. You might be tempted to buy a "full" size sheetpan but too bad, a full-size baking sheet is so big it doesn't even fit into a home oven! It's the baking sheet used by bakeries with super large ovens.
HALF SHEETPANS But the "full-size" language is important because it explains why the workhorse sheetpan in home kitchens is called a "half" sheetpan. A half-sheet pan fills an entire rack in a home kitchen's oven, you might even think of it as the "big" baking sheet. It is, indeed, pretty big but technically, it's a "half" sheetpan. I'm a big fan of these American-made half sheet pans by NordicWare. They're heavy, quite inexpensive and last a generation.
QUARTER SHEETPANS I've also become a fan of quarter sheet pans, these come with a lid and are super-useful for small batches for the oven. For example, I use a quarter sheetpan for roasting vegetables for supper for two or three people. Beware, though: while the quarter sheetpan does indeed "fit" in the dishwasher, just once in the dishwasher will ruin the shiny, aluminum finish. It will still bake / roast / etc great, it just won't be as pretty.
SHEETPAN EXTRAS Oh! And I see that NordicWare also separately sells a lid for half sheet pans, this would be so very handy for my Easy-Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake which gets made a day ahead of time and is great for taking to parties, right in the sheetpan! Also handy are pre-cut parchment sheets for half-sheet pans. I haven't yet fixed on a favorite, there are so many options. I do recommend calculating the price per sheet (it varies, widely) and reading the "negative" reviews on the products you're interested in. Right now (January 2019), Amazon's recommended product is not one I'd purchase based on the number of substantive negative reviews.
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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. I have also filled my crock pot with sweet potatoes, started it on high, 1 hour and then switched to low and let it run. About 4 hours does it. If you need them sooner, leave it on high. Another good thing is that they don't overcook if you leave them all day. They come out moist and with a touch of liquid in the bottem of the pot. No rack!

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  2. You can also roast them whole (wrapped in foil) in the crockpot without adding any liquid for several hours. This makes them extra sweet (and saves the oven for other uses, which is useful during holidays)! We adore sweet potatoes here!

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  3. I can never ever get enough of sweet potatoes :)

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  4. Baked sweet potatoes are great. Not only are they a wonderful side dish, but add a little maple syrup to them and them make a pretty good dessert.

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  5. I had some smallish sweet potatoes leftover from the CSA share and baked, peeled, and froze them. Now I'm using them in quick breads (just made a batch of Applesauce Sweet Potato Oatmeal muffins that turned out well).

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. (So sorry, as of 4/23/22, I’ve had to turn comments off to prevent hundreds of spam comments a day. Stupid Spammers.) ~ Alanna