Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

In order to identify which allergens are causing my baby to breakout in the worst eczema you have ever seen, I have been on phase one of Dr. Sears Elimination Diet since February 24, 2011. It’s a long story, so for the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that all I’ve been able to eat are the least allergenic foods from each food group - pears, brown rice, zucchini, free range turkey and lamb, potatoes and sweet potatoes. (I can also cook with olive oil and spice with salt and pepper.)

Because sweet potatoes have more health benefits over a potato (and potatoes are linked to other skin issues like psoriasis) I choose sweet potatoes - almost everyday.  So when I share what I’ve learned about how to bake the best possible sweet potatoes oven fries without a batter, I kind of know what I’m talking about. J So let me share what I’ve learned.

A yam is a sweet potato and a sweet potato is a sweet potato. For the most part yams are not sold in the US. A yam has more starch, sugar and density.

Large sweet potatoes tend to be more dense than small ones so even if a large one is cut into pieces that are the same widths and lengths as the fries cut from a small one, the larger sweet potato will take longer to cook and will also render a *crisp fry.

*I use the word “crisp” hesitantly because although it is possible to achieve a crisp bite with a sweet potato it, still cannot technically be called “crispy”. The water content in sweet potatoes just doesn’t allow that to happen and that is why my three year old affectionately calls Sweet Potato Oven Fries,
Squishy Phings!

If you want to achieve the highest crisp possible:
1)-      Do NOT transfer your sweet potato fries to a paper towel after they have cooked. Either let them cool on the pan or transfer them to a wire rack.
 2)-      Washing, rinsing or soaking your sweet potato in ice or hot water before your bake them does NOTHING to help make your fries become crispy – in fact it may make them more limp.

If you are lucky enough to get a crisp fry, it will only be on the outside crust. You need to know that or you may get really frustrated trying to get the whole thing crisp.

I lied - you can get a crispy fry all the way through – but it’s generally gross because it’s BURNED. J

For best results I’ve found that sweet potatoes that weigh near or over 1 lb make the best fries. You also want to choose a sweet potato that is without blemish. You want your sweet potato to be hard with no soft spots or wrinkles.

Ok, so let’s get to it.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F with the rack in the middle position.

Do not rinse or scrub your potato, just peel off the skin then slice it into ¼ - ½ -inch coins. Then cut the coins into ¼ - ½ -inch strips.

Drizzle olive oil generously over the surface of a rimmed baking sheet. Put all the potatoes on the pan and toss them with the olive oil. You may need to add a little more olive oil to be sure the fries are well coated. I use anywhere from 3 – 5 Tablespoons. After they are oiled, salt and pepper them then toss them some more.

The next few steps are a labor of love however they make a huge difference in the finished product.

Line the sweet potatoes up even on the baking sheet so that they are in a single layer and do not touch one another. If they touch, they get soggy. I think it has something to do with humidity in the oven.

Place sheet into the hot oven and set your timer for 5 minutes. This is important because depending on the density and sugar content of your sweet potato 5 minutes may be all it takes- any longer and you’ll be setting off smoke detectors from scorched sugar.

After 5 minutes check the bottom side of the potato, if it is nice and golden it is time to turn the fries with a fork, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees on the middle rack and cook the fries for another 5 minutes.

If the fries are NOT golden when you first check them, set your timer for another 3 minutes and then check them again. If the potatoes are still not golden, rotate pan again and set timer for another 3 minutes. Basically continue this checking and rotating process until the bottom side of the potato is as golden as you want them to be. Once you get them to that point, flip them with a fork and continue the process on the other side.  I know it seems like a bit but once you figure out how fast and hot your oven bakes these, it will be easier when you make them the next time.

Please note that for some reason, they cook faster on the second side so you should still set your timer for 5 and 3-minute intervals. When the fries are done remove them from the oven, let them cool on the pan and then serve directly to a plate or serve in a parchment paper funnel (fish and chips style)

Sweet Potato Oven Fries


One – 1 lb. sweet potato
3-5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F with rack in the middle position.
  2. Peel your sweet potato and cut it into ¼ inch disks then cut the disks into ¼ inch sticks.
  3. On a rimmed baking sheet toss sweet potato sticks with oil until coated then salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Line potatoes up in a single layer and put sheet in the oven for 5-12 minutes. (Check the potatoes after 5 minutes.) If they are golden, take the tray out of the oven and turn each potato then rotate the tray and place it back in the oven for another 5-12 minutes checking at 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes the fries are not golden brown, return them to the oven and bake them for another 3 minutes. Repeat the process above until the sweet potatoes are tanned golden on both sides, then take them out and serve immediately.
Source: Apron Appeal original



briarrose said...

I do love sweet potato fries....my hubby eats them under protest to humor me...ehehe. These look delicious.

Erin said...

I like the idea of sweet potato fries, but have not tried any that are anything but soggy. Thanks, these look great!

Jessica said...

Love Sweet Potato Fries! One of my favorite things! I add a little chipotle pepper to mine...soo good! ;-)

Frieda Loves Bread said...

I gotta tell ya, your photo is STUNNING! Great work!

You left a comment re: my immersion blender giveaway...leave a comment on that same post. Each comment will have a number/date attached. Enter once per day...good luck!

Vicki Wilde said...

I have made some pretty terrible sweet potato fries in the past. Thanks for the step-by-step directions!

Biren @ Roti n Rice said...

Thanks for the info on sweet potatoes. Making oven sweet potato fries sound pretty technical but they sure look good. Definitely better looking than the ones I make.

Unknown said...

We LOVE sweet potato fries at our house! Mmm

Buttercream Blondie said...

I love sweet potato fries! Yours look just perfect!

Anonymous said...

Your photos make me REALLY want some of these! Gorgeous work. I can't get enough of sweet potatoes and I love to see that you made crispy sp fries! I'm not a fan of the soggy ones.

Patrice said...

Just made them. They're great! I don't think there will be many left for JT when he gets home. The "labor of love" was time consuming, but it helped the end result for sure.

Anonymous said...

These look delicious. My husband loves sweet potato fries, so these are so going in my try soon folder!

Anonymous said...

America test kitchens has you cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 5 to 8 min, extracting moisture. Then bake, I haven't tried it with a sweet potatoe but I know it works with reg potatoes.

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