Baked Sweet Potato

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Here’s how to make the perfect baked sweet potato in the oven! With crisp skin and a warm and soft center, baked sweet potatoes are a delicious side dish served savory or sweet.

I feel like one of the first things I mastered when I started my healthy eating journey was a baked sweet potato.

They’re packed with flavor and nutrients and seem to be viewed higher than regular potatoes in the health world. I have absolutely nothing against white potatoes (I love them too!) but I have a special spot for sweet potatoes, especially baked ones. I love how they have a crisp skin and soft, creamy center. So good!

Three baked sweet potatoes split open with butter inside.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Healthy – Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, particularly vitamin A.
  • Versatile – The beauty of this recipe lies in its flexibility. Whether you’re craving something sweet, savory, or spicy, these baked sweet potatoes can be the base for a myriad of topping combinations. Get creative!
  • Easy – You don’t need a laundry list of items for this dish. With just sweet potatoes, a touch of oil and some sea salt, you’re well on your way to a delicious and nutritious meal or side dish.
Ingredients measured out to make Perfect Baked Sweet Potato: sea salt, sweet potatoes and olive oil.

Ingredients Needed

  • sweet potato – this recipe called for three whole sweet potatoes. When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for firm, unwrinkled skins. You can use any variety you like. I used Beauregard, but I also like Jewel or Garnet. All three of these varieties have an orange flesh, but feel free to use white or purple sweet potatoes if you prefer.
  • olive oil – this is what helps create a crisp, crunchy skin! You can use olive oil or avocado oil.
  • sea salt – this really elevates the overall flavor of the sweet potatoes. I suggest flaky sea salt like Maldon sea salt flakes for some added texture!
Collage of four photos showing how to make Perfect Baked Sweet Potato: poking holes in sweet potatoes with a fork, adding oil and salt to the potatoes and baking on a sheet pan.

How to Make Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Baking sweet potatoes is crazy simple. You don’t need to slice or chop them, just wash, season and bake!

Prep your potato – Rinse and scrub the sweet potatoes. Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towel to pat dry. Use a fork to polk holes in each potato – I usually do 4-8 holes depending on how big the potato is.

Add oil and salt – Rub a little bit of oil on each potato and sprinkle with salt. You can totally skip the oil and sea salt if you want. The skin won’t be as crisp, but the baked sweet potatoes will still be delicious.

Bake – Place the potatoes in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake at 400ºF for 60-80 minutes, depending on how big your potatoes are. Flip the potatoes over about halfway through cooking. They’re ready when the flesh is soft and tender. You can test it with a knife!

Three baked sweet potatoes split open with butter inside.

Recipe Tips

  • Use parchment paper: As the sweet potatoes bake they can release juices so I highly recommend lining your baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up later!
  • Don’t forget to poke: Poking holes in the sweet potatoes is crucial. It allows steam to escape, ensuring the insides become perfectly soft while preventing any oven mishaps from over-pressurized potatoes.
  • Oil evenly: When rubbing oil onto the potatoes, make sure it’s evenly distributed. This will help in achieving a crispy skin.
  • Don’t wrap in foil: See more about this below, but don’t wrap your potatoes in aluminum foil! It’ll make the skin soggy and soft rather than crisp and crunchy!
  • Check for doneness: Every oven is a bit different, and so is every sweet potato. Begin checking for doneness around the 60-minute mark. A fork or knife should slide into the potato easily when it’s done.
  • Size matters: Try to choose sweet potatoes that are uniform in size. This ensures they all cook evenly and at the same rate. If you’re dealing with particularly large sweet potatoes, they might need a little longer in the oven.
A fork holding a bite size piece of sweet potato above a plate with two baked sweet potatoes on it.

Buying & Storing Sweet Potatoes

When shopping for sweet potatoes, look for firm, unwrinkled skins. Sweet potatoes come in all different colors – creamy white, deep orange and purple. I usually buy Beauregard, Jewel or Garnet sweet potatoes just because those varieties are typically available at my local grocery stores. That said, Beauregard sweet potatoes tend to be stringier so when given the option I go for Jewel or Garnet.

Store your sweet potatoes in your pantry or on the countertop at room temperature. They’ll last about a week before they start to go bad (which usually means getting wrinkly and soft).

Two baked sweet potatoes split open with butter inside.

Baked Sweet Potato Topping Variations

Here’s where it gets fun. After baking your sweet potato you can make so many delicious creations. Here are some ideas:

  • Classic baked potato – Add sour cream, cheese, bacon, garlic, green onions or chives… whatever your heart desires! It’s also delicious with just butter. Feel free to use vegan sour cream or vegan butter if needed.
  • Sweet cinnamon – I personally love topping my baked sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon and salt. You can also add an extra hint of sweetness with a sprinkle of coconut sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. For a vegan version without butter, try using coconut butter. It’s delish!
  • Sweet potato skins – Make an upgraded game day snack by filling sweet potato skins with cashew sour cream and tempeh bacon.
  • Dessert baked sweet potato – The sweetness of the potato pairs perfectly with sweet toppings like coconut butter, almond butter and chocolate.
  • Mexicali stuffed sweet potato – This veggie stuffed sweet potato is loaded with black beans, bell pepper, mushrooms and topped with a zesty tahini dressing.
  • Sweet potato casserole – Make this sweet potato casserole for the holidays with your baked sweet potatoes. If you prefer an oat and nut crumble instead of marshmallows try this healthy sweet potato casserole instead.
  • Upgraded breakfast – Add scrambled eggs and your favorite breakfast foods! I’d add breakfast sausage or bacon, shredded cheese, sliced avocado and hot sauce.
  • Chili stuffed – Add a few scoops of chili to the center of the sweet potato. Top with traditional chili toppings and enjoy! Try this with my healthy turkey chili or my easy vegetarian chili.
  • Make sweet potato puree – it’s perfect for starting solids with your baby or for using in recipes like my sweet potato brownies.
A fork inside a baked sweet potato that is on a plate.

How to Store & Reheat

Baked sweet potatoes are great for meal prep! I love cooking multiple sweet potatoes during my weekend meal prep to have on hand for the week. Here’s how to store and reheat them:

  • To store: You can store whole or halved sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You can also scoop out the flesh and just store that in the fridge.
  • To freeze: To freeze, let your sweet potatoes cool, then scoop out the flesh and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat: Place your sweet potato in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes until heated throughout. You can also microwave your potato to reheat it, but the skin won’t be as crisp.
Three baked sweet potatoes split open with butter inside.

Baked Sweet Potato FAQ’s

Is it better to warp sweet potatoes in foil when baking?

I grew up with my mom wrapping potatoes in foil before baking, but I’ve since learned that not only is it unnecessary, it also steams the potatoes and makes the skin soggy and soft rather than crisp the way I like it. I know it feels weird to put a naked potato in the oven, but trust me… they taste so much better this way. It’s also better for food safety because there’s potential for bacteria to grow if you leave the potatoes in foil and let them cool down while still wrapped in the aluminum foil.

Some people will recommend placing the potatoes directly on the oven rack for baking, but I do recommend placing them on a baking sheet (or at least having a baking sheet on the rack below). This is especially true when baking sweet potatoes because they tend to release sticky, sugary juice while baking and it can make your oven pretty messy.

Do you have to poke holes in the sweet potatoes before baking?

Yes! Don’t forget to poke your sweet potatoes multiple times before baking to allow the steam to escape otherwise your potatoes could explode while baking!

Should I soak sweet potatoes before baking?

No there’s no need to soak your sweet potatoes before baking!

What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

While they’re often used interchangeably in the US, sweet potatoes and yams are distinct. Yams have a bark-like skin and are more starchy and less sweet than sweet potatoes. The confusion started when U.S. producers labeled orange-fleshed sweet potatoes as “yams.” In a standard American grocery store, you’re probably purchasing a sweet potato, even if it’s labeled as a yam.

Are baked sweet potatoes healthier than regular baked potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are lower in calories and carbohydrates but higher in fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C compared to regular potatoes. They also have a lower glycemic index which may be beneficial for blood sugar control.

Are sweet potatoes healthier with the skin on?

The skin of sweet potatoes is edible and contains additional fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. Eating them with the skin maximizes their health benefits.

More Sweet Potato Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out all of my sweet potato recipes here on EBF!

4.17 from 6 votes

Baked Sweet Potato

Here’s how to make the perfect baked sweet potato every time! With crisp skin and a warm and soft center, baked sweet potatoes a delicious side dish served savory or sweet.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 3

Ingredients  

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon avocado or olive oil, more or less to taste*
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
  • toppings of choice, see above for ideas

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Clean potatoes: Rinse and scrub sweet potatoes, pat dry. Use a fork to poke holes in each potato. I like to do 4-8 holes, depending on how big the potato is.
    A fork poking holes into a sweet potato.
  • Rub a little bit of oil on each potato and sprinkle with sea salt. Place potatoes in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.
    Three large sweet potatoes covered in oil and salt on a baking tray.
  • Bake: Bake for 60-80 minutes depending on how big your potatoes are. Flip the potatoes over about halfway through cooking. You’ll know they’re done when a knife easily slides through the flesh.
    Three sweet potatoes on a baking tray after being baked in the oven.
  • Once cooked through, remove from the oven, cut open and top with your favorite toppings.
    Three baked sweet potatoes split open on a baking tray.

Notes

  • You can totally skip the oil and sea salt if you want. The sweet potato skin won’t be as crisp, but the baked sweet potatoes will still be delicious.

Nutrition

Serving: 1potato | Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 465mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked sweet potato
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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