Learn how to bake sweet potatoes with these tips & tricks! Enjoy them with butter, salt & pepper, or in one of my favorite baked sweet potato recipes.
When the air starts to get crisp in the fall, I start craving two things: a bowl of soup and a big, puffy baked sweet potato. Both are warming, cozy, and healthy. But while making butternut squash soup might be one of my favorite Sunday activities, a baked sweet potato is my weeknight standby. They’re incredibly easy to make, as your oven does 95% of the work. While they bake, you’re free to do as you please! Prep the remaining components of your meal, finish up with the day’s work, or catch up with family or friends. Then, take them out of the oven, top them to your liking, and dig in to a yummy baked sweet potato dinner!
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
For a long time, I thought I didn’t like sweet potatoes. When I was growing up, I only ever had them in casserole form, smothered in marshmallows and brown sugar. Turns out, I love sweet potatoes, but I have to prepare them the right way! I like mine puffy, with caramelized edges and a crispy skin. Here’s how I make them:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Use a fork to poke holes into the sweet potatoes, and set them on the baking sheet.
- Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the skin has puffed up and you can easily pierce them with a fork.
The most important thing to note here is that I DON’T wrap them in foil. If you do, the sweet potato flesh will still cook, but the skin will be very moist and almost slimy. In order to get delectable, puffed up crispy skin and caramelization on the outside of each baked potato, place them onto the baking sheet bare!
If you’re in a hurry, you can also roast sweet potato halves for 30 minutes. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, rub them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook cut-side up until lightly browned and tender.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Recipes
Of course, a perfect baked sweet potato with butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of chives is great, but your options for baked sweet potato recipes don’t end there. To make one into a full meal, I like to stuff it with a flavorful veggie filling and a yummy sauce. Find my 4 favorite fillings for stuffed sweet potatoes here, or click the picture below.
If you’re serving your oven baked sweet potatoes as a side dish, pair them with your favorite protein or vegetarian chili. For a topping, stick to butter, Greek yogurt, or sour cream, or try adding a dollop of cilantro lime dressing, tzatziki, chipotle sauce, pesto, guacamole, or a drizzle of tahini sauce.
If you have leftover baked sweet potatoes, save the soft flesh for another recipe. I blend it into the frosting of my vegan chocolate cake, transform it into a luscious Alfredo sauce, use it to bind quesadillas, or mix it into hummus!
Do you have any favorite baked sweet potato recipes? Let me know in the comments!
If you love this baked sweet potato recipe…
Try these 4 stuffed sweet potato variations (pictured above), baked sweet potato fries, sweet potato tacos, twice baked sweet potatoes, or this sweet potato casserole next!
Baked Sweet Potato
- Baking Sheets (I use these nonstick ones from USA Pan Bakeware)
- Sweet Potatoes
- butter, or vegan butter
- sea salt
- dollop of greek yogurt, or tzatziki
- a scoop of guacamole
- a drizzle of creamy avocado cilantro lime dressing
- any of these stuffing ideas!
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and place a piece of foil on a baking sheet. Use a fork to poke holes into the sweet potatoes, set them on the baking sheet, and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until puffed up and soft inside when pierced with a fork.
Mine are just in the oven now. They look gorgeous. I’ve just prepared my filling as follows for anyone struggling for ideas.
1 whole red pepper cubed
4 spring onions
Handful of cherry tomatoes
One can of black beans drained and rinsed well.
Pinch of salt, pepper, garlic granules, chilli flakes for a little zing
Then added low fat mayonnaise until I got the desired consistency.
I couldn’t help but try some of the filling and it’s lovely. I’m on a weight loss diet and this is a filling meal. I’ve only had once before so had to come back and refresh the baking stages. ❤️
That filling sounds fantastic! What a great simple dinner idea.
I followed instructions as is, and came out great ..
I did have to cook for longer though since the potatoe I used was on the larger side.
So glad you enjoyed the baked sweet potato!
The cooking time is perfect absolutely the best baked sweet potato ever!
Hi Lara, so glad you loved it!
They turned out great, thank you!
My family has never poked holes in sweet potatoes and has had no problems.
You can use the left over mashed sweet potato to make salmon cakes.
Good afternoon. Not sure if this comment will stay posted but I did exactly what you stated. Preheat oven to 425, wash the postatoes scrub if really dirty and within 15 minutes I smelt something burning. Check the oven and there was smoke coming off the pan but I didn’t see fire. I left them in for another 10 minutes and the burnt smell was getting so bad, I turned on the fan and opened the storage drawer in fear of a fire breaking out. The smoke was that strong. Turns out, in just 25 minutes, every potato was burnt on the bottom. I have now started cooking them one by one in the microwave. Am I the only person this happened to? Anyone know why it happened? smoking
I have done this on a foil lined baking sheet forever and have never had them burn…that being said, if you do t put them on a baking sheet, they may drip into the oven and that could have been the issue…just my thoughts.
Hi Sue, I would check that your oven is calibrated to the correct temperature that it’s reading. I check mine from time to time with a separate oven thermometer.
There should be no oil in the bottom of your pan. Also your oven rack should be in the middle and not close to the top so they won’t broil. I just put 1/2 tsp of oil in the palm of my hand and rub it on each potato. Then sprinkle as much salt as you like in your hand and thoroughly rub it on each potato. I wash them thoroughly and eat the whole potato, skin and all. I do mine at 400° for an even hour. I then turn the oven off and let them cook in there. Hope this helps.
I’m making it now and same thing happened to me. I don’t know why
Hi Sue, whatever the problem it’s definitely not worth a 1 star on the review. Come on.
So, sweet potatoes carry more sugars that other potatoes, even Japanese Sweet potatoes. When the sugers begin to cook and seep through the holes you have poked, it will cook and burn into a black, smelly mass producing black smoke as well, just like burning sugar in any other application.
Here are a few pointers to help you avoid this…1. Poke less holes. You really only need to poke with a fork at each end and 1 on top. Not much is needed. You only need enough to allow the potato to release pressure from inside of itself but honestly poking holes aren’t necessary on sweet potatoes, as the skins usually have natural ventilation. They are required for white, baking potatoes. 2. Poke holes only on one side and place that side facing up in the oven. That will help slow the drippings from reaching foil and burning. 3. Place foil or foil wrapped pan on the rack below the rack the sweet potatoes are on. I place mine directly on the rack above the foil. That’s my preferred way.
Outside of that, you can turn the oven down if your potatoes are on the smaller side as the sugars generally take 30-40 minutes to work their way out and it usually means the potatoes are done. With that in mind. Pay attention while you cook. Produce is like meats, following directions to a “T” might not work for your setup or the cooking objects. Adjust accordingly.
Exactly right. I have been baking sweet potatoes for 40 years–directly on the oven rack with a sheet of foil spread out on the rack below (don’t put foil on the whole rack, just underneath where the potatoes are. Poke three holes only on the top, one on each end and in the middle. Bake at 425 degrees for 45-50 min, but depends on the size of the potatoes. Check smaller ones at 40 minutes. The drippings will land on the foil. If they start to burn, it means the potatoes are probably done! Also, if the drippings burn on the foil you can just pull it out of the oven easily and put a new piece in. I always check the potatoes every 15 minutes. It’s not that hard, and actually, as soon as you see juices bubbling out of the holes you poked, it won’t be long before the potatoes are done.
Hi Sue, I’ve never had this happen, it sounds like your oven might not be evenly heating.
Because it’s a baked potato how much you put on it afterwards is up to you
Directions state 425º for 40 to 50 minutes. Hope this helps.