Cooking Sweet Potatoes: Tricks and Tips

If you’re looking for a tasty, nutritious vegetable that can be prepared in many different ways, look no further than sweet potatoes. These versatile tubers are packed with vitamins and minerals, and can be used in everything from soups and stews to casseroles and even desserts. Whether you’re a fan of roasted sweet potatoes or you prefer them mashed or boiled, there are plenty of tricks and tips to help you cook this delicious veggie to perfection.

Cooking Sweet Potatoes: Tricks and Tips | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Sweet Potatoes: Tricks and Tips

The Different Types of Sweet Potatoes

There are over 200 varieties of sweet potatoes, but most of them can be grouped into two major categories: firm and soft. These categories differ primarily in their texture and sugar content, which can affect the way they taste and cook.

Firm Sweet Potatoes

Firm sweet potatoes are also known as dry, mealy, or crumbly sweet potatoes. They have a lower water and sugar content, which makes them starchy and drier than their soft counterparts.

  • Beauregard Sweet Potatoes – They have an orange flesh that’s moist and sweet, making them perfect for sweet potato pies, casseroles, and stews.
  • Bonita Sweet Potatoes – These are white-fleshed sweet potatoes that are less sweet than other varieties. They have a firm texture, making them great for baking, roasting, and mashing.
  • Jewel Sweet Potatoes – They have a deep orange flesh that is sweet and creamy, perfect for roasting, baking, and making fries.

Soft Sweet Potatoes

Soft sweet potatoes are often referred to as moist, juicy, or sweet sweet potatoes. They have a high sugar and water content, which makes them softer and sweeter than the firm ones.

  • Covington Sweet Potatoes – These sweet potatoes have a deep orange flesh and are very sweet. They work well for baking and roasting and are often used in sweet potato pies or casseroles.
  • Garnet Sweet Potatoes – They have a reddish-purple skin and a sweet, orange, and moist flesh that’s perfect for roasting, baking, and mashing.
  • Hannah Sweet Potatoes – These sweet potatoes have a light yellow flesh and a nutty flavor. They are great for baking, roasting, and mashing.

How to Choose the Right Sweet Potato

When selecting sweet potatoes, look for firm ones without any cracks, bruises, or soft spots. The skin should be smooth and tight, with no wrinkles or blemishes. Sweet potatoes come in different varieties, and their color can range from pale yellow to deep orange. Generally, the deeper the color, the richer the flavor and the higher the beta-carotene content.


Pay attention to the texture of the sweet potato. It should not be too hard or too soft. A good sweet potato should give slightly when you press it and feel heavy for its size. If sweet potatoes are too hard, they will take longer to cook, and if they are too soft, they will be mushy and not hold their shape well when cooked.

Preparing Sweet Potatoes for Cooking

If you’re planning on cooking sweet potatoes, there are a few different methods you can use to prepare them. Here are some ways to get your sweet potatoes ready for their final destination – your plate!

Washing Sweet Potatoes

Before you cook sweet potatoes, it’s important to give them a good wash. Scrub them under cold, running water to remove any dirt or debris that might be left on the skin. Make sure to use a vegetable brush to get rid of any stubborn bits.

Peeling Sweet Potatoes

You can also peel your sweet potatoes if you prefer. Start by cutting off both ends of the potato to create flat surfaces. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin in strips, working your way around the potato until all the skin is removed.

Chopping Sweet Potatoes

Once your sweet potatoes are clean and peeled (if desired), you can chop them into the desired size for your recipe. Here are three common ways to chop sweet potatoes:

  1. Cubed: Cut the sweet potato into small, bite-sized cubes.
  2. Sliced: Cut the sweet potato into thin, even slices.
  3. Julienne: Cut the sweet potato into thin, matchstick-like pieces.

Cooking Methods for Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. They can be cooked in various ways to enhance their flavor and texture. Here are some of the most popular cooking methods for sweet potatoes:

Baking Sweet Potatoes

Baking sweet potatoes is a classic way to bring out their natural sweetness. Preheat your oven to 375°F and scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork to make small holes. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for around 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. The skin should be crisp, and the flesh should be tender.

Boiling Sweet Potatoes

Boiling sweet potatoes is a quick and easy cooking method. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into equal-sized chunks and place them in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for around 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Drain the water and serve.

Roasting Sweet Potatoes

Roasting sweet potatoes is a great way to add a smokey flavor to them. Preheat your oven to 425°F and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges or slices. Toss them with olive oil and seasonings of your choice (such as salt, pepper, and paprika). Spread the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes or until they are browned and crispy.

Frying Sweet Potatoes

Frying sweet potatoes is not the healthiest cooking method, but it can be a tasty treat once in a while. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into thin rounds, and heat oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato slices to the oil and fry for around 2-3 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Remove them from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Seasoning Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a versatile and healthy ingredient, packed with vitamins and minerals. But how do you bring out their natural flavor and take them to the next level? Here are some easy seasoning tips and tricks:

Sweet Combinations

One of the simplest and most delicious ways to season sweet potatoes is with sweet spices and flavors. These include:

  • Cinnamon and nutmeg: a classic combination that brings out the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes. Add a pinch of both before roasting or mashing.
  • Honey and maple syrup: drizzle a bit of honey or maple syrup over roasted sweet potatoes for a simple and decadent side dish.
  • Brown sugar: a sprinkle of brown sugar adds caramel flavors to sweet potato recipes, particularly when paired with a savory element like bacon.

Savory Combinations

If you prefer your sweet potatoes on the savory side, try these seasoning combinations:

  • Cumin and chili powder: lend smoky and earthy flavors to roasted sweet potatoes. Add a pinch of each before roasting.
  • Rosemary and garlic: a classic herb and spice combination that pairs well with roasted sweet potatoes. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic, and chopped rosemary before roasting.
  • Paprika and thyme: add a bit of spice and earthiness to sweet potatoes with this flavor combination. Sprinkle with paprika and dried thyme before roasting.

Pro tip: When seasoning sweet potatoes, be sure to toss them with the spices and flavors before roasting or cooking, so they are evenly coated.

Sweet Potato Recipe Ideas

If you’re looking for some delicious and creative ways to cook sweet potatoes, then you’re in luck! Sweet potatoes are not only a healthy and nutritious vegetable, but they are also extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some sweet potato recipe ideas to inspire you:

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

Roasted sweet potato fries are a healthy and delicious alternative to regular french fries. To make them, simply cut sweet potatoes into thin strips, toss them in olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and roast them in the oven until crispy. Serve them as a side dish or a snack!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

If you love mashed potatoes but want a healthier option, try mashed sweet potatoes. Boil sweet potatoes until soft, mash them up with butter and cream, and season with salt and pepper. You can also add in other flavors, like garlic or rosemary, for a tasty twist.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a classic holiday dish that is always a hit. To make it, layer mashed sweet potatoes with a mixture of brown sugar, pecans, and butter, and bake until crispy. It’s the perfect sweet and savory side dish for any meal.

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potato soup is a warm and comforting meal that is perfect for a chilly day. Simply sauté onions and garlic in a pot, add chopped sweet potatoes and chicken broth, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Then, puree the mixture until smooth and creamy, and season with your favorite spices.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Who says sweet potatoes are just for dinner? Sweet potato pancakes are a delicious and healthy breakfast option. Simply mix together sweet potato puree, flour, eggs, and milk to make a batter, and cook them on a griddle until browned. Serve with your favorite toppings, like maple syrup or whipped cream.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

For a fun and flavorful twist on taco night, try sweet potato and black bean tacos. Simply dice sweet potatoes and sauté them with black beans, onions, and your favorite spices. Serve them in taco shells or tortillas with your favorite toppings, like cheese and salsa.

Happy Cooking!

We hope you found these tips helpful for cooking sweet potatoes. Now it’s time to grab your apron and get cooking! Whether you’re baking, roasting, or boiling your sweet potatoes, don’t forget to experiment with different spices and seasonings to bring out their natural flavors. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back for more tasty recipes and cooking tips.

Cooking Sweet Potatoes: Tricks and Tips | Eat Urban Garden

Cooking Sweet Potatoes: Tricks and Tips

Discover tricks and tips for cooking sweet potatoes. Learn how to preserve their delicious taste and nutritional value with easy methods
Course Main dish
Cuisine American


  • 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: herbs or spices of your choice


  • If you're baking your sweet potatoes, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Clean your sweet potatoes with warm water and a scrub brush. Peel them, and cut them into 1-inch chunks or slices.
  • In a bowl, mix your sweet potato chunks with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. You can also add any herbs or spices you like.
  • Spread your sweet potato chunks in a single layer on a baking sheet. If you're baking them, cook them for 30-40 minutes until they are tender and golden brown. If you're roasting them, cook them for 25-30 minutes, rotating them halfway through, until they are crispy and caramelized.
  • To boil your sweet potatoes, place them in a pot with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook them for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and serve.
Keyword Sweet Potatoes, Cooking Tips, Recipes, Healthy Eating

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