Guaranteed Crispy BAKED Sweet Potato Fries

How to make perfectly crispy baked sweet potato fries in the oven every time. foodiewithfamily.com

I am passionate about sweet potato fries. Possibly, I qualify as being clinically obsessed with them. I can’t think of a single food I crave more consistently than the salty sweet perfection that is sweet potato fries.

If I go out to dinner and sweet potato fries are on the menu, I order them. It doesn’t matter if it goes with the entrée I’ve chosen, they’re mine. While normally I will eat a sweet potato any which way, when I’m eating sweet potato fries, I’m picky about them. They have to suit MY idea of what a perfect sweet potato fry is: ALL-CAPS LEVEL CRISPY with no added sweetener because WHY in heaven’s name would you add SUGAR or somesuch to a SWEET POTATO? Seriously, people. I can sniff out sugar added to a sweet potato fry and it makes me cranky.

To me, the beauty of the sweet potato fry comes not in amplifying the already sweet tuber, but in playing off of it with salty and spicy. And friends, don’t even get me started on the disappointment that is a soggy sweet potato fry. Ugh. It’s like deflating a balloon of happiness with a wet noodle… Torturous.

That usually ends up being the problem with homemade sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are a little trickier to get super crispy than the good old regular potato. While I’m not one to shy away from deep-frying, I wanted to make crispy baked sweet potato fries. Because there were so many brands of tasty bakeable sweet potato fries in the freezer section, it seemed like it had to be possible to make them from scratch. I examined the backs of the bags of the brands I liked, used my previous experience as a professional slinger-of-pub-grub, made more than fifteen batches of sweet potato fries of varying degrees of success, but finally dialed in on a recipe that I’m confident will turn out crispy sweet potato fries every time! They’re so irresistible that even my no-vegetable trio gobbles these up enthusiastically!

I’m about to dazzle you with a breathtaking display of absolutely insane nit-picking detail on how to guarantee yourself crispy baked sweet potato fries. *Cue the theme music from ‘The Anal-Retentive Chef”.

How to Make Perfect Crispy Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • Take your time cutting your sweet potatoes to size. By size, I mean 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch by whatever length matchstick pieces. Yes, you do need to be particular about cutting them to size. It’s better to err a little on the skinnier side than the fatter side if your knife work isn’t your strong point. The best way to accomplish this is to cut a little piece off of one side of the peeled sweet potato so it can sit more securely on the cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick ‘cards’. Then take each card and cut again into 1/4-inch thick matchsticks. I find it easier to do this -and far less frightening- by knife rather than by mandoline.

Soaking Sweet Potatoes for perfectly crispy BAKED sweet potato fries. foodiewithfamily.com

  • SOAK YOUR SWEET POTATOES. I’m not joking. We soaked the regular potato fries in cold water in every restaurant where I worked. I applied the same technique to sweet potato fries and it worked beautifully. It draws the excess starch out of the sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes) which helps them cook through better to be crispy on the outside, tender on the inside without burning. Don’t skip this step or you’ll be disappointed.
  • Line your sheet pans with heavy-duty foil (dull side up!) AND spritz them with non-stick cooking spray. I experimented with regular foil, heavy-duty foil, parchment paper, straight up nekkid pans, stoneware sheet pans, and silpat lined pans. Garden variety heavy-duty foil yielded my best results Don’t skip THIS step or you’ll be attempting to chisel sweet potato fries off of foil. If THAT doesn’t deter you from skipping this step, I don’t know what will.

How to make perfectly crispy baked sweet potato fries in the oven every time. foodiewithfamily.com

  • After draining, rinsing, and patting dry your soaked sweet potatoes, add two handfuls of them to a very large plastic bag along with 2 teaspoons of starch (*See Cook’s Notes) and shake vigorously. You should keep as much air in the bag as you can so the fries move around like popcorn in an air popper.  How to make perfectly crispy baked sweet potato fries in the oven every time. foodiewithfamily.com The idea is to get a whisper thin coating of the starch on the potatoes, not to COVER them in starch. In fact, when you dump them out into a bowl, you should have to look pretty closely to even see the starch on them. Too much starch makes the fries taste like starch rather than sweet potatoes. Ick.
  • DO NOT ADD SALT BEFORE COOKING. In this particular case, adding salt before cooking yields limp, sad fries. You can get them plenty salty after baking them.
  • Let’s talk oil, shall we? Yes, I know we already spritzed the pans with non-stick cooking spray, but that’s an insurance policy… that’s not a crisping agent. Don’t even think about olive oil here. While it’s super tasty, the temperature and duration of the cooking process will make olive oil billow smoke out of your oven before the sweet potatoes are even close to being done. My favourite oil for the job is grapeseed, but if you cannot find it, canola or peanut should stand in well.

How to make perfectly crispy baked sweet potato fries in the oven every time. foodiewithfamily.com

  • Even if you fail to heed my super detailed advice anywhere else, DO NOT CROWD THE PAN. If I could type it a million times and not be obnoxious, I would. Science dictates that if you crowd a pan, your fries will automatically be soggy. How so? When you’re ‘crisping’ these, you’re releasing the moisture from them. You release the moisture by applying heat and allowing air to circulate in your oven. If you apply the heat but don’t allow the air to circulate around them, the moisture will have no where to go and will sit there steaming around those fries. You want steamed sweet potato fries? Neither do I. Keep them spaced out, not touching as much as possible, and absolutely, positively only in a single layer.
  • By the same token, don’t crowd the oven. You don’t want too much moisture releasing from too many sweet potatoes at the same time or you’re essentially giving the pretty little things a nice sauna bath.
  • Halfway through the baking time, you’ll remove the pans from the oven to flip the fries. This is best accomplished by using a thin metal spatula or fish turner. It will have enough backbone to get under the fries and enough flexibility not to mangle them. When you flip them, be sure they land in a single layer not touching. You can adjust them with tongs if needed.
  • Oh, and when you return the pans to the oven, rotate ‘em from top to bottom AND front to back. The pan that started in the top part of the oven should end the cooking process in the bottom of the oven facing the opposite direction from which it started. This helps compensate for any hotspots your oven may have.
  • Ready for something counter-intuitive? When your fries are done, prop the oven door open about halfway and let them cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes. Believe or not, unlike regular potato fries, these bad boys crisp up even more as they cool slightly.

Troubleshooting

Even with all this advice, you may find the first batch doesn’t work out exactly the way you planned.

  • If your fries are darkening too quickly, but still not cooked through to your liking, you may have an oven that runs hot. Conversely, if you feel like you’re baking your fries FOREVER and they’re not crisping, your oven may run a little cool. Get a $5 oven thermometer from Walmart and pop it in there to see how accurate your oven’s calibration is then compensate for it.
  • If your fries are soggy and you’ve followed all of my advice, you may have a smaller oven than the one I tested my fries in and may have to bake them one tray at a time.

How to make perfectly crispy baked sweet potato fries in the oven every time. foodiewithfamily.com

 Cook’s Notes:

  • I didn’t mean to be vague when I said to toss the fries with starch, but I had a little explaining to do. In a perfect world, the best, crispiest baked sweet potato fries are made with a blend of three powdered starches: cornstarch, brown rice starch, and tapioca starch in a ratio of 2:1:1. It’s a lot easier to find the more unusual tapioca and rice starches now that gluten-free baking is more prolific, but if you can’t source them, have an allergy to one of them, or just don’t feel as compelled to get down and dirty with making the most perfect baked sweet potato fries ever, you can use all of one of the kinds. Cornstarch is the easiest to find, but health-food stores, well stocked grocers, and Amazon are great places to buy both tapioca starch and brown rice starch. If you are fortunate enough to be in possession of all three starches, whisk them together in a bowl or jar before adding to the fries.
  • I like my sweet potato fries with a hint of spice. To get this, I add about 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how sassy I’m feeling) of ground chipotle powder when tossing the fries with oil before cooking. This is, however, strictly optional. I’m convinced, though, that this is part of the reason that the three of my children who are vegetable-phobic love the fries.
5 from 1 reviews
Guaranteed Crispy BAKED Sweet Potato Fries
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about ¾ pound, give or take)
  • 4 teaspoons starch (corn starch, tapioca starch/flour, brown rice starch/flour, or a mixture of any or all of them)
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into ¼-inch by ¼-inch matchsticks. Put them in a bowl and cover with cold, fresh water. Let them soak for 1 hour or up to overnight. Pour the water and sweet potato matchsticks into a colander, rinse with fresh water, then pat dry with paper towels. They should not be visibly wet, but they don't have to be bone dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Line two half-sheet pans with heavy-duty foil and spritz lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. Add half of the sweet potato matchsticks to a very large plastic bag. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the starch over the potatoes, cinch the top (trapping as much air in the bag as you can when you cinch it) and shake vigorously to coat the fries. Empty the bag into a mixing bowl and use your hands to toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the chipotle powder (if using). Arrange the fries on the prepared pan in a single layer, not touching. Repeat with the remaining fries, starch, and oil.
It is important to remember not to crowd the pans. If needed, you can always use another pan and bake another batch.
  1. Arrange the pans in the oven so that one is in the top third of the oven and the other is in the bottom third of the oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, use a stiff metal spatula or fish turner to get under the fries and flip them over. Remember to keep them in a single layer after flipping. Return the pans to the oven, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back. In other words, the one that started in the top third of the oven should end in the bottom third of the oven facing the other direction. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they have browned and are cooked clean though.
  2. Shut the oven off, prop the door open halfway, and let cool and crisp up further for 10 minutes before serving. Toss with salt to taste.

Comments

  1. says

    I love how specific you are about these instructions. People (read: me) appreciate specificity! Next time I make sweet potato oven fries, I will soak them. Honest. =)

  2. says

    The kids don’t like potatoes…still. BLERG. But, you know what they do like? Sweet potatoes and yams. And definitely sweet potato fries. Can I blame them? Sugar runs through all of our veins, I guess.

  3. says

    Ah the fabled and delicious SP fries you tempted us with! Now we can all make our own! I knew the trick about soaking regular fries – although I never tried with with baking, will have to do that but nice to know it works with sweet potato too! Nothing worse than a soggy fry!

  4. Amy says

    Hey Rebecca, how hot did you heat the oven. I feel like I’m on glue, but I’m not seeing it. These look fantastic and I want to try your method.

  5. Daina says

    Oh what a happy morning to open your site and see a recipe for my favorite fries! I just so happen to have three fat and happy sweet potatoes on hand so I am definitely going to cook up a batch of these for lunch today!

  6. says

    We eat sweet potato fries all the time and I know how hard it is to get them to come out crispy! I have had great results with white sweet potatoes but not with the regular kind so I will try this recipe for sure :) They sure look super crispy! Yum!

  7. says

    Hi Rebecca, I always soak my regular potatoes but never thought to on sweet potatoes make so much sense. Your instructions are very detailed and well written, will be making very soon. Thanks!

  8. DAWN RENEE' says

    You have answered why my fries are always soggy, the secret is soaking them. Question I have is how long to soak them? Would really appreciate knowing this for both the sweet potatoes and regular ones please. A sincere thank you for the very detailed instructions.

  9. says

    I, for one, appreciate your meticulous attention to detail. I’ve been on the hunt for a crispy baked sweet potato fry forever and I have to say, I’m glad I don’t have to make 15 batches to find it now. :)

  10. says

    These look awesome! I’ve never successfully made crispy sweet potato fries (they always go soggy really quickly) but I’ve been using flour to make crispy roast potatoes for ages, I never even thought to try that method with sweet potatoes. Yum! Clever thinking!

  11. Daina says

    By the way, I made these using regular foil because I didn’t have any heavy duty foil on hand, and no sticking. :) I just sprayed it well with cooking spray beforehand. (and I used it shiny side up!)

  12. margaret says

    Just made these tonight. I did not have heavy duty foil so I used parchment. And used cayenne. They were yummy!

  13. Arianna says

    I hd been discouraged from making sweet potatoe fries due to failing to achieve the crispy status.
    I followed the instructions except for SIZE!
    I’ve been craving matchstick style, so I used the julliene setting on my mandoline.
    *ding! Baking time is up! I was a little disappointed that they were still floppy…..
    BUT! I continued to “turn off oven and leave door ajar” and BAM!! CRISPY CITY!!
    Thank you for sharing your sweet potatoe expertise =)

  14. Marzie McCoy says

    This could be THE sweet potato fry recipe I’ve long been looking for. Tonight, at the last minute, I was asked to host a spur-of-the-moment – and thus I’m shooting for casual but tastefully gourmet – dinner, in 24 hours, for 14 people, and I’m thinking a delicious sweet potato ‘summer’ side like this would be perfect. Can you tell me how many servings your recipe yields? Thank you in advance for really-super-speedy response!

    • says

      Hooray for last minute parties! They’re the most fun because you don’t have time to fret the details. As to your questions, I don’t actually determine serving sizes on this blog, Marzie, for a couple of reasons. First, because everyone has a different idea of a serving size, and second, because I think serving sizes are usually wildly unrealistic. Generally, each person in my family can eat a potato’s worth (or slightly more) so that’s my loose guideline. It really all depends on how much you’re serving with it and how hungry the people are you are serving!

  15. Samantha says

    Have you ever frozen these and at what step if you have. I’m thinking after soaking and tossing in the starch? Then flash freezing them on a cookie sheet prior to bagging them… I’d love to know as I belong to a freezer swap group and these would pair with my dish perfectly! Thanks

    • says

      Hi Samantha- I have not tried freezing these. Usually, you have to at least partially cook a vegetable with such strong cell walls before freezing it or it turns to mush. I’d recommend a small batch trial to see how it goes. I’d love to hear whether it works out for you!

  16. says

    Hi Rebecca!
    I’m going to try making these for the first time…..
    Just a couple of questions:
    Can we use sunflower oil?
    Have you tried soaking them overnight then leaving them to dry out in the fridge whilst at work , cooking them the following evening?
    Thanx for the recipe Xx

    • says

      I can’t imagine sunflower oil being bad here, but that being said, I haven’t tried it. Please let me know how it works out for you if you try it! Ditto on the leaving them out to dry in the fridge question!

  17. Rainey says

    Hi! I’m looking everywhere for brown rice starch. I couldn’t find it at Whole Foods, and I don’t see it on Amazon, nor anywhere on the internet for that matter. Googling “brown rice starch” didn’t even help me. Any ideas??

  18. Joelle says

    Thank you!! These are amazing. No more soggy sweet potato fries in this house. I didn’t have the heavy duty foil so I used a textured sheet pan and was happy with the results.

  19. says

    This was a perfect recipe! Thank you so much! I have never had any luck with sweet potato fries, something my son and I love. I had a bunch of sweet potatoes from my CSA that my son asked me to transform into fries. This recipe was just what I needed. The fries turned out better than restaurant ones.

  20. Sarah says

    Sooo many great tips and your trial and errors are appreciated! Going to make these tonight. On a side note: I also love making sweet potato chips (baked) and have a whole other set of difficulties there. I’m thinking of soaking the sliced up potatoes in water like you do with the fries. Any thoughts?

  21. Dennis says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My fries are soaking as I write this.
    Now, maybe this is dumb, but would it aid in crispiness, if I bake them on a wire rack instead of on heavy duty foil? I have regular foil, but not sure it’ll do the job like you said. So I’m planning on baking them on a greased wire rack. This way the hot air can circulate all around the fries. I’m a total noob, so maybe I’m taking a stupid risk here, but I hope it’ll work anyhow ;-)

    Thanks for the recipe! My last batch was lovely, but not crispy. I didn’t soak, and didn’t use starch that time, which I will be using this time! Keeping my fingers crossed :-)

    Hugs from Germany!

  22. Heather says

    I tried these w a combo of sweet potato, parsnip, and russet potatoes. Kiddos loved the parsnip. All of it was AMAZING! Thank you.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe:  

Current ye@r *