Want to know how to cook sweet potatoes? Let us count the ways. Mash sweet potatoes, bake sweet potatoes, slow-cook sweet potatoes, pressure-cook sweet potatoes, or make them into fries. All the different ways to cook sweet potatoes means the recipe options are almost endless. Take a closer look at all the ways to make sweet potatoes and get cooking using your favorite method!

By Sheena Chihak
April 01, 2016

Choosing and Storing Sweet Potatoes

Make your sweet potato recipes the best they can be by picking out perfect potatoes at your grocery store and properly storing them.

  • Look for the tastiest potatoes in their peak season: winter. Choose firm potatoes that are small to medium in size with smooth, unblemished skins.
  • If you do not plan to use the potatoes right away, store them in a cool, dry, dark place. Do not refrigerate sweet potatoes or they will dry out.
Twice-Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe plate marshmallows

How to Bake Sweet Potatoes

Obviously, baking is the most common way to cook sweet potatoes in the oven. If you have the time, baking sweet potatoes is a great way to enjoy tender sweet potatoes with crispy skin. To bake sweet potatoes:

  • Scrub 4 medium potatoes (6 to 8 ounces each), pat dry, then prick with a fork.
  • Bake at 425°F 40 to 60 minutes, or until tender.
  • To serve, roll each potato gently under a towel. Using a knife, cut an X in the top of each potato; press in and up on the ends of each potato.
  • Serve with butter, brown sugar, and/or cinnamon sugar, if desired. For another flavorful finish, top baked sweet potatoes with cranberries, toasted walnuts, and a dab of butter.

Baked Sweet Potato Tip: For soft skins, rub potatoes with shortening or wrap in foil before baking.

RELATED: You could also roast sweet potatoes. See how to roast vegetables here.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave

If you are crunched for time, cook sweet potatoes in the microwave. They will end up similarly to baked sweet potatoes. Here's how:

  • Prick the potatoes all over with a fork.
  • Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, turning the potatoes once.
  • Top as desired with classic sweet potato toppings or new flavor combinations such as fresh herbs and dried fruit or nuts.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in a Slow Cooker

Want a way to get the sweet potatoes going that doesn't take your attention or monopolize the oven? Get out your slow cooker. Sweet potatoes end almost like baked sweet potatoes is ones done in a slow cooker. Plan on four medium potatoes in a 4-quart slow cooker, eight in a 6-quart slow cooker. Scrub clean, then:

  • Rub sweet potatoes lightly with olive oil.
  • Set oiled potatoes in the slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours or until sweet potatoes are tender.
Boiling sweet potatoes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Left: Credit: Karla Conrad

How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

One of the most common ways to enjoy sweet potatoes is mashed and loaded with all sorts of toppings or as the base of a sweet potato casserole. These sweet potato recipe variations are especially popular come Thanksgiving. In order to get to mashed sweet potatoes you need to know how to boil sweet potatoes.

How to Mash Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes are a vitamin-packed alternative to regular mashed potatoes. Once you've conquered boiling sweet potatoes all that's left is to:

  • Drain boiled sweet potatoes; return to the saucepan.
  • Add desired seasonings, such as butter and milk.
  • Mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer.
  • Serve with desired toppers or stir-ins.
Pressure Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes in green dish with limes
Pressure cooker mashed sweet potatoes
| Credit: Jason Donnelly

How to Make Pressure Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes (or Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes)

Anyone with an Instant Pot or other multicooker knows the appliance can be used to cook almost everything, including sweet potatoes. Here's how to make mashed sweet potatoes in your multicooker:

  • Peel and halve 2 pounds sweet potatoes. Slice 1/2 inch thick.
  • Fill a 6-quart electric or stove top pressure cooker with 1 inch water; add steamer rack. Place sweet potatoes on rack.
  • Lock lid in place. Set electric cooker on high pressure to cook 5 minutes. For a stove top cooker, bring up to pressure over medium-high heat; reduce heat enough to maintain steady (but not excessive) pressure. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. For both models, quickly release pressure. Open lid carefully.
  • Drain sweet potatoes in a colander; return to cooker. Mash with a potato masher or an immersion blender until light and fluffy. Add desired topping or stir-ins.
Sweet Potato Fries

How to Make Sweet Potato Fries

Baked sweet potato fries—packed with vitamins A and C—are a more nutritious alternative to regular french fries. Because of this, they make a great side. Here's how to make them:

  • Peel 4 medium sweet potatoes (6 to 8 ounces each).
  • Cut lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips, immersing strips in ice water to prevent browning as you work.
  • In a heavy, deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat peanut or vegetable oil to 325°F over medium.
  • Drain potato strips and place on paper towels; pat dry.
  • Using a slotted spoon, add potato strips to hot oil, working in batches of one-eighth.
  • Fry 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked fries to paper towels to drain.
  • Increase oil temperature to 375°F over medium-high.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer precooked fries to hot oil and fry 2 to 3 minutes more.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked fries to paper towels to drain.
  • Sprinkle sweet potato fries with salt or cinnamon-sugar.

Tip: Cut each fry to an even thickness. Because sweet potatoes contain more sugar than regular potatoes, they tend to burn easily and cook unevenly if cut too thin.

Sweet Potato Fries Tip: While frying batches, keep finished fries warm in a warm (300°F) oven.

Comments (1)

November 27, 2018
Huge hit this past Thanksgiving ... how do I double the recipe?