How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

Nutrition-packed and inexpensive sweet potatoes cook easily in a pot of boiling water. Once cooked, the possibilities for using them are limitless. We'll let you know how long to boil sweet potatoes, how to cook sweet potatoes, and share some of our favorite sweet potato recipes. Once you master this skill, you'll be subbing in sweet potatoes for white potatoes anywhere you can.

Try our must-have tips for perfectly boiled sweet potatoes.

Step 1: Shopping and storing

In the United States grocery stores, orange-flesh sweet potatoes are usually called yams to differentiate them from the pale variety that has a light yellow skin and flesh. The orange-flesh sweet potato (yam) is available year-round but peaks in the winter. When purchasing, look for small to medium sweet potatoes that have smooth skin and are firm and free of soft spots. Store whole unpeeled sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place for up to 1 week (do not refrigerate or they will dry out).

Tip: One pound of sweet potatoes equals about 2 medium sweet potatoes or 2 3/4 cups cubed.

Step 2: Peel and prep

Before boiling sweet potatoes, scrub with a clean produce brush and rinse with cool water. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel sweet potatoes. Using a knife, cut off any woody portions and ends. Cut into bite-size cubes.

Step 3: Boil the sweet potatoes

Select a saucepan or Dutch oven that will be large enough to hold the sweet potatoes without crowding them. Fill the pot about halfway (you will need just enough water to cover the sweet potatoes) and add a dash of salt. Bring to boiling. Add sweet potatoes. Wondering how long to boil sweet potatoes? Cover the pan and cook sweet potatoes for 10 to 12 minutes or until just tender on the outside but resistant in the center when pierced with a knife. For soft, tender sweet potatoes, cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

Step 4: Drain and use

Place a colander in the sink. Remove the lid from the pan and carefully pour the sweet potatoes into the colander. Drain off the water. Set sweet potatoes aside until cool enough to handle, or run cold water over them to quick-cool. For an easy side dish, toss cooked sweet potato cubes with butter, salt, and pepper, and serve. Or use the cooked cubes in salads, tacos, soups and stews, and casseroles. You can also mash the cubes to make mashed sweet potatoes or to use as an ingredient in cakes, breads, pies, and savory dishes.

Get the recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Mushrooms and Bacon

More Tips for Cooking with Sweet Potatoes

You can do a lot more with sweet potatoes than just boiling! We can teach you how to make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, baked sweet potatoes, and more. We might even surprise you with a few sweet potato recipes you've never thought of before (sweet potato latte, anyone?).

Lemon-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes: Cooking Basics and Recipes

The Secret to the Perfect Sweet Potato Pie

10 Surprising Things to do with Sweet Potatoes

Scrumptious Sweet Potato Recipes

Try out your new sweet potato boiling skills on these recipes, and pick up a few other sweet potato tricks, too! Each of these sweet potato recipes is a great way to add more of this nutritious veggie to your meal plan.

Red Bean, Chicken, and Sweet Potato Stew

Sweet Potato Recipes

Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipes

Sweet Potato Recipes You Won't Believe You've Never Tried

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