How to Perfectly Boil Sweet Potatoes for Pies, Casseroles, and More
Sweet potatoes are delicious any time of the year, but those orange beauties are in peak season in the fall and winter from October through January. It's not a complicated process, but in order to get them ready for your favorite Thanksgiving side dish (hello, sweet potato casserole!), you'll want to know how to boil sweet potatoes. Use our Test Kitchen's best method for prepping and boiling sweet potatoes so you can enjoy mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato pie, and more.
How to Boil Sweet Potatoes
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). To know how many sweet potatoes you need for your recipe, one medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces) equals approximately 1½ cups when peeled and cubed.
Step 1: Prep Sweet Potatoes
Wash sweet potatoes by thoroughly scrubbing with a clean produce brush and rinse with cool water. Use a vegetable peeler ($12, Crate & Barrel) or paring knife to peel sweet potatoes. With a sharp knife ($16, Target), cut off any woody portions and ends. Cut into bite-size cubes, keeping pieces as close to the same size as you can for even cooking.
Step 2: Boil the Sweet Potatoes
Select a saucepan or Dutch oven that is large enough to hold the sweet potatoes without crowding them. Add enough cold water to cover potatoes and sprinkle with salt. Bring to boiling, cover, and cook until tender.
How long to boil sweet potatoes: For one pound of sweet potatoes, cover the pan and cook sweet potatoes in the boiling salted water 20 to 25 minutes or until just tender. You should be able to easily pierce the sweet potato with a fork or knife.
Step 3: Drain and Use
Remove the lid from the pan and carefully pour the sweet potatoes into a colander ($11, Target) to drain. Set sweet potatoes aside until cool enough to handle, or run cold water over them to quick-cool if you're not using them right away.