It feels a little silly to post a “recipe” for baked sweet potatoes. Like – poke some holes and stick ’em in the oven pretty much sums up the whole process. But if you’ve ever had the discouraging experience of baking potatoes for a dang long time only to discover that they’re still hard as rocks when the rest of your dinner is ready, you can appreciate this post!
We live in North Carolina, which is the #1 sweet potato-producing state in the country. But even the NC Sweet Potato website is perpetuating the lies about how to bake a sweet potato: it says 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, and unless you have itty-bitty sweet potatoes, that’s just not going to get the job done. Or, I mean, maybe I’m just a
total pig girl who likes her vitamin A, but I don’t mess with the itty-bitty ones for baking!
So: I highly, highly recommend cranking your oven up to 450, scrubbing and piercing some good-sized sweet potatoes, and baking them for a solid hour. Our friends in the middle of the spectrum need the extra heat to be completely soft and tender all the way through – fork-mashable, easy to separate from the skin, perfect baked sweet potatoes.
I checked the sweet potatoes after 45 minutes, and even the smallest one I cooked wasn’t done yet. They were starting to ooze a little at the pierced spots – a good sign!
At the hour mark, those molten, syrupy juices will be bubbling into sweet potato caramel on the foil – a good indicator that they’re ready! The sweet potatoes should be tender and give easily when you squeeze them, and the skin may even pucker a little or seem loose. They’re ready to split open and doctor up!
I love to keep it simple with a little butter and a sprinkle of kosher salt, maybe some cinnamon – the flavor and texture is so good already! If you want something extra special, I’m drooling over Joy the Baker’s oat-and-pistachio crumble topping, and Sally’s Baking Addiction has a sweet potato skins recipe with cheese and bacon that looks heavenly!
Oh, and I usually bake a few extra taters while I’m at it, because they’re great reheated and make a tasty lunch or easy dinner side later in the week!