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How To Cook Sweet Potatoes

How to cook sweet potatoes that will yield the absolute BEST sweet potatoes you’ve ever tried in your life: 

how to bake sweet potatoes

Hot, caramelized baked sweet potatoes

These 3 easy tricks will revolutionize the way you think of sweet potatoes – If you’re anything like me, prepare to become completely obsessed.

And if you think there’s no way you could love sweet potatoes more than you already do, just wait.

It’s highly likely you’ll suddenly find yourself craving sweet potatoes at every single meal and dreaming about them between meals as well. If you think I’m exaggerating… this is something you just have to try in order to believe the shocking difference in results.

Instead of only slightly sweet or unevenly cooked sweet potatoes, these three small changes in how to cook sweet potatoes will yield sweet, sticky, wonderfully caramelized sweet potatoes that taste almost like candy.

Sweet, sticky, gooey, candy-like sweet potatoes…

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how to cook sweet potatoes

Okay, so if I’ve caught your attention, here are the 3 tricks!


Trick One:

Choose thinner sweet potatoes.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, and conventional wisdom will tell you to go for the fattest, juiciest-looking sweet potatoes at the store, ignoring the picked-over, anemic, and shriveled ones. But that would be a mistake, and here’s why:

While baking, the heat will evenly cook even the very center of the thinner potatoes, getting them all hot and caramelized; whereas with the fat potatoes, the outsides will be done well before the centers have a chance to cook through.

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sweet potatoes

(That middle sweet potato is the perfect size and shape.)

Trick Two:

Don’t just poke a few holes with a fork; use a large knife to slash about a third of the way into the potato 8-10 times on both sides.

Why this works: It helps the heat get all the way into the centers of the potatoes, once again ensuring they will cook evenly.

It also allows moisture to escape so you don’t end up steaming the potato and getting stuck with a watered-down result.

baked sweet potatoes

Trick Three:

Cook longer and hotter.

Just like with my tutorial on How To Cook Spaghetti Squash, you want to forget the tutorials that tell you to bake at 350. Go big or go home.

How big?

I’m talking 450 F – a full hundred degrees more. And start the potatoes in a non-preheated oven, which will cook them more evenly while also saving energy.

Baking at a higher temperature will really caramelize the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes.

sweet potatoes tahini

Sweet Potato Recipes:

sweet potato brownies

Sweet Potato Brownies

kathy patalsky

Sweet Potato Burgers

sweet potato salad

Sweet Potato Salad


My all-time favorite way to enjoy the baked, caramelized sweet potatoes is slathered in tahini.

Please please please try it this way, at least once in your lifetime!

Seriously, you will not regret it!!!

sweet potatoes

One of the best things about sweet potatoes is that they can be frozen and then thawed quickly any time you haven’t made a meal and come home hungry.

I’m pretty sure there are at least seven pyrex containers of roasted sweet potatoes in my freezer right now, and I don’t expect the containers to be there for long!

Leftover roasted sweet potato? Use it up in my favorite Veggie Burger Recipe!

How To Cook Sweet Potatoes The Best Recipe
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How To Cook Sweet Potatoes

How to cook sweet potatoes in the oven, the best way.
5/5 (81)
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 1 recipe


  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Large Knife
  • Parchment Paper
  • Toppings of choice


  • Be sure to use parchment paper to line the pan. As they caramelize, the sweet potatoes release their natural sugars, which can be a pain to clean if you don’t line the pan. With parchment, you can just throw the paper away, making cleanup super easy.
    Line a baking pan with parchment paper, and set aside. Start with thin, evenly shaped sweet potatoes. Slice the knife into each sweet potato 8-10 times per potato, going about a third of the way down with each cut. Place potatoes in the pan, then place the pan on the oven center rack. Now turn the oven on to 450 F. Bake 30 minutes, then turn (unless they are very small, they’re probably not done yet) and continue to bake until sweet potatoes are soft and you can see that some of the natural sugars have spread onto the parchment paper (see photo). This means the potatoes are starting to caramelize. Sweet potatoes can be served immediately, or you can refrigerate or even freeze for a later date. Serving suggestions are listed in the post – my favorite way to eat roasted sweet potatoes is covered with tahini.
    *Instant Pot Version: Place the steamer rack in the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Place 3 medium sweet potatoes onto the rack, and cook on high manual for 20 minutes. Finally, do a natural pressure release. Thanks to reader Jamie for creating this version and letting us know how to cook sweet potatoes in an instant pot!
    View Nutrition Facts


Try serving the sweet potatoes with this homemade Coconut Curry Recipe.

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Published on November 22, 2016

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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  1. Jameca Hall says


  2. Jacque says

    I enjoyed this article regarding baking the sweet potatoes.
    When freezing should you scoop out the sweet potatoes or freeze in the shins? Which is best?

    • Jason Sanford says

      Either – if you plan to peel, then do so before freezing. But if you plan to eat the skins that’s fine too. We personally like to eat the skins 🙂

      • Liv12♥ says

        Hi Mr. Jason, are you and Katie sisters? You love her blog and are very helpful on CCK! Please send her all my love!!!!

      • MELANIE HOLM says

        Hi Jason & CCK community: how do you reheat? Do you microwave (covered? uncovered?) from frozen or thaw in the fridge first?
        Many thanks,

  3. Sarah Maxwell says

    Could someone please provide directions for using frozen sweet potatoes? What thawing/defrost techniques have you tried? How long & oven temp for re-heat? Anyone tried re-heat in microwave, etc.
    Thanks muchly!!

  4. Mandy says

    I love sweet potatoes too! I won’t turn the oven on though, to roast just 2 of them. My tip is to roast as many as you can for up-coming meals too so you don’t waste energy….and then lunches and dinners are almost ready whenever you want! No starting from scratch each time. Roast some heads of garlic at the same time too! Always great in sauces and toppings!

    • CCK Media Team says

      Just plain tahini, spread on the sweet potatoes :). Or you could thin it out with water or sesame oil if needed, and maybe a little lemon juice.

  5. Tess Stahl says

    I’ve made these with this recipe several times now and they’re wonderful every time. The only time I had the skins burn was when I left them in too long.
    Thank you!

  6. Melissa says

    Lunch is served! I was skeptical b/c there is nothing wrong with my method for baking sweet potatoes but the picture of your sweet potatoes Katie is what lured me to try a new way. And I am so glad I did! What could be easier than slicing, ripping off a piece of parchment paper, tossing in the oven with timer on and then going to find something else to do in the meantime? Absolutely delicious and yummo.

  7. Anne Z says

    When do I start keeping track of the 30 minutes? Right when I turn on the oven, or when the oven has reached 450°?

  8. jeanette breznau says

    I really like this info…very well presented…clear, well labeled and written and clear. thank you very much!

  9. Amanda says

    This recipe is amazing! Made it last year and glad I remembered where this yummy recipe was on the WWW! 😂 question: last time I cut the slits, flipped the potatoes, cut again. Is that right?? Just made it a little difficult to get the skins off. 🙂 Or do we just cut one side?? thanks!!!

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