Would it be strange if I refer to these perfect Roasted Sweet Potatoes as orange chunks of delicious, pan-picking love? I tried a new roasting technique, and it made all the difference.
Even my sister who roasts sweet potatoes for her family almost nightly declared these the best sweet potatoes she’s ever eaten.
She wanted to know my secret. WHY are these particular sweet potatoes so darn good, we couldn’t keep ourselves from inhaling them right off of the sheet pan?
HOW do you make the most magnificent roasted sweet potatoes that are, seemingly inexplicably, more sublime than any that have come before?
If you love roasted vegetables as much as we do—Oven Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic being but a few of the many ways we roast ‘round here—then this sweet potato roasting method will be a fast favorite in your home too.
Secrets to the Best Roasted Sweet Potatoes
With their natural sweetness, crispy outsides, and meltingly creamy insides, roasted sweet potatoes are quite possibly one of the easiest vegetables to adore. Discerning adults and picky eaters alike can rally around them. And they’re good for you too!
We eat roasted sweet potatoes often and were perfectly happy with them, so I didn’t think my technique needed improving. Then, one night, I was in a hurry and I tried something new.
I cut the sweet potatoes into large chunks.
What started as a time saver (larger pieces are quicker to chop) turned out to be the best-kept secret to roasted sweet potatoes.
- Cut the Sweet Potatoes into Large Chunks. I found 1-inch pieces to be ideal.
- Larger sweet potato pieces meant a longer roasting time in the oven.
- The insides had time to become unbelievably velvety while the outsides fully crisped, all without drying the sweet potatoes out.
- Roast at a High Temperature. 425 degrees F is spot-on. It’s hot enough to crisp the outsides and allows the flavors of the sweet potatoes to caramelize and concentrate (they truly could be vegetable candy!).
- Don’t Crowd the Pan. You need plenty of room around the pieces for air to circulate, otherwise they will steam and you lose the crispy outsides.
- Seasoning. Even simple kosher salt will give you great results, though you can amp them up in assorted ways. See below for suggestions.
- Add a Touch of Honey. Need to lure picky eaters into eating veggies? Try making honey roasted sweet potatoes. It increases the caramelization of the sweet potatoes further too. If you do add honey, be sure to line your sheet pan to prevent sticking.
How to Cut Sweet Potatoes for Roasting
To make sure the sweet potato pieces cook evenly, try to cut them all roughly the same size. This can be a little tricky depending upon the shape of your sweet potato. Here are my best tips for cutting.
- Scrub the sweet potato and peel if desired (you can leave the skin on the sweet potatoes if you like; see more under “To Peel or Not to Peel?” below).
- Trim off the ends of the sweet potatoes. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch thick rounds. Depending upon the shape of the sweet potato, you will have some rounds that are very wide in diameter (large) and some that are narrower.
- Lay the cut side of each round down on your cutting board so that it rests flat.
- Cut each round so that you have pieces that are roughly 1-inch in size. Very large rounds I cut into fourths or even sixths. Smaller rounds I cut in half.
The cut sweet potatoes won’t all be perfectly uniform, which is fine. Just try to get them to all be fairly similar in size so that they roast in the same amount of time.
To Peel or Not to Peel?
Whether or not you leave the skin on a sweet potato prior to roasting is entirely up to you!
You do not need to peel a sweet potato prior to cooking it in the oven. The skins of sweet potatoes are safe to eat, both raw and cooked, and contain nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Leaving the skin on sweet potatoes is a time saver since you don’t need to peel them (you do need to scrub them well).
- If you leave the skin on the sweet potatoes, it becomes lightly crispy and crinkly when the sweet potatoes roast (like with these Roasted Fingerling Potates).
- The flavor of the skin is mild, but it does have a slight (not unpleasant) texture.
- If you are cooking for picky eaters, peeling the sweet potato may be a good idea.
- The skin will be visible on some sides of the potato pieces, so if you are looking for a clean presentation, remove the skin.
Love savory roasted sweet potatoes? Try one of these seasoning options to bump them up a notch:
- Spicy. Add a 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to kick things up a notch.
- Herb. Add 1 teaspoon dried thyme, basil, or Italian seasoning.
- Parmesan. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan over the top of your roasted sweet potatoes for a delicious finish.
- For even more seasoning ideas, be sure to check out my cookbook, which has a special guide for how to season and use roasted vegetables.
For a sweet/savory combo, try seasoning your sweet potatoes with:
- Cinnamon. For a warm cinnamon flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Honey. Sweeten things up with 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. Both will caramelize perfectly on the potato pieces.
- Brown Sugar. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar for a sweet, caramelized flavor.
- To Store. Refrigerate sweet potatoes in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm potatoes on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
These healthy oven roasted sweet potatoes are versatile! Make a big batch, then use the leftovers in a variety of ways:
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. Enjoy roasted vegetables any night of the week with this tool.
- Fish Spatula. Great for flipping fish and veggies.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. You’ll keep this tool for a lifetime.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
For the Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes about 3 medium
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup optional
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Seasonings of Choice* (optional; we usually keep it simple with black pepper)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (this is especially important if using the honey)
- Scrub the sweet potatoes and peel if desired. If scrubbing only, be sure to pat them very dry.
- Trim off the ends of the sweet potatoes, then cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds.
- Cut each round so that you have pieces that are roughly 1-inch in size. They won’t all be perfectly uniform, which is fine. Just try to get them to all be fairly similar in size so that they roast in the same amount of time. Smaller rounds are typically cut into quarters; larger ones you may need to do in 6ths. Place the cubes in the center of the baking sheet.
- Drizzle the sweet potatoes with the oil and honey (if using) and sprinkle with salt and your seasoning(s) of choice.
- Toss to coat the sweet potatoes as evenly as possible, then spread them into a single layer on the baking sheet. Make sure the potatoes have a good amount of room around them, or they will steam instead of caramelize. Turn the cubes so that the widest, flattest side of the pieces are touching the sheet pan.
- Roast the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and with a big spatula, turn them to promote even browning. Arrange them back in a single layer. Continue baking for 10 to 20 additional minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork tender and caramelized at the edges. It’s OK if some of the edges get pretty dark—they’ll taste delicious. Taste (be careful, they are hot!) and seasoning with a bit of extra salt as desired. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. See blog post above for storage tips and ways to use them.
- *You can also do a mix of seasonings. If using spicy seasonings, like chipotle chili powder, be careful not to overdo it. When using spicy seasonings (such as chili powder or chipotle chili powder), I like to add honey too.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate sweet potatoes in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm potatoes on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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