Sweet Potato Fries
Pro tip: when life presents you with the option, ALWAYS upgrade to the Sweet Potato Fries. Thanks to one little trick, these healthy baked sweet potato fries are magically crispy on the outside, without the need of a deep fryer. You can pair them with just about any of your favorite main dishes, or do what I do: polish ‘em off straight off the pan!
After years of my snitching fries off of Ben’s plate at restaurants, to his tremendous relief I have finally started ordering my own, especially when sweet potato fries are an option. I adore them.
When they are crunchy outside and tender inside, sweet potato fries are a top life comfort food.
Since we’ve been eating at home a lot more often, I decided to see if I could come up with an easy way to make sweet potato fries crispy like the ones I’ve long loved in restaurants, without the mess or indulgence of a deep fryer.
As when I set out to unlock the secrets for crispy Baked French Fries, it was important to me that the sweet potato fries be as quick and easy to make as possible.
Two popular choices to make baked vegetable fries crispy are:
- Panko Breadcrumbs. Coating veggies with panko to make them crispy is a trick I employed for these popular Zucchini Fries.
- Cornstarch. This is the most common method I’ve seen for making crispy sweet potato fries.
I don’t know about you, but by the time I’ve finished cutting sweet potatoes into sticks, I don’t have much additional energy left to finish preparing them. I want to pop them into the oven at 400 degrees F and call it a day.
I’ve tried the popular cornstarch trick to make sweet potato fries crispy, but (homemade fry fans, please do not hate me for this), I’m just not into it.
Cornstarch is messy. The fries never seem to coat evenly. It works (kind of) but not well enough to be worth the effort.
The panko coating, I prefer for vegetables that are naturally soft and have a high water content, like zucchini or eggplant; it’s not necessary for starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, which have the potential to crisp on their own.
Also, did I mention I was looking for a sweet potato fry shortcut?
Hungry for fries with maximum crispy exterior for minimal effort, I set out to see if I could figure out how to make sweet potato fries crispy without cornstarch.
How to Make Sweet Potato Fries Crispy
Ready to make quick sweet potato fries that are delightfully crispy outside and tender inside, WITHOUT cornstarch? Here are my four tips.
- Egg Whites. Beaten egg whites transform in the oven, and they make for amazingly crispy sweet potato fries! It’s a trick I use to make crunchy, homemade Gluten Free Granola, and when I saw the same idea in a recipe from Run Fast, Eat Slow, I knew I had to try it. Game changer.
- You can’t taste the egg white AT ALL. You only need one for the entire batch. It improves the texture but won’t alter the flavor.
- If you’d like to make the sweet potato fries vegan, you can replace the egg white with an extra tablespoon of oil.
- Cut the Fries Thinly and Uniformly. More details below in “How to Cut Sweet Potato Fries”, but the main thing to know is that you want the fries to be thin. It takes some patience, but the thin slices will help them crisp and taste like true fries, versus sweet potato wedges. Wedges are delish, but not what we are going for here.
- Don’t Skimp on the Oil. While it’s tempting to cut out the oil to save a few calories, you need it for the sweet potatoes to roast properly without burning. Don’t worry—baked sweet potato fries are still very good for you, even with the oil added, especially when compared to fried sweet potato fries like the ones you’d have in a restaurant.
- Roast at 400 degrees F. After testing a few different oven temperatures, I found 400 degrees F to be the sweet spot to making fries that crisped nicely without burning.
How to Cut Sweet Potato Fries
- The Best Sweet Potatoes to Use. When selecting your sweet potatoes, look for ones that are long and skinny. This shape will lend itself better to fries, and they’re usually easier to cut.
- To Peel or Not to Peel. While you can peel your sweet potatoes before making the fries, I prefer to leave the skin on. It’s packed with Vitamin-A and fiber (read more about the health benefits here). If you leave the skin on, make sure you scrub the outsides of the potatoes well.
- Cut Thin, Uniform Slices. Try to cut your sweet potatoes into fries that are roughly the same size so they roast in the same amount of time. I recommend a width between 1/4- and 1/2-inch and a length of about 3-inches. Use a high-quality, sharp chef’s knife to make cutting as smooth and simple as possible.
- To Cut Your Fries. Start by slicing off the ends of the potato. Then, cut off a small piece (about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick and 3-inches long) from one of the sides, creating a flat surface. Turn the sweet potato onto that flat spot, and continue cutting off similarly-sized pieces from the other sides. Slice each of those pieces into long, thin strips. Repeat until you’ve cut the entire potato.
How to Make Sweet Potato Fries from Scratch
Good sweet potato fries should be lightly crunchy and give way to a tender roasted interior. Follow these steps for quick sweet potato fries that are better for you than a restaurant but don’t skimp on flavor!
- Sweet Potato. A bright orange dream machine! Rather than the somewhat blank canvas that white potatoes create, sweet potatoes are slightly sweet and richly-flavored all on their own. Plus, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (see more health benefits here).
- Egg Whites + Olive Oil. Our easy, secret duo of ingredients that work together to make the most perfect, crispy fries.
- Seasonings. I used a combination of curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. It was the ideal mix of heat and sweet. You can use your favorite fry seasonings instead, or check out some of my other suggestions in the “Sweet Potato Fries Seasoning Options” section below.
- Whisk the egg whites until foamy.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into fries. Then, add them to the egg whites with the oil.
- Stir the spices together.
- Add the spices to the fries, and toss.
- Place the fries on parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
- Flip the fries.
- Move the fries back into an even layer.
- Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.
- Finish with added spices or toppings, and ENJOY!
Sweet Potato Fries Seasoning Options
You can use this method for oven roasted sweet potato fries with any of your favorite spice combos. Here are a few to try:
- Curry. My go-to and the version you’ll see in the recipe card. Curry’s warmth is delicious paired with the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes.
- Chipotle. Swap in 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder for the curry powder and cayenne pepper called for in this recipe. Smoky and so addictive.
- Spicy. Turn things up a notch by increasing the amount of cayenne pepper to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon.
- Italian. Omit the curry powder and cayenne pepper, and use 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning instead. Top the finished fries with a little freshly grated Parmesan for a delicious final touch.
- Classic. Simple salt and black pepper make an excellent, always satisfying everyday option.
Tips to Store and Reheat
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover fries in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm fries on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot.
- To Freeze. Lay the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer the fries to an airtight freezer-safe storage container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen.
What to Serve with Sweet Potato Fries
- Burger. Either Salmon Burgers or Teriyaki Burgers with Grilled Pineapple would be delicious.
- Grilled Chicken. Grilled Chicken Tenders and these fries would be a tasty combination.
- Grilled Vegetables. For a vegetarian meal, try these fries with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms or Grilled Cauliflower Steaks.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. These are heavy-duty and will be a workhorse in the kitchen.
- Mixing Bowl. You’ll find so many uses for these easy-to-store bowls.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. A perfect tool for easily cutting your fries.
When these healthy sweet potato fries are on the menu, there’s no reason to split. Once you taste just how addictive they are, you’ll be relieved.
If you try this recipe for oven sweet potato fries, I’d love to hear what you think! Your comments and reviews are so helpful for others, and they mean so much to me too.
DO YOU LOVE SWEET POTATOES?
Be sure to check out the stellar recipes for Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (5-Ways!) from The Well Plated Cookbook.
Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 egg white - use 1 additional tablespoon oil if you prefer the fries vegan
- 2 pounds 2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes - scrubbed and dried, peels on
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon curry powder - optional, for flavor
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt - plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder - optional, but highly recommended
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional, for heat
- Chopped fresh chives or parsley - optional, for garnish
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the egg white in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Briskly whisk until it is foamy.
- Cut potatoes into fry-shaped sticks that are about ¼- to ½-inch wide and 3-inches long. Make the pieces as uniform as possible, so that the fries bake evenly. Place the fries in the bowl with the egg white as you go.
- Drizzle the fries with the oil.
- In a small bowl, stir together the curry powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne.
- Sprinkle the spices over the fries. Toss to coat the fries evenly. Try to get them to be as evenly moistened and seasoned as possible.
- Spread the fries onto the baking sheets, dividing them evenly between each. Make sure the fries are not crowded or they will steam and not crisp up.
- Bake the fries for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pans from the oven, then flip the fries over (I recommend using a large spatula—scoop the fries in big sections, then use a fast turn of your wrist).
- Rearrange the fries back into a single layer to make sure they are not overlapping. If any look like they are browning too quickly, keep these towards the center or front of the baking sheet (the back of the oven tends to be the hottest).
- Return the pans to the oven, switching their positions on the upper and lower racks.
- Continue baking until the fries are crisp and brown on the outside and tender on the inside. The ends may look very dark on some of the fries and you’ll see lighter brown spots in a few places. This will take about 10 to 15 additional minutes, depending upon your oven and what size you cut the fries.
- Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with a pinch of additional salt. Serve immediately.
- Adapted from Run Fast Eat Slow.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover fries in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm fries on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot.
- TO FREEZE: Lay the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer the fries to an airtight freezer-safe storage container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen.
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