The Foolproof way to Bake a Sweet Potato

how to bake a sweet potato

 Mom’s secret to bake a sweet potato perfectly

Many mothers pass down a heritage of kitchen secrets to their daughters. This would probably be the case in my household if I hadn’t completely renovated my diet to manage my autoimmune disease. My mom’s ancient cookbook binder contains scraps of Danish pastry recipes passed down from her grandmother, and these treats would wreak havoc on my digestive system in all their glory of white flour and powdered sugar.

how to perfectly bake a sweet potatoHowever, there is one recipe that my mom passed down to me that I will forever treasure: the perfect baked sweet potato. I’ve come to rely on this foolproof method any time I prepare sweet potatoes and now I’ve tailored it for various sizes of potatoes with perfect results.

How I bake a sweet potato

Follow the recipe below to perfectly bake a sweet potato, without having to test and guess when it is done. Here are the methods to the madness:

  • Don’t coat the sweet potatoes in or wrap them in foil. This is often required in baked sweet potato recipes, but it is time-consuming and not necessary. I’ve also found that this helps the skin separate from the sweet potato flesh, making it easier to peel and eat after baking.
  • Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork before baking. This improves the texture and helps the sweet potato separate from the skin.
  • Don’t place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet – put them directly on the oven rack. I’ve found the baking sheet to be unnecessary.
  • Place a sheet of foil over the bottom of the oven. This catches any syrup that may drip from the sweet potatoes. Don’t worry, sweet potato juice isn’t going to gush out and dirty your oven, there are just a few drips that turn into charcoal on the foil.
  • Leave the sweet potatoes in the oven after turning off the oven. The residual heat continues to cook the sweet potatoes without burning them, so they get exceptionally tender and moist.

The Foolproof way to Bake a Sweet Potato

1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Makes as many sweet potatoes as you want.

The Foolproof way to Bake a Sweet Potato

This method takes the guesswork out of determining when the sweet potatoes are done. The sweet potato flesh is perfectly tender and it separates from the skin, making it extremely easy to remove the skin.

Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes or yams

Instructions

  1. Put a small sheet of foil in the center and bottom of your oven. This will catch any of the syrup that may escape from the sweet potatoes. For easy cleanup, simply remove the foil and throw it away after baking the sweet potatoes. Update a reader does not recommend covering the bottom of the oven with foil, as it may block the vents. This has never happened to me, but I use only a small square directly under the sweet potatoes and not over the entire oven.
  2. Don't preheat the oven. Prick your sweet potatoes each 2-3 time with a fork, then place them directly on the oven rack in the middle of the oven, above the foil. Turn the oven on to 425.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes for sweet potatoes/yams that are 2-3 inches in diameter. For sweet potatoes that are up to 4 inches in diameter, bake for an hour. For super large sweet potatoes, bake for an hour and 15 minutes.
  4. After the time has elapsed, don't open the oven but turn it off. Let the sweet potatoes sit in the oven for at least 30 minutes but up to an hour. Remove from the oven and eat immediately, or remove the skin and store in a container in the fridge.
http://empoweredsustenance.com/bake-a-sweet-potato/

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Comments

  1. says

    Interesting!
    I have been baking my sweet potatoes in a shallow pan with water and covering them with parchment (I found parchment paper with foil on the other side). I bake about 450 for 40 minutes or so and then leave cover on after I take them out of the oven. Will try your way as well!

  2. rae says

    i would not recommend putting a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven– it covers the vents. when i did this the carbon monoxide detector went off and the next thing i knew i had a fire engine worth of men come over to check my roasted veggies. i usually put the foil on the rack below now. :)

      • Jo Ann says

        I cover the bottom of my oven quite often – I just make sure to tear it off small enough so I don’t cover the vents.

    • Lisa says

      Another option is to put the 2nd oven rack one level below the rack you’re using, then place a small piece of foil on the 2nd rack. Drips caught, vent not covered.

  3. Nic says

    I will have to try this with the 2 sweet potatoes in my pantry. I found another method that is very easy lady year and it works wonderful. I’ve never had a bad baked potato of any kind since. But this sounds intriguing so thank you for sharing can’t wait to test it out! :-)

  4. Merry says

    Lauren, I’m sorry for putting this in the wrong area perhaps, or even if you have already answered this question somewhere else in your blog, but I wanted to know why nuts were excluded from Empowered Sustenance? I truly want to know for my optimal health! Thanks for your reply! Merry

  5. Naomi says

    “Perfect” was the first word that came to mind when I cut into my sweet potato this morning after following your cooking instructions. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a perfect one at home. Thank you so much!

  6. Emily says

    Thanks, Lauren! I’ve done this method twice in the last week and it really is soo quick & easy! I love how papery the sweet potato skins get, it makes them such a breeze to peel. It’s a way better method than the oil-coating/foil or boiling methods I used to employ. Cheers!

  7. says

    Absolutely! Been cooking them this way for about a year and I don’t know why but they taste better. The piece of foil to catch the drippings is key!

    It is quick and easy. Plus, any leftover makes great sweet potato pancakes YUM

  8. Diana VP says

    Hi Lauren, Thanks for the tips! I vaguely recall my mother piercing the skin prior to baking, but I have not been doing this. The result was sugar drippings burnt onto my stoneware baking sheet. Not really a problem as clean up on a stoneware sheet is pretty easy, and I never need parchment paper.

    A word of caution regarding your recommendation to put foil on the bottom of the oven! The GE Appliances website and Consumer Reports state that using foil on the bottom can cause trapped heat, fire hazard, and void the warranty. The safer recommendation, by “Lisa” above, is to place foil on the rack beneath to catch drips. Safe baking! :)

    • Anitra621 says

      Hmm, i skip some steps and still have great sweet potatoes. I don’t poke my sweet potatoes either…I rinse the skin, dry them and throw them in the oven, top rack, foil on rack under potatoes. Never had a problem with separating the skin from the flesh. I also cook them at 450…hmmm got one left in the fridge now, think it’s time for a snack, yumm.

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