It’s the simple things in life that make me the happiest – even something as simple as the perfectly baked sweet potato. As simple as they are, it can be frustrating when they don’t come out exactly the way you want. I had been searching for the perfect baking method for these for years. I’ve used many methods, including the microwave. This never worked out well for me – the potato skins were dry and inedible, and they never cooked evenly. I decided to try them this way one day, and there is no going back now. The result is exactly what I had been looking for – tender skins, super soft centers with no crunchy spots, and that satisfying, perfectly baked flavor.
- 4 medium to large sweet potatoes, washed well and dried
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork. About 5 deep stabs on each side is plenty.
- Place each potato on its own sheet of tin foil, enough that you can completely wrap the potato.
- Drizzle each potato with olive oil, making sure to coat all sides and every part of the skin, and wrap them up well.
- Place them on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
- Bake for 2 hours.
- Remove them carefully – some of the oil and natural sugars can leak out of the foil.
- Unwrap them, and split them down the middle.
- Top with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and/or whatever else you fancy.
I like my sweet potatoes with just butter and cinnamon. I also love the skins. The skins are packed with fiber and nutrients, and cooking them this way makes the skin super easy to eat. Is it weird that I like my baked russet potato skins to be slightly crisp, and I like my baked sweet potato skins to be tender and soft? (Check out this recipe for the perfectly baked russet!)
I always make several of these at a time because they hold up well as leftovers for lunches and/or dinner side dishes during the week. Just a couple of minutes in the microwave will do for reheating, so you can make these ahead of time to use the next day if you know you’ll be pressed for time. You can even take these to a cook-out or potluck. Keep them wrapped in their foil inside of a slow cooker turned on low (or warm if that setting is available) to keep them warm.
If you need to cook more than four large potatoes, just check the tenderness after two hours. Use the fork test. If the fork slides in and out of the potato easily, they’re ready to go. If you’re only making one or two small-ish potatoes, check them at one hour.
Do you have your own tried and true method for the perfectly baked sweet potato? Let us know in the comments.