Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes

Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
185 Calories
9g Fat
24g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 185
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 165mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 22mg 112%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 552mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

One of the easiest ways to cook sweet potatoes is to bake them in the oven. There's no need to wrap them individually in foil, either. The whole sweet potatoes bake perfectly fine laying on a piece of foil for a super easy side dish.

After baking, butter is added to the sweet potatoes and they're seasoned. You can choose to go simple with salt and pepper, savory with paprika, or top with cinnamon sugar for a sweetly spiced flavor. The options don't stop there—there are more ways you can dress up this easy side dish so it suits any family dinner.

Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes are firm and somewhat grainy. They're closer in texture to butternut squash or a turnip than a white potato, which is why they take a bit longer to cook. Also, their skins can be tough and lumpy. Give sweet potatoes a good scrubbing to make sure the skin is clean and crisps up nice in the oven.

These are a delicious side dish for any meal. Serve them with baked chicken or pork, grilled fish, black bean soup, or a tossed salad.

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"This is such an easy way to prepare whole sweet potatoes—just prick with a fork, rub with oil, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. There's no need to wrap them in foil or cut them up. And the skins turn out nice and crisp. If you love sweet potatoes, this is a great recipe." —Danielle Centoni

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter, or to taste

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Paprika or cinnamon sugar, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking pan with foil.

    baking pan lined with aluminum foil

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada


  3. Scrub sweet potatoes thoroughly, dry, and prick each one in several places with a fork to aerate. Rub oil all over each potato.

    clean sweet potatoes

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Arrange potatoes on foil and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. 

    sweet potatoes on a baking pan

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Cut a 1 1/2-inch "X" in the center of each baked sweet potato. Using a clean dish rag or pot holder to protect your hands, hold a potato on each side and press upwards until filling "bursts" up through cuts.

    cut X in potatoes and squeeze

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  6. Top with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Season with paprika or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, if desired.

    Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Tips

  • Try to find sweet potatoes that are uniform in size so they will bake evenly. The skin should be firm and smooth with no wrinkles or dark spots. Store raw sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place.
  • To make the cinnamon sugar, combine 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Blend well.
  • Wash and dry your sweet potatoes thoroughly. This will help the skin to crisp up well during baking.
  • Don't wrap in aluminum foil as the skin will not crisp up and will stay moist.


Recipe Variations

  • Top the finished sweet potatoes with shredded Swiss cheese and cooked crumbled bacon. Put them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and place them under the broiler just until the cheese has melted.
  • Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with cinnamon sugar, and put a few miniature marshmallows on each one. Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and place them under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the marshmallows.
  • Alternatively, after sprinkling each buttered sweet potato lightly with cinnamon sugar, drizzle a teaspoon or two of maple syrup or honey on top.
  • To give the potatoes a different flavor, use coconut oil instead of butter, and sprinkle with a teaspoon each of curry powder and cumin. Replace the sugar with brown sugar.

Why Poke Holes in Sweet Potatoes for Baking?

Holes are poked in sweet potatoes with a fork after washing and prior to baking to help release steam (the holes become little vents for steam to release) and to make sure the potato doesn't split during cooking.