- Sweet potatoes: Organic, if possible. I also like to peel my sweet potatoes, but you’re welcome to leave the skins on if you prefer. Just be sure to give them a nice good scrub beforehand.
- Olive oil: Or any cooking oil that you prefer.
- Cornstarch: As mentioned above, to help the potatoes crisp up
- Seasonings: I like a simple mixture of garlic powder, smoked paprika and black pepper. But feel free to use whatever seasonings you love.
- Sea salt: Nice and fine, which we will sprinkle on at the very end.
How to Make the Best Sweet Potato Fries
I’ve tried baked sweet potato fries every which way, and these elements really do make a big difference in the crispy factor:
1) Slice your fries thinly.
You want your fries to be about 1/4″ wide, or close to it. Thick fries never get crispy.
Here’s how to slice a sweet potato into fries: Rest your sweet potato on its side on a sturdy cutting board. Working lengthwise, slice off a 1/4″ thick slab from one of the sides. Turn the sweet potato onto the flat side so it’s more stable. It gets easier from there!
Continue cutting the sweet potato into slabs, and then cut the slabs into thin fries. As you’re cutting the slabs, you’ll eventually want to turn the sweet potato onto the now-larger flat side to maintain stability.
2) Toss your sliced fries in cornstarch before oil.
Cornstarch really helps to get the outsides crisp! It’s a little trick I learned from a commenter named Jeni (thanks Jeni). I’ve played around with various amounts of cornstarch and olive oil and found the perfect ratio.
I’ve experimented with arrowroot starch as well, and it produced fries that were somewhat less crisp, but it’s worth using if that’s what you have.
3) Divide your fries between two pans and arrange them in even layers.
Overcrowded fries steam each other and never get crispy! You can fit one pound of fries per pan.
Be sure that each fry lies flush against the pan, not piled on top of other fries. The fries develop crisp edges when they’re resting on a hot surface.
4) Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any lower, and your fries will be soggy. Any higher, and the oil will start smoking. Plus, at higher temps your fries will turn from crisp to burnt way too fast.
Halfway through cooking, you’ll flip the fries with a spatula and swap the pan positions (from lower to upper rack and vice versa). This helps ensure that they bake evenly, turning perfectly golden on the outside and cooking through on the inside.
5) Wait on the salt.
Add salt before baking the fries, but wait to add any spices until after baking. Otherwise, the spices will burn and lose their flavor. I love to balance the sweetness of the fries with a little cayenne pepper and garlic powder, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Another benefit of seasoning last? You can add spices to taste, so you won’t overdo it.
6) Give them a cold water bath.
Once your fries are chopped, toss them into a large bowl. Then cover the fries completely with cold water and let them soak for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight). This will help to rinse off the excess starch and help the potatoes crisp up beautifully in the oven. Once the potatoes have soaked, rinse and drain them. Then — also very important — use a towel to pat them down until they are nice and dry before moving onto the next step.