Some people hunt for buried treasure… others hunt for the it bag of the season. I, on the other hand, have been on a hunt that’s led me all over the internet, deep into my cookbook collection, and on countless trips to the produce aisle, as I try to unlock my own culinary mystery: how to make the perfect baked sweet potato fries that are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and much healthier than the deep-fried version. I’ve always had a bit of a sweet potato fry obsession, but the ones I baked in the oven at home were always limp and a little soggy compared to the crispy fries I ordered in restaurants, and a quick search around the web revealed that there are an endless number of sweet potato fry recipes out there. I took one for the team and tried them all out so you don’t have to, and ended up with (what I think is) the world’s best baked sweet potato fry recipe. I’ll never make them another way again, and I highly suggest that you print out this darling illustration by Kelly Colchin, put it on your fridge, and follow it to the letter. Keep reading for the step-by-step technique, as well as the recipe card below…And there you have it! The soaking step is key (don’t skip it!) as it draws the excess starch from the potatoes and helps them cook through. And the quick shake in cornstarch is the secret hero that makes them incredibly crispy on the outside without deep frying. I personally love a sweet-salty-spicy combo on my fries, but I included a few different flavor suggestions in the recipe below that you can adapt to suit the rest of the meal (Indian? Mediterranean? American? We’ve got a fry for that.) Keep reading for the recipe, and I’d love to hear what you think if you give it a try!
photo by Kate LeSueur, illustration by Kelly Colchin
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or curry powder, or herbes de provence, deepening on your mood)
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- non-stick cooking spray
- coarse sea salt, to taste
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into fries that are 1/2" thick. Fill a large bowl with cold water, add the sweet potatoes, and let soak for at least 1 hour. Drain the water out of the bowl, rinse the fries once more with cold water, then drain thoroughly. Pat dry with a towel.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the cornstarch to a gallon-sized zip top bag, then add the sweet potato fries and shake the bag around to lightly coat the fries in cornstarch. You just want the very lightest coating -- avoid letting any clumps stick to the fries.
- Pour the fries into a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil over, then sprinkle on the brown sugar, bread crumbs and chili powder (or whatever seasoning you're using.) Use your hands to mix everything together thoroughly, then pour the fries onto the baking sheet and spread into a single even layer, preferably with the fries not touching each other. If they're too crowded, put some of the fries on a second foil-lined baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet on an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, then let bake for 15 minutes. Remove fries from oven and use a spatula to toss everything around. Spread out in a single even layer again, then bake for another 15 minutes until fries are golden brown.
- Turn off the oven, open the door partially, and allow the fries to rest and crisp up for 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle liberally with sea salt, and eat!
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I’ve heard of the cornstarch, but shaking them is ingenious!! I’ve never tried soaking them, either. I think they are best with minced garlic to bring out the sweetness, good quality olive oil, sea salt and coarse ground black pepper. Simple and amazing 🙂
I can’t wait to try this! I tried a different blogger’s recipe, which promised that soaking the fries would result in crispiness, and was very disappointed.
Happened to have a couple of sweet potatoes on hand and made these to go along with our dinner this evening. They were heavenly! Thanks so much for sharing the tips and recipe.
this is great. i’ve been searching for a recipe. thank you!
yum. I love a good sweet potato fry (though I usually go for the frozen ones at trader joes, I will add it to my list of things to try!)
Thanks for sharing Camille! I’ve been craving sweet potato fries and experienced the same problems baking them at home.
I love sweet potato fries! Also, that graphic is adorable!
I love sweet potato fries. I make different variations, one of my favourite is sweet potato fries sprinkled with jerk seasoning.
Mine stuck to the foil horribly after the first 15 minutes. I think this is because I didn’t rearrange my oven racks before pre-heating, so I didn’t follow your “lower third of the oven” step. I would point out to anyone else attempting this recipe for the first time that having them in the lower portion of the oven is key. I had to scrape them off the tin foil after the first 15 minutes and put them directly on the cookie sheet for the remainder of the cooking time. After that they turned out pretty well.
Hi Jamie – so sorry you had a sticking issue! Two potential causes: did you use a liberal spray of cooking spray on the foil before laying the fries down? And, did you skimp on the amount of olive oil that you tossed them with? I sometimes try to lessen the amount of olive oil to save calories, but for this recipe, you really need the full 2 tablespoons per 2 potatoes to avoid sticking. Let me know if you try it again and have a similar issue – good luck!
Do you have to peel them? I like to leave them on when possible for the added nutrition!
no way, feel free to leave them on!! 🙂
Hi! This is the best sweet potato recipe I have followed! Thanks! Check out my blog to see the recreation of your recipe! I followed all steps except I used tapioca starch instead of corn starch and used a Garlic Lover’s seasoning by Flavor God. http://thelipstickpantry.blogspot.com/2014/11/baked-sweet-potato-fries.html#more
I was thinking of using the tapioca starch too!
I put too much corn starch and it has a residue because I had the fries soaking in water
Just made them and they were delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe
So glad you loved!!
Mine came out nice and crispy, they did however have a residual coating and taste of Cornstarch on the potato. Any thoughts?
I would recommend just using less cornstarch! The coating should be SO light that once it’s evenly distributed, you shouldn’t even be able to see it. Let me know if that helps on the next try!
Haha, I can totally relate! I´ve been wanting to try out a good sweet potato fries recipe, but since my priorities are hunting for the perfect cheesecake, I really haven´t had time so thanks for sharing and saving me the work! 😉
These came out perfect!! Thank you for a great recipe/!!!
Thank you so much!!! They were perfect!
Made these tonight. They were very tastey! Most of them did not crisp up. I think they may have needed an extra 10 minutes.
Today I’m going to try these out! I still have one question: I would like them to be a complete meal. What kind of meat/vegetables go with it? Anyone any ideas?
These go perfectly with steak, roast chicken, salmon, or really any kind of meat on the grill, like burgers! They are super versatile and you can mix up the seasonings on the fries to complement those of your protein. Good luck and can’t wait to hear what you think!
Thank you for your quick answer! I’ve tried them but they didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to be! Might give it another try!
Made these last night. Delicious and well worth the extra effort. Found I needed way more cornstarch than the recipe called for to get all pieces covered.
Thanks for the feedback — Yes, the cornstarch amount can definitely vary based on the size of your potatoes and the width of your fries (more or less surface area to cover.) So glad you loved the fries!!
I don’t know what happened, I follow the direction completely. But after 15 minutes I went to turn them and they had burned really badly. We were so disappointed! What went wrong??
It sounds like either your fries were cut too thin, or your oven was too hot… have you experienced other items cooking a lot faster than normal in your oven?
I cut my fries the recommended thickness and used the same temp. My over cooks everything fine normally, I am not one to burn things. Do you think I should bake it at a lower temp than 450? Use more or less oil? Turn more often?
I would try lowering the heat to 400 and using a touch more oil… you want the heat high enough for them to caramelize, but of course don’t want them burned. 🙂 Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Fingers crossed!
Does arrowroot work in place of the cornstarch
I haven’t tested it, but I do think that it would work… would love to hear if you give it a try!
Thank you for the recipe! I’m looking forward to trying it, but I do have one question. Are breadcrumbs necessary? I have all of the ingredients at home except for the breadcrumbs!
Great question — and these are actually great without the breadcrumbs! They’re not exactly the same of course, but still delicious. Go for it and let me know how they turn out!
I made these tonight as football party snacks. They were very good! More time consuming than I anticipated, though. I made half as directed and half with fresh garlic and blue cheese.
yum!! i bet the garlic and blue cheese made for perfect game-watching snacks!
I’m sorry, but I tried this and none of it made it crispy. It just turned out the same as i usually do without soaking or bread crumbs or corn starch.
Hi Stephanie — bummer! I wonder what was different. You could try cooking them for a bit longer or slightly higher temp since all ovens are a bit different. And I’ve found that letting them sit in the oven with the door cracked and oven off for a while definitely helps them crisp up right at the end.
This recipe sounds divine! I’m going to try to comply with the Whole30 diet so I’m going to skip the bread crumbs and brown sugar and use arrowroot powder in lieu of cornstarch. Since I don’t have an hour to soak the potatoes in water could I skip that step and do everything else without compromising the end result? Thanks! Can’t wait to try them out exactly as the recipe states!
Hi Emily! The soaking is a pretty key component as it removes the extra starch and makes them crispy — but even soaking for 15 or 20 minutes will make a huge difference. Good luck and can’t wait to hear what you think!
I have made these, at the request of my picky kids, many times- always delicious and devoured by my family! I follow the directions to a ‘T’ and they are crispy yet soft and perfect each and every time! I do add minced garlic if I remember and that is soooo good too! Thanks for the amazing recipe
I tried this recipe this past weekend and the fries were so good! You give great instructions and I love your graphics! This will be my go-to recipe from now on. Thanks so much for sharing!!!
Love these!! I pair mine with paprika and garlic powder and they are a crowd favourite!! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
Are you using actual sweet potatoes or yams? The photos look like yams.
Hmm, that’s a good question! I pretty much use them interchangeably, so you definitely could be right!
i’m just wondering if it is necessary to use brown sugar 🙂 thanks
nope, you can skip or even substitute with honey or maple syrup — they just won’t be quite as crispy.
Hi! I’m about to make this with a oven fried chicken recipe.. will it work at 400 degrees? Should I then adjust to 20 min per side? Also, will parchment work i/o foil? Thank you!
Hi I’m about to try & cook these will let you know how I get on we’re having them with meatballs and spaghetti sauce & buffalo mozzarella ?
Does this also work for sweet potato chips? All the websites make it look as easy as slice-toss-bake; but I keep ending up with chips that either won’t get crispy or are blackened by the time they do – not matter how low the temperature. If soaking is the key with sweets as well as russets, why don’t others include this step?
I did mine on parchment. Worked well. They are yummy! I need a dipping recipe now?
Fantastic recipe. My girls loved them. Best fries ever according to them. They now ask for them all the time. I just can’t get enough of them so crisp & tasty.
I heard that you can reduce the starchy sugar water you washed/soaked your sweet potatoes in to make a sweet sugary liquid is that true?
I ran out of olive oil so I substituted grape seed oil. I can’t wait to try them.
My fries turned out terribly. They burnt to the tinfoil. After the 25 minutes (flipping after 15) they turned out soggy and undercooked onto and burnt black to the tinfoil on bottom