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!
- 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!