We Tried 6 Ways of Baking Crispy Sweet Potato Fries and the Winner Was Abundantly Clear
I have to admit something: I have cooked more soggy, burnt, and just overall mediocre baked sweet potato fries than I’d like to admit. After years of sub-par homemade sweet potato fries, I gave up. I resigned to purchasing frozen sweet potato fries for more consistent results. But those bags can get pricey, and it seemed a little silly that sweet potato fries, out of all things, was the dish I couldn’t manage to get right.
So I decided once and for all to figure out the best way to bake crispy sweet potato fries at home.
So, What’s the Best Way to Make Extra-Crispy Sweet Potato Fries?
For the crispiest sweet potato fries, soak cut sweet potatoes in cold for water for at least 10 minutes. Toss them with oil then cornstarch (the order matters!). Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Flip the fries, then bake for an additional 16-19 minutes.
How I Found the Best Way to Bake Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet potatoes: I purchased orange fleshed sweet potatoes weighing one pound each. I peeled them, and cut them into 1/2-inch wide planks, then into 1/2-inch wide fries.
- Starch: Adding additional starch to the fries helps them crisp in the oven. I used 1 tablespoon of starch per 1 pound of sweet potato.
- Oil: I used 1 tablespoon of olive oil per 1 pound of sweet potato.
- Seasoning: Sweet potatoes take well to spices, both savory and sweet. In order to focus on the cooking methodology, I skipped them. I did add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to every 1 pound of sweet potato.
- Tasting: Sweet potato fries are best eaten fresh. I am fortunate to have double ovens and plenty of baking sheets. I prepared the fries in order of longest to shortest overall prep plus bake time. So while I wasn’t able to taste test all six methods side by side at once, I was able to taste them all within the same hour.
- Rating: Each method is rated on a scale of 10, 10 being a perfect score. I considered the ease of each method and how well it produced a crispy sweet potato fry.
Method: 30-Minute Soak, Baked at 450°F on a Wire Rack, No Cornstarch
Method: No Soak, Baked at 400°F
Method: No Soak, Baked at 425°F
Method: 30-Minute Soak, Baked at 425°F
Method: 1-Hour Soak, Baked at 425°
Prep: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
About this method: Laura from The First Mess starts with shorter fries. The large sweet potatoes are cut in half through the equator first, then cut into 1/2-inch fries. They then go in a bowl of cold water for at least an hour to soak. After draining and drying well, they’re tossed with arrowroot or cornstarch. (Laura indicates that either will work. I stuck with cornstarch for consistency’s sake.) They’re laid out on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. The tops are then sprayed again with cooking spray. No salt yet — it draws out moisture while cooking. They’re baked at 425°F, for 50 minutes, flipping halfway through. They can be returned to the oven for additional cooking time if more browning is needed.
Results: I was skeptical of the shorter, almost stubby fries at first. I like the more elegant look of cutting the full length sweet potato into fries. But there was no denying it was a lot easier to cut things up when starting with half a potato and a flat, even surface. The hour-long soak also seemed like a long prep time, plus nearly an hour’s cooking time.
But these fries were super crisp. The shorter length provided more surface area to crisp up. They’re also great if you’re serving a crowd — they’re a one-bite fry that doesn’t require double dipping. And using cooking spray was easier and much less of a mess. The hour-long soak is definitely something you have to plan around, but they can soak up to overnight. It’d likely be easier to prep them earlier in the day, let them soak in the refrigerator, then resume when it’s closer to dinnertime.
My only major complaint was that 50 minutes was too long for my oven. These fries were too dark. They also tasted a bit under-seasoned. The salt didn’t adhere as well to the fries when they were seasoned after being removed to a plate. I’d definitely repeat this method but start checking the fries for doneness at 35 minutes. I’d also salt them immediately out of the oven, while the oil is still bubbling on the surface.
Method: 10-Minute Soak, Tossed with Oil Then Cornstarch, Baked at 425
Soaking sweet potato fries in cold water, even for just 10 minutes, before baking definitely makes a difference. To streamline things, prep and pop the bowl of fries in the fridge several hours before eating.
425°F seems to be the sweet spot for the oven temperature. Not too hot where they burn but hot enough to crisp and brown evenly.
Lastly, be sure to rotate the pans when cooking. Ovens have hot spots that sweet potatoes are particularly susceptible to. Rotating the pans helps avoid half a pan of overdone fries, and half a pan of soggy fries.