If sweet potatoes aren't regularly found in your pantry, let's change that today. These tubers are a little more rugged on the outside than their Russet and Yukon Gold friends, but their sweet, amber-hued flesh makes them an easy side dish for nearly anything you're cooking.
In this cooking lesson, we're covering the basics of how to peel and chop sweet potatoes three different ways and share some tips on when is best to use each cut.
The 3 Cuts to Know & When to Use Them
There are two types of slices: rounds and steaks. Rounds are great for roasting and eating on their own. Cut rounds against the length of the sweet potato. Steaks are ideal for roasting and adding to sandwiches or using as a bread replacement. Slice these along the length of the sweet potato.
Pretty much a fancy way of saying sticks, batons are most often used for making sweet potato fries, but they wouldn't be unwelcome roasted and snuggled in a wrap.
Cubes are probably the most versatile cut of the bunch. They can be roasted, steamed, or boiled; they go from salad to soup easily; and they are the best shape for cooking and mashing.
Do I Have to Peel My Sweet Potatoes?
Nope, sweet potato skin is tender and can add amazing texture, especially to roasted sweet potato cubes. If you do plan on peeling, be sure to do it before slicing or dicing; your job will be much easier.
Key Tips for Preparing Sweet Potatoes
- Rinse before peeling: You'll primarily find orange and white sweet potatoes at the supermarket, but these principles apply to other elongated tubers like true yams and yucca. Like most potatoes, sweet potatoes grow underground and should be rinsed and lightly scrubbed before peeling.
- Peel the sweet potato from root to tip: Obvious, but helpful! Use a serrated peeler if you've got it, although a regular peeler is fine. Make long, even strokes from root to tip to remove the peel, turning as you go.
- Find (or cut) an even surface: Once your sweet potato is peeled, give it a roll on your cutting board. Is there one side that feels stable on the cutting surface? If you can't find one, cut a sliver of potato from one side to make a flat surface that will make the potato sit evenly.
- Make your cuts as even as possible: Whether you're going to slice your sweet potato into rounds or sticks for fries, keeping each piece close in size will make cooking them easier and more even. This, my friends, just takes practice.
Tools for Chopping Sweet Potatoes
A large cutting board and sharp chef's knife are mandatory for chopping sweet potatoes, but a serrated peeler and a ruler will make the task faster and easier. Any sharp peeler will do, but a serrated peeler works a little more efficiently, gripping the sweet potato skin. A ruler will help you make nice, even cuts until you master the technique.
Recipes to Use Your Prepped Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potato Wraps with Caramelized Onions and Pesto
- Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage & Eggs
- Sweet Potato Fajitas
- How To Make Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese & Arugula Sandwiches
- Sheet Pan Sweet Potatoes and Black Bean Hash
- Baked Fish Fingers and Sweet Potato Wedges
- Creamy Skillet Tortellini with Sweet Potato and Spinach
- Vegan Sweet Potato Chowder
How To Peel and Chop Sweet Potatoes: 3 Ways
What You Need
3 pounds large sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
Vegetable peeler, preferably serrated
- Rinse and peel the sweet potatoes. Rinse and dry the sweet potato before preparing. Peel the sweet potato from root to tip, if the recipe calls for peeled potatoes. Use a serrated peeler if you've got it, although a regular peeler is fine. Make long, even strokes from root to tip to remove the peel, turning as you go.
- For sweet potato slices. Find the most stable and flat side of the sweet potato. If you can't find one, cut a sliver of potato from one side to make a flat surface. Cut the sweet potato crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
- For sweet potato batons (sticks). Find the most stable and flat side of the sweet potato. If you can't find one, cut a sliver of potato from one side to make a flat surface. Cut the potato lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks. Stack 2 slices on top of each other, then cut the slices lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide batons. Repeat with remaining pieces of sweet potato.
- For sweet potato cubes. Find the most stable and flat side of the sweet potato. If you can't find one, cut a sliver of potato from one side to make a flat surface. Cut the potato lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks. Stack 2 slices on top of each other and cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide batons. Gather 6 of these batons together and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes. Repeat with remaining pieces of sweet potato.