Recipe Review

This Viral TikTok Trend Makes the World’s Best Sweet Potatoes

published Apr 14, 2023
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Parmesan crust on parmesan crusted sweet potatoes.
Credit: James Park

After sharing the most viewed video I’ve ever made (with over 20M views!), I’ve seen various versions of “The World’s Best Potatoes”. But nothing caught my eye until these Crispy Roasted Parmesan Carrots

It had everything that I loved about the original recipe: easy preparation, crispy Parmesan crust, and tender roasted vegetables. And it got me thinking about the endless possibilities this original recipe offers. If you make the Parmesan “paste,” you can give the “World’s Best” treatment to any vegetable.

As a starch lover, I immediately thought of sweet potatoes, specifically Korean ones, called “goguma”. Compared to American sweet potatoes with orange flesh with high water content, “goguma” has a whitish yellow flesh inside with a dense, slightly dry, and starchy texture. When roasted, “goguma” has a jammy, naturally-caramelized flavor. Would this sweet potato be as delicious-looking as roasted carrots? Let’s try it.

How to Make Crispy Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

The magic “World’s Best” formula only needs a few pantry staple ingredients: sweet potatoes (or any root vegetables you want to try), butter, Parmesan, and the seasonings of your choice. For this experiment, I used a blend of herbaceous seasoned salt, Aleppo pepper for subtle heat, and toasted sesame seeds for a nice crunch. You can customize any seasonings of your choice, but I think creating a nice balance of salt, heat, and crunch will give you the best result.

To make the Parmesan cheese paste, mix 2/3 stick of melted unsalted butter, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup of seasoning blend. If the paste looks too watery, add more Parmesan cheese. If it’s too thick, add more melted butter. The paste texture should look like wet sand and be easily spreadable.

Another critical element of making this “World’s Best” recipe is the scoring. Scoring each piece before roasting helps the vegetable, sweet potato for this case, absorb the flavors and cook evenly. Put the cut side down so that it touches the paste. Bake it in the oven at 425°F for 35 minutes, or until it’s fully cooked. It’s done!

Credit: James Park

My Honest Review of Crispy Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

There’s a reason why this recipe has earned the reputation of “World’s Best.” The flavors and textures of the crispy Parmesan crust are unbeatable. But it’s even better when paired with jammy, naturally-caramelized sweet potatoes. It has a perfect ratio of sweet-and-salty flavors and crispy-and-tender flesh.

Using a less watery, starchier, and sweeter sweet potato for this recipe, compared to typical orange sweet potato, made a big difference too! The skin had an excellent snap when taking a bite, and the roasted “goguma” flavor wasn’t overpowered by the cheesy crust. I could see eating this as a drinking snack with a cold can of beer, or a hearty side dish with roasted chicken. Or serve it hash-style with crispy fried eggs. These sweet potatoes checked off everything I craved regarding flavors and textures! 

If You’re Making Crispy Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes, a Few Tips 

  1. Experiment with different varieties of sweet potatoes and root vegetables. This “World’s Best” formula worked beautifully on carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. So, why not go further with less appreciated vegetables like parsnips, radishes, or even beets? You can turn just about any vegetable you’d roast into something special with this recipe. 
  2. Be creative with seasoning blends. Think beyond dry seasonings! Add fresh herbs like rosemary and aromatics like chopped garlic and scallions. Use a mixture of butter and olive oil to make a paste! How about using melted ghee instead of butter to make the paste? Create your best formula.