6 Tips for Making Better Roasted Sweet Potatoes

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Many of us are eating sweet potatoes throughout the year — baked, turned into noodles, or just boiled and mashed — but I’m declaring November the official start of roasted sweet potato season. When you roast sweet potatoes, their flesh becomes sweeter, burnished by the hot oven, and the flesh tenderizes into the most delicious bites ever.

There are a couple of smart things you can do to make your roasted sweet potatoes even better, though — and none of them require special ingredients or equipment.

Roasted Sweet Potato Basics

We’ve got you covered on the essential methods for roasting vegetables, but let’s review, shall we?

  • Be generous with the oil (or butter): Don’t skimp on the oil or clarified butter on your roasting sheet, or you’ll end up with stuck-on, dry sweet potatoes!
  • Don’t crowd the pan: You’ll get more color (and here, color equals flavor) if your potatoes have room to let off moisture instead of steaming on top of each other.
  • Roast until they toast: I love this little phrase! Don’t try to flip your sweet potatoes or stir them until the edges have a little color. Color is a good indicator of doneness but also adds all the flavor.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

6 Smart Ways to Upgrade Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1. Flavored oil or clarified butter: Don’t limit your sweets to olive oil before roasting. Clarified butter is a true game-changer when it comes to getting more flavor from your potatoes, but consider garlic or chile oil for your sweet potatoes too. Pro tip: if you want to use a delicate nut oil for flavor, add it while the potatoes are still warm after roasting.

2. Fruit juice: Sweet potato wedges tossed with a little apple cider or the juice of an orange (in addition to oil) get a caramelized glaze in the oven that doesn’t require much extra effort.

3. Spices: So simple but effective, dried spices and spice blends will instantly upgrade your roasted sweet potatoes.

4. Condiments: These can be before and after additions. Add a little maple syrup before roasting or add some garlic-chile paste after. Better yet? Do both!

Or just use them for dipping: How To Make Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

5. Dressing: Here’s a little hack for all roasted vegetables: Make a vinaigrette just for roasted vegetables. I love a brown butter and apple cider version, but maple-dijon or even a basic balsamic vinaigrette is a one-step way to finish your roasted vegetables and make them irresistible.

6. Cheese: Yes, you can roast sweet potatoes with cheese! I love Parmesan (it holds up well in the oven), but cheddar and Gouda are great bets to add too while the potatoes are hot from the oven.

Whats your favorite way to upgrade sweet potatoes?