Wait! This Is Actually the Best Way to Meal Prep Your Sweet Potatoes.

updated May 26, 2020
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Credit: Mia Yakel/Kitchn

Meal prepping has changed a lot in the past few months. Instead of planning packable lunches and post-commute dinners, many of us are in limbo between sheltering-in-place and heading back to work. How we plan and prep for working (and eating) at home and reducing last-minute grocery trips has undergone big changes. The seasons have also shifted too, making cozy casseroles look less appealing than grill-friendly marinades.

What has remained constant through it all, though, are the sweet potatoes that never leave my meal prep plan. Some weeks they’re roasted, other times hashed, but the most brilliant way to meal prep sweet potatoes is actually to use the grill.

Credit: Mia Yakel/Kitchn

Grilled Sweet Potatoes Are the Best Sweet Potatoes

The best time to grill sweet potatoes is every time you’re at the grill. Last summer, Kitchn’s Associate Food Editor, Meghan Splawn, introduced me to the magic of the slow-grilled whole sweet potato, and I’ve never looked back. Honestly, why we haven’t been grilling whole sweet potatoes all along is beyond me. The flickering flame of the grill is just right for turning the orange flesh of the sweet potato tender beneath crispy grill-marked skin. The real beauty of grilled sweet potatoes is that they require almost no upfront prep (just scrubbing the skin) and almost no attention from you once you put them on the grill. Here’s how to do it.

Heat a grill to medium-high, direct heat while you scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Place the taters directly on the grill grates — no need grab a grill basket or pierce them with holes — the grill will slow-cook them to tender. Plan on the sweet potatoes taking about 40 minutes to cook (a little less for small potatoes and a little longer for large potatoes). And sometime around the 20-minute mark, you’ll just need to use tongs to flip the sweet potatoes over to make sure they cook evenly. Don’t worry if the skin chars — keep them over the heat until a knife slides cleanly into the center. That’s the sign that the potatoes are done.

The Best Way to Store Whole, Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Store whole grilled potatoes the same way you’d store a baked potato. Let the potatoes cool, then place in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The crispy, burnished skin will soften upon refrigeration but can be re-crisped, if desired, in an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer. If the orange flesh is what you’re after, scoop out the skins while the flesh is still warm when it is easier to handle, and will cool more quickly. Even if you follow a mix-and-match approach to meal planning, you’ll never regret stocking your fridge with grilled sweet potatoes.

Serving Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Any time you’d normally serve a baked sweet potato can be made even better with a slow-grilled sweet potato. Slow-grilled sweet potatoes have an intensely sweet and smoky flavor, fitting for both sweet and savory applications.

Turn grilled sweet potatoes into breakfast by adding the flesh to your morning smoothie or try a stuffed sweet potato for breakfast (either warmed or straight from the fridge) by topping it with almond butter or a dollop of plain yogurt, maple syrup, and toasted nuts.

There are even more ways to include whole grilled sweet potatoes into your meal plan. When you have mere minutes between conference calls, pop a potato in the microwave and top with pesto and sliced grilled chicken. Once chilled you can even cut the cooked potatoes into cubes for a grain bowl or salad topper. Or the smoky-sweet flesh can be puréed into a creamy soup — perfect for eating after a summer thundershower.