Roasted Sweet Potatoes

These roasted sweet potatoes require nothing more than a trip through the oven, a dollop of butter, and a sprinkling of sea salt.

A roasted sweet potato on a speckled plate with a dollop of butter melting into the flesh and a small spoon with a scoop of potato on it resting beside the whole sweet potato.

If I have the oven on anyway for something else, I’ll throw a couple sweet potatoes in and let them bake at whatever temperature until they are done.–Andrea Reusing

LC Tater Toppers Note

As you’ll infer from our abridged list of tater toppers found below the recipe that follows, there are ways to fancy up sweet potatoes both sweet and savory, simple and sophisticated. Our little inventory of ideas is far from complete, but it’s a start. Don’t be shy about sharing your toppers or mix-ins or serve alongsides. And by way of explanation, although it’s handy to have an exact temperature and time for roasting sweet potatoes in your repertoire, you can, as Reusing explains above, just mindlessly toss them in the oven at virtually any temperature. It’s less a recipe than a reminder that a roasted sweet potato can be a truly inspired entity–or, if the occasion requires, entree.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 5 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes however many you need
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Heat the oven to 400°F (204° C). To cook the sweet potatoes on their own, prick them a few times, lightly oil their skins, and place them directly on the top rack with a pan placed below them on the next rack to catch any drips. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are completely tender and slightly shrunken with crisp skin, which will depend largely on the size of your sweet spud.
Split the top of each, insert some butter, if desired, and add a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Or…

Drizzle with a little maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, or sorghum.

Top with butter and brown sugar. Cinnamon, nuts (pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts), and brandied raisins are at your discretion.

Dollop some homemade applesauce on top.

Gild with smoked bacon.

Plop a spoonful of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt atop.

Smother in crumbled blue cheese or homemade blue cheese dressing.

Pretend the potato is a tartine and bury it beneath bacon, blue cheese, and honey.

Dust with smoked paprika, a little cayenne, and a pat of salted butter to layer a little complexity behind that sweetness.

Reach for the olive oil, chipotle chile powder, and sugar in the raw. (If you toss the potatoes in this prior to roasting, the sugar gets all lusciously crisp at the edges…)

Get a little crazy with some caramelized or roasted onions over the top.

Sprinkle with soy sauce, grated ginger, and sesame seeds.

Scoop out the middle, mash it with butter, salt and pepper, cinnamon and cloves, and a little orange juice, then return it to the shells and grate a little orange zest on top before returning to the oven for a few minutes to warm.

Dust with a little apple or pumpkin pie spice.

Rely on any Indian chutney, whether mango or coriander or apple or mint or peach. Or create your own sweetly sour flavor with some tamarind paste combined with sauteed shallots, ginger, and garlic followed with a shower of fresh cilantro and some plain yogurt.

Slather with some roasted garlic and olive oil, thyme, maybe some salt and pepper.

Strew with corn and black beans and then drizzle with chipotle chile en adobo stirred into some sour cream.

Morph into an impromptu dessert with a scoop of ice cream, whether vanilla, caramel, butter pecan, cinnamon…

Or sit and eat it just as-is.

And don’t forget to save any surplus potatoes to add to soups at the last minute, stuff into pasta as a filling, make into a simple mash, to dice and stir into chowder, cube and toss into coconut curries, puree and gently add heft to a batch of buttermilk biscuits, or to do as the moment moves you. As LC recipe tester Elie Nassar so aptly put it, anything a butternut squash can do, a sweet potato can pretty much do as well.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

I made this for lunch today because I had one sweet potato that was feeling lonely. It makes a quick and easy lunch. The cook time will depend upon the size of your sweet potato. Mine was fairly large, so it took an hour to cook. I seasoned half of mine with some butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. On the other half, I used smoked paprika, cayenne, and butter. Both flavors were very good.


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  1. The photo depicts a yam rather than a sweet potato, which has pale flesh. Are they intended to be interchangeable?

  2. I always stick a few potatoes in the oven whenever I am using it for something that needs to cook for an hour or more. I’ll remember to do that with sweet potatoes now, too. It’ll give me an excuse to keep them in the pantry this winter. I love them.
    I like to stuff cored apples with mashed sweet potato and top with a little streusel. Having the pulp ready will make this an easy dessert.

  3. Sweet potatoes are my very favorite vegetable of all and are surprisingly nutrient-dense for something that tastes so good. You have just given me all the ideas I need to be able to eat them three times a day! I’ll be thrilled … not sure how long the family will last, though.

  4. Every single one of these ideas sounds wonderful. A baked sweet potato is one of life’s great pleasures, in my opinion. When I was a child growing up on a farm, we’d wrap them in foil and toss them into a pile of leaves before setting fire to it. Back then the most effective way to dispose of leaves was by burning them. Tossing a few potatoes into the pile was just killing two birds with one stone. :-)

  5. All of these toppings sound yummy. I like to top baked sweet potatoes with cranberry sauce, either spiced or plain.

      1. I always bake sweet potatoes/yams for Thanksgiving and top them with fresh cranberry orange sauce. Simple sauce: bag of cranberries, peeled orange cut into chunks, a little water as per package, and about half as much sugar as the recipe on the package calls for – I like it slightly sweet/slightly tart. It is THE perfect topping for baked yams, IMHO!!! LOL!

  6. Pick up some outdoor flavors by adding a few sweet potatoes to the rack of your grill or smoker while cooking other things. Stuff them with a little barbecued pork or chicken and a dash of barbecue sauce and serve with a green or vegetable salad or coleslaw for a complete meal.

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