5 tips on how to bake the perfect sweet potato. It is easy to bake the perfect sweet potato by using these quick and essential tips. You will never have a badly baked sweet potato again.
Over the years of eating out at restaurants, friends’ homes and even making my own sweet potato recipes, I have discovered that there is such a thing as a badly baked potato.
TIP#1: WASH, WASH, WASH! THEN WASH SOME MORE
Nothing ruins a good sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie like dirt! Yes, I have actually experienced that. I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house a few years ago and they made mashed sweet potato pie. The cook washed the potato quickly and microwaved it.
The result was a gritty and dirty potato pie.
So, I use the fingers that humans are lucky to have and get into that sweet potato. I clean every nook and cranny and even use a vegetable brush to get through it all. Once it is clean, I dry it using a paper napkin and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I want to make sure that there is no water left on the skin
TIP#2: POKE HOLES INTO THE POTATO
Poking holes works! The end.
I have had potatoes where no holes were poked. They turned out to be too mushy and almost inedible, while the outside remained dry and uncooked.
So, I poke holes in my potato with a fork and avoid that problem. The holes are not deep, just superficial enough to allow an escape route for the steam
TIP#3: LIGHTLY OIL THE OUTSIDE OF THE SWEET POTATO
I cannot stress the importance of these tips. When I oil the outside of the potato, the skin doesn’t become a dry and crinkled mess. The skin remains smooth and easy to peal once the sweet potato is baked. It sounds strange, I know, but I don’t like my sweet potato to look like a giant shriveled raisin when it is done baking.
TIP#5: LEAVE IT IN THE OVEN
The last of the 5 tips are leaving the potato in the oven after you turn it off. Bake the potato in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Depending on your oven, the bake temperature and time may vary. At about the 45-minute mark, I take a knife to it and see if it is easy to pierce the skin of the potato. If the knife goes through easily, then I turn off the oven and let the sweet potato sit in the rack.
I leave it in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes and then remove it from the oven. Quick tip: Learn from my burn scares and don’t use your bare hands to remove it.
Over the years, I have been asked several questions about the baked sweet potatoes. Here are the answers to some of the FAQ about baking sweet potatoes:
1. ARE BAKED SWEET POTATOES HEALTHY?
Yes! sweet potatoes are healthy in general because they a heavy does Vitamin A. According to Wikipedia, 100g of sweet potato has about 89% of the RDA. Baking the sweet potato brings out all its flavors and nutrition.
2. CAN YOU EAT THE SKIN OF A BAKED SWEET POTATO?
Yes, the skin is edible after baking the sweet potato. However, some people don’t like the taste and tend to discard it. Personally, I am a fan of the skin, so, I keep it. If I use the pulp, then, I will make appetizers from the skin.
3. CAN YOU MAKE A SWEET POTATO IN THE MICROWAVE?
This is a tough question to answer for me. From what I have read, it's not a good idea to microwave a sweet potato. The waves tend to zap away some of the nutrition. What I will say is that I find that a microwaved sweet potato tends to be unevenly cooked. In fact, I have found that some parts of the sweet potato are burnt and some areas are undercooked. It also loses some of its wonderful lusters in the microwave. For me, the oven is the best place to roast a sweet potato.
4. DO BAKED SWEET POTATOES NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
This is the most common question I get asked. The answer is Yes! But, it also depends on when you want to eat it. If you are eating it within hours of baking it, then, you can get away with not refrigerating it. If you are going to use it up the next day or a week after baking it, then, it definitely needs to be in the refrigerator. You can also put it in the freezer. Wrap it in foil and place it in a Ziploc bag. Put the baking date on it and refrigerate. I try to use it up within a month of baking it.
5. WHAT’S THE PERFECT TEMPERATURE FOR BAKING A SWEET POTATO?
I have always baked a sweet potato at 400°. However, some people have found that they might have to bake it longer at that temperature. You can choose 450° and bake for 45 minutes.
I have read studies where that theory is disputed and I have seen studies where that theory is proved. The bottom line is that there is no firm study that proves the link. If you are making these sweet potatoes every day, then maybe using an aluminum foil might be problematic. I like using foil because it circulates the heat evenly. At the end of the day, you have to do what you think is right for you. No judgments here!
So, now you know my 5 tips for baking a sweet potato. What is/are your tip(s) for a perfect oven baked sweet potato recipe?