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Best way to bake a sweet potato in the oven?

  • l

to foil or not to foil? what temp is best? and for how long? I know that it depends on the oven, but general recs would be very much appreciated!

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  1. wash/scrub,slice off ends, oil, wrap in foil, 325-350 for 60+ minutes.

    I like my baked sweet potato to be mushy, I start testing (gently apply pressure i.e.,squeeze it) after 1 hour. Depending on the thickness, may take more than 60 minutes.

    I don't think the temperature has to be exact, as you noted, oven temperature may vary. I recently baked some at 325, but remember baking some at 350.

    I used to bake (russet) potatoes in the coals of a campfire. That taught me, cooking potatoes does not require a specific temperature. When they are squeezeable, they are done.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      Doesn't it depend on if you want to eat the skin? I like it, so it's probably bad for you.

      1. re: kiwi

        For russet potatoes, unless there are green spots (mildly toxic), and the skins were well scrubbed, the skin is VERY good for you. That's where almost all the fiber is, and some of the vitamins!

        1. re: kiwi

          Actually, eating the sweet potato WITH the skin is the best way nutritionally speaking because of all the fiber in the skin; sweet potatoes are a great food value if you don't glop them all up with too much butter and/or brown sugar.

          1. re: Val

            A fabulous light dinner is sweet potatoes topped with a good plain yogurt and fresh coriander chutney. Sweet, smooth, tart, spicy. Yum!

      2. No need to cut off ends or wrap in foil, but I would suggest you put them on a piece of foil because as they get sone they will ooze sugar syrup which will burn on to your oven's floor.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          But you do need to prick 'em so they don't explode.

          1. re: kiwi

            I've never had a sweet potato explode in over 30 years of baking them. I would prick a regular russet potato, but I bake them with potato nails in them so it is unnecessary.

            1. re: Candy

              Please tell me more about potato nails. I Googled and it seems there are different materials and grades.

              What is your experience with use?


              1. re: kc girl

                in the past one of my room mates just had some big nails from the hardware store that we stuck into the taters to speed up the cooking....it would be better to get one that wouldn't leach some kind of mineral into the food, I guess. you can just stick a fork into the potato also that works pretty well - takes up more room because of the handle but you already have a drawer full of forks.

                1. re: kc girl

                  Mine are aluminum and are about 6" long. Insert lengthwise into a baker. They help the potato bake more evenly. My mom always used them and we stocked them in a kitchen shop I worked in years ago but similar sized nail from the hardware store should work too.

                  1. re: Candy

                    Whatever you do, don't use galvanized steel. Hot zinc fumes are very toxic.

            2. re: Candy

              Oh boy, yes they do ooze. The good thing is, you can peel the crusty drips off the foil and they taste like candy.

            3. I rub them with oil. I read somewhere that seals in the moisture and helps them cook faster. I also put them on a rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet to catch the drips. The rack allows the hot air to circulate completely around the potato, again speeding up the cooking. I cook them at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Andy T.

                Placing foil underneath is a good idea. They do drip.

              2. Wash, dry, oil if it makes you happy.. but not necessary . ~~ Place in a cast iron skillet or griddle or on a cookie sheet...into a 350* oven...They're done when they feel soft.


                1. Scrub and rinse (no need to dry). Cut off ends or not (I do). Place a bit of foil on an oven rack, top with potatoes, not touching, and bake anywhere from 325° to 400°, depending how much time you have and what else is in the oven. I usually do 400° for about 35 to 40 minutes for relatively slim sweet potatoes. I do prick after 30 minutes, because I have had them explode. I never understood oiling a potato skin. I like them nice and crispy.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jmnewel

                    Oiling helps them get crispy -- it's almost like micro-frying on the surface.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Exactly and l pierce in the beginning. Can assume all are talking about yams not yellow.white sweet potatoes.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Those "yams" really ARE orange sweet potatoes...

                      2. re: sunshine842

                        I coat them with bacon grease, just made a couple last night for breakfast today topped with yogurt.

                    2. Just pulled mine out of the oven. Wash/scrub your sweet potatoes. Dry. Place on rack in middle of oven. Bake for 50ish minutes. Test for doneness by squeezing a bit. (don't burn your hand...use a dish towel or something.) Then remove from oven and place on rack on counter to cool. Once cool, spoon out of skins and then do your thing with spices, etc. :) If you are not using the skins for anything I don't see any reason to oil them either. The point of baking them in their skins is to get them nice and carmelized which is so much tastier than boiling them.. Although I am also making an Emeril recipe that calls for boiled. Good luck.

                      1. I would not use aluminum foil -- who wants aluminum seeping into their food? What I do is put a thin layer of water on the bottom of a baking pan (I use a casserole type dish) and set the yam(s) in that for cooking. That way if there is any leaking it's still easy to clean up, and keeps the yam from getting dry while cooking. (That's my logic anyhow.)

                        1. I precook my potatoes in the microwave until almost cooked through, then transfer into 425 oven for about 10-15 minutes. Definitely us foil under, as sweep potatoes will ooze. And, never microwave with a kitchen towel under because the sap can catch on fire.
                          Yep, did that once.

                          1. Turn on oven, get out sheet pan, place sweet potatoes on it. Put pan in oven. Cook.

                            1. The exact temp or time does not matter so much as simply covering them with foil when you bake them. My potatoes always came out dry and tough until I learned that simple trick. Just tearing off some foil and laying on top works just fine.

                                1. Using aluminum foil seems wasteful to me, and may be toxic, so after washing the sweet potatoes and piercing them to let out steam, I oil them with coconut oil (olive oil would work just as well), and they come out with delicious soft skin.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: DoloresW

                                    I coat them with bacon fat myself. But sweet potatoes, I don't eat the skin, unlike regular potatoes.

                                  2. We leave our skin on, the drippings add flava. House burning smell is awesome...ppl come in to our house and be like "are you cooking yams!??!" and we reply.....I yam.

                                    1. This is how I make them…
                                      Sliced (about 1/4-1/2 inch thick rounds)
                                      Place in a single layer in a glass baking dish
                                      small pat of butter on each one
                                      sprinkle with coarsely chopped garlic and salt
                                      bake until soft

                                      I'm just not a huge fan of sweet potatoes unless they are salty/garlicky/buttery. I really like them this way.

                                      1. I microwave them sometimes for a quick n easy side dish to salmon or chicken. But keep in mind the small, nubby ends of the yam will most likely get overcooked and inedible compared to the delish main potato. Just pop it open, scoop out the orange goodness, add some freshly grated nutmeg, a touch of brown sugar, a dribble of orange juice...mash it together with the back of your fork right on your plate. Yum

                                        1. Does such a thing still exist as a coal furnace in a house? Probably not. When I was a child our furnace had a ledge inside where my mother used to bake potatoes and sweet potatoes. A lovely method.