Ever since we shared our article on how to grow amazing sweet potatoes, we have been flooded with emails asking us what is the the best way to cook sweet potatoes.
We eat sweet potatoes 2-3 times per week. Not only because we had a great crop of them this past garden season, but because of their delicious flavor and terrific nutritional values.
Sweet potatoes contain huge amounts of vitamin A but they also contain a significant amount of fiber as well as vitamin C, manganese and several other vitamins and minerals. Another important benefit – they are loaded with beneficial antioxidants.
Although they taste sweet, they have a lower glycemic index than traditional white potatoes. This helps to decrease the risk of spikes in blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time.
When you order a sweet potato at a restaurant it will most likely be served with butter, brown sugar and/or cinnamon. We find that when you cook sweet potatoes at home, they are so naturally sweet and develop a natural caramelized layer, that no additional additives are needed for this delicious side dish!
3 Delicious Ways To Cook Sweet Potatoes
1. Baked Sweet Potatoes
Our absolute favorite way to cook sweet potatoes is to bake them in the oven. Although this takes quite a bit longer than other methods, the flavors that develop by baking them in the oven are undeniably delicious.
In order to achieve the caramelization that makes sweet potatoes so delicious, there are a few tips and tricks to follow when baking.
When purchasing sweet potatoes pick the medium sized potatoes that have consistent thickness throughout the center of the potato. Even though it is tempting to pick the large, chubby potatoes, they will cook better if the size is uniform.
Make deep slices in the potato to encourage cooking in the center of the potato. The slices will prevent the center of the potato from becoming steamed and watery.
Bake at a high temperature. We bake ours at 450° F for 55 minutes (depending on the size of the potatoes). The high temperature allows the potato to be cooked through and allows the caramelization process to begin.
And our final tip for baking a sweet potato – make sure that you use parchment paper or foil on the baking sheet for easy clean up. Otherwise the same wonderful caramelization juices will cause a nightmare to clean up off of the baking sheet!
2. Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
If there is not enough time in your schedule to bake them, the second best way to cook sweet potatoes is by using your Instant Pot pressure cooker.
We use this method frequently on weeknights, or when we are using the oven for something else.
Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the liner, and stack the sweet potatoes on the trivet. Set the Instant Pot in the sealed position and pressure cook/manual for 25 minutes. Once the time is up quick pressure release the valve. That’s it!
Prior to cooking pierce small to medium sized potatoes with a sharp knife several times, or slice larger potatoes in half lengthwise for even and faster cooking. You will need to adjust the time based on the size of your potatoes.
We actually prefer the Instant Pot method when we are making mashed sweet potatoes because the potatoes turn out soft and creamy and easy to mash.
3. Boiled Sweet Potatoes
If you are wanting to use sweet potato chunks in soups, stews and casseroles, than boiling them is the way to go!
Peel your potatoes and cut them in 1 inch chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and add your cut potatoes. Boil for 10-12 minutes for firmer potatoes that will continued to be cooked further in another dish.
Boil for a total of 15-20 minutes for soft and tender sweet potato chunks if using as a stand alone side dish or for mashing.
No matter which method you use to cook sweet potatoes they freeze well and can be used for a last minute addition to your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you love sweet potatoes check out how to Make Sweet Potato Fries.
Mary and Jim
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