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Learn how to bake sweet potatoes with these foolproof tips! Easy variations for air fryer and microwave! Perfect side or main dish!

Photograph of baked sweet potato on a white plate with fork.

As the air begins to cool, I immediately start craving my favorite fall and winter vegetables and cozy dishes. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, chili, and stews. You get the idea.

As I was cooking sweet potatoes the other day, I realized I’ve previously shared my instant pot recipe, but that I had not shared how to bake this family favorite! They are so easy to make and are delicious as a side dish, topped with your favorite toppings for a main dish for dinner, or to use in any number of other recipes.

Closeup photo of a sweet potato in a wicker basket.

How to Bake Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are naturally mildly sweet. Their sweetness is enhanced by baking which turns their fluffy, creamy, tender flesh even sweeter and so incredibly delicious. Here’s how I make them.

Ingredients

Medium Sweet Potatoes

Optional Toppings: such as kosher salt, black pepper, ground cinnamon, or others listed below under variations.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Scrub the sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels and poke holes into the top of the potatoes with a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife. Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet, making sure that they do not touch.
  3. Bake the sweet potatoes until they are fragrant, the skin has puffed and shows dimples, and a fork easily pierces the center, about 45 to 50 minutes, depending on the size.

Tips for Baking Sweet Potatoes

  • Select similar sized sweet potatoes.
  • Do not let them touch while cooking.
  • Do not wrap them for cooking as this will trap the steam and cause the skin to be too soft. Only wrap is using them in another dish where the skin will be discarded, such as sweet potato casserole.
  • An instant read thermometer should register between 205º F and 212º F in the thickest portion of the potato when perfectly cooked.

Baked Sweet Potato Halves

I also love to slice my sweet potatoes in half to serve for smaller portions. The cooking time is much faster and they are just right to serve as a side dish with a cup of soup or a sandwich or to top with chili. It is also great when serving a larger group of people. I learned a cool trick from my friend Amy to cook them flesh side down so that the sweet potato has a caramel, roasted sweet potato flavor when served. Here’s how I make them.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with foil. Drizzle olive oil onto the foil.
  • Scrub the sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels and slice the potatoes in half lengthwise.
  • Place the potatoes sliced, flesh side down onto the foil, making sure to slide them through the olive oil to coat. Make sure the potatoes do not touch. Cook until fragrant and a fork easily pierces the center, about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size.
Overhead photograph of baked sweet potato on a white plate.

Air Fryer Baked Sweet Potatoes

You can also easily use your air fryer to prepare your sweet potatoes! I love to cook them in my air fryer if I am cooking just a couple. While the cooking time is generally the same as cooking a larger batch in the oven, I’ve noticed that the skin tends to be crispier and the flesh can even have a roasted flavor.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line air fryer rack with parchment paper or foil.
  • Scrub the sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels and poke holes into the top of the potatoes with a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife.
  • Arrange the potatoes on the air fryer rack, making sure they do not touch. Bake the sweet potatoes until they are fragrant, the skin has puffed and shows dimples, and a fork easily pierces the center, about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size.

Microwave Sweet Potatoes

When time is of the essence, I also turn to my microwave!

  • Line microwave-safe dish with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Scrub sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels and poke holes into the top of the potatoes with a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife.
  • Arrange the potatoes on the microwave-safe dish, making sure they do not touch. Cook on high setting using the following as a beginning guide. They should be fragrant, the skin has puffed and shows dimples, and a fork easily pierces the center.

Approximate Microwave Cooking Times for medium sweet potatoes

2 – about 3 minutes

3 to 4 – about 6 minutes

5 to 6 – about 9 minutes

How to Serve

Sweet Potatoes are delicious served simply with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt. However, they also provide the perfect canvas for even more variations.

Cinnamon Sugar – Sprinkle with a pinch ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of brown sugar.

Cinnamon Honey Butter – Top each potato with a pat of cinnamon honey butter.

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes – Top each potato with a pat of butter, toasted pecans, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Rosemary Bacon Sweet Potatoes – For a savory sweet potato recipe, top each potato with a pat of butter, crumbled bacon, crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola, and a pinch of chopped fresh rosemary.

Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – I’ve shared this favorite previously. It is always a go-to!

Here’s my Baked Sweet Potato Recipe. I hope you make them soon!

5 from 1 vote

Baked Sweet Potato Recipe

Side Dish

Photograph of baked sweet potato on a white plate with fork.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Servings 1
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone
Learn how to bake sweet potatoes with these foolproof tips! Includes air fryer and microwave variations.

Ingredients  

  • sweet potato
  • butter
  • salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400º F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
  • Scrub sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels. Prick with a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife over the top of the potato to allow steam to escape as the potatoes bake.
  • Arrange the sweet potatoes on baking sheet, making sure not to allow them to touch. Cook until fragrant, the skins have puffed and are dimpled, and a fork is easily inserted through the center of the sweet potatoes, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Baked Sweet Potato Halves

  • Preheat oven to 400º F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Scrub sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels. Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise.
  • Arrange the sweet potatoes on baking sheet flesh side down, making sure to slide the flesh of the potato through the olive oil to coat. Do not allow them to touch. Cook until fragrant, the skins have puffed and are dimpled, and a fork is easily inserted through the center of the sweet potatoes, about 30 minutes.

Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes

  • Preheat to 400º F. Line the air fryer pan with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
  • Scrub sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels. Prick with a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife over the top of the potato to allow steam to escape as the potatoes bake.
  • Arrange the sweet potatoes on baking sheet, making sure not to allow them to touch. Cook until fragrant, the skins have puffed and are dimpled, and a fork is easily inserted through the center of the sweet potatoes, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Microwave Sweet Potatoes

  • Scrub sweet potatoes until clean. Pat dry with paper towels. Prick with a fork or the tip of a sharp paring knife over the top of the potato to allow steam to escape as the potatoes bake.
  • Arrange the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe dish lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Cook on High setting until fragrant, the skins have puffed and dimpled, and a fork is easily inserted through the center of the sweet potato. A general timeframe for cooking time is included in the recipe post.

Nutritional Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 762mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 32063IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg

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More Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet Potato Fries

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Vegetable Recipes

Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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Comments

  1. I always rub down my sweet potatoes with cooking oil before baking – it makes the skin pop up and really easy to peel.

  2. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. Thank you for all the tips and delicious recipes using them! Can’t wait to make a batch of that Sweet Potato Casserole! It’s the BEST!