How to cook sweet potato – fries, wedges, baked, mash and roasties – in the oven

Cooking sweet potato for the first time? It cooks differently to regular white potatoes: here's how to cook it just right

How to cook Sweet potatoes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cooking sweet potatoes is something of an art – but a simple one. Just don't expect them to cook like white potatoes. However, they are easy to make and really, really delicious as sweet potato fries, wedges, baked, mash or roasties.

Use this quick guide to cook sweet potatoes perfectly. For more food advice and recipes, don't miss our hub page.

How to cook sweet potato fries and wedges

You will need

  • Two medium sized or one large sweet potato per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil per person/serving
  • Optional spices to taste/complement rest of the meal

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC (fan oven)/Gas mark 7, and while it's heating up, wash the potatoes to remove all traces of mud, trim off any still-attached roots and dry off the skins. No need to peel!

2. Slice along the length of each sweet potato to cut them in half then place the flat side of the sweet potatoes on the cutting board. For sweet potato fries, cut along the length of the halved potato to create thin half-moon slices. Lie these half-moon slices on their sides and again slice along the length to create skinny fries (aim for around 1cm thick-slices. For sweet potato wedges, cut the potatoes in half along their length, place the flat side of them face down on the cutting board and create four or five wedges out of each potato (see picture, top). 

3. Pour olive oil into the baking tray, add salt and pepper and any spices to the mix, add the sweet potatoes and toss evenly in the oil. Drain off any extra oil. Arrange them on the baking tray to ensure there are gaps between each wedge/fry to ensure even cooking. 

4. Wedges will need around 30 minutes in the oven to cook through. Sweet potato fries will take around 25 minutes – but keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly. Both benefit from being turned over halfway through cooking.

How to roast sweet potatoes

You will need

  • Two medium sized or one large sweet potato per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil per person/serving
  • Optional herbs to taste/complement rest of the meal

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC (fan oven)/Gas mark 7, and while it's heating up, wash the potatoes to remove all traces of mud, trim off any still-attached roots and dry off the skins. No need to peel if you'd rather not but you can!

2. Slice along the length of each sweet potato to cut them in half then place the flat side of the sweet potatoes on the cutting board. Cut the sweet potatoes in half again – or into thirds, depending on the size of your potatoes.

3. Pour olive oil into the baking tray, add salt and pepper and any herbs to the mix, add the sweet potatoes and toss evenly in the oil. Drain off any extra oil. Arrange them on the baking tray to ensure there are gaps between each piece to ensure even cooking.

4. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes to 35 minutes in the oven to cook through. Turned over halfway through cooking to roast evenly but be careful – they soften quickly and can fall apart when turned.

How to bake sweet potatoes

You will need

  • One large sweet potato per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A wedge of butter
  • Fillings to your taste

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC (fan oven)/Gas mark 6, and while it's heating up, wash the potatoes to remove all traces of mud, trim off any still-attached roots and dry off the skins. At this point you can rub a little olive oil, salt and pepper over the skin if you like – it certainly improves the taste... but you can skip this step if you're on a health kick.

2. Pop on a baking tray and bake in the oven for anywhere between 35 and 50 minutes, depending on the size of your potato. Like with white potatoes, you're aiming for crispy skin and fluffy innards.

How to make sweet potato mash

You will need

  • Two medium sized or one large sweet potato per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A wedge of butter to taste
  • A dash of milk

1. No need to wash the sweet potatoes, since you're going to peel them this time! 

2. Once done, half your sweet potato, half again and again, until you have four to six small-ish chunks. Put into a pan of salted, boiling water and cook for around 15 minutes – the potatoes need to be soft inside but not falling apart.

3. Drain thoroughly allow the potatoes to dry off a little (just returning them to the now empty pan and letting the steam escape for a minute or two will take care of that). This will ensure your mash isn't soggy, but fluffy.

4. Add a generous knob of butter to the mash and a dash of milk, a pinch of salt and black pepper and mash until the sweet potatoes are of a consistency you like (we like a few lumps left in, but you might prefer a smoother mash).