How to Cook a Sweet Potato: Two Quick & Simple, No-Fail Ways

A few years ago I had never eaten a sweet potato, let alone known how to cook one. It was one of those foods I was always curious about, but never ventured out to try – I guess you could say I was kind of afraid. Thankfully, that’s changed.

I’m sure everyone has at least one food like that. Maybe you don’t know how to pronounce it (I thought quinoa was pronounced quinn-o-a, when it’s really keen-wah, for the longest time), where to buy it, or how to cook it. Maybe yours is couscous. Or turnips. It could be tilapia. Or maybe even kale. For me, it was the sweet potato.

Luckily, after reading enough blog posts and magazine articles about these brightly-hued spuds and passing by them at the supermarket, I got inspired and finally worked up the gusto to give one a try myself.

I marched to the store and took my time selecting, what I thought was the perfect spud, from the pile of potatoes.

Now, is that not the largest sweet potato you’ve ever seen?!

I brought it home, washed it off, gave it a few pokes, stuck it in the oven, and went about doing laundry my business. Forty-five minutes later, I had a sweet, warm bundle of goodness to enjoy alongside the rest of my dinner.

And man oh man, was it darn good.

Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, inexpensive, and easy to store, but they are nutritional powerhouses! They pack in over 400% of your daily Vitamin A needs, as well as more vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber, and fewer calories than traditional white potatoes. (But don’t dismiss the classic russet or Yukon gold, as these potatoes definitely have their place in the kitchen.)

Sweet potatoes taste delicious on their own or topped with a little butter or olive oil, and go great alongside chicken, beef, or pork. They also make a healthy treat when drizzled with maple syrup or almond butter and sprinkled with cinnamon. Or get creative! Jenn loves to stuff hers, Amanda makes nachos, and I like to dice one up and throw it on my salad. So, whether you’re a sweet potato newbie like me, or an old-time pro, the possibilities really are endless.

Greens topped with diced, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, chopped roasted turkey breast, shredded carrots, peas, purple cabbage, and dried cranberries.

And Oh! I almost forgot – today is February 22nd… aaaaand, believe it or not, National Cook a Sweet Potato Day! I say we celebrate.

Buying and preparing an unfamiliar ingredient or food can be a bit intimidating…but no worries, read on below for my tips and tricks for sweet potato success!

How to Select & Store Sweet Potatoes

Choose potatoes that are firm and free of blemishes like cuts and soft spots. They will keep on the counter for about a week, but are best stored in a cool, dark, and dry place and will stay fresh 3 – 5 weeks there.

How to Cook the Perfect Spud

There are many ways to cook up this sweet spud from roasting, to grilling, to steaming. Here are two of my quick, and easy favorites – try them both and pick the one that works best for you.

In the oven

Throw the taters in, set the timer, and go cross- something off of your to-do list. These babies need no attention until they are done!

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash potatoes with water and dry with a towel. Use the tines of a fork to poke several holes into each potato.

Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, lined with foil.

Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

When I bake sweet potatoes in the oven, I ALWAYS make more than I need. Once cooled, they will keep up to a week in the fridge and make great, no-prep additions to weeknight dinners.

In the Microwave

If you’re looking for a speedy side, this is your go-to method. You’ll have a sweet and savory spud, ready to go, in minutes!

Wash potatoes with water and dry with a towel. Use the tines of a fork to poke several holes into each potato.

What’s your favorite way to eat a sweet potato?

Any foods you want to try, but keep chickening out on?

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2 thoughts on “How to Cook a Sweet Potato: Two Quick & Simple, No-Fail Ways

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