I have been making homemade baked sweet potato fries for a long time. I love controlling the seasonings and knowing that they are baked instead of deep fried.
But, no one wants soggy fries. Not appealing at all. Over the years I have discovered some tips and tricks to help achieve the crispiest oven-baked sweet potato fries. I have ten tips to share with you in this post. Buckle up and get ready to learn all about oven-baked crispy sweet potato fries!
Tip #1: Cut them thin and even.
I opt for ¼ inch thick spears. Any of the spears that are different should go on a different baking sheet so they can cook at a different length. Always cut the pointy tips off the sweet potato spears. The pointy tips will burn so be sure to square-off your edges. See below for an example of the tips starting to burn because they were not cut properly.
Tip #2: Give them an ice bath.
Yup! Soak them in a big bowl of ice water for 30 minutes minimum (60 minutes if you have the time). This helps to remove the excess starches and allows them to then crisp up in the oven. This step is critical.
After they are finished soaking, be sure to drain, rinse with fresh water and pat dry with a kitchen towel well. You do not want them going into the oven wet or they definitely will get soggy. Dry sweet potato spears are key!
Tip #3: Set your oven to 415 degrees convection.
This yields crispy but not burnt fries and the convection function allows them to cook evenly. I find with the convection setting the sugars from the sweet potatoes begin caramelizing sooner, creating crisp edges.
Tip #4: Use arrowroot starch.
The starch helps them to crisp up similar to how corn starch works. Toss them well in the arrowroot starch so they are evenly coated before you add the oil.
Tip #5: Only use a little oil.
If you use too much they will get soggy.
Tip #6: Salt AFTER they are done cooking.
Salt draws out the moisture from the sweet potatoes so you want to salt at the end once they are slightly cooled. You can add other seasonings prior to cooking (such as black pepper or garlic powder).
Tip #7: Space them out!
Do not allow the spears to touch or overcrowd the pan, otherwise they will steam.
Tip #8: What you cook them ON matters.
For best results line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper). Definitely do not grease a baking pan and put them directly on the baking pan without some barrier such as parchment paper as mentioned.
Tip #9: Bake for the right amount of time and flip!
Bake for 15 minutes then flip 180 degrees and bake another 10-13 minutes watching closely at the end. Flipping allows for even cooking and also when you open the door it provides an opportunity for the steam to escape from the oven that has built up in the first 15 minutes of cooking. Final cooking time will vary based on how many spears and how thick they are which is why watching closely at the end is so important. If you want to avoid having to flip the spears you can put an oven-safe wire cooling rack on your baking sheet and place the sweet potato spears on that. This allows the heat to cook around all sides of the spear at once so you do not have to flip them. If you do this, be sure to still crack the oven door about halfway through the cooking process to allow the steam to escape. Finally, you can invest in a copper crisper (not sponsored/affiliate link) and use this to ensure they cook evenly without having to flip the spears halfway through.
Tip #10: Allow them to rest before enjoying.
Allow them to rest in the oven or on the counter for 10 minutes before enjoying. They will crisp up as they cool. But don't ignore them for too long or they will get cold. If you do reheat them, use the oven and not the microwave which can make them soggy. And don't forget to salt at the end since you didn't add the salt before baking.
With these ten tips in mind, you can say goodbye to soggy fries for sure! If you don't have time for ALL these tips I would say the most important are how you cut them (tip #1), the ice bath (tip #2), salting them after (tip #6) and rotating (tip #9). I would love your feedback on how your sweet potato fries turn out using these methods. And please share any additional tips in the comments below. I'm always learning too!
This recipe is gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, egg-free and dairy-free. If you give it a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it and tag your photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook so I can see your fries!Print
10 Tips for Actually Crispy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Yield: 2-4 1x
My fool-proof method for crispy baked sweet potato fries is below. See the article above for a detailed explanation for why I'm recommending the methods below.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste)
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste (at the end! I use a generous amount of salt)
- Garnish with freshly diced Italian flat leaf parsley if desired
- Serve with ketchup or my Homemade 3-Ingredient Vegan Honey Mustard Sauce
- Prepare the sweet potato: Cut off either end and cut the sweet potato into long ¼ inch thick spears. Ideally you want them evenly sized. If any are smaller I recommend setting them aside on a separate baking pan so you can pull them out early so they do not burn. I also recommend squaring off the pointy tips otherwise you will get burnt tips.
- Ice, ice baby! Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and two handfuls of ice cubes. Add the raw sweet potato fries, stir and allow them to soak for 30 minutes minimum or an hour if you have time. I like to soak overnight for best results. When finished soaking, preheat your oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit on the convection setting. Drain the water from the soaked sweet potato fries, rinse with fresh water and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. You want to remove all excess moisture so they are completely dry when they go into the oven.
- Season: In a large bowl, toss the dry sweet potato spears with arrowroot starch and pepper using two large spoons. Add any other seasonings you wish to use at this time (just not the salt). Toss well with two spoons to evenly coat. Next, add the oil and toss again using the spoons until you cannot see the arrowroot powder. Place the spears on two half sheet baking pans lined with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats. You can also use a cast-iron skillet or place an oven safe wire cooking rack on the baking sheet (see Tip #8 for more information this).
- Cook the fries: Evenly space out the sweet potato spears on the two baking sheets so they are not touching or they will steam. Place the baking sheets in the middle and lower position in the oven and bake at 415 degrees Fahrenheit on the convection setting for 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully flip each spear 180 degrees using two forks. Place the sheet pans back in the oven and switch their placement (the middle pan should now go on the bottom rack). Bake for 10-13 minutes watching closely at the end to avoid burning. They are done when the majority of the fries are golden brown. Cooking time varies slightly based on the thickness of your spears so watch carefully at the end.
- Salt & Wait: When the fries are done cooking, remove them from the oven and wait five minutes. Season with salt and wait another 5 minutes. Waiting the full ten minutes allows them to crisp up even more so try and resist eating right away. Enjoy immediately as they are best when fresh.
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Side Dish
I have no words!!! This method was more labor intensive than I wanted to do tonight but it was TOTALLY worth it!!! Best sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. Period. Thank you for this perfect method!!!
Elaine Gordon says
Thank you so much! I appreciate this feedback!
Have you ever tried throwing them in the freezer prior vs. the ice bath? Thanks! Excited to try try; many "eh" fries before you.
Elaine Gordon says
No I have not! Has this worked well for you?
June McMillin says
Is there a substitute for arrowroot? I am excited to try this.
Elaine Gordon says
Yes, you can use cornstarch. Hope you love it as much as we do!