Learn how to bake a sweet potato for an easy side dish! This basic recipe is spectacular on with a little butter and salt or stuffed with toppings for a complete meal on its own. Plenty of topping ideas, tips, and more in the post below.
This is a delicious way to use up leftovers for a fresh new dish!
About this recipe
The great thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile: it can go with just about any main dish. Plus, it’s filling and can be stuffed with lots of tasty toppings!
Take this basic recipe and kick it up a notch for a savory twice-baked sweet potato! I also have a great mashed sweet potato recipe. All of these are a great way to shake up a Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner menu for something different.
Potatoes are a big thing in our home. Crispy-skinned baked potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, and mashed potatoes are in our regular rotation. But sometimes, it’s good to shake it up and try something different.
How to Bake a Sweet Potato in the Oven
Roasting sweet potatoes bring out their natural sweetness. As they bake, they will become caramelized around the edges and turn soft and tender on the inside.
Basic steps to making baked sweet potatoes:
- Wash the outside of the potatoes. Give them a good scrub with a clean dish sponge or brillo pad to break away any dirt and debris on the skins.
- Place them on a lightly-greased, foil-lined baking sheet. (I use foil for easy clean-up!)
- Bake in a preheated oven for about an hour or until the skin has puffed up and you can easily pierce through the thickest part with a knife.
How Long to Bake a Sweet Potato
Since sweet potatoes come in a variety of oddly-shapen sizes this varies slightly. Potatoes are a sturdy root vegetable with a solid center, so 40 minutes at 400F degrees is a reasonable starting point for baking sweet potatoes – or any potato.
When potatoes are done cooking, the outside skins will appear puffy – as they’ve drawn away from the inside flesh. A certain way to check for doneness is to gently insert a sharp knife through the thickest part of the center of the potato. If the knife goes right through, the potato is done!
Ideas for Sweet Potato Toppings
After they’re baked, I like to split them and add a pat of butter with a little salt to the inside. You could also add in a little brown sugar with butter and top them with marshmallows for your own personal sweet potato casserole.
If you have any leftover sweet potatoes, you can scoop out the flesh and turn them into a delicious twice-baked version for later in the week! Or, you can reheat them in the microwave (at 30-second intervals) and stuff them with toppings!
- Butter, salt, and pepper
- Brown sugar, cinnamon, and marshmallows
- Sour cream and chives
- Goat cheese, walnuts, and honey
- Parmesan cheese and butter
Main dish options
Besides a great side dish, baked sweet potatoes make a great base for a meal in itself. Try these options for a hearty, filling meal:
- Roasted vegetables
- Leftover pulled chicken, BBQ pork, or shredded brisket
- Bean salsa, pico de gallo, or other hearty salsa
Sweet potatoes make good breakfast food, too! Can you believe it? If you have any leftovers, warm them up in the microwave and try these ideas:
- Plain yogurt, berries, and granola
- Fried egg (or crack an egg into the center and bake in the oven until the yolk reaches desired firmness!)
- Peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon
Recipes to make with sweet potatoes:
- Pork Dishes – pork chops, pulled pork,
- Beef Dishes – brisket, pot roast
- Chicken Dishes – balsamic chicken, chicken breast, roasted chicken
- Thanksgiving Turkey
- Other dinner recipes
Tips and FAQ for Baking Sweet Potatoes
- Piercing the potato – Many recipes will recommend piercing the potato before baking to allow the heat to reach the center of the potato more efficiently and (allegedly) prevent a watery inside. But I’ve found that this is not always necessary, so this is a matter of preference and optional.
- Cooking time and temperature – Don’t be afraid to cook the potatoes at a slightly higher heat for a slightly longer time by about 15-30 minutes. It’s difficult to overcook a potato as long as the cooking time and temperature are reasonable. I wouldn’t go above 425 or for longer than 1.5 hours.
- Foil vs. parchment paper – Parchment paper is a great tool for baking but different versions have different temperature limits, so check the packaging for those details. I’ve used both versions and have not noticed a difference. Foil makes for a really easy clean-up.
Depending on the size and thickness of the potato, begin baking your potato at 400F degrees for 40 minutes.
Sweet potatoes are delicious with simple butter and salt or topped with roasted vegetables, cheese, savory seasonings, sweet seasonings, breakfast ingredients, and more.
Sweet potatoes go well with pork, beef, chicken, and other main entrees.
You can eat sweet potato skin but it is difficult to chew through. It’s a matter of preference.
Yes, baking or roasting sweet potatoes with the skin on will result in a tender inside.
It’s not necessary as long as you aren’t eating the skin, but it’s a good idea to wash away any dirt or debris on the potato before eating it.
Oven-Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
Other topping ideas:
- Butter (salt, and pepper)
- Brown sugar (cinnamon, and marshmallows)
- Sour cream and chives
- Goat cheese (walnuts, and honey)
- Parmesan cheese and butter
- Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.
- Scrub the outside of the potatoes with a clean dish sponge or scrubber to break away any dirt and debris on the skins. Dry well.
- Place them on a lightly-greased, foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes to an hour or until the skin has puffed up and you can easily pierce through the thickest part of the potato with a knife.
- Piercing the potato – This is not always necessary, so this is a matter of preference and optional.
- Cooking time and temperature – Sweet potatoes can be cooked for a longer time at a higher temperature. I wouldn’t go above 425 or for longer than 1.5 hours.
- Foil vs. parchment paper – Parchment paper is a great tool for baking but different versions have different temperature limits, so check the packaging for those details. I’ve used both versions and have not noticed a difference.