Sweet potatoes are totally underrated, don’t you think? Besides being inexpensive, they’re loaded with nutrients, high in fiber, and incredibly filling. From mashed to roasted, to fried, there’s really no way to mess up a sweet potato. We’re partial to this baked sweet potato fries recipe, ourselves. Easy, delicious, and nutrient-dense – what more could you want from these tasty tubers…
Sweet Potato Fries vs. Regular Fries
Ah, the age-old debate. In terms of nutritional value, sweet potatoes and white potatoes are relatively close, with the sweet potato tipping the scales with loads more vitamin A than white potatoes. The difference comes down to how these root vegetables are prepared. Typically, white potatoes are double-fried in oil, which essentially negates any nutritional value that the potato initially held. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are typically baked (as opposed to fried). This recipe is for baked sweet potato fries. See what we did there? Okay, cool.
Benefits of Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Since they’re not drenched in oil, these crispy baked sweet potato fries are inherently healthier than your typical french fry. Baking requires little-to-no fat to cook the sweet potatoes – in fact, this recipe only requires one tablespoon of olive oil. The result is a delicious, crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside sweet potato fry.
These baked sweet potato fries are a fantastic vegetarian and gluten-free side dish. Keep the rest of your lunch or dinner vegetarian or vegan by pairing them with a veggie burger for a satisfying and healthy meal. If you're gluten-free, try a gluten-free burger bun!
Is a Yam a Sweet Potato?
When purchasing these tubers, grocery stores typically use the terms “sweet potato” and “yam” interchangeably. The truth is, even if it is labeled as a “yam,” it is most likely a sweet potato. Real yams are not readily sold in the US (they’re grown in Asia and Africa and can be found at specialty food stores) and are not really even related to sweet potatoes. Real sweet potatoes come in many different varieties, including ones with white flesh, ones with orange flesh, ones with yellow flesh… you get the picture.
The two basic kinds of sweet potatoes sold in the US are firm and soft. Firm sweet potatoes are the ones with brown skins and white flesh, and soft sweet potatoes have russet skins with orange flesh. Soft sweet potatoes are the ones most likely labeled as “yams” in your local grocery store and the ones we recommend using for this recipe.
Variations on this Recipe
While we recommend using soft sweet potatoes for this recipe (the ones with russet skin and orange flesh), they would also be tasty if you used firm sweet potatoes. Feel free to add additional spices, such as a teaspoon paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper for a different flavor and kick. If the wedge shape isn’t your thing, try slicing them julienne or in matchsticks for extra-crispy fries.
- 1 pound sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- With a sharp knife, cut the sweet potatoes into wedges approximately 3/4” thick.