Close up of crispy baked sweet potato fries in a small blue bowl.

There is nothing worse than soggy, floppy, limp sweet potato fries. And that’s exactly the result I got the first few times I tried to make sweet potato fries in the oven. I was trying to replicate the crispy, dippable, deep-fried sweet potato fries I had recently eaten from a local restaurant, and I was sorely disappointed with what came out of my oven!

So I took it as my personal charge to perfect making crispy sweet potato fries in the oven. I tested different pan types and different pan coverings. I tested when to add the salt. I tested different size fries and different temperatures. I tested soaking versus not soaking. I tested different mix-ins. And I finally landed on the no-fail, perfect-every-time formula for crispy baked sweet potato fries! We make these crispy fries in our house at least once a week, and everyone in the fam gobbles them happily.

Baked fries sit on a baking sheet next to a small ramekin of dipping sauce.

First up, let’s talk about the problem: Why do fries get so soggy in the oven?

A lot of us think of sweet potatoes as just a sweeter, more orange version of regular potatoes, but in fact, they are a completely different vegetable with a completely different composition. Because of that, sweet potatoes just don’t behave the same way regular potatoes do when baked. Regular potatoes have a much lower water content, meaning they can crisp up nicely in the oven. When you pop sweet potatoes in the oven, that higher water content tends to steam the sweet potatoes instead of roasting and caramelizing them. You know what steamed sweet potatoes are? They are soggy, floppy, and way too soft to dip in ketchup!

A sweet potato fry dips into a small ramekin of dipping sauce.

So how do you make crispy sweet potato fries in the oven?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because I have exactly the method you need to get those sweet potatoes nice and crispy. Overall, our general method here is to wick away as much moisture and steam as possible while the sweet potatoes are baking. Here’s how we’ll do that:

  1. Baking at a high temperature. I roast my sweet potato fries at 450°F. This high heat helps the sweet potatoes to caramelize instead of steam.
  2. Coating in something absorbent. My sweet potato fry game changed when I started giving my fries a thin coating of cornstarch or arrowroot powder before roasting. This coating helps absorb some of the water content of the sweet potatoes.
  3. Saving the salt until after baking. A rookie mistake with sweet potato fries is adding salt before baking—this makes for limp sweet potato fries! Instead, add your salt immediately after the fries come out of the oven.
  4. Giving the fries lots of space. There isn’t a darn thing that will make your sweet potato fries crisp up if they are crowded. Each fry needs to have plenty of space around it on the baking sheet. And the oven itself can’t be super crowded.
  5. Using parchment paper. I am all about using reusable goods where I can, and as much as I love my silicone baking mats, they just aren’t going to cut it here. I have tested baking sweet potato fries on non-stick cookie sheets (ungreased), greased cookie sheets, silicone baking mats, and parchment paper—and every single time, parchment paper came out as a winner. The paper ever-so-slightly absorbs some of the moisture and helps wick it away from the fries.
  6. Venting the oven (maybe). If your oven tends to be airtight and you’re roasting a lot of sweet potato fries, you might consider venting your oven door ever so slightly to help release some steam. If I do more than one pan of fries, I always vent my oven, just a touch.
Sweet potato fries piled on top of each other on parchment paper.

Do you need to soak sweet potato fries before baking?

Sweet potatoes (and regular potatoes, for that matter) have a high starch content, so a lot of folks tend to soak the cut, unbaked fries in cold water before baking to help draw some of that starch out—which helps the potatoes crisp up. We used that same idea (but with, uh, BEER) in our Beer-Soaked Chili Cheese Fries and Beer-Soaked Sweet Potato Fries!

For me personally, I’ve tried both soaking and not soaking, and I’ve found that soaking maybe gains me 10% crispiness. Which, let’s be honest here, usually isn’t worth the extra step in my kitchen. I’m the kind of cook that always skips a step where I can! However, if you’re looking for the absolute crispiest sweet potato fries, soak your cut fries in cold water for at least an hour (or up to overnight). Drain and then dry them off on a clean kitchen towel.

What’s the best way to cut sweet potato fries?

I tend to like just a sharp kitchen knife for cutting my sweet potatoes into fries. Some folks like using a mandoline, but those seem to make smaller, shoestring fries, which I find lose all of their pillowy, sweet potato goodness in the oven. I peel my sweet potatoes, then cut a small slice off one side so it can lay flat on my cutting board, and then cut into 1/2” fries. I like the crispy outside, pillow-y inside thing, but if you’re looking for super crispy fries—you can go down to even 1/4″.

What’s the best oil to use for baked sweet potato fries?

Step away from the olive oil. I repeat: STEP AWAY FROM THE OLIVE OIL! Olive oil has a low smoke point, and since we’re roasting these sweet potatoes at a high temperature, using olive oil would result in setting off your smoke alarms! Instead, choose an oil with a high smoke point. My personal favorite is avocado oil, but grapeseed oil also does the trick.

Baked sweet potato fries spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

What’s the best way to season sweet potato fries?

I’m a total sweet potato fry purist and like my fries seasoned with nothing but a good dose of sea salt more often than not. When I am feeling a little adventurous, I go with one of these seasoning blends:

  • Ground cinnamon, cumin, and curry powder
  • Garlic powder, oregano, and Parmesan cheese (added after baking)
  • Cayenne pepper and cinnamon

You can really go crazy with seasoning the fries however you want, just keep in mind that seasonings go on before baking, but salt goes on after. Salt always goes on after!

What kind of dipping sauce goes well with sweet potato fries?

Sweet potato fries and dipping sauces are a match made in heaven! Plain ol’ ketchup is a classic, but my favorite lately has been equal parts mayo and ketchup, plus a good dose of my own fermented hot sauce. Here are some other awesome options:

Three fries sit in a small ramekin of dipping sauce.

Are sweet potato fries better for you than regular French fries?

Like all things with diet and nutrition, what’s best for you depends on who you are! You are the only expert on your own body, so you get to decide which type of foods nourish you the best.

Some folks have issues digesting nightshade vegetables—the kind of vegetables that regular potatoes are—and they have much happier bodies if they stick to sweet potato fries instead of regular potato fries. This is why potatoes aren’t allowed in the AIP diet, but sweet potatoes are.

Nutritionally, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes both have their benefits (example: sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, while regular potatoes are super high in potassium). So I think for most folks, both types of potatoes can fit happily into your perfect diet! The key is to pay attention to how these foods make your body feel and make the decision on if they are healthy or not for your body based on that information.

Crispy baked sweet potato fries in a small blue bowl.

Can I reheat sweet potato fries in the oven?

Sure can. Just pop them back onto another parchment covered baking sheet in a 450°F oven for 5-7 minutes until they’re heated through and crisp up. Although I have to be honest, I usually cut up my leftover sweet potato fries and use them in a sweet potato breakfast bowl!

What can you serve with sweet potato fries?

Now that you’ve got the hang of sweet potato fries, let’s fill out that meal! Here’s a few ideas to serve along with your fries:

 
Close up of crispy baked sweet potato fries in a small blue bowl.

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Make crispy and dippable sweet potato fries right in your oven! Our protips will guarantee perfectly crispy BAKED sweet potato fries.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato fries with avocado oil—making sure every fry is well-coated.
  3. Sprinkle on the arrowrroot powder, and toss until every fry has a fine dusting.
  4. Spread the fries in one even layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure that none are touching. The more space there is around each fry, the crispier they will become.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the fries and rotate the pans, and then bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the fries are brown and crispy. Season with salt immediately upon bringing out of the oven.
  6. To reheat leftovers: Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake at 450°F for 5-8 minutes, or until warmed and crispy.

Notes

  • Arrowroot powder is an all-natural, grain-free thickener similar to cornstarch. Most supermarkets carry it in their baking sections, but if you have a hard time tracking it down, cornstarch will do. In this recipe, it serves the purpose of absorbing extra moisture from the fries so they crisp up nicely.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 228mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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One Comment

  1. Have you tried this method with tapioca starch (aka tapioca flour)? I have it on hand from pie baking projects, wondering if it would do the same thing as arrowroot & corn starch.