Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes


Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Whats not to love about a food that counts as a vegetable but tastes like a treat? Even without the sweetness of added toppings, I love me some sweet potatoes! But then you go and add a pat of butter, spoonfull of brown sugar, and sprinkling of marshmallows (cooked until puffed up and toasted(, and I’m in heaven.

The response to the photo of my baked sweet potato sitting next to my slow cooker turkey breast was overhwleming. I got emails, comments on facebook, and even had someone stop me in a store to say “Baked sweet potaots for Thanksgiving! Why didn’t I think of that?” So I thought I’d hurry on up and get this post up to show you how truly simple it is to bake the perfect sweet potatoes.

Now I’m not saying you ‘ve been baking them wrong. There are countless ways to bake a potato and I don’t consider any of them wrong. But I wanted to show you a foolproof way to bake a sweet potaot that was perfectly done, soft, tender, and could fluff up well, without being overdone like they are sometimes prone to be when you order them in restaurants and such.

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Start with a sweet potato. I prefer the rounder ones that fill up my palm like this. Sometimes, though, all you can find are the skinny ones and if that is what you have, they’ll do just fine.

Some people (and stores) refer to these as yams, which is an entirely different vegetable altogether. You’d be hard pressed to find a true yam in the United States. Yams are from Africa and can grow up to three feet in length. They aren’t even related to the sweet potato but when Africans arrived in the American South and saw the sweet potato could be cooked in the same manner as they cooked yams, that is what they began calling it, which makes perfect sense, and this caught on.

Why do I call it a sweet potato? Well, for two reasons. 1. That’s what it is. 2. That is what my mother called it.

Having said that, though, if you grew up calling them yams, keep on doing your thing. I asked this sweet potato in the photo if it minded being called a yam and it just sat there, not moving an inch. It doesn’t care. Call it what you want. This is not going to affect the state of the world.

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Place sweet potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet.

You can skip the aluminum foil if you want but it will mean some cleanup later as sweet potatoes often weep a sticky liquid onto your baking sheet while cooking.

Now for the baking part:

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350 and bake an additional 60 minutes.

Although I am baking just two, your cooking time doesn’t change if you add more potatoes.

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

These are our done potatoes.

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

As you can see one of them weeped, the other did not. This wasn’t a result of not poking holes in them or anything, it is just the luck of the draw.

But if you prefer to poke holes in it, you can! No worries! If you prefer to coat them in oil, you can! No worries! If you prefer to wrap the potaotes in foil, go for it!

Free country and YOU get to set the rules and guidelines on how things are done in your own kitchen. I’m just showing you how I do a few things in mine in hopes of inspiring you or giving you some nifty new ideas :)

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Slice each one open at the top. I just use a butter knife or whatever I grab first.

They are soft at this point so it really doesn’t matter.

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Then, and this is the fun partuse a dish towel so you don’t burn yourself or cover your hand with an oven mitt and grab hold of the sweet potato and push both of the ends together towards the center, that causes it to open up like this. Ain’t that purty?

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Add butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon according to taste. I do about a tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon in each one.

Now they are ready to serve UNLESS You want to top them with toasted marshmallow goodness!

You know you wanna…

(or at least I want you to)

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Top with mini marshmallows.

Return to oven until marshmallows are toasted.

To brown them faster: I just turn the broiler on low and keep a close eye on it. If you’ve never cooked anything under your broiler you need to know that it can go from just fine to burned beyond recognition in a matter of minutes so stay right there and keep an eyeball on it. My mother usually cracks her oven door open a little and watches. I sing Modern Major General a few times and check after each round until it is done. If you know all the words and sing fast, it will be about two songs…

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

Voila! Our perfect baked sweet potatoes!

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes

These make a great simple Thanksgiving side dish but I like them any time I can get them!

 If you’d like a simple turkey breast recipe that you can cook in your slow cooker to go with this, click here. 

Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
For each potato:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup miniature marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 60 minutes.
  3. Cut a slit down the center of each potato. Using an oven mitt, press in on both ends of potato at the same time, pushing towards center to puff up the potato. Fill each one with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Top with a handful of marshmallows.
  4. Return potatoes to oven until marshmallows are browned and puffed up, about five minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!



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  1. Chris A. says

    I love, love, love baked sweet taters! Eat one almost every day for lunch. Just cut ends off, place in my toaster oven and bake for about an hour while I get ready for work. Love your recipes and posts just as much as I love my sweet taters!

  2. Beulah says

    I love sweet potatoes,here is what I do different than you, since I am not fond of marshmallows on mine I take crushed pineapple (well drained) and put about 2 T. on top the sweet potato once it is nearly done and finish baking it.

    • Robbie says

      My wonderful “Granny” was named Beulah. My best memory of her was cooking white sweet potatoes in her wood burning cook stove. She would keep the sweet potatoes in the warmer the stove had on top. I remember going to the wood stove, pulling out one of her white sweet potatoes from the warmer and peeling off the skin. Then put a big pat of her homemade sweet butter on top. Taste like candy. I sure miss my Granny.

      • Gal-from-HorseHollow says

        Loved your comment that took me back to my childhood with the wood burning cook stove that my grandmother used both coal and wood (we came from SW Virginia). I can remember the smell of those WHITE sweet potatoes baking in the oven and you would slice them open and plop a huge tablespoon of homemade butter on top. These were soooo good!! My Grandmother grew her own white sweet potatoes…we never knew what a “yam” sweet potatoe was. Just this week, I was so thrilled to find organic white sweet potatoes at Publix. Can’t wait to bake them tomorrow!!

  3. Vonda says

    Thank you, Christy for sharing this recipe. Saw the sweet potato yesterday on the plate with the slow cooker turkey breast & thought it would be a perfect side dish for the meal. Also, just got my copy of your book “Come Home to Supper”…can’t wait to start trying out those recipes too. At 60 & after working so many years, I am learning to cook and I call my husband (and sometimes my son) my guinea pig. So far I am getting rave reviews! Love you!

  4. Alicia Clinton says

    I’m not sure I could take over the sweet potato making while my MIL is still around, but I will have to keep this treasure around for my family, thanks so much. I was thinking the same as those emails you got, why didn’t I think of just baking them instead of all the trouble to mash them up after skinnin’ them as my MIL does every year. You are such a gem Christy, thanks!

  5. Michelle Garringer says

    Thanks Christy!! i noticed your baked sweet potato yesterday and thought thats such a great idea! next time i go i’ll pick some up at Whole Foods.. last week they had piles of them looking just like yours- and i’ve had sweet potato casserole like you made it and liked it but its just me– so i was like.. well.. i dont know how to even start cooking that right.. . keep on.. see you didnt even KNOW we needed a new idea and came thru like always! Thank you :)

  6. Linda Archer says

    I just wanted to say, thank you, I love your sight. I truly love cooking and finding new recipes. I also love the step by step, being a visual person. I feel that you are in my kitchen with me. Linda Archer ;0)

  7. SherryDelight says

    Lord, honey, we practically live on sweet potatoes baked just this way. Well okay, I also add freshly grated nutmeg and sometimes a dash of ground cloves, because it makes me think of all the sweet potato pies my mama bakes at Thanksgiving. I am glad I stopped by today, as it was such fun to see your performance of Modern Major General!

  8. Bonnie Dunston says

    Love baked sweet potatoes!! When I was a kid Mama would bake a big pan and we could grab one for a snack when we got the munchies. We just didnt know how good they were for us.

  9. Connie says

    Christy, you are spot on with timing on sweet potatoes. I love them and my husband always thought they had too many fiber strands. We had dinner out last night at Logan’s steak house and I had a baked sweet potato and it sure was good. A little cinnamon and a pat of butter and I was in heaven. My husband tried it and liked it too He has now given me the go ahead to grow some sweet potatoes. I will keep looking for them in the store but we don’t seem to have them fresh around here for some reason. Your recipe looks perfect for the holidays. Thanks for posting this today.

  10. Janice Lindley says

    Thank you Christy for sharing this. Your Thanksgiving turkey and the perfect baked sweet potato will for sure be in my menu this season. I will probably have the sweet potato tomorrow for Halloween.

  11. Susan N says

    Sweet potatoes are such a treat. My DIL whose dad is from China, says he just loves them and just can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t eat them all the time, they were a scarce treat where he grew up. I always think of her story about her Dad.
    Like your tip on starting the oven higher to begin the baking. Years ago i got a tip from a restaurant chef on cooking regular baked potatoes to taste as good as theirs: Preheat the oven to 450, scrub the potatoes of similar size then pierce them about 8-10 places around them lightly rub with oil then place directly on the wire rack of your very hot oven (rem not too much oil to drip, i use a paper towell). You bake them around 45 minutes, for med or a little longer for the big ones. It works well to make very crispy skin with well cooked interior. Usually i would make 4-10 but bet you could put many as long as air can circulate around them. Remember the old appetizer of tater skins, these skins make those great too.

  12. CJ says

    Christy – I’m a southern girl like you and those are sweet potatoes but here in California sweet potatoes (AS SOLD IN THE STORES) are a yellow white potato much like a russet but has a sweet taste to the potatoe. The orange ones are called yams.! Go figure. CJ

  13. Glenda says

    I confess I have never thought about sweet potatoes and “Modern Major General” as co-existing properly, but they do………….and it’s great! I think Gilbert & Sullivan would certainly approve. :-) A hearty rendition and a hearty side dish!

  14. Grace says

    Good Morning Christy,

    I was glad to see that recipe for the sweet potatoes! They look SO GOOD. Girl, you don’t slow poke around when it comes to those recipes. I’m like you, I love me some sweet potatoes! It’s almost time for Sweet Potato Pie…yes!

    Happy Halloween!

    Happy Halloween!

  15. Elaine Moore says

    I loved baked sweet potatoes. In the heat of the AL summer, I wrapped the potatoes in foil, added a small amount of water along with the potatoes to the crock pot and cooked until soft. Super easy -so moist and tender and did not heat the house up either. We have a large family reunion at my house every year so I am blessed to have 3 crockpots in my pantry. I will use 2 of them this Thanksgiving thanks to your recent post – one for the turkey breast & one for the sweet potatoes using your recipe beginning with step #3. Love your posts!!!

  16. Ann S says

    We love sweet potato casserole, and candied yams. I put butter and a little cinnamon sugar on the baked ones.
    Never thought to add the marshmallows, going to give it a try.
    Oh, sweet potatoes and yams are different.

  17. Jo says

    Hello from the UK!

    So…I’m confused. I actually just had baked sweet potato last night! (topped with some soured cream and beef chilli), it was so good. But this…this looks amazing! What confuses me though is…marshmallows with turkey? Is this a usual thing in America? My daughter’s Godparents live in NJ but this isn’t something I have seen…looks kinda desserty? But GOOD desserty!!!!!!! xx

  18. Carol says

    When you need sweet potato casserole FAST – drain and mash two or three cans of candied yams, add a small can of evaporated milk, brown sugar, melted butter or margarine – pour in casserole sized to fit – bake about 30-45 minutes (they’re already cooked!) then top with marshmallows and put back in oven until they’re melted gooey and delicious! some people put this in an unbaked pie shell and bake it – sweet potato pie!!!

  19. Tess says

    So today I’m playing catch up…wanting to give you feedback on all the recipes I’ve tried here. This one goes back to serving for Thanksgiving. Instead of my usual sweet potato casserole I thought it would be nice to change it up a little. I usually bake my sweet potatoes for the casserole in the microwave, but after doing these in the oven I’ll never do them in the microwave again. They have a much better texture and flavor baking them in the oven, it just requires a little more planning. These individual servings are perfect to make for any size gathering and I will definitely be making these again!

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