Achieve Perfect Baked Sweet Potato Goodness
Pierce with fork and bake at 425 degrees for 50 – 75 minutes.
Plan on one medium-sized sweet potato per adult.
Pierce each sweet potato with a fork about 10 times, leaving about an inch between piercings.
Wrap a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish in foil and arrange the sweet potatoes on the sheet so they’re not touching.
Place in a preheated 425 degree oven.
You should start to see the sweet potato juice oozing and bubbling out of the holes left by the fork after about 45 minutes.
Check at the 1 hour mark by piercing with a fork again. If the fork slides in easily, it’s done. If you have to apply a lot of pressure and get the feeling you’d need a knife to cut it in half, it’s still too raw. An over-cooked sweet potato is better than an undercooked one. You want it to be super-soft and mashable.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Or, proceed with the following step wearing a stove glove.
Make It Stuffable:
To modify the baked sweet potato to be perfect for stuffing, take a steak knife and cut a seam across the top, leaving about an inch of uncut skin near the ends. Hold one end of the sweet potato in each hand and gently squish together so the sweet potato becomes wider and shorter.
Optional: Scoop out a quarter cup of the flesh to create more room for the stuffing ingredients. The flesh should come out super easily and be as soft as baby food or mashed potatoes.
If you’ve cooked the sweet potato long enough, the meat should be so sweet and tasty that it needs no additional ingredients (like butter or sugar) to make it palatable. But, one cannot live on sweet potatoes alone. Enter the un-recipes!
Note: I’ve tried wrapping the sweet potatoes in foil and find this prolongs the baking process and doesn’t make the sweet potato any more moist. I would not recommend taking this extra step.
That said, make sure you use that foil to wrap the pan! Otherwise you get this sad scenario:
Now, you might be wondering, how can sweet potatoes be perfect for weeknight dinners when the take so frickin’ long? Do you want to know how to bake a sweet potato fast? Can you bake the perfect sweet potato more quickly by cranking up the heat of the oven? Simple answer is “no.” I’m here to make your life easier by giving you simple approaches to weeknight dinners, not to lie to you about the magic of bending reality.
Real food takes time. However, baking a sweet potato take ZERO effort on your part — your oven is doing the work, not you! So I don’t want to hear any complaining about how you don’t have time to bake sweet potatoes unless you’re turning them over an open-flame.
Here’s what you do: don’t wait until you’re starving to figure out what to make for dinner. Decide at least before you walk in the door in the evening that stuffed sweet potatoes are on the menu. When you get home, immediately pre-heat your oven. Pop the sweet potatoes in and you now have a full hour and 15 minutes to do other things and still have baked sweet potatoes ready by dinner time.
And since most of the un-recipes on this site have minimal prep time, you don’t have to officially start cooking dinner when you put the sweet potatoes in the oven. Put ’em in and then go do other stuff. When the sweet potatoes have about a half hour left to bake, start prepping your other ingredients. Ready to get going with a super easy, no-fail stuffed sweet potato un-recipe? Try the Mexican or Loaded Southwest stuffed sweet potato.