Question: I love sweet potato fries, but I never seem to bake them properly. Some of them are way too charred while the rest are rubbery. What is the best way to make healthy sweet potato fries? Am I leaving them in too long? Maybe I am cutting them the wrong way? Help!
Answer: There are a few keys to making good oven-fries:
- Cut the potatoes into same-size chunks. If you have pieces of all different sizes, the big ones will be rubbery and the little ones will burn. This is the most important thing to keep in mind.
- Thoroughly coat the potato pieces with extra-virgin olive oil and spray the foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. If you don’t add enough oil, you won’t get good “browning” (caramelization & crispness), and the potatoes will stick. If you add too much (where the potatoes are sitting in standing oil), they’ll be soggy. 2-3 Tbsp per filled baking sheet should be about right.
- Roast potatoes at a temperature between 400-450. Some ovens run hot, some run cool, so play around with your oven temp. If you notice your potatoes burning, especially on the bottom, try roasting them at 25-50 degrees less, and then make a mental note to keep the temp lower next time. It will take longer, but you’ll get the crispness without burning them.
- Cook fewer potatoes at once. Anytime you roast veggies, they should be spread on a baking sheet in a single layer with some space, not overlapping or piled on top of each other. They’ll cook more evenly this way, and get the crispy-on-the-outside / soft-on-the-inside texture you want.
- Realize your final product is an oven-fry, not a French fry. You can get a delicious, salty, satisfying oven-fry — a delicious compliment to any meal — but it’ll be different than fried fries.
For more tips on successful roasting, see my ROASTED VEGGIES post.