Baked Sweet Potatoes

$3.22 recipe / $0.81 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.41 from 5 votes
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Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite budget buys and since we’re smack dab in the middle of sweet potato season, I thought It was time for a quick little tutorial on how to bake a sweet potato. Because once you start thinking outside the box with baked sweet potatoes, you’ll start to love them for their versatile and filling budget-friendly power!

Close up overhead shot of baked sweet potatoes with butter.

When Are Sweet Potatoes in Season?

While you can usually find sweet potatoes in grocery stores year-round, they are in season during the fall and winter months and that’s when you’re likely to get the best prices. So when they drop down to a dollar or so per pound, it’s time to start baking those sweet potatoes!

How to Serve Baked Sweet Potatoes

The easiest way to serve a baked sweet potato is to just slice it open, top it with a pat of butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Simple, sweet, and easy. But why stop there? The possibilities are endless! Baked sweet potatoes make a filling and inexpensive base for meals, so try topping your sweet potato with some of these ingredients:

And that’s not all! After baking, you can scoop out the flesh and use that in soups, sauces, baked goods, casseroles, and more. Try using the mashed sweet potato in any recipe that calls for pumpkin purée.

Bake Your Sweet Potatoes Faster

The only downside to baked sweet potatoes is that they can take a while to bake. We’re talking 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potato. And I don’t know about you, but on a busy weeknight, I’m not waiting an hour for a potato to bake. Luckily, there are shortcuts!

One of my favorite methods to make baking sweet potatoes faster is to cut the sweet potato in half length-wise. Rub oil (and maybe some spices) on the cut side, place it face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake. Because they are half as thick, they take half as long to bake and it creates a deliciously caramelized surface on the cut side.

Another method is to par-cook the sweet potato in the microwave first. Simply prick the sweet potato all over with a fork, then microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. After microwaving, finish baking the sweet potato in the oven. Par-cooking in the microwave first will cut the baking time roughly in half!

Side view of baked sweet potatoes on a wooden cutting board.
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Baked Sweet Potatoes

4.41 from 5 votes
Baked sweet potatoes are an easy and inexpensive way to bulk up any meal. Serve them as a side dish or as the base to your favorite meal!
close up of a baked sweet potato with butter.
Servings 4
Prep 5 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes (about ¾ lb. each) ($2.97)
  • 4 tsp butter ($0.20)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper ($0.03)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash the sweet potatoes, then dry with a towel. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a fork (this allows steam to escape as they bake).
  • Place the prepared sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
  • Bake the sweet potatoes for 45 minutes, then test for doneness (a fork or knife should be able to pierce the potato with no resistance and you should see some of the juices bubbling out the holes). If the potatoes are not soft all the way through the center, bake for an additional 10 minutes and check again.
  • After baking, let the sweet potatoes cool for 5 minutes. Slice the potatoes lengthwise, then mash lightly with a fork. Top with butter, salt, and pepper, then serve.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1potatoCalories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSodium: 510mgFiber: 10g
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How to Make baked Sweet Potatoes – Step by Step Photos

Sweet potatoes being pricked with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash your sweet potatoes, then dry them with a towel. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a fork. This allows for the steam to escape as they bake, preventing them from exploding in the oven.

Sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Sweet potatoes tend to ooze their sweet sugary juices while baking, which can make a mess of your baking sheet.

Fork sliding easily into the sweet pototo.

Bake the sweet potatoes for 45 minutes, then check for doneness. When the sweet potato is fully cooked, a knife or fork should be able to slide into the sweet potato without resistance. You can also check by shielding your hand with a towel and squeezing the sweet potato. It should be very soft. The skin will usually look wrinkled and you should see juices oozing out.

Baked sweet potatoes on the baking sheet.

If not done, bake for an additional 10 minutes and check again. The total bake time will vary depending on the size of the sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes being sliced open with a knife.

Let the sweet potatoes cool for 5 minutes, then slice them open down the center.

Sweet potatoes being mashed in their skins.

I like to mash the insides a bit with a fork before topping.

Baked sweet potatoes topped with butter, salt, and pepper.

Top with butter, salt, and pepper, or your favorite toppings! Enjoy warm, or refrigerate for later. Baked sweet potatoes are awesome for meal prep!

What’s your favorite topping for sweet potatoes? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Roasted sweet potatoes have become one of my favorite foods! I eat a plant based diet, and they are so healthy. I even roast them on the weekend and put some in my oatmeal every morning. No sugar needed!

    I want to try roasting them after cutting in half, as you mentioned. What does the oil do? Is it necessary if using parchment paper? Thank you! I love your vegetarian recipes! More please!

    1. You don’t need oil to roast potatoes, but it does help develop texture and flavor. I’m a parchment superfan because of the easy cleanup, so I will always say yes to that. If I am absolutely too tired to deal with even turning an oven on- I prick the potatoes a few times with a fork and microwave them until they are soft (about 8 to 10 minutes for a medium sweet potato). XOXO -Monti

  2. Love the idea of adding walnuts, honey, and feta! My personal favorite is nut butter, honey, and roasted chickpeas. I personally love roasting rather than other methods because the skin becomes nice and crisp.

  3. I’ve loved baked sweet potatoes since forever–ever since my MIL served them when I was newly married almost 60 years ago. I have always liked mine best with a bit of butter, and a light grind of sea salt, but have lately been adding a generous sprinkle of Tajin, that delicious lime flavored “fruit spice” often found in either the produce section of supermarkets, or with Hispanic ingredients on the dry goods shelves. If I want faster results, I dice them into 3/4 – 1″ cubes and oven roast. While several folks suggest using the slow cooker, it makes steamed potatoes. While those are delicious, they aren’t the same texture as oven roasted. Left over sweets are a handy lunch and also make delicious hash–lots of recipes online, but my fave uses diced bacon to flavor the veggies. Watch sales this month–most years I buy at least10 lbs at about $0.29–they will keep several months in a cool place, like my garage.

  4. Tasty and easy recipe to follow! This one will work for everyone. I love butter, brown sugar, and a touch of salt.

  5. Best way too cook a sweet potato is in a slow cooker( crock pot) on low for 4 hours or there abouts, really large may take a little longer. It does take but one time too find this out

  6. I already do this often. A combo of butter, miso, honey, and green onions is my favorite. I pre cook, then reheat thru the week in the microwave. It’s breakfast on the fly. Smother toppings of choice into the hot potato, eat in the car, be full til noon.

  7. Another tip: FREEZE your sweet potatoes before baking. It enhances an enzymatic reaction and will make your sweet potatoes sweeter. You can bake right from frozen; add an extra 30-40 minutes to your bake time.