The sweet potato fry will always hold a special place in my heart.
At some point during college, I became more interested in consuming “nutritious” foods. So, in a very unscientific way, I decided that some foods were “preferable” to others. For instance, during this period, I decided that almond butter was superior to peanut butter, kale was more sophisticated than iceberg lettuce, and sweet potatoes were a cut above the plain variety. From then on, sweet potato fries have become a favorite.
Now that I cook more at home, I regularly attempt to make sweet potato fries — with varying results.
Through my trials and errors, I have learned a few key things about baking crispy sweet potato fries.
- The potato! Ingredient quality is often overlooked. “Good” sweet potatoes are free from bruises/ blemishes and are smaller to medium sized (the larger a sweet potato becomes the starchier it gets — apparently).
- Thickness matters. If you are looking for crispier fries, more thinly cut sweet potato slices (no wider than 1/4 inch in width) are ideal.
- Cornstarch. One recipe I stumbled upon recommended tossing the sliced potatoes in cornstarch before adding oil to give them an extra crisp.
- Space. When arranging the sliced potatoes on the tray, make sure they have enough room on each side when baking.
- Heat. Set the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, any less and the fries will get too soggy in the oven, anymore and the oil may smoke.
- Seasoning. Salt and pepper are a great way to give the fries more flavor. For the more daring, the addition of a little cayenne pepper and garlic powder will also give the fries an additional flavor boost.
Bonus tip: consider removing the fries from the oven halfway into the baking process and flipping them around so the fries are cooked evenly.
I have taken all of the above considerations to heart, but still, I am trying to find the right balance.
While I have now attempted to bake sweet potato fries on more than a few occasions, I know that my ‘very best’ batch is still yet to come.