The Better Potato

Dear Reader,

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Cornstarch. One recipe I stumbled upon recommended tossing the sliced potatoes in cornstarch before adding oil to give them an extra crisp.  
  4. Space. When arranging the sliced potatoes on the tray, make sure they have enough room on each side when baking.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Here are a few recipes I have relied on in the past: Cookie and Kate, NYT Cooking (pay-wall warning 😦 )

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.



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