Sweet. Savory. Nutty. Creamy. The things you can do with sweet potatoes are numerous! Packed with tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, sweet potatoes are fast becoming the ‘it’ vegetable. The best part is: every form of sweet potato is delicious. You can eat it fried, roasted, baked, and sautéed. From sweet potato pancakes to sweet potato pasta and brownies; you can do a lot with this versatile vegetable.
Let us consider easy ways to cook sweet potatoes in microwave, oven, and on the stove, along with some easy and tasty recipes. We will also discuss some buying tips to help you get the best sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are available year-round but the peak season is from October to January.
How to buy
- In America, sweet potatoes have a sweet, moist inner flesh while in the rest of the world, sweet potatoes are rather dry and their inner flesh is either yellow or white in color.
- Many people believe that sweet potatoes are ‘yams’; in reality, that is not the case at all.
- Look for sweet potatoes that feel heavy for their size and have no bruises, soft spots, or signs of sprouting.
Sweet potatoes spoil quickly. Do not refrigerate them. Place them in a cool, dark place for up to a week.
Wash and dry the sweet potatoes before use.
Let us discuss some ways to cook sweet potatoes.
1. How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave
We cannot cook regular potatoes in the microwave because the texture does not come out as fine as when baked in a regular oven. Sweet potatoes are a different matter entirely because we usually do not eat their skins and cooking them in the microwave, with the skins on adds that steaming effect which benefits the interiors of the sweet potato. Also, sweet potatoes cook quickly in the microwave: one sweet potato cooked on high takes about 5 to 7 minutes; 4 potatoes will take about 12 minutes.
- Poke holes in the sweet potato and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. (Piercing holes in the potatoes is very important as steam builds up as they microwave and can cause them to explode.)
- Test for doneness. Carefully insert a fork to see if the potato is cooked.
- If not, microwave on high for 2 more minutes and allow it to sit for 1-2 minutes.
- If it is still not soft enough, microwave in 1-minute increments until soft.
- Allow it to cool slightly before further processing.
You can now peel the skin off and mash up the sweet potato with some olive oil/margarine and vegetable broth or with some whisked whole fat/low-fat yogurt. This is great food for babies older than 6 months. You can also make sweet potatoes in microwave with margarine, brown sugar, and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
Serve the sweet potatoes with green beans and ham or pork. Add a bread roll and you have a great meal! Do not combine with any other sweet items. Do not combine with any other starchy vegetables.
Eat the sweet potato with the peel which contains a ton of fiber and is a great contrast to the flesh of the potato.
2. How to cook sweet potato on the stove
There are two delicious recipes when it comes to cooking sweet potatoes on the stovetop:
Pan-roasted sweet potato chunks
- 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- Butter or margarine – 2 tbsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a skillet over low-medium heat.
- Add the sweet potatoes
- Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.
Sweet potato chips
This recipe is a crowd-pleaser.
- 3 large sweet potatoes peeled
- Cooking spray
- ½ tsp each garlic powder and cinnamon powder
- Salt to taste
- Cut the potatoes in half, length-wise and add them to boiling water. Cook for 15-20 minutes until they are fork-tender but still firm.
- Drain and cool completely.
- Slice the potatoes into ½ inch thick slices. Spray with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and garlic powders.
- Spray a skillet/frying pan/stovetop grill and cook the sweet potato slices for about 3 minutes. Turn as needed. Potatoes should be crisp on the outside and warm on the inside.
3. How to cook sweet potato mash
- 2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, cover and cook potatoes, butter, cream, and a pinch of salt until potatoes are cooked and start to fall apart. Do this over low heat and stir occasionally. This takes about 35-45 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and mash with a potato masher. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Serve.
This is the basic recipe. There are many variations to the sweet potato mash. You can add coconut milk instead of butter and cream, along with crushed garlic and chili flakes.
4. How to cook sweet potatoes in the oven
This is an easy way to cook sweet potato that is healthy and tasty.
- Preheat oven to 450 F
- Scrub the potatoes under cool tap water with a vegetable cleaning brush. Use a knife to remove spots or defects on the potato. Keep the potatoes whole. Do not peel.
- If needed, you can wrap the potatoes in a foil but make sure to prick them in several spots before wrapping. Aluminum foil is optional.
- Bake the wrapped sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour until tender. Let the potatoes sit in the foil for a few minutes.
- Carefully open the foil to let the steam escape.
- Scoop out the warm fleshy part.
- Add butter or margarine and other toppings before serving.
Some people like to microwave sweet potato before baking. This enhances the taste and reduces cooking time. Try microwaving the potato for 2-3 minutes before completing the cooking in the oven. DO NOT WRAP THE SWEET POTATO IN FOIL when cooking in the microwave.