The 1-Ingredient Upgrade for Better Roasted Sweet Potatoes

March 1, 2024

Ever find yourself stuck with a tray of roasted sweet potatoes that, while flavorful, lacked that satisfying crispy element? After numerous rounds of experimenting in my kitchen, I discovered a game-changer for achieving the perfect balance of a sweet, soft interior and a crispy exterior. Plus, there’s no frying involved. The secret? A sprinkle of cornstarch.

This one-ingredient upgrade has transformed my roasted sweet potatoes from tasty but soggy to delicious and reliably crispy. It’s a simple trick that uses something you likely already have in your pantry, proving that you don’t need to invest in fancy ingredients to elevate your cooking.

Why Cornstarch Works Wonders on Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Cornstarch is typically used to , but when applied to cubed sweet potatoes before roasting, it acts as a barrier that absorbs moisture, allowing the outside to crisp up beautifully in the oven without drying the inside. It’s a texture contrast that elevates the entire dish.

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

How To Achieve Crispy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Start by preheating your oven to 425°F, for crisping up vegetables in the oven. Wash (or peel) your sweet potatoes and cut them into even, bite-sized pieces to ensure uniform cooking. I opt out of peeling my potatoes—both to save time and because I prefer the texture of the peel when roasted.

For two large sweet potatoes, you’ll need about one tablespoon of cornstarch. Place the cut sweet potatoes in a large bowl, sprinkle the cornstarch over them, and toss until they’re evenly coated. Make sure no wet spots are left uncoated; this is your ticket to that crispy texture you crave.

Now that your potatoes are lightly coated in cornstarch, it’s time for oil and seasoning. I typically go for extra virgin olive oil, but avocado, coconut, or any high-temperature oil will work just fine.

Don’t hold back on seasoning. A generous pinch of salt, pepper, and any of your favorite herbs or spices are welcome additions. My favorite combo is garlic powder, cumin, and a dash of paprika along with salt and pepper. The cornstarch doesn’t just contribute to texture; it also creates a surface that seasonings stick to, intensifying the flavors.

Spread the coated sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they’re not touching too much. This space is vital for the heat to circulate and lock in that all-around crisp.

If you opt for fries rather than cubes, I’d recommend laying them on a wire baking rack so hot air circulates each fry. Roast them for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even browning. If you use a wire rack, there’s no need to flip halfway through.

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

2 Things to Watch Out For

While this method is relatively straightforward, there are a couple of pitfalls to avoid:

1. Overcrowding the Pan: Giving the sweet potatoes enough room on the pan is non-negotiable. Overcrowding leads to steaming instead of roasting, which means hello to soggy potatoes and goodbye to the crispiness you’re aiming for.

2. Too Much Cornstarch: While it’s the star of the show, using too much cornstarch can result in a powdery texture. Stick to the recommended amount—about one tablespoon for two large sweet potatoes—and you’ll be golden.

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