Crispy baked sweet potato fries are one of those holy grail foods for me. When they’re good, they’re really good, but for having only one real ingredient, those little fries are so darn finicky. Just when I think I’ve found a way to make those healthy-yet-snackable potatoes hold their fry-like shape, I make them again and something goes wrong.
The fact is, there are a lot of sweet potato-specific factors at play. They have naturally varying amounts of sugars and starch which, for sciency reasons I don’t totally understand means they make for unpredictable baking. Despite all this, I’m throwing my sweet potato fry hat in the ring and sharing the method that works best for me.
I tested a bunch of methods and ate a lot of test-fries. I soaked some in water since I read that removes some starch and gave some an egg wash and cut some thin and some thick and baked them at all sorts of temperatures and came to one conclusion – nothing’s guaranteed when it comes to baked sweet potato fries except that a little cheating goes a long way.
And by cheating I mean that to guarantee a bit of crunch on those fries, I had to put it there myself – in the form of parmesan and panko.
3 things help to make these crispy and undeniably fry-like:
1) Slicing them thin and even
2) Baking on a cooling rack so air can circulate underneath
3) Tossing them with panko and parmesan so a nice crisp crust forms while baking
It also helps to make a spiced yogurt dipping sauce to serve on the side. Because no potato can call itself a fry without something tasty for dipping.
Parmesan-Thyme Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- 2 large sweet potatoes (rinsed and thoroughly dried)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tsp Sriracha (hot sauce, more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and top with a cooling rack.
- Peel sweet potatoes if you prefer - I like to leave the peel on mine. Slice sweet potato lengthwise into thin (1/2-inch square or smaller) fries. In a small bowl combine parmesan, panko, thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
- In a plastic bag or large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with oil. Add parmesan mixture and toss until fries are evenly coated (don't worry if not all of the parmesan mixture sticks; just discard any leftover).
- Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared cooling rack. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning with a spatula halfway through, about 20 minutes.
- Whisk together all ingredients for Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce. Serve on the side.
I’ve got a post on our weekend trip to Chiang Mai coming. There were some highs and some lows. And a lot of sitting on the floor of temples for the sake of a picture.