I’ve never been a big French fry person. Even when I was a kid, I would usually ask restaurants if I could have vegetables instead of fries when we ate out! I guess I was a weird kid. I’m still not big on fries, but I’ve been trying to come up with more ways to eat sweet potatoes and decided to try oven fries. The first two attempts were soggy messes! I know a lot of people have difficulty browning oven fries, so I kept on keeping on until I found a way to create something I wanted to eat instead of sneak into the trash. These oven fries are remarkably easy, nutritious, and a great way to mis up your meals or quell those junk food cravings!
Yes, the photos really are of sweet potato fries, they’re just white sweet potatoes. Hawaii has a far greater variety of sweet potatoes than what I’ve seen on the Mainland, and I’m loving these white sweet potatoes because they aren’t as overwhelmingly sweet.
The recipe is written for one sweet potato because that’s about all a most baking sheets can comfortably hold. I think one medium-large potato is enough for two people to have plenty of fries as a side, but I guess it depends on how much you love sweet potato fries! I tried using my mandolin slicer to cut the potato, but it was difficult to force the sweet potato over the blade and the resulting pieces were just a little too thin. I highly recommend using a large, sharp knife and cutting your potato into slices about 3/8″ thick. The exact width is totally up to you, but less than 1/4″ thick fries usually just burn. Because most sweet potatoes are too long to cut comfortably, I cut mine into rounds and just created shorter fries. For peeling your potato, I highly recommend the Rikon Swiss Peeler. Its carbon fiber blade makes quick work of a potato’s skin!
I know a lot of recipes suggest using olive oil for oven fries, but I prefer coconut oil. Coconut oil has a much higher smoke point, making it better for high-temperature situations. Plus I think sweet potatoes that taste like olive oil are just a little weird. In addition to the coconut oil, my recipe has another offbeat ingredient: tapioca flour. When I added the light coating of starch, I started getting fries with a crispy exterior instead of soggy logs of squish sweet potato. Although I haven’t tried it, I think you could use arrowroot flour, instead. I guess you could use cornstarch, too, but that wouldn’t be Paleo, would it?
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1-2 tablespoons oil (I recommend coconut)
- 1 scant teaspoon tapioca flour/starch
- Salt and other seasonings, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 425º Fahrenheit.
- Peel your potato.
- Cut the potato into even slices. Make them as thick or as thin as you'd like, but try to keep them as uniform as possible!
- Cut your potato slices to make French fry sticks. Try to make them as wide as they are thick. This helps them cook more evenly.
- Place your cut potatoes in a bowl and add the oil. I suggest adding one tablespoon, tossing the driest to coat them, and then adding only as much additional oil as you need to apply a fine layer of oil to each piece.
- Add the tapioca starch and any salt/seasonings and toss again.
- Arrange the potato sticks in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
- Cook on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Flip the fries and cook until the exteriors become browned and slightly spotty, about 10-15 minutes more.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
I used a few of my other favorite pieces kitchen while making these crispy oven fries, including my heavy duty aluminum baking sheet and my Silpat mat. I know starting a collection of high-quality cookware can seem expensive and daunting, but the quality of your equipment definitely impacts your finished dishes. For example, thin, inexpensive baking sheets pop and warp and high temperature, which can cause the fries to shift and bunch up. This, in turn, can prevent them from browning evenly. A thin baking sheet also does a poor job of transmitting heat, making it easier to end up with burned or mushy fries. I’ve been working on my kitchen equipment collection slowly for years and people know it’s totally okay to give me cookware for birthday and Christmas presents!
Do you like sweet potatoes? What’s your favorite way to prepare them?