How To Boil Sweet Potatoes (And Why You Shouldn't Bother)

Boiling is easy. But there's a better way.

Photo: Robert Braniff / EyeEm

If you can boil a white potato, you can boil a sweet potato. The process is exactly the same:

1. Peel and cut

Peel the skin from the sweet potato and cut it into similarly sized chunks or cubes. This ensures they will cook evenly, with no tough spots.

2. Place in water

Place the potato pieces in a stockpot and cover the potatoes with water by a few inches. Add a generous pinch of salt.

3. Boil

Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let the potatoes cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce several pieces (always test more than one) with a knife. Potatoes cut into small pieces will take less time to cook.

4. Drain

Drain the potatoes into a large colander and return them to the pot. Use as desired.

Why You Should Bake Sweet Potatoes Instead

While boiling makes sweet potatoes tender, it doesn't help much with their flavor. Most dishes that call for boiled sweet potatoes would be improved if you used roasted or baked sweet potatoes. Baking whole sweet potatoes in the oven or cutting them into cubes and roasting them caramelizes the potatoes' starchy flesh, making it sweeter and giving it a silky smooth texture. Even if you are making mashed sweet potatoes, they will taste better with oven-cooked potatoes.

To bake sweet potatoes in the oven, preheat the oven to 400˚F. Scrub the potatoes clean and pierce each one all over with a paring knife. Bake on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet until tender, about 45 to 50 minutes. Or cut the potatoes into ½-inch cubes, place them on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil until evenly coated. Roast until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

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