There is a mythical, mysterious creature out there called the “crispy baked sweet potato fry.” I was skeptical of its existence for a very long time after trying unsuccessful recipe after unsuccessful recipe. I finally decided that a crispy sweet potato fry is a nice theory but sadly is impossible to find and have for myself. Kind of like a unicorn. HOWEVER – my husband made sweet potato fries a few weeks ago as a side for burgers, and they weren’t perfectly crispy…but they had the beginnings of being perfectly crispy. They were crispier than any other baked sweet potato fries I’d had before.
So I decided to once again set out on my journey to discover the elusive crispy baked sweet potato fry after being teased by potential crispiness. After various tests, I landed on a recipe that yields ACTUAL crispy sweet potato fries! Like…legit crispy. When you toss them with a spatula you can hear their crispiness when they land back on the baking sheet. When you bite into them you can hear the crunch.
WE’RE TALKIN’ FO REAL HERE, PEOPLE.
Since then, I have made them three times. And then hoarded the plate to myself and eaten them all. If we’re being honest, the obese girl inside me comes out swinging when a sheet pan of these crispy little angels come out of the oven.
How do we get them so deliciously crispy? A few particular steps…1. Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch if you’re not paleo/whole 30) – this, along with some coconut oil, coats the fries and gives the heat in the oven something to grab onto and crisp up on the exterior of the fries. 2. A long bake time. Forty to fifty-ish minutes give the sweet potatoes lots of time to get nice and crispy. 3. Seasoning at the end. Salt tends to pull out some moisture, and that can inhibit them getting crispy in the oven. So we season post-baking!
Let’s talk about the process in more detail:
- Slice your sweet potatoes. You don’t want them to be shoestring thin, or they will for sure burn, but we also aren’t lookin’ for steak fries here, either. Somewhere in between – it doesn’t have to be exact, but try and make them all as close in size as possible. I slice mine about the size of my index finger, but I know that is highly general since our fingers are all different sizes 😬. Probably about half an inch max?
- Coat them. We throw the fries in a gallon ziplock and add two tablespoons of arrowroot powder. I use arrowroot powder because I am doing Whole 30, but if you aren’t doing paleo or Whole 30 and don’t want to buy arrowroot powder, you can sub in cornstarch here. Close the ziplock and shake, shake, shake until all of those fries are evenly coated in the powder. Dancing around your kitchen as you shake your fries is an optional but recommended step. Then we pour in a few tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Close the bag and shake it up again until the fries are all evenly coated.
- Lay them out – EVENLY! Okay, so here is where you have to be a little OCD. Pull that part of your personality out to the forefront of your brain in this step. You want the fries to be laid out on the baking sheet so none of them are touching, kind of like they are pictured above. Overcrowding = NOT CRISPY FRIES, GURL. So put some spa music on in the background and lay those little orange beauties out perfectly on that baking sheet. You’ll be happy later, trust me. Have I ever steered you wrong? If I have, don’t answer.
- Bake! For twenty minutes. Keep that spa music on and go sip a cup of tea while pondering how awesome of a person you are. When the twenty minutes are up, remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using a spatula, toss the sweet potato fries around (the fries might want to stick a little, and if that’s the case, really press the spatula down against the baking sheet as you scrape the sweet potato fries up to flip them – also, parchment paper will make them not stick). Are you ready to grab that OCD part of your brain and pull it out again? You’re going to take some tongs (or your bare hands if you’re a kitchen warrior) and rearrange the sweet potato fries again so that they aren’t touching.
- Bake again! For another twenty minutes. Take them out again, toss them again, lay them out again with the brown sides up, and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- Season. Once they are done baking, you are going to season them with salt. Don’t be shy here, salt is fries’ best frand. They need a lot of salt, and they taste good with a lot of salt. Season, toss, taste, season more – repeat until perfect. Now let them set out on your baking sheet and cool a bit before serving.
Now that we’ve gone over the steps, we need to talk about the potential variations real quick. The size of your sweet potatoes make a HUGE DIFFERENCE. If you are following this recipe to a T, go for two medium-large sweet potatoes. You want your baking sheet to be full, but still with enough space for the sweet potatoes to be laid out without touching. I’ve made this recipe with two small sweet potatoes before, and they were done like 10-15 minutes into the second bake sesh.
SO – you can use smaller sweet potatoes if you want, but be ready for some cook time variation. From about 10 minutes into the second bake time, watch them closely, and if they start to get too brown, take them out, flip them around, and see if they are ready to be taken out.
Moral of the story, be open to variation. You may not need that third 5-10 minute oven sesh, you might not even need the whole second one, you may need longer than I am calling for in the recipe. It is all going to depend on the size of your sweet potatoes and also on your oven. Just eye ball it – if they are starting to get too brown, take them out!
Another thing to know about sweet potato fries – they are going to turn a deep golden by the time they get crispy. But they don’t taste burnt. If they get dark brown, that’s burnt, but don’t be scared off by a deep golden color with some brown spots. If you scroll up and look at the second picture in this post, where they are all laid out on the baking sheet, that is the perfect color for crispy sweet potato fries.
Don’t be overwhelmed by this process! It’s actually not difficult at all. I make these on the reg now, and they are one of my favorite things! You must try them!Print
Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Paleo and Whole 30 approved!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 3 servings 1x
- 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into fries (about 1/2 inch max – try and make the fries as close in size as possible)
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted in the microwave
- Preheat your oven too 400 degrees
- Place the fries in a large ziplock bag and add your arrowroot powder
- Seal the bag and shake well until the fries are evenly coated
- Add your melted coconut oil to the bag of fries
- Seal the bag and shake until the fries are evenly coated
- Dump the fries out onto a baking sheet and arrange them so they are laid out evenly and aren’t touching. If you crowd the fries, they won’t brown, so you want there to be a little bit of space between each one
- Bake the fries for twenty minutes. When the twenty minutes are up, remove from the oven, toss around with a spatula (the fries will probably want to stick to the baking sheet, so really press the spatula down into the baking sheet as you scrape under the fries – a thin metal spatula works best, but I’ve used plastic before, too. Using parchment paper will also make them not stick). Using tongs, arrange the fries again like you did in step 6 so that they aren’t touching. This step is the hardest because the fries are soft but not crispy, so they are a little harder to work with, so just be gentle when you’re arranging them!
- Bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss with a spatula, and arrange them again, placing the brown sides of the fries up so they don’t burn against the baking sheet
- Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the fries are very golden brown and crispy*
- Remove from the oven, season liberally with salt, toss with a spatula, and season more to taste. Let them cool for a bit on the baking sheet before serving
*Baking time will vary based on the size of your sweet potatoes and based on your oven. I made this recipe with 2 small sweet potatoes once, and they were done 10 minutes into the second baking session. So just keep an eye on them, you may not need as much time as I’m calling for, or you may need more!
In order to avoid any sticking, you can place a sheet on parchment paper on the baking sheet and lay the fries out on top of that.
- Serving Size: 1/3 of fries
- Calories: 213
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 48 mg
- Fat: 9 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
Want more Whole 30? Check these out:
Avocado “Toast” with a Sunny Side Up Egg
Cocoa and Chili Crusted Steak with Jalapeno Chimichurri
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Fried Sage Leaves
Read about our Whole 30 journey so far here:
Tony Chen says
Thanks Annie for posting this :) They look and tastes so delicious, I can’t wait to share this recipe in a new post. Keep up the hard work!
Tony Chen recently posted…Takuan: What is Pickled Daikon Radish?
Love, love LOVE you’re writing style in this post especially! Made me laugh many times :-)
Made these with cornstarch (and th eOCD method as I always do in the kitchen) and they turned out awesome. Unicorns do exist! :-P
Annie Chesson says
Yay!! So glad these turned out well for you Sandy! Thanks for the comment :).
Your writing style really cracks me up! I love it and your recipes.
I’ve come up with this method as well, but I don’t do the OCD separation part. I just shuffle them around. Some parts are crisp, some aren’t so much, yin yang.
I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other recipes and reading some more. Keep it up!
Annie Chesson says
Thanks, Sami!! Sometimes I skip that method too if I’m being lazy :). I hope you try some out and love them!