For a healthy upgrade to regular French fries, try this recipe for homemade, oven baked sweet potato fries!
One of the things my husband and I missed most when we switched to healthier eating was a side of fries with our burgers.
Luckily, you don’t have to say goodbye to fries forever just because you are trying to eat healthier.
Let me explain why!
Are Sweet Potato Fries Healthy?
You are going to find this answer in a lot of my posts – it depends!
For example, let’s take the Organic Alexia sweet potato fries that you can buy at the store.
They are organic, so they must be healthy right??
You would be surprised by how many “organic” things are actually unhealthy.
But people give them a pass because they include the word organic.
You should ALWAYS flip that package over and read the ingredient list!
So what ingredients are in the Alexia organic sweet potato fries?
ORGANIC SWEET POTATOES, ORGANIC VEGETABLE OIL (CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: CANOLA, SUNFLOWER, SAFFLOWER), ORGANIC TAPIOCA STARCH, ORGANIC BROWN RICE FLOUR, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, ORGANIC CORN STARCH, SEA SALT, ORGANIC CORN FLOUR, ORGANIC PAPRIKA, GLUCONO DELTA-LACTONE (ACIDIFIER), XANTHUM GUM
Are you seeing what I’m seeing?
I see that it has inflammatory vegetable oil, added sugar (3 grams per serving I might add!), and some weird acidifier ingredient that I don’t even know what it is!
This is totally unnecessary!
Want to know what THIS recipe for sweet potato fries calls for?
Sweet potatoes, avocado oil, and sea salt.
The store bought organic fries contain so many extraneous ingredients!
This is why it’s not a straight forward answer to say if sweet potato fries are healthy or not.
I can guarantee that if you are ordering them at a restaurant or buying them from the store, the answer is almost always NO, they are not healthy!
But the good news is that you can make your own HEALTHY sweet potato fries right at home with very little effort!
How to Make Sweet Potato Fries from Scratch
So you want to enjoy healthy sweet potato fries, but don’t know how to make them.
It’s very simple!
In a nut shell, you cut the sweet potatoes into fry-sized pieces, toss them with oil and salt, and bake them in the oven!
But there are some tips and tricks to making the BEST sweet potato fries, so let me share with you what I’ve learned in the 20 batches or so that I have made!
First, let’s start with what ingredients to use, how to prepare the sweet potatoes, and my tips for roasting and reheating sweet potato fries!
Which Sweet Potatoes Can Be Used to Make Fries?
This recipe can be used with any type of sweet potato (or any potato for that matter).
Our family personally enjoys Japanese sweet potatoes (white sweet potatoes), and they make for great fries.
Our second favorite sweet potato for these fries is probably jewel sweet potatoes.
But there are so many other types of sweet potatoes out there, so feel free to use whatever is available at your local store or what you grow in your own garden!
Which Oil Should be Used to Make Sweet Potato Fries?
These fries are going to be roasted at 400ºF.
That means we want an oil that can take the heat well (high smoke point) and not oxidize.
When an oil oxidizes, it actually INCREASES inflammation in the body, which is what we are trying to avoid!
My favorite high heat oil is avocado oil.
It has little taste and has the highest smoke point of all plant-based oils.
Avocado oil has a smoke point of 520ºF.
Oils that you would definitely want to avoid include corn, peanut, soy, canola, safflower, sunflower, and walnut oil.
Coconut oil, animal fats, and olive oil all have higher smoke points and higher resistance to oxidation, but still aren’t as good of a choice as avocado oil when it comes to roasting foods!
Should You Peel Sweet Potatoes to Make Fries?
This is really up to you!
Personally, we like to leave the skin on the sweet potatoes.
We just make sure to give the sweet potatoes a good wash first and I cut off any “strings” or roots that might be growing on them.
I also cut off any bad parts before slicing up the potatoes.
Why leave the skin on?
As with most produce, the nutrients are most concentrated around the skin.
While it may not look as aesthetically pleasing to leave the skin on, the skin is really healthy!
It also cuts down on your prep time!
I’m all for easy, and you won’t even notice or taste the skin once the fries are baked!
BUT, if your kids won’t touch the fries with the skin on, then by all means, feel free to peel off the skin!
How to Cut Sweet Potato Fries
The thinner and more uniform, the better!
But don’t get too worried about them being perfect.
You can see from my pictures that I have fries of all shapes and sizes, but they are ROUGHLY the same thickness.
Start by cutting the sweet potato into sections that are roughly 3 inches long.
For small potatoes, I normally cut them in half and for large potatoes, I normally cut them into thirds.
Next cut the sweet potato section into a “pinwheel.”
This should create wedges.
Cut each wedge into smaller strips, preferably about a 1/4″ thick, but no more than a 1/2″ thick.
For a skinny sweet potato, you might just have to cut the wedge in half.
For a large wedge, you might have to cut it into thirds to get thin fries.
Continue to cut up your sweet potato until it has completely transformed into thin fries!
Tips to Make Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
Cut the Fries as Evenly as Possible
This has definitely been my downfall sometimes.
Sweet potatoes can be odd sizes and it can be hard to cut the fries to be the same size!
But the more uniform they are in size, the better.
Too small and they will burn.
Too big and they won’t crisp.
I find that somewhere around 1/4″ thickness is just about perfect.
If your fries are bigger than that, consider cutting them in half (better to be on the skinny side if you want crisp fries!).
The Right Amount of Oil
While you definitely want to thoroughly coat the fries in oil, too much oil leads to soggy fries.
If you toss your fries on the pan with the oil (which don’t worry – this is what I do since I don’t want to dirty extra dishes!), just be aware that if your fries are sitting in a puddle of oil, they won’t get as crispy.
To avoid this, you can toss the fries in a separate bowl so that there isn’t extra oil on the pan.
Or you can do what I do which is start with a Tablespoon of oil per LARGE sweet potato and then add more if needed.
Try a half Tablespoon if your sweet potato is small!
But shorting yourself on oil, you ensure that you won’t get more on the baking sheet than your fries need to be coated.
A little oil goes a long way here!
The Right Amount of Space
Fries need some elbow room to get crispy.
If your baking sheet is crammed full and the fries are overlapping or, dare I say, double layered, you are going to have a hard time achieving crispy fries.
Take a look at the pictures I have below.
See how much space there is between the fries?
That’s what you want!
You don’t want your fries to be touching!
I normally have to break out two baking sheets to make enough fries for our family, so don’t worry if you need more than one sheet.
Just be aware that the bottom sheet might take a few extra minutes if you cook multiple baking sheets at the same time.
Alternatively, you can just cook one sheet at a time.
This also allows you have hot fries when you go for seconds!
Make Sure the Oven is HOT!
Another tip is to make sure the oven is hot!
There’s a reason why cooking whole sweet potatoes at 350ºF makes a great baked potato.
It softens the sweet potato flesh, but doesn’t crisp it.
That’s great for a baked potato, but it is NOT what you want with fries.
So make sure you crank the oven to at least 400ºF (I prefer 425ºF!!).
And better yet, cook the fries near the top of the oven.
I prefer my oven rack to be in the third slot down in my oven for fries.
You might have to experiment to see where the best spot is in your oven for crispy fries!
How to Reheat Sweet Potato Fries
The best way to reheat your fries is either with an air fryer, in the oven, or on the stove.
Using a microwave will result in soggy fries every time!
Using an Air Fryer
I don’t personally have an air fryer, but The Kitchn experimented with reheating methods for fries and determined this resulted in the crispiest reheated fries!
Following their directions, you would preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees.
Then add the fries in a single layer for 3-5 minutes.
If you have a lot of fries leftover though, this could take a while so you might want to try reheating your fries in the oven instead!
Reheating on the Stove
And perhaps the easiest method with no fancy equipment required, reheating on the stove!
Get out a flat bottomed pan.
Some say that using a cast iron pan results in the crispiest fries, but we never have leftover fries so I have yet to test this.
Add a couple Tablespoons of avocado oil and get the pan REALLY hot.
Then add the fries so they make close to a single layer.
Flip the fries about every 30 seconds and reheat until the fries are warm.
Reheating In the Oven
To use the oven, put the leftover fries on a cookie sheet and spread them out into a single layer.
Heat the oven to 425ºF.
Once the oven comes to temperature, put the fries in and bake until hot.
This should take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
You can even let them get a little browned if desired.
Can Sweet Potato Fries be Frozen?
While it wouldn’t be my first choice to freeze sweet potato fries, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it!
This method works best with a large deep freezer so that you can fit a baking sheet of fries in the freezer.
If you don’t have a large freezer, work in smaller batches or you can cheat and just freeze the fries in a container.
But if you have the space, let’s talk about the BEST way to freeze those fries!
Start by letting the homemade sweet potato fries cool completely.
It wouldn’t hurt to let them cool in the fridge overnight.
Then spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Just as with baking the fries, make sure the fries aren’t touching!
Put the baking sheet in the freezer for two hours so that the fries are frozen solid.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and store the fries in an airtight bag or container.
The fries will be safe to eat indefinitely when stored below 0ºF, but for best freshness, eat within 3 months.
What to Serve with Sweet Potato Fries
If you need some ideas of what to serve sweet potato fries with, try any of these classic family favorites!
- Steak (let’s be honest, this is our FAVORITE!!!)
- Grilled Chicken or Chicken Fingers
- Pork Chops
- BBQ Ribs
- Meatballs (like my Cranberry Orange Meatballs or Blueberry Turkey Meatballs!)
Or for something a little more unique, here are some other ways that we have used up leftover fries!
- Topped with scrambled eggs for breakfast
- As loaded “nachos” topped with salsa, our family favorite guacamole, homemade taco meat or chicken fajita meat
- Topped with shredded chicken and BBQ sauce
- Loaded with sloppy joe meat
Sweet potato fries pretty much go with any protein, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
For a healthy upgrade to regular French fries, try this recipe for homemade, oven baked sweet potato fries!
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Wash the outside of the sweet potato.
- Cut the sweet potato into evenly shaped fry pieces (see above for cutting tips).
- Place on a baking sweet. Drizzle on the oil and then sprinkle the salt on top. Use your hands to toss the fries in the oil and salt.
- Spread the fries into a single layer on the baking sheet so that they are not touching.
- Bake in the top third of the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are to your desired level of doneness.
- Enjoy hot!
Storage: Store leftover fries in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: Fries can be frozen in an airtight container and are safe to eat indefinitely, but for best freshness, eat within 3 months of freezing (see full freezing directions above).
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Calories: 73
- Sugar: 2.9
- Fat: 3.6
- Carbohydrates: 9.3
- Fiber: 1.5
- Protein: 0.9