Over the years of eating out at restaurants, friends’ homes and even making my own sweet potato recipes, I have discovered that there is such a thing as a badly baked potato. After trial and errors (emphasis on errors), I have developed 5 tips that are essential in getting the perfect baked sweet potato.
If you live in Florida, you will be familiar with the small chain restaurant called, “Sweet Tomatoes“. They are definitely one of my favorite places to visit for a good meal.
(Yes, their name might have something to do with my love for this restaurant)
They are the only restaurant I have visited that know how to bake a potato. That includes the sweet potato and the russert potato. If I am ever fortunate enough to go get an invite into their kitchen, I am sure I would see them employ these 5 tips on baking the perfect potato.
5 Tips For Baking The Perfect Sweet Potato
Tip #1: WASH, WASH, WASH! Then wash some more
Nothing ruins a good sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie like dirt! Yes, I have actually experienced that. I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house a few years ago and they made mashed sweet potato pie. The cook washed the potato quickly and microwaved it.
The result was a gritty and dirty potato pie.
So, I use the fingers that humans are lucky to have and get into that sweet potato. I clean ever nook and cranny and even use a vegetable brush to get through it all. Once it is clean, I dry it using a paper napkin and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I want to make sure that there is no water left on the skin
Tip #2: Poke Holes Into The Potato
Poking holes works! The end.
I have had potatoes where no holes were poked. They turned out to be too mushy and almost inedible, while the outside remained dry and uncooked.
So, I poke holes in my potato with a fork and avoid that problem. The holes are not deep, just superficial enough to allow an escape route for the steam
Tip #3: Lightly Oil The Outside Of The Sweet Potato
I cannot stress the importance of these tip. When I oil the outside of the potato, the skin doesn’t become a dry and crinkled mess. The skin remains smooth and easy to peal once the sweet potato is baked. It sounds strange, I know, but I don’t like my sweet potato to look like a giant shriveled raisin when it is done baking.
Tip #4: Cover Up With Sweet Potato’s Best Friend
There are 2 types of people in this world. Those who wrap the sweet potato and those that don’t!
Of the 5 tips, this one is the most controversial one. Those who think that it shouldn’t be wrapped are against it because they want to let the steam escape out of the potato and never to come back. Personally, I prefer to keep the steam contained.
Now, I know what you are saying: “Rini, this tip completely contradicts tip #2!”
My (passive-aggressive?) answer: Yes and no….
When I wrap my sweet potato in foil, I wrap it loosely. So, some of the steam still escapes out of the ends of the foil. Most of the heat is contained within the sweet potato and it also cooks the outsides of the potato.
This bakes the potato from the inside and the outside. Therefore, you will notice that sweet potato is baked evenly.
When the potato is not wrapped, I find that the outside gets cooked more than the inside. Also, it gives my oven a lingering sweet potato aroma for days.
Tip #5: Leave It In The Oven
The last of the 5 tips is leaving the potato in the oven after you turn it off. Bake the potato in the oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Depending on your oven, the bake temperature and time may vary. At about the 25 minute mark, I take a knife to it and see if it is easy to pierce the skin of the potato. If the knife goes through easily, then I turn off the oven and let the sweet potato sit in the rack.
I leave it in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes and then remove it from the oven. Quick tip: Learn from my burn scares and don’t use your bare hands to remove it.
After removing it from the oven, I wait for it to be cool enough to touch. Then, I open it and split it length wise. Using a fork, I begin pulling the meat of the sweet potato away from the skin. Then, put the pulp into a bowl and season it. Discard the skin.
This particular sweet potato is going to be used for a sweet potato soup. Stay tuned.
So, now you know my 5 tips for baking a sweet potato. What is/are your tip(s) for a perfect oven baked sweet potato recipe?