Sweet potato fries are notoriously soggy. If you’re baking them at home and wondering why they won’t crisp up like you want them to, you’re not alone. A caller on Milk Street Radio recently came to hosts Sara Moulton and Christopher Kimball with the same conundrum.
The underlying issue here is that sweet potatoes don’t have the same starch as white potatoes, so they need a little extra help. Ever the problem solvers, Moutlon and Kimball offered some great suggestions:
Toss your sweet potatoes in cornstarch or potato starch before cooking.
A light coating will give the potatoes an extra layer to crisp up. You could also mix your favorite spice with the cornstarch to season the fries. We like paprika, but the possibilities are endless: Baharat (a Middle Eastern spice blend), Old Bay Seasoning, Za'atar...
Preheat an oiled baking pan.
Before you place the fries in a hot oven—400ºF or 450ºF—to bake, heat your pan up first. This will help them brown and crisp up right away and more evenly.
Don’t crowd the fries.
Over-crowded pieces will end up steaming—the effect you’re trying to avoid if you’re seeking crispy fries. Cook in batches if you must.
Slice them thin.
Thin fries will have a “higher ratio of outside to inside,” Moulton says. More surface area for crisping, in other words.
Leave them alone.
Flip the fries only once, half way through baking. They may get a little toasty on the ends, but don’t worry about it. They’ll develop more of a crust if you leave them be. If you keep moving them, they won’t.
For more great cooking tips like this from Sara Moulton and Christopher Kimball, tune into Milk Street Radio each week.
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker