Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy on the outside, sweet and tender on the inside, these sweet potato fries are awesome! 

You may have noticed that OTHER recipes for crispy sweet potatoes call for deep frying the potatoes in oil. And not just once but TWICE because that ensures crispiness (not true of regular potatoes, although some folks double-fry them too).

Never fear - I have a culinary hack for that! The reason sweet potatoes get mushy when you roast them is because of their moisture content. But what if we could tackle that moisture issue and eliminate the problem? We can, with cornstarch. The starch in the cornstarch absorbs the moisture in the sweet potatoes as they roast, creating a crisp coating you typically only get by frying. Potato starch works too. And when you season the cornstarch (or potato starch), as I've done below, you can add tons of flavor at the same time. 

First, a few tips: 
  • Choose large sweet potatoes, something in the one-pound range. 
  • Once you peel the potatoes, cut them as evenly as possible; the more uniform the fries, the more evenly they will bake. 
  • Aim for 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness. Large fries take too long to roast; thinner fries end up greasy and limp. 
  • For easy cleanup, use a zip-top freezer bag to coat the potatoes with the cornstarch mixture and then the oil. Remember, coat the fries with the cornstarch mixture first, and then the oil. 
  • Spread the fries out in an even layer on the baking sheet (don't stack them); you want all the edges to roast and caramelize, not steam.
  • Roast, don't bake. A lower oven temperature (below 375 degrees) won't crisp the fries like a hot oven (400-425 degrees) will. 
  • Flip the fries once, never more. Why? The cornstarch coating needs time to set before you flip .
OK! Now you're ready so let's get roasting!

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 large sweet potatoes, about 1 pound each
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, preferably coarse or kosher
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into uniform fries, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. 
Place the cornstarch, garlic powder, and paprika in a large zip-top freezer bag (or bowl) and mix well. Add the fries. 
Close the bag and toss to coat. 
Add the olive oil to the bag and toss to coat. 
Spread the fries out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Season with the salt and pepper. 
Roast for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the fries once. Return the fries to the oven and roast for 15 to 20 more minutes, until golden brown and crisp. 
Serves 4