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How to Make Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Whether salted or seasoned, smothered in ketchup or Peruvian Aji Sauce, nothing satisfies like crisp sweet potato fries. Although a steady diet of fried food isn't healthy, the advantage of frying foods at home is the ability to choose a healthier cooking oil. Many restaurants reuse frying oil until it becomes a thick, toxic soup.

And what about the health benefits of sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes are loaded with Vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and several trace minerals: selenium, zinc, and copper. They also contain quite a bit of protein, making them a healthier choice over regular French fries.

The higher moisture content of sweet potatoes, though, can make for soggy fries. So what's the secret to crispy but tender sweet potato fries? Soaking, dusting, and refrying. But first be sure to review the tips below for a safe deep-frying technique.

Crispy Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

10 min

40 min

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 (32-ounce or 1-liter) bottle vegetable oil, for frying
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • paprika, cumin and granulated garlic, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slice sweet potatoes into matchsticks, about 1/4 inch thickness
  2. Soak sweet potato sticks in cold water for 30 minutes to 8 hours. If you don't have time to soak, just rinse and and pat dry.
  3. Pour two inches of vegetable oil into medium skillet or electric fryer. Preheat oil to 350 Fahrenheit.
  4. Pat potato sticks dry and dust with cornstarch. You'll need to fry them in several batches. Flash fry the first time for about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  5. Heat oil to 375 Fahrenheit. Refry potatoes, in batches, until golden and crispy. This will take about 5 minutes per batch.
  6. Drain fries on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and optional seasonings.
  7. Serve sweet potato fries immediately.
  8. Dip fries in Peruvian aji sauce, mayonnaise or ketchup.

Photo Tutorial

Cut sweet potatoes into matchsticks

Cut sweet potatoes into matchsticks

Soak for at least 30 minutes

Soak for at least 30 minutes

Drain and dry

Drain and dry

Double-fry for crispy fries

Double-fry for crispy fries

Tips

  • Follow safety precautions when deep-frying. Wear a heavy apron and long-sleeved shirt. Equip your kitchen with a fire extinguisher.
  • Choose a deep, heavy skillet.
  • A long-handled, slotted spoon and deep-frying thermometer are important tools for safe deep-frying.
  • A mandoline uniformly cuts potatoes and veggies, especially handy when julienning sweet potatoes for fries.
  • Try peanut oil or canola oil for frying. See How to Choose Healthy & Tasty Cooking Oils for more options. This article also covers information about saturated fats vs. unsaturated fats as well as smoke points.
  • Pour oil into a cold pan, leaving two inches of headroom in case the oil bubbles over.
  • Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. We fry sweet potato fries in 3 batches.
  • The key to crispy sweet potato fries: soaking, dusting with cornstarch, and refrying.
  • It's best not to reuse frying oil. Allow the oil to cool before disposing of it.
  • If you'd like more tips about how to cut potatoes into matchsticks for fries, I created a photo tutorial in this article: How to Make Crispy Homemade French Fries.
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Read More From Delishably

Orange and purple sweet potatoes

Orange and purple sweet potatoes

Why Soak Sweet Potatoes Before Frying?

Sweet potatoes have higher water content than baking potatoes, which makes for soggy fries. Soaking sweet potato matchsticks in water leaches away the starch and allows more water to escape the potatoes during frying.

Another benefit of soaking? Acrylamide is a substance that forms in fried carbohydrate-rich foods and has been shown to cause cancer. Soaking potatoes before frying reduces acrylamides by up to 48%!

Although a true sweet potato, Peruvian purples (see photo) are starchier, less sweet and nuttier in flavor than their orange counterparts. They also make extra crispy sweet potato fries!

Sweet potato fries and Peruvian aji sauce

Sweet potato fries and Peruvian aji sauce

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I make crispy sweet potato fries in the oven?

Answer: Yes, you can use this recipe to make baked sweet potato fries, although they won’t be as crispy as the fried version.

Question: Can sweet potatoes be stored in the freezer after soaking for future use?

Answer: Yes, you can slice the potatoes, soak them then dry well before freezing. Frozen potatoes will cool the frying oil so you will need to fry in smaller batches.

Question: I have a recipe for thrice-cooked French fries and I want to add some sweet potato fries to the mix for color. Can I prepare the sweet potatoes in the same manner as the Russet potatoes?

Answer: You can prep the sweet potato and Russet potatoes fries in the same way but when it is time to fry them in hot oil, I would fry them separately since the sweet potatoes take longer to crisp up than the Russet potatoes. You don’t want to end up with overly browned French fries.

Question: Do I skin the sweet potato before I cut into them for making sweet potato fries?

Answer: Yes, I always peel the sweet potatoes first and then slice them up. I’ll add that to the instruction to avoid future confusion.

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