How to Make 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. If you'd like to learn more about saturated fats vs. unsaturated fats and smoke points, you may be interested to read How to Choose Healthy & Tasty Cooking Oils.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Click here for a fry cutting photo tutorial:
Crispy Homemade Sweet Potato Fries
- 4 sweet potatoes sliced in matchsticks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 (32-ounce or 1-liter) bottle vegetable oil, for frying
- kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- paprika, cumin and granulated garlic, for sprinkling (optional)
- Slice sweet potatoes into matchsticks, about 1/4 inch thickness
- 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.
- Pour two inches of vegetable oil into medium skillet or electric fryer. Preheat oil to 350 Fahrenheit.
- 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.
- Heat oil to 375 Fahrenheit. Refry potatoes, in batches, until golden and crispy. This will take about 5 minutes per batch.
- Drain fries on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and optional seasonings.
- Serve sweet potato fries immediately.
- Dip fries in Peruvian Aji Sauce, mayonnaise or ketchup.
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!