Right here, right now I am going to teach you how to make crispy sweet potato fries. But first …
Let’s get one thing straight. A sweet potato french fry is not a real french fry. I like them, I’ll eat them … but they’re not a real french fry.
They are french fry substitutes to be eaten when a real french fry can’t be found.
Yes, I know. But you loveeeeeeeee sweet potato french fries. You like them wayyyyyyyyyy better than regular french fries. That’s because you’re an amateur. I on the other hand, am a french fry professional.
I have been eating, making and lusting after french fries for as long as I can remember. I ate french fries every single day for lunch while I was in highschool. Large fries with gravy please. At the end of grade 13 … yes we had grade 13 back then … I threw up a ball of grease. So … clearly … a professional here.
Best way to eat a french fry? Salty and hot with your fingers, while walking around a flea market. Using one of those wooden forks is pretty good too. Best potato to make a french fry with? A baking potato like the Russet or Idaho because the high level of starch makes them relatively dry and therefore easier to get crispy. Best outfit for eating french fries? Shorts, flip flops and a tank top. So … clearly … again … a french fry professional here.
But … if you’re on some sort of stupid meal plan, or you’re all out of regular potatoes, or you just feel like having something a little different, why wouldn’t you cook up some Sweet Potato French Fries?
Because they’re soggy messes. That’s why.
I’ve oven baked them, par boiled them and deep fried them and they don’t get crispy. They get brown, but not crisp.
Finally, I’ve figured out how to make crispy sweet potato fries and the best part is you can do them in the deep fryer or the oven! Either way, you’ll end up with crispy fries. Guaranteed.
But like with most things, you’re more guaranteed if you do them in the deep fryer.
Here’s what you need to do …
Gather your sweet potatoes.
Get some corn starch.
Also get some olive oil. Just the cheap stuff. Not the good stuff like my favourite Lorenzo No.5. Seriously best tasting olive oil ever.
Peel your sweet potatoes. I have used the same brand of vegetable peeler for 15 years now. It’s the cheapest, most basic vegetable peeler around and it’s pretty much every cook’s favourite. It’s the Great Lash mascara of the vegetable peeling world.
Cut your sweet potatoes until they’re a medium thickness. Not hugely thick cut and not shoestring.
Let potatoes soak in water for an hour – half the day. (not mandatory, but recommended)
Preheat oven to 425°
Throw a Tablespoon or two of cornstarch into a plastic bag.
(update: I’m reducing this to a definite 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch because people were reading this as 1 to 2 to 173 Tablespoons of cornstarch. So it’s a hard 1 Tablespoon now. Got it?)
Dump a handful of sweet potatoes into the bag with the cornstarch. You don’t need to dry them with paper towels or anything. Just drain the water and then give each handful you drop in the cornstarch a good shake. Twist the top of the bag so it forms a balloon with some air inside and shake the fries around until they’re lightly coated with the cornstarch. This is important. Too much water and too much cornstarch and you’ll end up with a goopy mess. Plus your fries will taste like cornstarch.
Put your coated fries on a non stick cookie sheet.
Drizzle 2 Tbsps. of olive oil over the fries. This is if you want to be healthy.
Any vegetable oil will work. I’ve used sunflower, canola, etc. etc.
You can use as much oil as you want.
(Update: The more oil you use the easier time you’ll have of getting the fries crispy but the less healthy they will be.)
I usually go the totally unhealthy route to ensure the fries are crispy. Just keep glugging the oil until the fries are well coated.
Using your hands, make sure the fries are well coated.
Arrange them on the sheet again, so they have space between each fry. The less fries on the pan the better they’ll cook. Too many shoved together and they’ll never get crispy. They’ll just steam. So do NOT overcrowd the pan. Pop the fries into your preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile you can make the dipping sauce. Mix together 1/2 cup of mayonaise with 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce and 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper.
You can adjust the proportions to taste. Mix it up and taste it then adjust as you like.
Check the fries after 15 minutes, flip them over (you might have to use a spatula depending on how “non stick” your pan is) and return to the oven if necessary for another 5 minutes. The timing really depends on the size of your fry, the heat of your oven and how well your pan conducts heat.
(update: You can see the pan I’m using here is very dark, this very dark, old, used pan cooks things faster and crispier. So if you have an old pan like this use it. If you have a shiny, new baking sheet your fries will take much longer to cook, will have a greater tendency to stick and won’t get as crispy)
If you prefer your fries deep fried, throw them in the deep fryer at the highest setting for a few minutes instead of sticking them in the oven. You STILL need to coat them in cornstarch. Even in a deep fryer, sweet potatoes fries won’t get crispy unless they have a coating of cornstarch.
This is how I do them when I’m in a rush. They’re always crispier than those from the oven, but far less healthy.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
- *Dipping Sauce*
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp or more Sriracha sauce
- Preheat oven to 425 or deep fryer to highest setting
- Peel sweet potatoes, slice into medium thick slices (closer to thin than thick).
- Soak potatoes at least 4 hours in water.
- Drain water from sweet potatoes and shake dry with your hands.
- Put 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch into food safe plastic bag.
- Dump sweet potato fries into bag, blow some air into it, and shake bag until fries are coated.
- Place fries on cookie sheet, drizzle with a couple Tablespoons of olive oil.
- Toss fries until evenly coated with oil.
- Arrange on cookie sheet(s) with lots of space in between fries to prevent steaming.
- Cook in hot oven for 15 minutes then check.
- The fries will release from the pan when they're ready to flip the same way a steak would.
- Flip fries, and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- (cooking time depends greatly on the quality of your baking sheet so keep an eye on them)
- Dipping Sauce: Mix together mayo, pepper and Sriracha sauce. Adjust to your taste.
Please note : This recipe does have a bit of a learning curve. It may take a few attempts to get your proportions of corn starch and oil correct. It took me several years to figure out how to do this, but with these instructions it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of tries.
If it doesn’t work for you, it’s not the recipe it’s either a) your technique or b) your baking pan so try again. You’ll get it. ~ karen
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