Melting Sweet Potatoes - The Original Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Christina Lane · This post may contain affiliate links · 82 Comments

The first thing everyone reaches for on my Thanksgiving table is not the turkey or even that green bean side dish. My melting sweet potatoes are everyone's favorite side dish! The potatoes are delicately crisp on the outside and fluffy and velvet-like on the inside. You can serve them with maple pecan sauce, or plain--they're great either way!

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These oven roasted sweet potatoes are my favorite part of my small Thanksgiving for two menu.

The business of making a starch melt in your mouth is actually quite simple. The only technique required is roasting in the oven with butter. A long time ago, we stopped drizzling things with melted butter before roasting in the oven. Also a long time ago, oven fries died.

I'm not sure when oil became the only acceptable thing with which to roast, but its heyday has come and gone in my kitchen.

I love neutral oils as much as the next chick, but golden brown and crispy, it does not make my starches. Ergo, I'm back to the butter.

The Ingredients

  • Sweet Potatoes. We need two pounds of fresh sweet potatoes. You can double this recipe and use two roasting pans and 4 pounds of sweet potatoes. I reach for the orange variety, and please note that I have not tested this recipe with any other variety of sweet potato. If you do, let us all know in the comments.
  • Butter. Yes, we really need a half stick of butter. We're roasting in all butter today, which is key for the texture of these melting sweet potatoes.
  • Salt. A pinch of sea salt before roasting brings out the sweetness of the tubers.

Optional Maple Pecan Sauce Ingredients:

  • Maple Syrup. I commonly reach for grade B maple syrup because I love the smokiness, but anything you have is fine. However, please don't use pancake syrup with imitation maple flavor.
  • Pecans. Chopped pecans that have been toasted gently in a skillet or low oven until they smell very fragrant.
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How to Make Melting Sweet Potatoes:

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  1. First, peel and chop your sweet potatoes into 1" round disks. For Thanksgiving, I would use slightly less than one pound of sweet potatoes per person. As a side dish to a meal, I would plan on one pound per person.
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2. Spread the disks on a roasting pan, making sure they are not touching. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter per pound of sweet potatoes, and drizzle it on top.

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3. Toss the slices together with the butter.

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4. Spread them back out in an even layer, not touching. If you're making the wet pecan sauce, add a small sprinkle of salt. If not, add ¼ teaspoon of salt per pound.

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5. After roasting for 20 minutes at 425, flip each melting sweet potato disk over. They will be nice and golden brown on the first side. It will be hard to resist eating one, but just you wait--they're going to get even better.

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6. After 20 minutes roasting on the other side, they look like this. Which is glorious, in case you couldn't tell.

I kinda sorta forgot to take photos of the wet pecan sauce, but it's very simple.

  1. Gather your ¼ cup of chopped pecans and ¼ cup of maple syrup per pound of sweet potatoes.
  2. Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small pan. Add the chopped pecans. Bring it back to a boil, then cook for 1 minute, and you're done!
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You can use all of the sauce for the melting sweet potatoes, but I think the recipe makes a bit much. (I didn't want you to be lacking on the big day).

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The pecans do get softer and softer the longer they sit in the maple syrup, so try to use it up in 2 days.

Drizzle it over the melting sweet potato disks, and serve with a smile.

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These melting sweet potatoes are so good that I made them 3 times in one week. The texture of the sweet potatoes indeed is like velvet. I love them on top of Buddha Bowls for lunch, and with fried eggs for breakfast. Yes, they are that good.

And we haven't even talked about the sauce. I made a wet pecan sauce to top them for your Thanksgiving festivities. It's entirely optional, but when you see that it only has 2 ingredients and comes together in 7 minutes, you won't be one to opt out.

Yield: 4 servings

A small Thanksgiving: Melting Sweet Potatoes (with Maple-Pecan Sauce)

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These melting sweet potatoes topped with pecans and maple syrup are a delicious side dish everyone will love.

Prep Time10 minutes

Cook Time40 minutes

Total Time50 minutes


  • 2 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the maple pecan sauce:

  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Have ready a roasting pan.
  2. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into 1" thick slices, and scatter them on the roasting pan, not touching.
  3. Melt the butter, and drizzle it on top of the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle on the salt. Toss to coat, and then redistribute on the pan in a single layer, not touching.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Flip with tongs, and roast for another 20 minutes.
  6. The potatoes are done when they're golden brown and crisp, and the insides are light and fluffy.
  7. To make the maple pecan sauce: bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small sauce pan.
  8. Add the pecans.
  9. Wait for the sauce to come back to a boil, cook for 1 minute, and then remove from heat.
  10. Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 505Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 9gSugar: 40gProtein: 6g

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Melting Sweet Potatoes - The Original Recipe (2024)


Why do you need to soak sweet potatoes before cooking? ›

TIPS & TRICKS to Make this Recipe: The main secrets to achieving that incredible crispy texture, is to soak the cut sweet potatoes in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This helps remove the starch from the sweet potatoes so they´re not limp & soggy.

Should I peel sweet potatoes before boiling? ›

There is not much difference between boiling sweet potatoes with the skins on versus peeling them, but you will get a boost of fiber and potassium if you keep the skin on. The skin also adds a subtle texture to each bite. If you're looking for a smoother mash, peel the potatoes first before boiling.

Why is boiled sweet potato better than baked? ›

Boiling sweet potatoes retains more beta-carotene and makes the nutrient more absorbable than other cooking methods such as baking or frying. Up to 92% of the nutrient can be retained by limiting the cook time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes.

How does Ina Garten bake sweet potatoes? ›

  1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes in wedges or like french fries.
  3. Place wedges on large baking pan or cookie sheet. ...
  4. Now sprinkle over brown sugar, salt, and black pepper. ...
  5. Spread out in a single layer. ...
  6. Place back in oven and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Why is boiling not good for sweet potatoes? ›

Bake, don't boil

Baking sweet potatoes caramelizes their natural sugars, especially when done whole. It intensifies their flavor and creates a richer taste compared to boiling, which can result in a watered-down, bland flavor.

What happens if you don't soak potatoes? ›

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes. Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch activating it, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

Is it better to boil or cook sweet potatoes? ›

If you're trying to make the most out of your sweet potatoes and mitigate a potential spike in blood sugar, Sapola suggests boiling this veggie rather than roasting it. "The preparation technique for a sweet potato can drastically affect the glycemic impact of that sweet potato," Sapola explains.

Should sweet potatoes be boiled or steamed? ›

Here's how it compares:
  1. Steaming:Preservation of Nutrients: Steaming helps retain more nutrients compared to boiling or frying. ...
  2. Boiling:Nutrient Loss: Boiling sweet potatoes can lead to some nutrient loss, as water-soluble vitamins may leach into the cooking water.
Jan 28, 2024

How long to boil sweet potatoes for easy peeling? ›

Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let the potatoes cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce several pieces (always test more than one) with a knife.

What is the healthiest way to cook sweet potato? ›

At the same time, the glycemic index of boiled sweet potatoes was found to be about half that of baking or roasting, so boiled sweet potatoes give us less of a blood sugar spike. Make sure to keep the skin on, though.

How long should you boil a sweet potato? ›

Boil sweet potatoes until they are cooked through. Boil large whole sweet potatoes for 40-50 minutes. Boil small to medium whole sweet potatoes for 30-40 minutes. Boil 1-inch cubes for 12-15 minutes.

Is it healthier to microwave or boil sweet potatoes? ›

All cooking methods cause foods to lose some of their nutrients, but the quicker your potato cooks, the more nutrients it will retain. Baking a sweet potato in the microwave preserves far more nutrients (folate, vitamins A and C) than boiling it, for example.

How to bake sweet potato in oven Martha Stewart? ›

Pierce potatoes all over with the tines of a fork and bake in oven, directly on rack, until soft and caramelizing, 1 1/2 hours. Slash the tops of potatoes open with the tip of a sharp knife and push ends of each potato toward each other to open. Divide butter, salt, and pepper among potatoes and serve.

Is it better to bake sweet potatoes in foil or not? ›

Wrapping the sweet potatoes in foil ensures that they don't dry out too quickly, and allows you to add aromatics if desired. Unwrapping the sweet potatoes and increasing the oven temperature produces charred, roasted flavors and caramelizes converted sugars.

How long to soak sweet potatoes in water before cooking? ›

Give them a cold water bath: Once your fries are chopped, toss them into a large bowl. Then cover the fries completely with cold water and let them soak for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight). This will help to rinse off the excess starch and help the potatoes crisp up beautifully in the oven.

Does soaking sweet potato help? ›

The theory is that soaking draws out starch from inside the potatoes, helping them crisp up. I've tested soaking sweet potato fries many times, and I've found that it doesn't make them much crispier, if at all. My hot take? Skip the soak!

Why do you soak sweet potatoes in water before air frying? ›

Some recipes call for soaking the sweet potatoes in water before cooking them to help remove some of the starch and make them more crispy but have found that this step isn't necessary for sweet potatoes as they don't have as much starch as regular potatoes.

Should you let sweet potatoes sit in water? ›

When chopping sweet potatoes in advance, make sure to store them in cold water in the refrigerator. That said, if you're cooking sweet potatoes in advance, don't worry about the water. Cooked sweet potatoes do just fine when stored in an airtight container.


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