How to Cook Sweet Potatoes With Only Your Mind

Well, not with your mind, but with nothing but an oven and some time. No marshmallows or brown sugar needed. Butter is always welcome.

Buy Your Sweet Potatoes

Choose the smallest ones you can find. I get mine from my local organic farmer, so they are much smaller than you might be used to, but that makes them better. I’m usually not all food-privilegy, but those organic sweet potatoes are a way better starting base for this kind of recipe than the over-sized, starchy ones from the big-box grocery store. Buying the smallest you can find helps mitigate this.

Put Your Oven on Low

This is about 300 degrees Farenheit.

Poke Holes in Your Sweet Potatoes

Take a fork and just stab the potatoes 3-4 times. Put them in a pan. I use my cast-iron skillet mostly because I use my cast-iron skillet for everything.

Put Everything in the Oven for a Very Long Time

I’ve never timed this because this is something I do on a wintery Sunday morning when I’m hanging around, doing laundry, and cleaning my bathroom. I probably have left them in for up to 3 or 4 hours, though they’re usually ready after 2 or so hours.

Why all the time? When you cook sweet potatoes very slowly on a low oven, all those sugars get extra sweet. This is the same slow-cooking idea that makes caramelized onions so good and braised Brussels sprouts extra sweet.

You’ll know it’s time to  check on your potatoes when you start to hear them exuding sugary goodness. Trust me when I say you will hear this, and smell it (it smells delicious!). Poke the potatoes with a fork at this point. If the flesh yields easily, they are done. If you get some resistance, let them cook a while longer.


Cut a slit down the middle and drop a pat of butter on your potato. Eat. It’ll taste like candy. I promise.

By [E] Sally Lawton

My food groups are cheese, bacon, and hot tea. I like studying cities and playing with my cat, Buffy.

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