A few simple tips and 15 minutes is all you need to transform sweet potatoes into irresistible fries. A choice of dipping sauces takes them over the top!
Sweet potatoes can be a polarizing food. For every person who adores them, there seems to be someone else who abhors them. With a passion.
Yet, I have observed over time that diners on both sides of the sweet potato debate often find consensus where sweet potato fries are concerned.
My younger son, who is the disdaining yin to my adoring sweet potato yang, will tell you somewhat grudgingly that these sweet potato fries are pretty good. For the rest of us, it’s true love.
I also appreciate the speed with which I can prepare these. An air fryer makes especially quick work and does the best job of crisping the potatoes, which are naturally high in moisture. But because they are thinly cut, the fries will cook in the oven rather quickly too.
Where the air fryer is concerned, the circulated high heat partially dehydrates the outside to create a hint of crispness, while cooking the insides until soft. If you don’t have an air fryer, you may use the oven with very good results.
If your oven has a convection option, you may use that for an effect more similar to the air fryer. Simply reduce the oven temperature stated in the recipe by 25℉–or keep the oven temp the same and check the sweet potato fries early, as they will cook faster on the convect mode.
Another tip when roasting in the oven is to keep in mind that food will cook and brown more quickly on a darker baking sheet as compared to a light one. So if you’re using a light sheet, never seem to get that golden brown color, and don’t have a darker sheet, increase the oven temperature by 25℉. (Remember the directions on the brownie box that said to reduce the oven temp from 350℉ to 325℉ when using a dark-coating baking pan? The same science is at play.)
For a double batch, you’ll want to cook in two batches to prevent overcrowding. Luckily, the air fryer cooks these fries in a quick 10 to 12 minutes. When cooking in batches, you can keep the cooked fries warm on a baking sheet in a 200℉ oven. (That said, I do often layer a few on top, as pictured, which will slightly reduce crisping. If you do this make sure to maintain some space between all fries and know that the end result will be tasty but not quite as crisp.)
This recipe was inspired by my recipe for Spicy Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika Aioli. Over time, I developed a slightly more neutral flavor profile (the linked recipe leans toward Tex-Mex) but have offered both seasoning options for those who’d like to try one now and one later.
While you may enjoy the sweet potato fries as is, we love a good dipping sauce. And though the picture shows four, I generally offer one at a time.
Sweet potatoes have a higher moisture content than Russet potatoes, so while they don’t become quite as crisp as traditional fries, the air fryer encourages light crisping on the outside while maintaining tender insides. An oven adaptation is offered for those who don’t have an air fryer.
For those who enjoy a spicy-sweet flavor, a drizzle of Homemade Hot Honey or Mike’s Hot Honey offers a rather tasty option.
I typically offer one dip at a time, but I made several when serving a crowd recently to see which ones were enjoyed the most. All received good reviews, but the Small Batch Ranch Dressing, Smoked Paprika Aioli, and Sriracha Mayo (not pictured but recipe follows) stole the show. For the record, these are versatile sauces, and if you have them in your fridge, you may find yourself adding memorable flavor with ease to chicken, fish, veggies, salads, bowl meals, and more.
How to make sriracha mayo:
Start by mixing ¼ cup (52g) mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons sriracha. Add more sriracha to taste or an extra dollop of mayo if you’d like the sauce to be milder. I use 1 tablespoon sriracha for noticeable but not overly spicy heat. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. We love it on burgers, sandwiches, sushi bowls, and more.
A few final sweet potato fry tips:
Cut the potatoes into thin, consistently sized sticks–¼- to ⅓-inch wide is best.
There’s no need to peel the sweet potatoes. In fact, the peel adds structure, texture, and nutrients to the fries.
The toughest part can be slicing the potatoes, as they can be quite firm. Smaller sweet potatoes are often easier to work with. When using large potatoes, I like to cut a thin slice off the sides to create a stable base for cutting. Flattening the sides also makes for more evenly shaped fries.
For even cooking and best texture, the air must be able to circulate between the fries. I often end up layering a few of the pieces to make them fit, but in that case I allow for space by laying the few on top at a right angle to the ones below. Too much layering, however, will hamper crispness.
For those who don’t have an air fryer, I’ve shared my tips in the recipe card for making the best oven sweet potato fries. This involves a slightly higher cooking temperature, roasting in the top third or quarter of your oven, preheating your baking sheet, and using parchment paper.
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries (with oven option)
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:10 minutes
Total Time:15 minutes
These perfectly seasoned sweet potato fries will disappear in a flash. A choice of dipping sauces takes them over the top.
To cut traditional fries: Slice the sweet potato (no need to peel) lengthwise into thin planks, about ¼- to ⅓-inch wide. Then cut each plank into similar width strips.
Add seasonings: Combine the garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika, and black or cayenne pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil to evenly coat, and then evenly sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss to coat.
To cook in the air fryer: Place the potatoes in an even layer in the air fryer basket and air fry at 400℉ for 10 to 12 minutes, tossing at the halfway point, or until tender on the inside and lightly golden on the outside. (Timing may vary slightly based on air fryer model and precise thickness of fries.)
Serve as is or with your favorite dipping sauce.
To roast in the oven: In this case, prepare the potatoes the same way. Then place a rack in the upper third to quarter of the oven and preheat the oven to 425℉. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to get very hot, about 5 minutes. When hot, carefully place a sheet of parchment paper on top and then quickly distribute the prepared potatoes in an even layer. Roast in the upper portion of your oven for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly golden with some crisp edges. You may flip ¾ of the way through and place on a lower rack if the potatoes are browning too quickly—otherwise there is no need to flip. Precise cooking time will depend on oven, precise size of cut, and distance from the top element. Check a few minutes early and allow for an extra minute or two if needed.
Alternate spice mixture: For a hint of heat and Tex-Mex flavor based off my Spicy Sweet Potatoes recipe, I sometimes use ½ teaspoon each chili powder and kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon each cumin and smoked paprika, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (may use ⅛ t cayenne or sub fresh black pepper to taste for less heat). Try both and see if you have a favorite!
Cooking tip: For even cooking and crispness, it’s best to keep the fries in a single layer. That said, to fit a few extra in my air fryer, I often crisscross a few on top. In this case, I make sure all fries still have space around them and know that they may not be quite as crisp…but they still disappear fast!