Did you see my Instagram post last week? I’ve been working on these. Sweet potato fries have been covered exhaustively on the internet, but I do feel that my findings here will add something to the discussion. I even busted out the measuring tape for this one! It’s gonna be that kind of post today.
Let me start by saying: I always order sweet potato fries at restaurants. Like, the fried ones that usually cost an extra dollar to be served alongside your burger/sandwich/wrap etc. When they’re right (lightly crispy, well-salted to balance the sweet, no burnt-but-still-soggy bits), they’re SO right. I crave them regularly.
I don’t deep fry at home though. I try to avoid fried food in general, so I reserve that special “treat yourself” moment for when we’re out. With that all of this in mind, it can be difficult to bake a tray of sweet potato fries that don’t taste like regular old roasted sweet potatoes–which I do love! But when I want fries, that’s a separate craving. Crispy, salty, sturdy enough to pick up with your fingers, dippable. You know?
SO! Here’s a rundown of my necessaries if you want bomb sweet potato fries. These are ALL non-negotiables for me:
Precision cuts! I cut my fries in the area of 3 inches long and ½ an inch thick. You want them all the same to avoid over/under done portions. Chunky, rustically cut, large fries won’t crisp up properly because it’s just too much sweet potato. Think of it as a lightly meditative knife skills exercise.
A lil’ soak. My mum makes truly epic homemade french fries and she always soaks them in cold water prior to frying. This step draws extra starch out of your sweet potatoes, which in turn helps us avoid any burnt fry edges (burnt sweet potato is one of the ickiest tastes, seriously). Leave them totally submerged for a minimum of one hour or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. You must dry them thoroughly after draining.
Arrowroot is our MVP. I’ve seen baked versions of sweet potato fries with cornstarch or cornmeal added to crisp them up. I wanted to avoid corn because I know that a lot of people in this community avoid it or have allergies. Here, the dried sweet potatoes are tossed with arrowroot to coat. It’s a starch that I lean on often to thicken mixtures and with this recipe, it starches up the edges of our fries and makes them sturdy.
Oil spray that can take the heat. You need a thin, even coating of oil on the lining of your baking sheet and the fries themselves. Spray oil is far and away the best option. I use the avocado oil spray from Chosen Foods because it can handle high temperatures without breaking down and there aren’t any weird propellants in the mix. I’ve tried these fries with regular oil that you pour from the bottle and it’s just so finicky to get it on each fry and you wind up using too much.
Spacing and flipping. You can’t just dump these fries on the baking sheet and slam them in the oven. Each one has to have its own little bubble of space and must be flipped carefully at the halfway point of the baking process to retain said space. I never said that this recipe was low maintenance!
You have to wait on the salt. Salt immediately draws out moisture wherever it lands, and you definitely want to avoid that here. You can go in with your other seasonings prior to baking though! Once the sweet potato fries are totally done, quickly transfer them to a large bowl and toss them with a fat pinch of fine sea salt. Fleur de sel is beautiful and special, but you need a fine salt that’s going to stick to these bad boys right off the hop.
Make a dip worthy of these magnanimous fries that you basically just spent an entire week working on, seriously. I’ve included a recipe for a roasted garlic tahini yogurt dip with herbs here, but I also enjoy these fries with ketchup. No shame ever. If you’ve made it this far and your eyes aren’t rolling out of your head at the precision/preciousness of it all, I hope you make these! You’ll be so happy.
LEGITIMATELY CRISPY BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES WITH ROASTED GARLIC TAHINI YOGURT DIP
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 2-4 (or 1, no judgement)
NOTES: I would not go off-script here. I’m all for making recipes your own, but if you’re expecting perfectly crispy results, I’d follow this recipe to a tee the first go-around.
-If you’re down with using cornstarch, you can use the same amount of it in place of the arrowroot.
-I think you guys know this, but my preferred coconut yogurt is Anita’s. Use any unsweetened, slightly thick yogurt that you like though.
ROASTED GARLIC TAHINI YOGURT DIP:
1 head of garlic
generous ½ cup unsweetened, non-dairy yogurt of choice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
small handful chopped fresh parsley
small handful chopped fresh mint
big pinch of fine sea salt
ground black pepper
CRISPY BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES
2 small-medium sweet potatoes, peeled (about 750 grams total)
2-3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
cayenne, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, turmeric or any other SALT-FREE seasoning that you like (we’re adding salt at the very end)
high heat-tolerant oil spray (I like this one)
fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. If your baking sheet is well-seasoned, you can skip the parchment lining.
Make the dip: Cut the top ½ inch off of the garlic head. Tear a piece of foil (enough to wrap around the garlic) and place the garlic head in the middle. Drizzle oil on top, letting it seep into the garlic cavities. Wrap the garlic up and place it in the oven. Roast the garlic until squidgy and golden inside, about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the yogurt into a small bowl. Squeeze the cooled roasted garlic into the bowl. Add the lemon juice, tahini, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper to the yogurt mixture. Mash and stir it all together with a fork until combined. Cover the bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
Make the fries: Cut the sweet potatoes into 3-inch long and ½ -inch thick fries. Place the cut sweet potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with cold water. Let them sit for at least an hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Drain the sweet potatoes and lay them on a clean kitchen towel. Place another clean kitchen towel on top and loosely roll them all up. Massage the little towel sweet potato roll-up for a bit so that the fries are as dry as possible.
In another large bowl, toss the cut sweet potatoes with the arrowroot powder and SALT-FREE seasonings of your choice (salt is happening later). The cut sweet potatoes should have a light, powdery coating of arrowroot.
Spray the parchment on your baking sheet evenly with the oil spray. Arrange the sweet potatoes in rows on the baking sheet. Spray the tops of the sweet potatoes with the oil spray before sliding them into the oven.
Bake the sweet potato fries for 25 minutes or very lightly browned in spots and the arrowroot is forming a light “webbing” on the undersides of the fries. Remove the fries from the oven and carefully flip them all over. Slide the sweet potato fries back into the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.
At the end of the 25 minutes, the sweet potato fries should have some strong brown spots and crisp exteriors. If they still look like they need crisping, carefully flip them one more time and bake until they’ve reached your desired doneness.
Quickly transfer the fries to a large bowl and toss them with a fat pinch of sea salt. Warning: when they’re piping hot, they won’t FEEL completely crispy yet. Place the hot fries on your serving plate in a single layer along with your roasted garlic tahini yogurt dip. After they sit for a few seconds, they will start to get that super crispy quality.