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How to Cook Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes are a healthy, sweet alternative to regular potatoes. This wikiHow will show you several ways of cooking them.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 45-60 minutes
  • Total time: 65-80 minutes

EditKey Points

  • Bake them in the oven at 400 °F (204 °C) for 45 - 60 minutes. More ↓
  • Microwave them on HIGH, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes. ↓
  • Cook them in a slow cooker on LOW for 4 to 6 hours in 1/4 to 1/2 (60 to 120 milliliters) of water. ↓
  • Boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes for 12 minutes. Drain the water, add some butter, then mash them. ↓


EditOven Baked Sweet Potatoes[1]

  • 8 unpeeled medium sweet potatoes
  • 8 tbsp. of butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

EditMicrowave Baked Sweet Potatoes[2]

  • 8 unpeeled medium sweet potatoes
  • 8 tbsp. of butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

EditSlow Cooked Sweet Potatoes

  • 8 unpeeled medium sweet potatoes
  • 6 tbsp. of butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120 ml) water
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

EditMashed Sweet Potatoes[3]

  • 8 peeled medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 125 ml) butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk


EditMaking Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to . Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 1 Version 2.jpg
  2. Scrub the skin of the potatoes clean. Use a vegetable brush and running water to remove any dirt and grime off the skin of the sweet potatoes.

  3. Pierce the exterior of each sweet potato. Use the tines of a fork to make holes in the skin of each potato, piercing the potato three or four times. Place the pierced sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet.

  4. Bake the uncovered sweet potatoes in the oven. The sweet potatoes need to bake until they become tender, which will usually take between 45 - 60 minutes.

  5. Soften the flesh. Place each sweet potato inside a clean kitchen towel. Roll the potato on the counter, pressing on it gently. Doing so loosens the flesh inside.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 5.jpg
  6. Cut open each sweet potato. Use a knife to slit open each potato from one end to the other.

  7. Serve the sweet potatoes hot with butter, salt, and pepper. Each sweet potato should be topped with about 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 7.jpg

EditMaking Microwave Baked Sweet Potatoes

  1. Scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Wash the exterior of each sweet potato under running water, using a vegetable brush to remove any stubborn dirt.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 8.jpg
  2. Pierce the skin. Poke into each sweet potato three to five times with the tines of a fork.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 9.jpg
  3. Place the sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe dish. You can also use a microwave-safe plate with a rim. Do not cover.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 10.jpg
  4. Microwave the sweet potatoes until tender. Set the microwave on full power and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Pause the microwave halfway in between to flip and rotate the sweet potatoes to ensure even cooking.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 11.jpg
  5. Slice open each sweet potato. Cut an "X" in the top of each potato and gently press on the sides of the skin to push the flesh upward.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 12.jpg
  6. Serve with butter. Use about 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) of butter per sweet potato. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 13.jpg

EditMaking Slow Cooked Sweet Potatoes

  1. Wash the sweet potatoes. Scrub the skin with a vegetable brush under running water.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 14.jpg
  2. Poke holes in the skin. Use the tines of a fork to pierce the outside of each sweet potato several times, covering the exterior in tiny holes.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 15.jpg
  3. Place the sweet potatoes into a 5 or 6 quart (5 or 6 liter) slow cooker. The sweet potatoes can be piled up near the top, but you should still be able to cover the slow cooker with a lid without any difficulty.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 16.jpg
  4. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120 ml) water to the slow cooker. A little water will help the sweet potatoes cook better, but there should not be enough water to cover them. You do not want them to boil in the slow cooker. Instead, the water is there to prevent the sweet potatoes from drying out and potentially burning.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 17.jpg
  5. Cook the sweet potatoes for 4 to 6 hours. Cover the slow cooker and set the heat to low, cooking the sweet potatoes until they become tender.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 18.jpg
  6. Slice open and serve. Cut the sweet potatoes open with a knife or fork. They should be tender enough to fall apart without needing to loosen the flesh using other techniques. Add 6 tbsp. of butter and salt and pepper to taste before serving.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 19.jpg

EditMaking Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  1. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from each sweet potato. Cut each one into 1/2-in. (1.27-cm) cubes. Place these cubes in a colander and rinse with running water to remove any traces of dirt.

  2. Transfer the sweet potato cubes into a 4 quart (4 liter) pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the cubes. Add a dash of salt to the water.

  3. Boil the sweet potatoes for 12 minutes. You can add a pinch of salt to the pot if you like. Cover the pot and heat the water and cubed sweet potatoes over medium-high to high heat, until they feel tender when pierced with a fork.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 22 Version 2.jpg
  4. Drain the water. Pour the contents of the pot through a colander. Separate the water out and return the potatoes to the pot.

  5. Add the butter to the sweet potatoes. You can add anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 125 ml) of butter, depending on how creamy you want the mashed sweet potatoes to be. Allow the butter to sit on the hot sweet potatoes until it melts, stirring as necessary to speed up the melting process.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 24.jpg
  6. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher. Smash the sweet potatoes and butter together using the masher until the mixture becomes smooth.

    • If you do not have a potato masher, you can also use a hand-held electric mixer.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir in 1/3 cup (80 ml) of sour cream and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring with a large spoon or fork until the mixture is creamy and thoroughly combined.

  8. Return the pot to the oven. Cook the mashed sweet potatoes over low heat, stirring frequently, until the sweet potatoes are heated through. Then, serve them while they're hot.
    Cook Sweet Potatoes Step 27 Version 2.jpg



  • Instead of flavoring your sweet potatoes with butter, salt, and pepper, you can also flavor them with cinnamon, brown sugar, paprika, and numerous other sweet and spicy seasonings. The seasoning you choose should depend on your own sense of taste.
  • Aside from these basic ways to cook sweet potatoes, there are also numerous other ways to prepare them. You can slice them and bake them with a glaze, cut them into wedges and bake them as fries, or you can puree them and use them for baked goods like bread, pies, and cakes.
  • Store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place before ready to use. Sweet potatoes decay and grow moldy rather easily, especially if stored poorly. Do not keep the sweet potatoes in the refrigerator, since refrigeration can cause sweet potatoes to lose their flavor.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Vegetable brush
  • Baking sheet
  • Nonstick aluminum foil
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Fork
  • Knife
  • 5 or 6 quart (5 or 6 liter) slow cooker
  • Vegetable peeler
  • 4 quart (4 liter) pot
  • Potato masher or hand-held electric mixer

EditRelated wikiHows

  • Cook a Sweet Potato in the Microwave
  • Use-Up-Left-over-Bolognese-Sauce-or-Chilli

EditSources and Citations

  • Videos provided by Fablunch

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How to Cook Sweet Potatoes


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