2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-large or 3 medium)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Chopped garlic as desired
Parmesan cheese as desired
Optional spices: fresh parsley, freshly ground black pepper, and/or garlic powder
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
with racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven (make sure the top rack is about 6″ from the heat source and no closer). Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper so the fries don’t get stuck to the pans.
2)Peel the sweet potatoes
and cut them into fry-shaped pieces about ¼″ wide and ¼″ thick. Try to cut them into similarly sized pieces so the fries will bake evenly.
TIP: Slice your fries thinly.
You want your fries to be about 1/4″ wide, or close to it. Thick fries never get crispy.
Here’s how to slice a sweet potato into fries: Rest your sweet potato on its side on a sturdy cutting board. Working lengthwise, slice off a 1/4″ thick slab from one of the sides. Turn the sweet potato onto the flat side so it’s more stable. It gets easier from there!
Continue cutting the sweet potato into slabs, and then cut the slabs into thin fries. As you’re cutting the slabs, you’ll eventually want to turn the sweet potato onto the now-larger flat side to maintain stability.
2) Toss your sliced fries in cornstarch before oil.
Cornstarch really helps to get the outsides crisp!
Sprinkle the sweet potato fries with the cornstarch (use 1 ½ teaspoons per pan) and salt (¼ teaspoon per pan). Toss until the fries are lightly coated in powder. Drizzle the olive oil and chopped garlic over the fries (1 tablespoon per pan) and toss until the fries are lightly and evenly coated in oil, and no powdery spots remain (use your fingers to rub visible cornstarch into the fries as necessary).
3) Divide your fries between two pans and arrange them in even layers.
Overcrowded fries steam each other and never get crispy! You can fit one pound of fries per pan.
Be sure that each fry lies flush against the pan, not piled on top of other fries. The fries develop crisp edges when they’re resting on a hot surface.
4) Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Any lower, and your fries will be soggy. Any higher and the oil will start smoking. Plus, at higher temps your fries will turn from crisp to burnt way too fast.
TIP: Flip Your Fries.
Halfway through cooking, you’ll flip the fries with a spatula. This helps ensure that they bake evenly, turning perfectly golden on the outside and cooking through on the inside. Arrange the fries in even layers across the pans again, moving any particularly browned fries more toward the middle of the pan so they don’t get overcooked. Return the pans to the oven, swapping their positions (former top pan goes to the lower rack and vice versa).
5) Bake for 10 to 18 more minutes,
or until the fries are crispy. You’ll know they’re almost done when the surface of the fries change from shiny orange to a more matte, puffed up texture. Keep an eye on them, as they can turn from crisp to burnt quickly. Sometimes the lower pan will be done a few minutes before the top pan. Don’t worry if the edges are a little bit brown; they will taste more caramelized than burnt.
6) Season last, if desired.
Add salt before baking the fries, but wait to add any spices until after baking. Otherwise, the spices will burn and lose their flavor. I love to balance the sweetness of the fries with a little dried herbs, fresh parsley, garlic powder, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Add some parmesan cheese on top for extra yum!
Another benefit of seasoning last? You can add spices to taste, so you won’t overdo it.