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How To Cook Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious root vegetable, originating in Central America, and now cultivated around the world. They can be prepared in any number of ways, and this post will hopefully teach you a little something about this tasty vegetable, and inspire you to cook more with it at home!

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What Are Sweet Potatoes?

Let’s start with the basics. Did you know that sweet potato is not technically a potato at all? They actually belong to the morning glory family, ( Convolvulaceae ), of which there are over 1000 different species!

Ipomoea batatas is the variety that is most commonly cultivated for agricultural purposes, though there are now other cultivars that can be more easily grown at home, even in colder climates! You can learn more about growing your own sweet potatoes here.

orange sweet potato whole, and sliced on display

Loaded with vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, and various minerals sweet potatoes are an easy way to add a healthy veggie into your weekly meal plan. Plus they are paleo friendly!

Are Yams & Sweet Potato The Same Thing?

This is where it can get confusing. The technical answer here is NO. Yams belong to an entirely different plant family, (  Dioscoreaceae ), and are a starchy, usually white, tuberous vegetables sold in various parts of the world.

The confusion comes in because sweet potatoes are often sold as ‘yams’ or ‘sweet potato yams’ in North American grocery stores.

You can learn more about the differences between yams and sweet potatoes here.

So What Can You Make With Sweet Potatoes?

This is the easy part really. You can cook sweet potato in any number of ways. They can be baked, fried, boiled, roasted, and even steamed! The options are endless. You can even add cooked sweet potato to things like salads, wraps, and casseroles!

Do you have to peel sweet potatoes?

While the skin is edible, most recipes call for peeling the sweet potato first since the skin becomes tough and leathery when cooked. It does contain a lot of nutrients though, so if you really wanted to you could leave the skin on.

A good example of a simple ‘skin on’ sweet potato recipe is my simple baked sweet potato!

Whole Baked Sweet Potato
A simple, healthy side dish, whole baked sweet potatoes are easy to make, warm and comforting, and best of all, versatile!
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whole baked sweet potatoes garnished with butter and chives on a rustic plate

More Sweet Potato Recipes

To get you started cooking with sweet potatoes here is a collection of recipes showcasing different ways to prepare and cook sweet potatoes at home! Ranging from breakfast to dessert, you can incorporate sweet potatoes into any meal!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet
Sweet potatoes, red peppers, eggs and turkey bacon all come together in this savoury breakfast skillet. Ready in an hour, you could meal prep this Savoury Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet for any meal of the day!
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savoury sweet potato breakfast skillet
Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Quiche
An impressive side dish that can be prepped in advance, this rose-shaped sweet potatoe and goat cheese savoury pie is the perfect show stopper for your dinner!
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Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Coconut oil roasted sweet potatoes are a healthy and delicious way to enjoy one of fall’s favourite vegetables!
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Sweet Potato Salad With Feta, Pomegranate, & Pecans
Cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes bring a mild sweetness to this salad that goes perfectly alongside crunchy greens, creamy goats feta, pecans and pomegranate.
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Warm Sweet Potato Noodles, Cabbage, and Lentil Salad
Sweet potato noodle salad with cabbage and lentils is a warm and hearty salad that’s nutrient-packed and loaded with flavour thanks to sautéed onions and Swiss chard along with a Dijon vinaigrette.
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Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoe Chili
Simple and cozy chili with just the right amount of spice and packed with all the sweet potato goodness. This cooks up in the slow cooker and is so simple to throw together!
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Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Add a little spice to your holiday table with these chipotle mashed sweet potatoes!
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chipotle mashed sweet potatoes in a white bowl
Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry
This easy vegetarian curry is a perfect weeknight meal. All you need is sweet potatoes and a few basic pantry ingredients.
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Sweet Potato Soup With Red Lentils & Hemp
A creamy and savory blend of sweet potatoes and red lentils and the nutrition of hemp seeds.
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Sweet Potato Souffle
With a rich and creamy sweet potato base and a crunchy, buttery pecan streusel topping, this salty-sweet Sweet Potato Soufflé is a decadent show-stopper that’ll have your Thanksgiving table swooning for more.
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Sweet Potato Black Bean Brownies
Looking for a healthy alternative to a traditional chocolate brownie? How about Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Black Bean Brownies?
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Sweet Potato Cake
This richly spiced sweet potato cake has an easy marshmallow frosting that comes together in just 5 minutes. Top with seasonal fruit and a caramel drizzle for an extra decadent twist.
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What’s your favourite way to eat and prepare sweet potatoes? Let us know in the comments below and tag us on social media! (@earthfoodandfire)

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  1. Love all of these different ways to cook sweet potatoes! That sweet potato cake is very impressive! Thanks for including my sweet potato salad with feta, pomegranate and pecans!

  2. Leanne - Crumb Top Baking

    While I knew yams and sweet potatoes weren’t the same, I didn’t know that sweet potatoes aren’t actually potatoes! Regardless, I love them and their versatility. You’ve pulled together some delicious recipes Markus. Thanks so much for including my breakfast skillet!

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