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Roasting Whole Sweet Potato and the Importance of Unrecipes : The Good Soup

Roasting Whole Sweet Potato and the Importance of Unrecipes
  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Pesceterian
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

This is one of those unrecipes that I post every now and then. Actually, I don’t post them often enough. I love unrecipes. They’re the uncelebrated, the invisible, the humble workers that tune good recipes to sing their flavours and textures in harmony.

And they’re hardly ever written down. Cooks learn them from working in professional kitchens, or from cooking with their grandmothers. Sometimes you learn them in cooking classes (you will at mine!). And if you’re lucky, you’ll find some really good cookbooks that are littered with them. I learnt this one from Kim Boyce. Of course.

Roasting Whole Sweet Potato

  • Medium sized sweet potatoes, as many as you like

Preheat an oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Roast the sweet potatoes until they’re completely soft and so roasted they’ve left a burnt caramel syrup on their bottoms. This could take anywhere between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the size of your sweet potato.

Let them cool until you can handle them, then gently peel off their skins and set aside their fillings, which will be solid, but soft.

This technique leaves you with a deeply flavoured, darkened sweetness, that’s perfect for adding to so many things: muffins, pancakes, couscous, salads. Or just eaten as is. Some recipes will follow soon, I promise!


  1. Caffettiera
    October 27, 2011 at 9:38 am | | Reply

    You are totally right, about the importance of these non-recipes, and about Kim Boyce, of course. For instance I never tried roasting whole sweet potatoes, I always cube them to be quicker, but I can see the flesh from your picture looks way more fudgy.
    Blogging is another great way to learn new basic skills :)

  2. Mikaela Cowles
    October 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm | | Reply

    Do you prick the sweet potatoes before you roast them?

  3. Kitchen Belleicious
    October 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm | | Reply

    amen on the unrecipes girl! I love them and couldn;t cook everynight if I didn’t. Roasting sweet potatoes brings out the best in them i think!

  4. Phil in the Kitchen
    October 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm | | Reply

    Great unrecipe. I love roasted sweet potato flesh – the sweetness is so useful for contrasting with acidic or intensely savoury flavours. Or just eating as it is – maybe with a little balsamic vinegar.

  5. Magic of Spice
    November 7, 2011 at 2:12 am | | Reply

    Agreed unrecipes are far too under appreciated! These look fantastic :)
    P.S. loved the article and the photo ;)

  6. Roze
    April 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm | | Reply

    Cool recipe. I always used to wrap the sweet potatoes in aluminum foil, then roast them.

    However, your recipe says to simply put the sweet potatoes on to top of a baking sheet lined with baking paper (I’m not sure what that is, btw…is it parchment paper?). So, I actually don’t have to wrap the sweet potatoes up at all? I always thought the moisture would escape and that they’d become hard and dry.

    I really want to try your recipe but I just need clarification on those two things: the sweet potatoes don’t have to be wrapped up? and is that parchment paper that lines the baking sheet?

    Thank you so much for the recipe!

  7. Yui
    May 2, 2012 at 2:41 am | | Reply

    Sweet potato is a great vegetable. Children will crave for this vegetable. It’s so lovely to see them ask us to cook vegetable right? However, I love the same cooking process as the one in this post. If I’m not in the mood to do a little magic in turning a tuber plant into delish and attractive food I usually throw sweet potatoes in the oven and I have super dish. I love to not prick it with fork. Just love to see them explode :)
    How to Make Sweet Potato Fries

  8. Bob
    June 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm | | Reply

    400 is too high for sweet potatoes. they do better at 375–no bursting and burning. for larger potatoes, you will have to roast longer than 60 minutes, so plan accordingly.

  9. Paul
    July 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm | | Reply

    Cooking them this way is a family hand-me-down recipe. Mom would fix them for us to come home to on cold rainy school days in late fall. We’d be cold, wet, and miserable when we turned the kitchen knob but the long soggy walk would all be forgotten when that sweet smell hit us. We would eat them whole, skin and all. Mom timed it so they’d be warm but not too hot to handle. It made for sticky hands but that’s part of the fun. Later we’d eat them at room temperature if there were any leftovers.

  10. Jolene
    October 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm | | Reply
  11. Marie
    November 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm | | Reply

    thats exactly what i was looking for . You call it a “unrecipe”!

    Well, what ever you call it. I remember my mother used to put them straigth in the oven(after cleaning them a bit) .They came out exactly like that in your picture. black roasted and easy to pull out the dry skin to reveal the soft orangey flesh in the old days we had a aga . and used to put chestnuts as well – not at the same time of course.

    It appeared so simple, easy and natural like, down to earth. Yet, somthing as simple as this i still seem to have the need to look it up.The recipe and times the oven temp. of the cooking. This is the “un”recipe i was looking for and i found it. Thanks very.

  12. Mack's mum
    Mack's mum
    June 4, 2013 at 3:06 am | | Reply

    My grand mother used t make it a lot when I was little. The fragrance of backed whole sweet potato brings me back to my childhood every time.
    Such a comforting nutritious and most of all yummm food to eat in winter!
    Mine are in the oven right now! can’t wait!

  13. F
    July 5, 2013 at 9:16 am | | Reply

    I love to eat roasted sweet potato. But recently those I baked turns out to be very dry and crackly. Not moist and soft.

    I usually bake them at 200 degrees for 40 minutes for one (a bit thinner than those you showed in your pic). I take them out once I am able to inset a toothpick in them. They would feel soft. But after cooling, I peel open and the flesh is dry and crackly type. Is it something wrong with this batch of sweet potatoes or my method of cooking? Please advise cos I really love them and these past few weeks all I could taste were horrible ones… I have them everyday.

  14. gloria
    March 13, 2015 at 11:02 pm | | Reply

    Hey all!

    Actually I could only ever eat them as a dessert, even as a child. I never ever wanted sweet things when I was hungry. I could never add sweet sauces and the like to my savoury meals, either.

    I do love sweet potato, though and will often make them into a pie, but when I do an un-recipe like this, I always mash her into a bowl with coconut milk and cinnamon (hot), or ice cream and choc sauce with crushed nuts (cold) – skins and all.

    Gotta love the power of the unrecipe!

  15. diane
    March 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm | | Reply

    have read all with great interest & going to try these roasted sweet potatos tonight, only 1 question, can you eat the skins when roasted as we usually do when roasting jacket potatos. Many Thanks

    1. E
      May 5, 2015 at 1:18 am | | Reply

      Yes! We scrub them with a vegetable brush and eat the skin as well. It has the most nutrients and it’s yummy when it has caramelized bits of the sweet juice on it. Heavenly. Try it with sour cream. Just use the sour cream like a dipping sauce. SO good.

  16. E
    April 20, 2015 at 10:59 pm | | Reply

    My mom roasted them whole for us this way growing up. She would serve them with sour cream. So delicious and fantastic for low carb diets. Thanks for sharing this yummy un-recipe.

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