This post was updated (improved!) July 6, 2014.
Sweet potato fries, when done right, are INCREDIBLE. Two favorites that come to mind are the ones at Veggie Grill and Native Foods. When done right, these fries are well-seasoned with a light and crisp outer layer, with a fluffy and almost creamy center.
I’m so excited (after failing so many times) to have a method that results in delicious homemade sweet potato fries. At first, I wanted to try the healthy way and bake them, but couldn’t get them right for the life of me–they just end up burning and getting leathery before ever crisping. Frying is the only way I’ve gotten it to work, and the results are excellent!
Let’s get started on excellent sweet potato fry-dom:
1. Clean & cut into matchsticks
You can peel the skins if you want, but it won’t affect the crispness in this recipe. I like to leave them on since they’re healthy for you!
If you want sweet potato fries with more ‘creamy’ center, go for 1/2″ fries. If you want more fried-to-potato ratio, then go with 1/4″ fries.
Keep the cut as uniform as you can so each piece finishes cooking at the same time. Using a mandolin for this is near impossible unless you’re the Hulk. I just used a regular chef’s knife and went at it by hand.
3. Rinse to remove excess starch
You do not need to soak them.
Run them under water and swish it around. Dump the water, and repeat one more time. Soaking even for an hour after the 2nd rinse does not release any extra starch.
4. Boil to Par-cook
I do this for 1/2″ fries only. 1/4″ fries don’t need par-cooking. Without par-cooking, the outside of the fry burns before the center is fully cooked. I like to boil them because it’s faster than baking, and more importantly, the sweet potatoes retain their rich color.
5. Batter & Fry
For a small-medium sweet potato, use a light cornstarch batter of 1 tbsp starch to 1 tbsp water and increase in even amounts as needed. This sludges up quickly between dipping, so mix it up each time before dipping. Do this in small handfuls at a time and drop them right into the fryer.
Managing oil temperature
Fry at 325°F-350°F or on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until crisp. A deep fry thermometer would be perfect for this if you have one. I use a more versatile probe thermometer, which is one of my favorite kitchen tools.
Season with salt while it’s hot, then serve with some chipotle or garlic aioli!
- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
- cornstarch for batter
- oil for frying (peanut, vegetable, or canola)
- seasonings (paprika, pepper, salt)
- Wash, peel (optional), and cut into ½" or ¼" matchstick shape fries. ½" (preferred) will require par-cooking.
- Rinse under running water, drain and repeat once more. Dry in salad spinner or with towels.
- To par-cook: boil in water until tender, and just cooked all the way through, not mushy and breaking in our hands. About 8-15 minutes.
- Make some batter. About 4 parts cornstarch to 3 or 4 parts water until milky, but not too watery.
- Dip fries (I do about 5 so they don't sit there as the cornstarch gunks up). Shake off excess.
- Quickly drop into the fryer 1 at a time so they don't stick. About 1-2 minutes at 325°F-350°F. We don't want it to brown too much yet.
- Remove from oil, rest on paper towels to remove oil and cool off.
- Repeat to finish all the fries, making sure you mix up the batter before each small batch (For me, each set of 5 fries). You might have to add some water if the batter is sludgy.
- So after the first batch, they're pretty good now, but you have to eat them quickly or they lose the crunch. I have discovered that a 2nd dip & fry makes the crunch better and last much longer.
- Dip + fry a 2nd time, following the same steps. Except this time you can leave them in the oil until the fries brown enough to your liking. It still should be around 1-2 minutes. Season each batch while hot. I like salt, paprika, and finely (freshly) ground pepper.