Crispy baked sweet potato fries with a perfectly smoky flavor will be a new favorite side dish to serve up with dinner. A simple recipe with smoked paprika to add some flavor and variety to your favorite fries!
Summer grilling season is here and that means one thing for our family this year: adding VARIETY to our sides. Oh my word, we get into some major ruts with side dishes when we grill out. We do a lot of corn on the cob, grilled asparagus, salad and tater tots.
After a while it gets boooorrrring, but we just sit there and twiddle our thumbs trying to figure out what else to make. And by what else, I mean, what else that takes minimal time and effort.
So this summer, I am challenging myself to bring more summer sides to the blog. And that will automatically force me to shake up the variety on our dinner table.
In fact, I have already brought two of these sides to you recently. If you missed them, they are:
These Smoky and Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries have me worried though. I am afraid that these are just going to become our next summer side rut. I have made them two times in the last 3 days. If these fries are the next recipe rut we fall into, I guess I won’t be complaining, but seriously, I have gotta add at least a touch of variety, right?!
So what makes these crispy baked sweet potato fries, “smoky”?
Two words: Smoked Paprika. It has recently become one of my favorite spices. It’s subtle smoky flavor is actually quite powerful. In fact, smoked paprika is the reason I love these Sweet and Smoky Sheet Pan Fajitas so much. It’s great in chilis, soups, macaroni and cheese and sooo much more.
Adding a bit of smoked paprika takes sweet potato fries to a new level my friends. You won’t want your fries without it form here on out if you are like me!
How do you make baked sweet potato fries extra crispy?
A few things account for these being nice and crispy. The first is the use of corn starch. When I was doing my own research on how to make crispy baked fries, corn starch kept coming up. Tried it for these and loved the result.
The second thing that adds to the crispiness is cutting the fries nice and thin. Cutting the fries thin–under 1/2 inch wide and under 1/2 inch thick allows these to bake up super crispy. The times I have made these 1/2 inch or larger they just don’t come out quite as crispy. I mean, they still taste delicious, but they are much softer.
The other thing that helps is soaking the sweet potatoes in cold water before cooking. I have seen this as a big contributing factor as well in relation to baked fry crispiness.
Time my not be on your side though, I understand. If you are short on time, you can skip this step. I have made these without soaking in cold water and still found them to be nice and crispy.
Skin on or off for these crispy baked sweet potato fries?
I love skin on, but if it’s not your thing, remove the skin before cutting into fries. I always feel like that just adds another step, and plus I like the skin. But if you don’t enjoy it, you will be just fine without the skin!
What to serve with these Smoky Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fires:
- First and foremost, your favorite dipping sauce–whatever that may be! For these, I usually serve them with classic ketchup but sometimes a mixture of ketchup and mayo is amazing. Not everyone is a fan of that, I know.
- Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger is perfect to serve up with these!
- Meat not your thing but still want a burger? Try these Cilantro Lime Black Bean Burgers!
- Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Fingers for a fun chicken tender and fries combo
- Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Simple Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken
Pro-Tips for making these smoky crispy baked sweet potato fries:
- There is a big difference in the flavor of paprika and smoked paprika. They are not the same by any means. Make sure if you are going for the smoky flavor that your paprika says “smoked.” Sounds obvious, but if you aren’t paying attention, that first bite may be disappointing.
- Make sure to really toss these and get everything coated nicely with both the corn starch and the olive oil. If you use too much corn starch or if it clumps in certain areas, the crispiness can be affected and we do not want that!
- Add in a teaspoon of sugar to make a sweet and smoky combination which is another way to level up on these sweet potato fries.
- In order to get the most crispiness, make sure none of the fries are touching each other on the pan. This may require you to use two pans, which is fine. If they touch each other, they can get somewhat mushy.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Rinse and dry sweet potatoes (remove skin if desired). Cut into thin fry like pieces (approximately 1/4 in. thick--make sure less than 1/2 inch). Soak in a bowl of cold water for approximately 20-30 minutes. Drain and pat the sweet potatoes dry.
In a medium bowl, or on a parchment lined baking sheet, toss with corn starch to evenly coat. Add in olive oil, smoked paprika, and garlic and toss once again to coat evenly. I always start with one tablespoon and if it seems that they aren't evenly coated, I add another.
Line fries on a parchment lined baking sheet evenly and without touching each other. You may need to use two baking sheets.
Bake for 15 minutes and then flip over the fries and rearrange so they are not touching once again. Return to oven and bake another 10-15 minutes or until desired crispiness.
Remove from oven and add salt to taste. Enjoy!