Quick easy and delicious -- what more could you want from sweet potato fries?!

Sweet potato fries have recently jumped onto the scene as an alternative to the diner classic. French fries, which vary from the super-thin shoestring variety to those found at fast food restaurants to giant steak fries, are delicious, but with sweet potatoes in your corner, you can upgrade your favorite side to new proportions.

Now, we could launch into a the whole yams vs. sweet potatoes debate and which one is better or healthier or if they’re actually the same thing. However, we don’t have the space for the debate and I am not a potato expert outside of knowing they taste good, so I’ll let Alton Brown tackle it. From what I can gather they used to be separate entities, but these days the terms are pretty interchangeable, except among experts.

Ultimately, you want to use the orange sweet potato (also called “Jewel” sweet potatoes) that we know from sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows served at Thanksgiving. I’ve tried the recipe with the white sweet potatoes (in the above video, these are referred to as “man yams”), but they ended up charred and aren’t as yummy as their orange cousins.

At the store, you’ll want to pick jewel sweet potatoes that are pretty round (as opposed to the longer, more gnarled ones). This is more for ease of cutting uniformly than anything. You’ll want two for this recipe.

Making the Cut

Before you start chopping, rinse, rub down, and use a vegetable peeler to get out all the weird knots, or peel completely if you don’t like the skin. To cut, slice in half lengthwise and then continue to cut lengthwise until you get the thickness you want — I usually go with about a half-inch thick.

Be very careful when cutting a sweet potato. They are very dense and are very hard to cut through. Make sure you are using a sharp and sturdy knife and a solid cutting board. Keep all hands out of the way and don’t try to force the cut if it’s not working.

Cut your slices to get the full fry shape you want and drop these into a bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water and let them sit while you combine all your seasonings.

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Seasonings Greetings

Grab a gallon-size Ziploc bag and combine the following:

  • 1 ½ tablespoon of corn flour/starch (powder, not liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

I like a smoky-peppery taste to my fries, so I tend to go heavy on the paprika, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. And garlic is always a good idea. Substitute in any seasonings you want for the flavor you’re looking for (lemon pepper, citrus, etc.).

Please note: don’t use salt or any seasoning mixtures with salt in them pre-cooking. This will keep them from crisping up oh-so-nicely. Salt your fries after they come out for optimum taste power.

Drain the water from your bowl of cut potatoes and pad the slices dry with a paper towel.

Drop all of these into the Ziploc, seal, and shake until everything is coated. I like the shake and bake method more than the hand mixing in a bowl method because it’s better for stress relief.

Get Baked

Set your oven to 435 degrees Fahrenheit. Dump or nicely place the now heavily-seasoned fries on a cookie sheet, making sure each one has some personal space around them so they crisp up and don’t get self-conscious.

Bake for 30 or so minutes, shifting them around halfway through so they cook evenly on all sides.

Serve with a side of tater tots, regular french fries, a burger, or anything your heart desires. I found they’re great dipped in ranch or BBQ sauce, but also good on their own.

I hope you enjoy your new skinny orange friends. They’re sweet and make you feel like you’re finally getting your life together because you chose to eat a superfood and everyone knows that means big things for your future.

Adapted in part from The Lazy Cat Kitchen.