Tossed in cinnamon and maple syrup, these roasted sweet potatoes perfectly caramelized exteriors give way to tender, creamy centers with each sweet bite, making them ready for any grain bowl, burrito, or salad that comes their way.
Over the years I’ve learned I’m best at meal prepping batches of ingredients rather than cooking an entire meal to eat through the week. I mean, I love eating leftovers of my mom’s spaghetti recipe or ladling up bowls of my grandma’s minestrone soup, but I’m just too fickle when it comes planning out my cravings. My best laid intentions end up going to waste—literally, food in the fridge going to waste—because when it comes time to eat I end up making something else I’m in the mood for more.
That’s why cooking up a batch of one, two, or three basic ingredients like baked chicken breasts, roasted cauliflower and a batch of beans or grains like forbidden rice or quinoa suits my cravings much more. This way, I can mix and match my basics to make grain bowls, wraps, soups, pastas and so much more.
These deliciously roasted sweet potatoes are a meal prep mainstay and cook in just 15 minutes. Their perfectly crisped exterior glazed with sweet maple and cinnamon contrasts perfectly with their tender centers. Even better, these roasted tubers get bonus points because there’s no need to peel them before slicing and putting in the oven.
Healthy Sweet Potatoes
Over the past 20 years, sweet potatoes have progressed from a stereotypical once-a-year Thanksgiving side dish to a staple ingredient in every day healthy cooking and eating. Often served as an option to white potatoes, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals (providing over 700% of the RDA of Vitamin A!) and supply a boost of beta carotene and Vitamin C to any diet.
A starchy root vegetable, sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, especially when roasted and their sugars caramelize, becoming more pronounced and delicious. Sweet potatoes are most often sold with orange or white flesh, but with the popularization of the Blue Zones and Mediterranean Diets, purple sweet potatoes are getting easier to find in neighborhood grocery stores.
So what’s the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Real yams have a rough, bark-like skin with a starchy flesh that lacks the sweet bites of sweet potatoes. Get a more thorough breakdown of the difference between yams and sweet potatoes here.
How to Make the Best Roasted Sweet Potatoes
The inside flesh of roasted sweet potatoes is naturally sweet, and one of their superfood merits. So, yes, you could slice your sweet potatoes into bite size pieces, drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper, pop in the oven, and call it good. But as usual, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.
Here’s what you’ll need for these roasted sweet potatoes:
- Any variety of sweet potatoes (orange, white, purple)
- Olive oil
- Maple syrup or other liquid sweetener of your choice
- Ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make Them Caramelized Sweet
These roasted babies get a coating of sweetness with a toss in maple syrup and ground cinnamon that caramelizes in the oven’s heat. The earthy taste of these flavors totally compliments the savory potato.
For faster clean up in other sheet pan recipes, I usually line my sheet pans with foil.
But not for these.
To get the best caramelization, place the potatoes directly on a sheet pan so the heat radiates up and crisps their bottoms and tops at the same time. If you’re up for it, you can flip them a little more than half way through their cooking time…or don’t. Take a look while cooking and then decide. The more you make them, the better you’ll find your rhythm and favorite way to roast them.
Quick Tips for Roasting Sweet Potatoes
Don’t peel the sweet potatoes. Just give them a good scrubbing and you’re good to go. Like my grandma said, eating the skin is healthy, adding more fiber and potassium.
Slice the potatoes into 1/4″ rings. If sliced thinner, you’ll lose their sweet fleshy centers as they bake and shrink.
Place the potatoes directly on the baking sheet. Direct contact with the pan turns out the best roasted skin. I use high sided baking sheets, most often this 9″ X 13″ quarter sheet size pan because it fits in both my toaster oven and wall oven.
Don’t over-bake. Roasting sweet potatoes for too long turns them into tough chunks of veggie jerky. But if you’re looking for a beefy alternative, maybe this is a good thing? Cut as coins, these sweet potatoes are baked at 425°F for about 15 minutes.
Switch Up Your Sweeteners
Maple syrup is only one suggestion to enhance your sweet potatoes, with loads of other ideas sitting in your pantry.
Try these liquid sweetener alternatives:
- brown rice syrup
If the mixture feels too thick, whisk in 1 teaspoon of hot water to make the glaze smoother if necessary.
More Meal Prep Basic Recipes
- How to Make Roasted Cauliflower
- The Best Baked Chicken Breasts
- Easy Lemon Rice
- How to Make Quick Pickled Onions
- Easy Quick Roasted Tomatoes
- How to Cook Instant Pot Chicken Breasts (from Fresh or Frozen)
- How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly Every Time
- Oven Roasted Asparagus
- The Best Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes
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Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sliced and slathered with olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon, these roasted sweet potato coins take only 15 minutes in a hot oven to become divinely caramelized on the outside and lushly tender in the center. Try them in salads, grain bowls, or in burritos and enchiladas, and more.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes , about 1 pound
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup , honey or agave syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven at 425°F￼. for 15 minutes
Scrub the sweet potatoes clean. There's no need to peel, but do so if you prefer. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise then slice into 1/4" coins. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. This step is easiest done with your hands.
Place the potatoes on a sheet pan in an even layer and roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly, lightly browned, and tender. Flip the potatoes 8-9 minutes into cooking if you'd like. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If you'd prefer, use other natural sweeteners like agave syrup, honey, or molasses instead of the maple syrup. Thin the sweetened mixture with 1 teaspoon of hot water to make smooth glaze if necessary.
More Sweet Potato Recipes to Try
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Maple Buttered Sweet Potato Wedges
- Slow Cooker Healthy Turkey And Sweet Potato Chili With Quinoa
- Maple And Brown Sugar Oatmeal With Sweet Potato
- Sweet Potato And Black Bean Burritos
- Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
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