Basic Baked Sweet Potatoes

Poke, bake, mash, eat. This recipe really couldn’t be easier!

What makes sweet potatoes so super? They’re delicious and versatile, for one thing: you can roast them, steam them, mash them, or cut them up into soups or stews, where they turn creamy and luscious. But also: a single sweet potato gives you 26% of your daily fiber, 65% of your daily vitamin C, and 100% of your vitamin A! And that’s pretty sweet. 

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Hands-on time: 10   |    Total time: 70   |    Makes: 4 Servings


Baking pan
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Measuring spoons


4 unit sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
4 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Turn the oven on to bake and set the heat to 425 degrees.
  2. Put the sweet potatoes in the baking pan and, using the tip of the knife, poke them in a few places to make teeny holes (so the steam can escape while they’re baking). Once the oven temperature has reached 425 degrees, carefully put the baking pan in the oven and bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Slice each potato open very carefully (remember, it’s a hot potato and lots of steam will escape). Divide the butter and salt among the sweet potatoes and mash the seasoning in a bit with a fork. 


In the U.S., we use “sweet potato” and “yam” to mean the same thing — but true yams are a completely different species, native to Africa and Asia.