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How to bake a sweet potato 3 ways - and the tools you need to do it

How to bake a sweet potato in the oven

How to bake a sweet potato in the oven

You can eat an oven-baked sweet potato just like a regular baked potato, leaving the skin on while cooking it, then slicing it open and eating the flesh once it's cooked, ideally with all sorts of awesome toppings. It'll be perfect with just butter, salt, and pepper, really.

All you need is a baking sheet, a fork, and a conventional oven.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse and scrub the exterior of the sweet potato, coat lightly with olive oil (or a vegetable oil), and then pierce the skin in four or five places with the tines of a fork or in eight or nine places with the tip of a knife.
  3. Bake on a metal baking sheet for 45 minutes (40 for smaller sweet potatoes, 50 for larger).
  4. Remove, carefully slice open, and serve.

Pretty easy, right? But not too efficient, time wise. So let's try it another way.

Buy a Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Baker's Sheet on Amazon for $17.99 (originally $20.40) Read our full guide to the best baking sheets you can buy
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How to bake a sweet potato in an air fryer

How to bake a sweet potato in an air fryer

For this preparation, you will, of course, need an air fryer. I use (and love) the Bella 2.6 Quart Air Convection Fryer, which, like all air fryers, is actually a compact, powerful convection oven — there's no actual frying involved.

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 395º to 400º Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and scrub the sweet potato, coat with olive oil, then pierce the skin in several places with the tines of a fork or with a sharp knife.
  3. Place in the air fryer basket and cook for 35 minutes.
  4. Remove from fryer, slice, and enjoy.

So that shaved off a solid ten minutes. Not bad, but we can do better.

Buy a Bella 2.6 Quart Air Convection Fryer on Amazon for $49.99 to $68.99 (originally $79.99) Read our full guide to the best air fryers you can buy
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How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave

How to cook a sweet potato in the microwave

When you type the word "microwave" into Google's search bar, "sweet potato" comes up in the top five hits. Which should be a good indication that yes, you can absolutely cook a sweet potato in a microwave.

While it won't have quite the same consistency as a baked sweet potato, softening a bit around the outside and with the skin slightly damp, the finished foodstuff is still quite good and ready oh so fast.

  1. Rinse and scrub the sweet potato, coat it with oil, and pierce the skin in several places with a fork or a sharp knife.
  2. Cook the sweet potato on high for three minutes, then rotate and turn it, and cook for three more minutes.
  3. Remove and slice open. If not fully cooked, keep at it in half-minute increments. But chances are, it's ready to be enjoyed.

Just be careful with all three cooking methods, as these tubers come out of the oven, air fryer, or microwave super hot.

Buy an AmazonBasics 0.7 Cubic Foot Alexa Enabled Microwave on Amazon for $59.99 Read our full guide to the best microwaves you can buy
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