Salt Baked Sweet Potato
Oct 12, 2023, Updated Oct 25, 2023
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Crispy crunchy outside with a light and fluffy moist inside – salt-encrusted baked sweet potatoes are easy to make, simple to prepare, and loaded with flavor!
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Sweet Potato Encrusted in Sea Salt
Salt-encrusted sweet potatoes are a culinary marvel that captivates the senses with their irresistible appeal. The secret to their deliciousness lies in the harmonious marriage of contrasting elements—sweetness and saltiness, tender flesh and crispy crust. Let’s explore why these salt-baked sweet potatoes are so exceptionally delectable.
At the core of their allure is the humble sweet potato itself. These vibrant root vegetables are naturally sweet, their flavor deepening as they bake. The salt crust plays a pivotal role in enhancing and elevating this innate sweetness. It acts as a protective cocoon, sealing in moisture and intensifying the flavors as the sweet potatoes cook. This process creates a remarkable contrast—a subtly salty exterior that beautifully complements the caramelized, creamy interior. The result is a sweet potato that is more than just sweet; it’s a symphony of flavors, striking a perfect balance.
The magic doesn’t stop at taste alone. The salt crust also contributes to the unique texture that makes salt-baked sweet potatoes a sensation. As the salt draws moisture away from the potatoes during baking, it leaves behind a tender, melt-in-your-mouth flesh that’s nothing short of luxurious. Simultaneously, it forms a thin, crisp crust on the outside, creating a delightful juxtaposition of textures. Each bite unfolds in layers of crispy, salty goodness giving way to the soft, sweet core—a textural experience that adds to the overall delight.
Furthermore, the salt crust imparts a subtle saltiness that serves as a palate-awakening introduction to the sweet potato’s natural sweetness. This contrast of flavors stimulates the taste buds, making every bite an exquisite journey. It’s a harmonious duet of salt and sugar, a symphony of savory and sweet that showcases the versatility and complexity of a seemingly humble root vegetable.
How to Make Salt Baked Sweet Potatoes
To make these salt baked sweet potatoes, you will need the following ingredients:
- Sweet Potatoes (4 medium-sized): The star of this dish, sweet potatoes are rich in natural sugars that caramelize as they cook. They provide a creamy, sweet interior with a slightly nutty flavor. Sweet potatoes are the core ingredient and the reason for making this dish.
- Kosher Salt (or Coarse Sea Salt, 4 cups): The salt is used to create a salt crust around the sweet potatoes. It serves several purposes:
- Even Cooking: The salt crust helps distribute heat evenly around the sweet potatoes, ensuring they cook uniformly.
- Flavor: The salt crust imparts a subtle salty flavor to the sweet potatoes, enhancing their natural sweetness.
- Moisture Control: The salt absorbs moisture from the potatoes, helping to concentrate their flavor and create a tender interior.
- Olive Oil (2-3 tablespoons): Olive oil is drizzled over the baked sweet potatoes after they are removed from the salt crust. Its role includes:
- Flavor Enhancement: Olive oil adds richness and a hint of fruity flavor to the sweet potatoes, complementing their natural sweetness.
- Moisture: The oil adds a touch of moisture to the dish, balancing the dryness that can come from the salt crust.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste): Freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle hint of spiciness and warmth to the sweet potatoes. It complements the sweetness of the potatoes and adds depth to the flavor profile.
Use this Method
- Preheat Your Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Prepare the Sweet Potatoes: Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Create a Salt Bed: In a large mixing bowl, combine the kosher salt (or coarse sea salt) with a few tablespoons of water. Mix until the salt has a consistency similar to wet sand.
- Salt-Bake the Sweet Potatoes: Spread a thin layer of the salt mixture in the bottom of a baking dish or on a baking sheet to create a bed for the sweet potatoes. Place the sweet potatoes on top of the salt bed. The salt will help evenly cook the potatoes and draw out moisture while infusing them with a subtle salty flavor.
- Bake the Sweet Potatoes: Place the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. You’ll know they’re done when you can easily insert a fork into the center, and they feel tender.
- Remove from Oven: Carefully remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. The salt crust should be firm and dry.
- Crack Open the Crust: Using a knife or the back of a spoon, gently crack open the salt crust on each sweet potato. Be cautious, as there may be hot steam released. Brush off any excess salt from the potatoes.
- Season and Serve: Drizzle each sweet potato with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. You can also add your favorite toppings like sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, or grated cheese.
- Enjoy: Serve the salt-baked sweet potatoes immediately while they’re hot. The insides will be wonderfully soft and sweet, with a hint of saltiness from the crust.
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Salt Baked Sweet Potatoes
Select Uniformly Sized Sweet Potatoes: Choose sweet potatoes that are similar in size to ensure even cooking. This way, they will all be done at the same time.
Scrub Thoroughly: Be sure to wash and scrub the sweet potatoes well to remove any dirt or debris. This step is essential because you’ll be cooking them with the skin on.
Use Coarse Salt: Opt for kosher salt or coarse sea salt for the crust. These types of salt create a better barrier and help evenly distribute heat around the sweet potatoes.
Adjust Salt Quantity: While the recipe calls for 4 cups of salt, you don’t need to discard it after baking. Let it cool, and you can reuse it for future salt-baked dishes. Just store it in an airtight container.
Preheat the Oven: Ensure your oven is fully preheated before placing the sweet potatoes inside. Consistent heat is essential for even cooking.
Monitor Cooking Time: Keep a close eye on the sweet potatoes’ cooking time, especially towards the end. Cooking times can vary depending on the size and thickness of the sweet potatoes. They are done when a fork easily pierces the flesh.
Avoid Puncturing the Potatoes: Try not to puncture the sweet potatoes when cracking open the salt crust. This can release steam and moisture, potentially drying out the potatoes.
Use High-Quality Olive Oil: After removing the sweet potatoes from the salt crust, drizzle them with good-quality olive oil for the best flavor.
Season to Taste: Don’t forget to season with freshly ground black pepper to enhance the sweet and savory flavors.
Customize Toppings: While the sweet potatoes are delicious on their own, consider customizing them with your favorite toppings. Classic options include sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, or grated cheese.
Serve Immediately: Salt-baked sweet potatoes are best enjoyed right out of the oven when they are hot and the interior is tender.
Experiment: Feel free to experiment with different varieties of sweet potatoes, such as orange, purple, or white-fleshed ones, to explore various flavor profiles.
The salt crust is not meant to be eaten; its primary purpose is to help evenly cook and season the sweet potatoes. After baking, crack the crust open and remove it before serving the sweet potatoes.
Yes, you can reuse the salt after baking. Let it cool, then store it in an airtight container for future salt-baked dishes. The salt may take on a slight sweet potato flavor but can still be used effectively for the crust.
It’s best to use kosher or coarse sea salt for the salt crust because of its larger grains and better heat distribution. Table salt is finer and may not provide the same insulation and flavor infusion as coarser salts.
The sweet potatoes are done when a fork or knife easily pierces the flesh. This usually takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size and your oven’s temperature accuracy.
You can experiment with adding herbs or spices to the salt crust to infuse different flavors into the sweet potatoes. For example, you might try adding rosemary, thyme, or smoked paprika to the salt.
While it’s best to enjoy salt-baked sweet potatoes right after baking for the freshest flavor and texture, you can reheat them in a 350°F (175°C) oven for about 15-20 minutes if needed.
Yes, you can use this salt-baking method for regular potatoes, like Russet or Yukon Gold. They will have a slightly different flavor profile but can be equally delicious. Find our salt-baked potato recipe here.
Salt-baked sweet potatoes are a healthier alternative to deep frying or adding excessive fats because they use less oil. They also retain more of their natural flavor and nutrients due to minimal exposure to water.
Popular toppings include sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, grated cheese, and freshly ground black pepper. However, feel free to get creative and customize them to your liking.
What to Serve With Salt Baked Sweet Potatoes
Grilled Chicken: Marinated and grilled chicken breasts or thighs are a great choice. The sweet and savory flavors complement each other beautifully.
Roast Turkey: Baked sweet potatoes are a classic side dish for Thanksgiving turkey or other holiday meals. They enhance the sweetness of roast turkey and gravy.
Salmon: A flavorful piece of baked or grilled salmon pairs nicely with the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes. Consider adding a lemon herb sauce for extra zest.
Beef Stew: If you prefer a heartier dish, consider serving baked sweet potatoes with a rich beef stew. The contrast of flavors and textures is delightful.
Black Beans and Rice: Create a vegetarian meal by serving baked sweet potatoes with black beans and rice. Top them with salsa, avocado, and a sprinkle of cheese for a satisfying dish.
Grilled Shrimp: Sweet and smoky grilled shrimp go wonderfully with the creamy texture of baked sweet potatoes. Add a squeeze of lime for a zesty kick.
Quinoa Salad: For a lighter option, pair sweet potatoes with a quinoa salad. Include ingredients like spinach, cranberries, and feta cheese for a balanced meal.
Burgers: Whether you’re serving beef, turkey, or vegetarian burgers, baked sweet potato fries or wedges make an excellent side. They add a touch of sweetness to the meal.
Chili: Baked sweet potatoes are a fantastic accompaniment to a bowl of chili, whether it’s meat-based or vegetarian. The sweetness of the potatoes balances the heat of the chili.
Stir-Fry: Include baked sweet potatoes as a side to a vegetable or protein stir-fry. Their natural sweetness complements the savory stir-fry flavors.
Lamb Chops: The robust flavors of grilled or roasted lamb chops pair beautifully with the sweet and creamy texture of baked sweet potatoes.
Sausages: Baked sweet potatoes are a comforting side dish for sausages, whether you prefer them grilled, roasted, or simmered in a stew.
Sliced Avocado: For a lighter, vegetarian option, serve baked sweet potatoes with slices of ripe avocado and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime.
Savory Yogurt: Top baked sweet potatoes with Greek yogurt mixed with herbs and spices, such as chives, dill, and a dash of smoked paprika, for a creamy and flavorful side.
Salt Baked Sweet Potatoes Recipe
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- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups kosher salt (or coarse sea salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Start by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes thoroughly to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel, poke them all over with a fork then generously coat with olive oil and salt.
- Spread a thin layer of the salt in the bottom of a baking dish or on a baking sheet to create a bed for the sweet potatoes. Place the sweet potatoes on top of the salt bed. The salt will help evenly cook the potatoes and draw out moisture while infusing them with a subtle salty flavor.
- Place the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. You'll know they're done when you can easily insert a fork into the center, and they feel tender.
- Carefully remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. The salt crust should be firm and dry.
- Using a knife or the back of a spoon, gently crack open the salt crust on each sweet potato. Be cautious, as there may be hot steam released. Brush off any excess salt from the potatoes, it is not meant to be eaten.
- Drizzle each sweet potato with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. You can also add your favorite toppings like sour cream, chopped chives, crumbled bacon, or grated cheese.
- Serve the salt-baked sweet potatoes immediately while they're hot. The insides will be wonderfully soft and sweet, with a hint of saltiness from the crust.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 194Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 0mgSodium 41mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 2g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.