Perfectly cooked sweet potatoes are a real delight and can be used in so many ways or enjoyed freshly cooked with a simple topping of butter. They are also a must for this time of year. Baking them perfectly can be hit or miss – but not if you use one of these three methods. No matter which method you chose they turn out creamy with a delicious caramelized molasses flavor.
All three methods begin by scrubbing the potatoes well – a gritty potato will ruin even the most perfect cooking method. You then want to pierce the potato over its entire surface. Once you have done both you can move on to one of the three following cooking methods.
Method 1: Microwave/Oven Method:
The trick to a creamy texture and super-sweet molasses-like flavor is the amount of time the baking sweet potatoes spend at a temperature of between 200 to 212 degrees. This is the temperature where the pectin and starches break down and “caramelize.” You want to hold the sweet potatoes at this temperature for around one hour to get the maximum amount of flavor and creaminess. This can happen with long, low baking times or, to speed the process up a bit, you can use this method.
3) Microwave for 6 to 9 minutes (depending upon the size of the potato) flip the potato over every 3 minutes during cooking.
4) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (to catch any sticky drippings) and place a rack in the pan. Place the potatoes on the rack.
Method 2: Instapot Method:
The Instapot is a wonder for cooking foods, like sweet potatoes, quickly and well due to the high-pressure method. All potatoes are not the same though, so the one size fits all rule does not apply. The rule for sweet potatoes in the Instapot is as follows – For each 1-inch width of potato cook for 15 minutes plus 10 minutes NPR (Natural Pressure Release) for each addition inch – cook 15 minutes more (Ie: 2 inches 30 minutes cook time, 3 inches 45 minutes cook time, etc.)
1) Place one cup of water in the bottom of the Instapot insert and insert trivet.
2) Place sweet potatoes on top of the trivet.
3) Set Instapot to seal, set cook time and allow to cook. Once cook time ends allow Instapot to NPR for 10 minutes. Release pressure and, once the float valve drops, open the pot and check potatoes. Knife should easily pierce potato with no resistance.
Method 3: Crockpot Method:
The crockpot is a great option if you have a long time to prepare and if you want to be able to cook the potatoes with little oversight or while you are busy with other things. The crockpot method gives a long slow cook time that creates nice creaminess and sweetness due to prolonged exposure to low heat.
1) Place potatoes in the crockpot. Cover with lid.
2) Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 5 hours.
No matter which method you choose, the sweet potatoes are ready to use in a multitude of ways. They are perfect in your favorite holiday recipes. Just cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh and use in pies, casseroles, soups, muffins, or quick bread. Or simply serve them straight out of the pot, split with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, topped with chili, with maple syrup, pecans, and butter or with ham, pineapple, and brown sugar.