I have this friend who eats a sweet potato for lunch every day. She pokes holes in it, wraps it in a damp paper towel, microwaves it for 8 minutes, and then holds it like a hoagie and devours it. I mean, I love the simple satisfaction sweet potatoes have to offer as much as the next person but accepting that as your daily lunchtime routine seems a bit limiting. Especially when there’s about a million ways to enjoy sweet potatoes.
Given their insane versatility, you should never, ever find yourself stuck in a handheld, spud-munching rut (sorry, Amy). In fact, sweet potatoes are king when it comes to versatility–which means you can eat them savory or sweet, baked or boiled, steamed or fried, and for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and more.
BONUS: Sweet potatoes are not only super flexible in terms of how you can prepare them, but they are one superb superfood. They’re high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and are known to help regulate blood sugar, offer anti-inflammatory properties, and more.
Though sweet potatoes are not technically “potatoes” in the starchy white tuber sense, you can substitute them in virtually any preparation of white potatoes for an extra boost of vitamins and fiber (or just to switch up taste). Plus, their rich orange color, sweet taste, and creamy texture make them feel like a real treat–especially during the holiday season. In the right conditions (a cool, dry, dark place, but NOT the refrigerator), you can store sweet potatoes for about 3 to 4 weeks. Here are 24 reasons why our staff loves sweet potatoes so dagum much.
Why we love them for breakfast:
Family and friends won’t be able to stop at just one of these fluffy and lightly sweet biscuits. If you happen to have leftovers (unlikely, but…) cube them, lightly toast them, and toss them into a breakfast scramble the next morning. P.S. these are especially good for sandwiching baked ham, so if you’re into breakfast sandwiches, here’s a good way to give them tome autumnal flair.
Italian bread, sweet potato, and chicken sausage make this hearty and comforting breakfast casserole a favorite during the cooler months. If you make this dish ahead, bring it to room temperature before baking so it will reheat evenly.
Baking these doughnuts and tossing them with a little butter, cinnamon, and sugar makes them a lighter option in terms of fat (compared to fried doughnuts), but certainly not flavor. Sweet potato in the dough contributes a lovely, earthy-sweet flavor that you’ll crave again and again. To cut some time off of this recipe just microwave your sweet potato for 10 minutes, instead of slowly baking it in the oven.
Most breakfast proteins—ham, sausage, bacon—are loaded with satisfying deliciousness, but it comes at a sodium- and saturated fat-filled cost. Have your bacon (and eat it, too) by using a just enough to flavor boost an entire pan of nutrient-dense veggies.
Cornmeal adds crunch while mashed sweet potatoes lend a creamy richness to this weekend favorite. Yellow- or white-fleshed sweet potatoes have a dry and crumbly texture when baked and are not moist enough to make tender pancakes, so always go for the orange variety for this recipe. For convenience, you can always roast a sweet potato the night before you plan to make these pancakes. Serve with maple syrup, butter, and fresh fruit for a simple, yet special, brunch at home.
Why we love them for sides and snacks:
When the chip craving strikes, look no further than these healthy, salty-sweet, homemade chips. Pro tip: You’ll want a mandolin slicer to cut the potato evenly and thin enough to crisp.
These delicious sweet potato stackers make for a gorgeous presentation and a seriously delicious side dish. They bake in muffin tins, so they’re actually pretty easy to make, too. When assembling, stack smaller slices from ends of potatoes in the bottom and use wider slices from the middle of the sweet potato at the top.
This creamy low-fat soup gets its velvety texture from pureed sweet potatoes and is perfectly paired with a light sandwich or salad. And since this Creamy Sweet Potato Soup can be prepared quickly (i.e. in just under 15 minutes) it’s perfect to whip up in the morning to take to work for a so not sad desk lunch.
A sprinkle of Parmesan and fresh thyme adds a super savory twist to this take on a sweet potato casserole.
This recipe for tasty sliders features sweet potato waffle fries instead of buns, pulled BBQ pork, and prepared coleslaw. They’re a low-effort, yet awesome, bite for your next tailgating spread.
Sweet potatoes are just about the perfect food in terms of being delicious without much of a fuss, and this recipe reinforces that 100%. Throw them on the grill to bring out their natural sweetness with a little added smokiness, then balance it with a touch of spice.
Sweet potatoes and black beans get a smoky, spicy kick from cumin and chiles in these tasty and nutrient-dense hand pies. They’re are great served hot at a party, but rest assured–the leftovers also make a tasty room-temperature (post-party) snack.
Why we love them for lunch or dinner:
This clever technique for transforming sweet potatoes into “fettuccine” was inspired by a prize-winning recipe from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.
This festive twist on traditional nachos features sweet potato tots instead of chips for a warm and cheesy comfort food dish that easily takes on the role of an out-of-this-world delicious party platter.
We swapped regular potatoes for sweet potatoes to bring extra vitamins to the dinner table for these Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Cheddar and Bacon.
Chicken and sweet potatoes are a dream team when it comes to preparing a balanced, whole savory-sweet dinner.
Earthy sweet potatoes add depth and character to this vibrant vegetarian chili. New Mexico chile powder is fruity and mild, so don’t be scared off by the generous amount called for here. Feel free to swap in any other kind of chile powder you have on hand–just use less of it.
Nuts add healthy fats and satiating protein to this tasty vegetarian patty.
Clearly, the heartiness of sweet potatoes makes them perfect for veggie-based sandwiches. Salty feta and bright salsa verde are the perfect finishing touches to compliment their sweetness on this one.
Why we love them for dessert:
This flan—Spanish baked custard—is best when made with leftover sweet potatoes that have been simply prepared and minimally seasoned. Use ground nutmeg in place of grated whole nutmeg, if that’s what you have on hand.
Sweet potatoes add a stunning orange hue and seasonal touch that makes this pound cake a perfect pick for all casual fall gatherings.
Swing by the freezer section for one of our favorite convenience items—frozen sweet potatoes. If you want to skip the meringue in Step 2, top with miniature marshmallows instead.
You may have guessed it by now, but sweet potato and fluffy marshmallowy meringue are really, really excellent together.
The two main ingredients in this dessert–purchased angel food cake and canned sweet potatoes–mean there’s no baking (and honestly, next to no effort) required for this show-stopping sweet. Best part is, you can prep it up to a day in advance.