How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

5 from 56 votes

Learn how to boil sweet potatoes, whole or cubed, to bring out their natural sweetness. Serve as a side dish or use in other recipes.

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Learn how to boil sweet potatoes whole, cubed, and with or without the skin. Boiled sweet potatoes are great as a standalone side dish or can be added to recipes like sweet potato chili, breakfast bowl, and, of course, a good old sweet potato mash!

Two different boiled sweet potatoes on a cutting board: whole with the skin slightly pulled off and cubed.
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When cooked right, boiled sweet potatoes are smooth, creamy, and so incredibly delicious. Best of all, this humble vegetable isn’t just reserved for a baby’s first food. There are myriad of ways to let sweet potatoes take center stage. But first, you have to know how to boil sweet potatoes without overcooking them. The good news is this quick guide has it all. Learn how to boil sweet potato cubes and the best way to get perfectly tender sweet potatoes without the mushiness. I’ll also show you that boiling sweet potatoes whole with skin is possible. Get ready to let your sweet potatoes shine with this tutorial on how to cook sweet potatoes on the stovetop.

Why Learn How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

  • Versatile uses. Sweet potatoes are a hearty root vegetable that can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. It’s incredibly delicious, cubed on salads, and equally tasty when mashed and added to pancakes and baked goods. Learning how to boil sweet potato cubes and whole spuds allows you to explore flavorful possibilities.
  • Budget-friendly. Sweet potatoes are often affordable and widely available in grocery stores everywhere. Knowing how to boil sweet potatoes whole allows you to create wholesome and budget-friendly meals at home.
  • Cooking basics. Learning how to cook sweet potatoes on the stovetop is a basic cooking skill that serves as a building block for more complex cooking techniques. It equips you with the ability to prepare a delicious staple that can be enjoyed in various dishes.

Ingredients to Boil Sweet Potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes: There are many different types of sweet potatoes on the market. Feel free to use your favorite, as this easy tutorial will work for most sweet potato varieties. For details on different types of sweet potatoes and which ones work best for which recipe, be sure to check out this informative guide on sweet potatoes versus yams.
2 sweet potatoes on surface.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes on the Stove Top

Whether you’re boiling sweet potatoes whole or cubed, it’s important that you start with scrubbing and washing the sweet potatoes first. If you’re short on time, I recommend cooking them whole. Plus, boiling sweet potatoes whole with skin is the best way to get perfect texture without overcooking them. But if you want to learn how to boil sweet potato cubes, I got you covered too!

How to Boil Whole Sweet Potatoes

  1. Leave the sweet potato whole or trim the root ends. Place the potatoes in a large pot of water.
  2. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking the sweet potatoes until fork tender.
  3. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
  4. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off and discard.
4 image collaging on how to making recipe: 1: adding a sweet potato to a pot of water, 2- after boiling and removing from water, 3- piercing with a fork to show doneness, 4- with skin removed.

How to Boil Sweet Potatoes Cubes

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 2-inch cubes or 1-inch cubes. Add the cubed potatoes to a large pot of water. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking the sweet potatoes until fork tender.
  2. Drain carefully in a colander.
2 image collage on how to make recipe: 1- cubed sweet potatoes in a pot of water, 2- after cooking and draining in a colander.

Tips for making the best Boiled Sweet Potatoes

  1. Consistent size. If boiling sweet potatoes whole, try to find potatoes that are all similar in size. And if you’re cutting sweet potatoes in cubes for faster cooking, keep them as uniform as possible to ensure even cooking. Check out this quick guide for tips and tricks on how to cut sweet potatoes.
  2. Cold water start. Always start with cold water. This helps the sweet potatoes cook from the inside out without overcooking the outer layers.
  3. Simmer, not boil. After bringing the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Boiling too vigorously can cause the sweet potatoes to break apart or cook unevenly.
  4. Don’t overcrowd. If you need to boil a lot of sweet potatoes, consider cooking them in batches, so they have enough space in the pot with water to cook evenly.

Recipes to Use Boiled Sweet Potatoes

How to store & reheat Boiled Sweet Potatoes

Allow the sweet potatoes to cool completely. Then, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. For cubed sweet potatoes, consider lining the bottom of your container with a paper towel to absorb any moisture.

To reheat sweet potatoes, gently warm them in the oven for 10-15 minutes or microwave in short intervals. You can also brown them in a skillet over medium-high heat.

How long will Boiled Sweet Potatoes last in the fridge?

Boiled sweet potatoes will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze Boiled Sweet Potatoes?

Yes, you can freeze boiled sweet potatoes for up to 3 months. To freeze cubed potatoes, flash freeze them first in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer-safe zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. You can peel whole potatoes and add them directly to a freezer-safe container or bag, seal, and freeze.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if my sweet potatoes are done boiling?

The best way to check for doneness is to insert a fork or knife into the sweet potatoes. They should offer little resistance and slide in easily when fully cooked. As a basic guideline, you want to cook whole sweet potatoes for about 40 minutes, 2-inch cubed sweet potatoes for about 25 minutes, and 1-inch cubed sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes. But I always recommend using the fork-tender test instead of strict timeframes.

Should you peel sweet potatoes before boiling?

That is a matter of preference. Peeled sweet potatoes tend to have a smoother texture that is ideal for mashed sweet potatoes. On the other hand, boiling sweet potatoes whole with skin yields a firmer flesh that is great for browning the potatoes. Cooking sweet potatoes with skin can also be more time-efficient, as the skin is easier to peel after boiling.

What do I do with the boiling water?

You can discard the water used to boil sweet potatoes. Some people repurpose it as a base for soups and stews as it contains nutrients. If making mashed sweet potatoes, you may want to reserve a cup to add to the mixture to help make them fluffy and creamy.

Sweet potatoes cut into round and cubes on a cutting board after boiling.

I hope this guide on how to boil sweet potatoes was helpful. Now, you know how to boil sweet potatoes whole, cubed, with, and without the skin. And the best part? Learning how to cook sweet potatoes on the stovetop opens a world of delicious opportunities. Use your boiled sweet potatoes in savory and sweet recipes and share with us below!

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How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

Learn how to boil sweet potatoes, whole or cubed, to bring out their natural sweetness. Serve as a side dish or use in other recipes.
5 from 56 votes
Servings 1 potato
Course Tutorial
Calories 194
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sweet potato peeled if desired

Instructions

  • Scrub and wash the sweet potatoes. Leave the potato whole or trim the root ends and cut into either 2-inch cubes or 1-inch cubes.
  • Place the potatoes with cold water in a large pot. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking the sweet potatoes until fork tender: 40 minutes for whole, 25 minutes for 2-inch cubes and 15 minutes for 1-inch cubes.
  • Drain carefully in a colander. Enjoy warm on its own as a side dish or use as desired in a recipe of choice.

Notes

Storage: Allow the sweet potatoes to cool completely. Then, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. For cubed sweet potatoes, consider lining the bottom of your container with a paper towel to absorb any moisture.
Tips:
Consistent size. If boiling sweet potatoes whole, try to find potatoes that are all similar in size. And if you’re cutting sweet potatoes in cubes for faster cooking, keep them as uniform as possible to ensure even cooking. Check out this quick guide for tips and tricks on how to cut sweet potatoes.
Cold water start. Always start with cold water. This helps the sweet potatoes cook from the inside out without overcooking the outer layers.
Simmer, not boil.After bringing the water to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Boiling too vigorously can cause the sweet potatoes to break apart or cook unevenly.
Don’t overcrowd. If you need to boil a lot of sweet potatoes, consider cooking them in batches, so they have enough space in the pot with water to cook evenly.

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.04g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 124mg, Potassium: 762mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 32063IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 68mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Tutorial
5 from 56 votes (55 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Twiisa says:

    Made these for a large family Christmas dinner. WORKED OUT WELL! I used a mix of yams and golden sweet potatoes (8 total) and found as long as they are the same size (relatively) they all finished at the same time. If some are larger, you can always boil the larger ones longer. SO LITTLE WASTE because the skin peels right off, and so much easier than peeling before boiling! The sweetness and flavor of these are so much better than any canned yams. THANKS!

    1. Yumna says:

      Great! So glad this worked out so well for you!