Sweet Potato/Yam

Is This the Best Sweet Potato Fry Recipe on the Internet?

September 26, 2016

When you’re looking for a dependable recipe on the world wide wild web, it’s natural to search “Best [insert food] recipe.” A lot of you did for sweet potato fries last year—so much so that it was one of Google’s top 10 most-searched-for recipes.

So what does that search’s top hit actually taste like? Was it the best sweet potato fries two of our recipes testers had ever tried?

The first surprise is that the top hit—the Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries on Food.com—doesn’t involve frying, only baking. But since a great majority of sweet potato fry recipes on the internet are baked (see below), we’ll go with it. If they’re good, who cares if they’re baked?

Shop the Story

The next surprise is that the recipe varies only slightly from many other sweet potato fry recipes on the internet. It’s probably most different from the New York Times’s recipe—but even here, the recipes only vary in baking temperature (450° F compared to 400° F), longer bake time, and more seasonings. There aren't any additional steps, or alternative cooking methods, or discrepancies in how the potatoes should be cut.

And it's very similar to the Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream on our site: The only differences are vegetable oil instead of olive oil and slight variances in the quantities of salt, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. The bake time is off by only a matter of minutes and the oven temperature is only slightly higher. Recipes from Paula Deen, Fine Cooking, and All Recipes are as indistinguishable: You'll have to squint to notice the differences.

So with such subtle differences across recipes, it seems if this recipe holds up, you'll have trouble finding a bad sweet potato fry recipe on the first few pages of Google search results. And sure enough, they were good—“quite good” and “really delicious,” in the words of our testers Anna and Emily. Special even, given the number and combination of spices involved.

While they didn't taste fried (whether that's a good or bad thing, you decide), Emily said they were "crispy on the outside, and creamy (fluffy?) on the inside," which can be hard to achieve with baked fries. More often, the fry is limp and soggy—or rock hard and very browned.

And perhaps the greatest seal of approval came from Anna:

You could definitely tell they were baked. Kids loved them just the same though.
Anna, our recipe tester

Flavor aside, our testers found the recipe “easy to understand” and “very clear”—and more streamlined than others: Emily explained that “some fry recipes require the potato to be par-boiled first, baked/roasted second. I liked how these fries were just baked; the cook time was accurate, too.” Forty minutes, start to finish!

Photo by Tim McSweeney

Internet, you win this one. Check back tomorrow for results on the best (?) brownie recipe.

Tell us: How do you find recipes on the internet? Besides looking here, of course.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.