How Long to Boil Sweet Potatoes Whole: The Perfect Cooking Time

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious root vegetable that can be enjoyed in many ways. One simple and popular cooking method is boiling them whole, which is great for making mashed sweet potatoes or for using in various recipes. But how long do you need to boil them for the perfect texture and doneness? In this article, we will explore the ideal cooking time for sweet potatoes, as well as tips for preparation and some common questions and answers related to this topic.

Preparing Sweet Potatoes for Boiling

The first step in boiling sweet potatoes whole is to prepare them correctly. Here are the steps you should follow:


Before boiling, make sure to wash your sweet potatoes thoroughly with water. Scrub them gently with a brush to remove any dirt or debris that may be on the skin.


Use a fork to pierce each sweet potato in a few places. This will help release steam during cooking and prevent them from bursting.

The Cooking Process

Once you’ve prepared the sweet potatoes, it’s time to start boiling them. Follow these guidelines for the perfect cooking time:


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and ensure they are fully submerged in water. Allow them to boil for 25-30 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.


Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, carefully remove them from the water using tongs or a slotted spoon. Drain off excess water and let them cool for a few minutes before handling.

Tips for Perfectly Boiled Sweet Potatoes

To ensure that your sweet potatoes turn out perfectly every time, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Choosing the right sized potatoes:

For even cooking, choose sweet potatoes that are roughly the same size. Small to medium-sized sweet potatoes are usually the best choice for boiling.

Don’t overcook:

Be careful not to overcook the sweet potatoes, or they will become mushy and fall apart. Keep an eye on them and use a fork to test for doneness after 25 minutes of boiling; they should be fork-tender but still firm.

Pick the right pot:

Choose a pot that can accommodate all your sweet potatoes without overcrowding. This will help them cook evenly and prevent them from sticking together.

Cooking Times for Different Sizes

As mentioned above, smaller to medium-sized sweet potatoes work best for boiling. But if you have larger ones, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Here’s a rough guide to follow:

Sweet Potato Size Cooking Time
Small Approximately 25-30 minutes
Medium Approximately 30-35 minutes
Large Approximately 40-45 minutes

How to Tell When Sweet Potatoes are Done

The best way to tell if sweet potatoes are done is to use a fork to check for tenderness. Once the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, they are done.

FAQs about Boiling Sweet Potatoes Whole

  • Do I need to peel the sweet potatoes before boiling them?
  • No, you do not need to peel the sweet potatoes before boiling them. However, you can peel them if you prefer.

  • What is the easiest way to peel boiled sweet potatoes?
  • You can easily remove the skin from boiled sweet potatoes by running them under cold water and gently rubbing the skin off with your fingers.

  • Can I add salt to the water when boiling sweet potatoes?
  • Yes, adding salt to the water can enhance the flavor of the sweet potatoes. Use 1-2 teaspoons of salt for every 4-5 cups of water.

  • Can I use boiled sweet potatoes in recipes?
  • Absolutely! Boiled sweet potatoes can be mashed, pureed, or chopped and used in a variety of recipes, including pies, casseroles, and soups.

  • What are some of the health benefits of sweet potatoes?
  • Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. They are also low in calories and can help regulate blood sugar levels.


There you have it – the perfect cooking time for sweet potatoes! Just follow the simple steps outlined in this article, and you’ll have perfectly boiled sweet potatoes every time. Remember to pierce them before boiling, and don’t overcook them. Also, feel free to experiment with seasoning them with herbs and spices for added flavor. Enjoy!



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