If you’ve ever tried making sweet potato fries at home, you know that getting them crispy can be a challenge. Cook them for too little time, and they’ll be soft and limp. But cook them for too long, and they’ll burn. So, how long do you need to deep fry sweet potato fries to get them crispy and delicious? In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect cooking time, how to prep your sweet potatoes for frying, and tips for achieving perfect results every time.
The Factors That Affect Cooking Time
There are a few different factors that can affect the cooking time of sweet potato fries:
- The thickness of the fries
- The temperature of the oil
- The type of oil you use
- The cooking method – deep frying vs. air frying vs. baking
The thickness of your sweet potato fries can have a big impact on the cooking time. Thinner fries will cook faster, while thicker fries will take longer. For best results, try to make your fries as uniform in size as possible.
The Temperature of the Oil
The temperature of your oil is also an important factor. If the oil isn’t hot enough, your fries will absorb more oil and won’t get crispy. But if the oil is too hot, your fries could burn.
The ideal temperature for deep frying sweet potato fries is between 350°F and 375°F. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of your oil, and adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a consistent temperature.
The Type of Oil You Use
The type of oil you use can also affect the cooking time and the taste of your sweet potato fries. Some oils have a higher smoke point, which means they can be heated to higher temperatures without burning. Oils with a higher smoke point, like canola oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil, are good choices for deep frying.
Coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil are not good for deep frying because they have lower smoke points and can create unpleasant flavors and smells when heated to high temperatures.
The Cooking Method
The cooking method you choose can also impact the cooking time of your sweet potato fries. Here are a few common methods:
- Deep frying – This is the method we’ll focus on in this article. It creates the crispiest fries, but requires more oil and can be messier than other methods.
- Air frying – This method uses hot air to fry the fries, rather than oil. It can create crispy results with less oil, but may not get the fries as crispy as deep frying.
- Baking – You can also bake sweet potato fries in the oven. This method is healthier than frying and requires less oil, but the fries may not get as crispy.
Preparing Your Sweet Potatoes for Frying
Before you start frying your sweet potato fries, you’ll need to prepare them:
Cut Your Fries
Start by cutting your sweet potatoes into fries. Try to make them as uniform in size as possible so they cook evenly. You can use a knife or a mandoline to cut your fries.
Soak Them in Water
Soaking your sweet potato fries in water before frying can help remove excess starch and make them crispy. Just fill a large bowl with cold water and add your cut fries. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes before frying.
Dry Them Off
After soaking, remove the fries from the water and pat them dry with paper towels. This will help ensure they fry up crispy.
Before frying, feel free to add seasoning to your sweet potato fries. You can use a pre-made seasoning blend, or make your own with spices like cinnamon, paprika, garlic powder, or chili powder.
How Long to Deep Fry Sweet Potato Fries
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for… how long to deep fry sweet potato fries!
The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one. Cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of your fries, the temperature of the oil, and the type of fryer you’re using.
As a general rule of thumb, start with cooking your fries for 3-4 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. Remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain. Let them cool for a few minutes, then place them back in the oil for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until they’re fully cooked and crispy.
If you’re using a deep fryer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking time and temperature. If you’re using a pot on the stove, monitor the temperature of the oil and adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a consistent temperature.
Tips for Perfect Sweet Potato Fries Every Time
Here are a few additional tips to help you achieve crispy, perfectly cooked sweet potato fries:
- Don’t overcrowd the fryer – this can cause the temperature of the oil to drop, resulting in soggy fries.
- Monitor the temperature of the oil carefully – use a thermometer to ensure it stays within the optimal range of 350°F-375°F.
- Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove your fries from the oil. This will help ensure they’re not too oily and will drain excess oil off the fries.
Deep frying sweet potato fries is definitely an art, but with a little practice, you can learn how to get them crispy and delicious every time. Remember to consider factors like fry thickness, oil temperature, and cooking method, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings and dipping sauces!
- How long do you soak sweet potato fries before frying? Soak your sweet potato fries in cold water for at least 30 minutes before frying.
- What is the best oil for deep frying sweet potato fries? Oils with a higher smoke point, like canola oil, peanut oil, or sunflower oil, are good choices for deep frying sweet potato fries.
- Can you air fry sweet potato fries? Yes, you can air fry sweet potato fries. They may not get quite as crispy as deep-fried fries, but they’ll still be tasty.