How To Cook Sweet Potatoes In A Skillet – Recipe & Instructions

Sometimes the best sides are the simplest ones, and a generous serving of skillet-fried sweet potatoes goes with just about anything.

Better than this, your skillet sweet potatoes are ready in around half the time it would take to roast them in the oven!

What’s the best way to cook sweet potatoes in a skillet though?

The first trick is to cut them smaller than you might instinctively think. Aim for smaller cubes around half an inch in size.

You’ll also benefit a huge amount by adding a dash of seasoning to your sweet potatoes as they cook in the skillet.

Many different herbs and spices work here, but I recommend cinnamon if you prefer a sweeter punch, or cayenne pepper for a little extra kick. Cumin’s another popular option.

That’s the quick overview – here’s the recipe!

(My home cookware guide contains plenty more tutorials and tips!)

Skillet Sweet Potato Recipe

Follow these steps for super-simple, super-tasty sweet potatoes!

  • Peel & wash the sweet potatoes.
  • Cut into cubes around half an inch thick.
  • Heat your skillet with a little olive oil (this stuff’s great for a crispy finish).
  • Once heated, add the sweet potatoes to the oil.
  • Add salt & pepper along with your choice of spices.
  • Stir to make sure the potato pieces are evenly coated.

In terms of cooking time you should be looking at around 15 minutes here, although you may need a little longer. It depends on how small your pieces are.

The best way to judge their doneness is by eye, and after 15 minutes have passed. The outside should be crispy, but not burned. 

If they look about right, have a nibble! If they’re still hard inside, just keep frying for a little longer, while stirring the contents of the skillet continuously.

There you go, perfect skillet sweet potatoes! If you’ve got any leftovers, let them cool and then store them in the refrigerator. They should keep perfectly fine for around one week.

An overhead view of lots of fried sweet potato pieces in spices

Skillet Sweet Potato Tips

Here are a few extra tips you might find useful:

Use Even Pieces

Don’t worry about a few strays, but it’s important to cut your sweet potato pieces to roughly same size.

The heat won’t spread around the skillet as evenly as it will in an oven. By keeping the pieces uniform and stirred constantly though, you won’t have to worry about uneven cooking.

Less Is More

It’s tempting to cram as many sweet potato pieces into a single skillet as possible, but don’t overfill the pan.

Do so and you’ll find all the moisture released creates a lot of steam, which can cause the contents to become quite soggy.

It’s much better to do two batches, or use a bigger skillet.

Handling A Sticky Situation

Are you sweet potatoes sticking to the skillet? Either use a true non-stick pan, turn the heat down, or use a little more oil. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few other questions that often come up alongside this topic! To make sure you’ve got the full picture, here are some brief answers:

Should Sweet Potatoes Be Soaked Before Frying?

I never soak sweet potatoes before frying them in a skillet. I do when it comes to oven baking, however, and where the cooking process is slower.

Over a longer period of cooking time, you’ll notice the potato’s starches reacting with the moisture inside to create a quite unpleasant gloop.

Should I Peel My Sweet Potato Before Cooking It?

Some people like to keep the peel on their sweet potatoes, others don’t.

It’s really fine either way. You get a very different texture to the outside, but if you generally prefer this texture, don’t feel you have to peel first.

How To Cook Sweet Potatoes On The Stove With Brown Sugar

This popular twist on the recipe is very easy! Just add a spoonful or two of brown sugar to taste, along with your other seasoning and spices.

How Long To Cook Sweet Potatoes On A Stove

Start by frying the sweet potato pieces for 15 minutes, then cut or try a piece. If it’s crisp on the outside, but fluffy on the inside, you’re done!

Assuming you’re working with small pieces, it shouldn’t take any longer than 20 minutes to cook them perfectly.

Wrapping Up

That’s just about everything you need to know about cooking a perfect batch of sweet potatoes in a skillet. 

Happy cooking!