Smash Sweet Potatoes For Crispy And Creamy Results

A cross between mashed and roasted spuds, smashed potatoes offer the best of both worlds. While the technique is sure to reinvent how you cook potatoes of any type, smashing is well-suited for sweet potatoes in particular. Not only does the method highlight the lusciousness of the honeyed 'taters, but it also gives them some textural diversity.

Smashing spuds is pretty straightforward. Basically, sweet potatoes are par-cooked before being flattened and left to crisp up in the oven. The whole cooking process can be done on a single baking sheet and requires little more than a bit of elbow grease when it comes to slicing and, eventually, smashing the taters. But, this extra prep time is worthwhile as smashed sweet potatoes give spuds the chance to become incredibly crispy — a feat that can prove challenging when baking or deep frying slices. Smashing the sweet potatoes exposes more of the potatoes' surface area to the heat, which creates crackly edges, all while maintaining the fluffy and buttery qualities for which sweet potatoes are known. 

How to make smashed sweet potatoes that are both crunchy and velvety

The key to creating an audibly crisp sweet potato is leaving the skins on for increased texture. After scrubbing the skins clean, you can either cut the spuds into chunks or thick slices before giving them a quick par-boil or par-bake. Once slightly softened, smash them with a fork or a potato masher. However, depending on the size of the sweet potato pieces, the bottom of a glass might also work better. As for how thin to make them, that depends on preference. Flattening them paper-thin will produce a super crunchy result, whereas leaving them thicker allows you to maintain both a creamy and crispy texture.

Next, think about seasonings. Drizzle the potatoes with a generous glug of oil and melted butter to help the spices stick and ensure a great crust. Either play into the spud's sweetness and experiment with brown sugar and cinnamon or take a savory approach and sprinkle the smashed potato pieces with everything bagel seasoning or a pinch of paprika and cayenne powder. To keep things extra crisp, you might even want to consider grating some Parmigiano over top of the spuds before placing them in the oven to bake or, better yet, broil.

When they're golden and crunchy, remove the potatoes from the oven. Top with some fresh herbs or a drizzle of aioli and serve them as a stunning side dish that's sure to elevate even the dullest of dinners!