The Absolute Best Temperature For Baking Sweet Potatoes

A well-prepared baked sweet potato can be one of the most comforting dishes. It has a soft and fluffy texture, with flavors of sweetness and earthiness. Plus, with the right toppings, it's filling and satisfying enough to be its own meal. But, before you can think about toppings, you need to get the baking part exactly right — starting with the temperature.

To achieve the perfect baked sweet potato, set your temperature to 425 F. At that temperature, you'll bake the sweet potatoes for 40 to 50 minutes. Be sure to poke holes in the top of the sweet potatoes before putting them in the oven, otherwise, they won't bake through and could burst. You'll know they're done cooking when the potatoes are nice and tender when you pierce them with a fork. If you're worried about overcooking — which could result in the middle getting much too mushy and the outside drying out — then you can always set it for the lowest amount of time (40 minutes), then check on the potatoes to see if they need longer.

What should you top your baked sweet potato with?

Now that we know the specifics of baking the perfect sweet potato, we can talk about toppings. Because this sweet potato will be cooked perfectly, you don't need a ton for it to taste delicious. Simply topping it with butter, salt, and pepper is always a good option.

However, if you're looking for a more exciting meal, there are plenty of other ingredients you can pair with the sweet potato. For example, how about a sweet potato topped with arugula and Parmesan? Or, to make it a bit more filling, you could even add sliced sausage pieces or shredded chicken to this combination. Another great way to upgrade the sweet potato is by going the breakfast route: Top it with bacon, egg, and cheese — this is delicious whether you actually have it for breakfast or not. 

Or, if you're not feeling savory, you can make your sweet potato even sweeter by topping it with cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Another sweet combo is brown sugar and honey. Sweet potatoes are a great base for various foods. Basically, if an ingredient sounds like it could taste good atop a sweet potato, it probably will.