Sweet potatoes are sweeter and healthier than regular potatoes. You can cook them using many of the same methods you can use to make regular potatoes, such as boiling them or cooking them in the oven or microwave. For a more tender treat, you can even mash the sweet potatoes. If you want to know how to cook sweet potatoes in a variety of tasty ways, just follow these steps.
Oven Bake - Cook whole sweet potatoes just like you would make baked potatoes. Prick each washed potato several times with a fork, wrap each one in foil and bake them for about 40 to 60 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Exact cooking time will depend on the size of the sweet potatoes; they're done when you can easily cut into them and their flesh is soft. Alternately, you can bake sweet potato pieces. Cut the potatoes into wedges or chunks, toss them with olive oil so the pieces are lightly coated and spread them out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and bake them at 425 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until they're golden brown and soft, flipping the pieces after 10 minutes.
Microwave - When you're pressed for time, microwave whole sweet potatoes. Prick them all over with a fork and set them on a microwave-safe plate. Nuke them for 5 minutes on High. Using an oven mitt, carefully turn the potatoes over and microwave them for an additional 2 to 5 minutes, or until the skin is puffed and the insides are soft.
Boil - Turn sweet potatoes into creamy mash by boiling them. Place peeled 1-inch cubes in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn it down to a simmer and let the potatoes cook until tender, about 15 minutes. After you drain off the water, you can use boiled sweet potatoes in lots of ways. Mash them with butter, milk, salt and pepper to make a slightly sweeter version of mashed potatoes. Turn them into a sweet side by mashing the potatoes with butter, brown sugar, a splash of cream and some cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the cubes to vegetable soups, casseroles or chili. Puree the sweet potatoes in a blender. Add a splash of cream or vegetable stock to help them blend thoroughly. Toss this puree with pasta and Parmesan cheese, or use it as filling for homemade sweet potato ravioli.
Fry - If you have a deep fryer, you can whip up piping hot sweet potato fries or chips anytime. Just cut them into slices or strips and cook them according to your fryer's instructions, until they're crispy and golden. If you don't have a deep fryer, you can still get a crispy fried crust on sweet potato pieces. Unless you're frying chips, parboil the pieces first -- otherwise they'll be done on the outside before the inside is cooked through. Boil wedges or cubes for 3 to 4 minutes, drain them and pat them dry with paper towels. Fry the sweet potatoes in butter or peanut oil until brown.
Grill - Sweet potatoes caramelize when grilled, making this a particularly tasty preparation. The outsides will cook quickly, so start with potatoes that are at least partially cooked through. Cut the potatoes into thick slices and parboil them for 6 to 8 minutes, or cut up a baked and cooled sweet potato. Brush the pieces with oil and grill them over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pieces and let them cook for an additional 2 minutes.