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How To Sauté Sweet Potatoes

How To Sauté Sweet Potatoes

This sauteed sweet potatoes recipe requires a bit of prep time for washing, drying and peeling the sweet potatoes, and about 20 minutes to cook in the skillet. Sauteed sweet potatoes turn out much like pan-fried potatoes: tender, crisp, and golden, not too wet or mushy.

My dream is to become a farmer. Just a Bohemian guy pulling up his own sweet potatoes for dinner. 

~Lenny Kravitz

One of the decisions that you will need to make when sauteing sweet potatoes is if you want to saute dices or saute slices.

I personally prefer to saute slices because I feel like they present well next to a chicken breast or steak. Also, I struggle a bit forking little diced pieces of food but that is probably just me. Sauteed diced sweet potatoes are nice if you want to mix them into a hash or add them in with other vegetables.

Can you prepare sauteed sweet potatoes in advance?

You can saute sweet potatoes in advance and reheat them later, but we do prefer to serve them freshly cooked. However, what is a great time-saver is to pre-cut the sweetpotatoes in advance. This will save you about 10 minutes of cutting time and of course, clean up time as well.

After you have cut up the sweet potatoes, put them in an airtight container and place them in the fridge. You can do this up to 24 hours in advance.

How to reheat sauteed sweet potatoes

Our preferred method for the best taste is to warm them up in a skillet over medium heat and a few drops of water.

Skillet method: Allow the sweet potatoes to come to room temperature. Heat the skillet up, and then add the sweet potatoes to the hot pan with a teaspoon of water. Stir the sweet potatoes gently but frequently until they are thoroughly reheated. 

Microwave method: To reheat the sweet potatoes in the microwave, set it to a low-temperature setting first. Reheat the potatoes in 30-second intervals. Stir in between the heating to help them reheat evenly.

Do you peel sweet potatoes before sauteing them?

You don’t need to peel sweet potatoes before you saute them. This is a purely optional step, but we like the texture without the peel. You’ll see in our photos we peeled ours. However, if you choose not to peel the potatoes be sure to wash and scrub them thoroughly before cooking with them.

Ingredients needed for sauteed sweet potatoes

We used scrubbed, peeled, fresh sweet potatoes, olive oil, and a pinch of salt to saute sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes – Inspect your sweet potatoes closely and make sure that they are still firm and don’t have any black spots. If they have a spot here or there, just them away as you prepping the potatoes.

Olive oil – We saute our vegetables with olive oil instead of butter because the oil handles higher heat better than butter. Now with that said, butter does add a spectacular flavor and we are big fans of adding it to the sauteed sweet potatoes AFTER they are done most of the cooking.

If you want to add butter, add 1 tablespoon per potato during the last minute or so of cooking. 

Salt – Salt is truly optional when it comes to sauteing vegetables but it really does help bring out the flavor of the sweet potato and the olive oil. It only takes a pinch of salt. 

Optional ingredients for sauteing sweet potatoes

Sauteed sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt is a star dish all to itself, and for the perfect golden brown, crisp edges, don’t add any other liquids until they are about done cooking, otherwise you are making candied or caramelized sweet potatoes.

So get experimental with herbs and spices and delight those tastebuds. We are sharing a few options that you may not consider but are worth trying. Try mixing two of them together, such as chili pepper and a garnish of bacon. Just start off with small amounts and wait until the end of the cooking process.

  • Bacon
  • Chili peppers
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Walnuts

What kind of pan is best for sauteing sweet potatoes?

We prefer to use a large nonstick skillet with curved sides. Our favorite skillet these days is the Le Creuset large frying pan.

You can saute sweet potatoes in a cast-iron skillet and it does add a nice flavor but if you do, pay close attention to not burn the potatoes or allow them to stick. That means one layer of potatoes (see photos) and you can’t turn or touch them for 15 minutes on low.

Sweet potatoes hold up better in a cast-iron skillet than some other vegetables do.

How to saute sweet potatoes

Below you will find detailed instructions with temperature and measurements.

Step 1: Wash, scrub, dry, and peel the sweet potatoes. Gather your cutting board and large knife.

Step 2: Slice the potatoes into coin shapes that are about 1/4″ thick. If your potatoes are particularly large in diameter consider cutting them in half lengthwise and then quartering the slices. See how ours look almost like pie wedges? That’s because they were fairly large and we had to halve and then quarter them THEN slice them into what you see here.

Note: Cut slices of the same thickness. Don’t stack the sweetpotato slices (one layer). Give them a little breathing room in the pan because we want the dry heat to lightly caramelize the edges.

Step 3: Heat up the skillet for two minutes and then add the olive oil, salt, and layer the sweet potatoes to the pan IN ONE LAYER.  No stacking, as tempting as that may be.

Step 4: Cook the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes on low. Gently turn them once and cook another 3 or 4 minutes. They are done when they are soft and starting to crisp on the edges. 

The bottom line

We found that sauteing sweet potatoes created the same kind of result as pan-frying sweet potatoes: with a little fat, we ended up with golden, crisp slices. For moister sauteed sweet potatoes, you will end up steaming them and they will become crumbly.

More About Sweet Potatoes

How to Saute Sweet Potatoes

How to Saute Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

How to saute sweet potatoes for a pan-fried result. This recipe only requires sweet potatoes, a bit of olive oil, and salt.


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Dash of salt


  1. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Cut them into 1/4” thick round-ish slices.
  2. Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the olive oil, salt, and sweet potatoes to the hot pan.
  4. Spread the potatoes evenly in the pan and allow them to cook. (No stacking; one layer only.)
  5. Stir occasionally until the sweet potatoes are lightly caramelized. This should take about 15 minutes but cook times do vary.
  6. Cook them until they are tender and golden. Test with the tine of a fork.
  7. Note: Cook times will vary based upon the thickness of the slices and the temperature.)


Garnish after cooking as desired with seasonings, crumbled bacon or butter and syrup.

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