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Thinking about boiling sweet potatoes? Let’s do it! Here’s how to boil sweet potatoes and when it’s the right cooking technique.

Boiling sweet potatoes, bowl of boiled sweet potatoes with spoon

Thinking about boiling sweet potatoes? Roasting sweet potatoes might be the most popular way to cook these root vegetables. But here’s the thing: boiling is the fastest! This technique is much faster than roasting, and it’s great for when you’re including them in a filling or topping in another recipe. Here’s what you need to know about how and when to use this cooking method!

When boiling sweet potatoes is best

Most people think of roasting sweet potatoes when they go to cook this vegetable. But the fastest way to cook sweet potatoes is boiling them. Here are some pros and cons to this method:

  • Boiling sweet potatoes is great for when you want to make a filling for enchiladas or tacos or a topping for pizza and don’t want to fire up your oven. It’s also great for mashed sweet potatoes or as a quick side dish.
  • The potatoes come out perfectly tender and moist. For the best flavor, season with a little olive oil or butter and salt and pepper.
  • Boiling does not caramelize like roasting, and the flavor is not as as sweet. You won’t get those lovely browned edges like roasted potatoes. But they still taste great!
Pot of sweet potatoes with water

How to boil sweet potatoes

How long to boil sweet potatoes? Place diced potatoes in water, then bring to a boil and cook 7 to 12 minutes until fork tender. The exact timing depends on how large or small the pieces are. Here’s how to boil sweet potatoes:

  • Dice the sweet potatoes in 3/4-inch chunks. Peeling is optional: leave the skin on for added nutrients. Make sure to cut off any dark or black spots.
  • Add to a pot and cover with 1 inch water. Bring the water to a boil.
  • Boil 7 to 12 minutes until fork tender. The exact timing will depend on the size of the pieces and the age of the sweet potatoes.
  • Drain, then use in recipes as desired.
How long to boil sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes in strainer

Boiling sweet potatoes as a side dish

You can use this boiled sweet potatoes recipe as a template for a fast and easy side dish. One tip: make sure to season with a cooking fat like butter or olive oil to bring richness, since the potatoes are not cooked with oil.

  • Toss the potatoes with butter or olive oil, and kosher salt. You’ll need to add back some of the richness that’s inherent in roasting or sauteing. Then season with enough salt and pepper to make the flavors sing.
  • Add other add-ins like spices and fresh herbs. Toss with cumin, garlic powder and a little chili powder for a zingy seasoning blend. Or add chopped fresh chives or thyme for an herby punch.
Boiling sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes in a bowl

Ways to use boiled sweet potatoes

Boiling sweet potatoes is a great method for preparing fillings or toppings! Here are a few ways you could use them:

How are you planning to use your sweet potatoes? Let us know in the comments below!

Storage info

Boiling sweet potatoes and want to save them for later? These potatoes last for 3 to 5 days refrigerated. You’ll want to reheat them before using again to bring them back to that deliciously moist texture.

Boiling Sweet Potatoes

More sweet potato recipes

There are so many ways to use this delicious root vegetable! Here are a few more of our top sweet potato recipes:

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How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

How to Boil Sweet Potatoes

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Thinking about boiling sweet potatoes? Let’s do it! Here’s how to boil sweet potatoes and when it’s the right cooking technique.


  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Dice the sweet potatoes into roughly 3/4-inch cubes. You can either peel or leave the skin on: just make sure to cut off any black spots.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with 1 inch of lukewarm water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, around 7 to 12 minutes. Then drain.
  3. Use in recipes as desired (see Sweet Potato Enchiladas or Mashed Sweet Potatoes), or for a side dish season with ½ tablespoon olive oil or butter and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and add additional seasoning to taste. Refrigerate leftovers for 3 to 5 days.
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Potatoes
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Boiling sweet potatoes, How long to boil sweet potatoes, How to boil sweet potatoes

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. This recipe is pretty good as is, its basically what I do for the mashed I make for special dinners. My version follows the recipe, but I mix in sour cream (about 3/4 cup) and chopped green onion (two bunches or to taste) my family loves it.

  2. Today I’m boiling my sweet potatoes whole with the skins on. I have a precious dog who is up in years and I will mash them up for her to help settle her tummy. She loves them. Then I will keep a little out to make a dessert with butter and brown sugar crumbles sprinkled on top to go with our baked chicken dinner.
    Our favorite holiday recipe is sweet potato casserole and I sprinkle the top brown sugar and butter crumbles, with chopped pecans on top.
    Some members of my family serve themselves as a vegetable and dessert. Thank you for your delicious recipe ideas.