How Long to Boil Sweet Potatoes?

How Long to Boil Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes make a healthy and delicious side dish to any meal! If I season them just right, I can even get my kids to eat them and actually enjoy them! You may be more familiar with baking or even frying sweet potatoes, but I’m here to tell you that it’s also possible to boil them. And not compromise the flavor or texture!

Today, I’m going to share with you exactly how long you should boil sweet potatoes and the exact step-by-step process I’ve perfected over the years.

Read on if you’d like to learn more!

So, how long does it take to boil sweet potatoes?

Knowing exactly how long to boil sweet potatoes depends on a few things:

  • Are you boiling them whole or in chunks?
  • How many sweet potatoes do you need to boil?
  • Are you boiling them with the peel on or off?
  • Do you want your sweet potatoes tender or slightly hard?

Not to worry though. I have put together a reference guide below so you always know exactly how long to boil sweet potatoes!

How Long to Boil Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes peel on- 20 to 30 minutes
  • 3 to 4 sweet potatoes unpeeled- 30 to 45 minutes
  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 15 to 20 minutes
  • 3 to 4 sweet potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 25 to 30 minutes

If you like your sweet potatoes more on the tender and soft side, use the maximum time. However, if you like them hard a little crunchy, you’ll boil for the shorter time!

How to Boil Sweet Potatoes: Step by Step

Here is my step-by step guide on boiling sweet potatoes, either whole or cut into chunks!

Method 1: Boiling Whole Sweet Potatoes

Step 1: Prepare the water. You’ll need a large pot, with enough room to fully submerge the sweet potatoes leaving an inch of water at the top. Add a pinch of salt to the water help facilitate quicker boiling!

Step 2 Prepare the Sweet Potatoes. When boiling whole sweet potatoes, I prefer to peel them. Peeling them is optional though! However, whether peeling or not, it’s important to rinse off the sweet potatoes in cool running water to remove any dirt or debris. No one wants to eat dirty sweet potatoes. It also makes peeling easier. Carefully cut off the ends and peel the sweet potatoes so the skin is all the way off. Again, this part is optional. Just note, if you boil with the skin on, it takes a little longer to boil. Another note about boiling with the peel on, is to pierce the skin several times.

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Step 3: Add the sweet potatoes to the water. When the water starts to boil, add your sweet potatoes! Reduce the heat to a medium and cover. Boiling time will really depend on the size of the sweet potatoes, how many, and how tender you want them! Refer to my guide below based on your preference.

  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes peel on- 20 to 30 minutes
  • 3 to 4 sweet potatoes unpeeled- 30 to 45 minutes

Step 4: Check for tenderness. Remove a sweet potato from the water. Take a knife and carefully slide it through to the center. You should be able to feel how soft or hard it is depending on how easy it is for the knife to go through. The easier the knife goes through the more tender the sweet potato. Add an additional 2-minute boil time until desired tenderness is reached.

Step 5: Drain the water. Once you have reached your desired level of softness, your sweet potatoes are ready! Drain the water and place the potatoes in a large bowl.

Step 5: Season if preferred. Add some salt and better, maybe a little butter to spice them up.

Step 6: Eat and enjoy!

Method 2: Boiling Chunks of Sweet Potatoes

This is my preferred method. The sweet potatoes cook more evenly and takes less time!

Step 1: Prepare the water. Grab a large pot and fill with water. You’ll need enough water to cover the sweet potato chunks while allowing an inch of excess water at top. Add a dash of salt to the water to help facilitate quicker boiling.

Step 2 Prepare the Sweet Potatoes. Unlike boiling whole sweet potatoes, boiling chunks works better when peeled. Again, this is optional though. Rinse your sweet potatoes off with cool running water to get rid of any dirt. Cut off the ends and peel (if desired). Carefully use a knife to cut the sweet potatoes into 1-to-2-inch chunks.

Step 3: Add the sweet potato chunks to the water. When the water has started to boil, it’s time to add in the sweet potatoes! Reduce heat to medium and cover. Use the below guide depending on number of potatoes. If you’ve cut your sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks use the minimum time listed and the maximum time for 2-inch chunks.

  • 1 to 2 sweet potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 15 to 20 minutes
  • 3 to 4 sweet potatoes (in 1-to-2-inch chunks)- 25 to 30 minutes

Step 4: Check for tenderness. After boiling, if you’d like to check if they are ready, use a knife and make a small cut to the center. If it goes in smoothly, the potatoes are ready. For extra softness though, you can add an additional 2-minute boil time as necessary.

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Step 5: Drain the water. When they are ready, drain the water and place the sweet potato chunks in a large bowl. Season if desired with salt, pepper, and you favorite seasoning. You can also mash them to make a mashed potato mix!

Step 6: Eat and enjoy!

Tips for Boiling the Sweetest Tasting Sweet Potatoes

  • Boiling times matter! A good rule of thumb is this. The softer and more tender you want your sweet potatoes, the more boiling time required. However, if you like a bit of a crunch in your sweet potato, you can boil for less time.
  • Rinse your sweet potatoes prior to boiling! It’s important to get all the dirt and debris off the sweet potatoes prior to boiling. If you don’t, the potatoes will cook with that stuff in the water! Simply rinse under cool water. It also makes peeling the sweet potato much easier.

You Have Boiled Sweet Potatoes, Now What?

You can use your boiled sweet potatoes in a few different ways!

  • Season and eat as is!
  • Make mashed sweet potatoes, add some butter and enjoy
  • Put in the oven or skillet to crisp the outside before serving

Wrapping Up

Now I have shared with you my method of boiling sweet potatoes, both whole and in chunks, depending on how you like to eat them. It’s really easy to do and makes a great side dish for our family meals. I’ve had great success using these processes to make great tasting sweet potatoes!

Just remember, and bookmark this page if you need too, that the more tender you like your sweet potatoes, the more time it takes to boil. The less tender, the less time you need.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts and which method you are going to try the next time you need to boil sweet potatoes!