Not that I want to completely upend your Thanksgiving menu, but if you are looking for an easy and different side to add to your table, take a look at these Hassleback Sweet Potatoes. Sliced thin and roasted with a spiced brown butter sauce, they are sweet, crispy in parts, and go well with SO many dishes.
Also, these sweet potatoes, while they do have a decently long roasting time, can be made pretty much entirely in advance so you can cross off a side dish and just reheat them before dinner!
Sweet potatoes vs. Yams
This is an ongoing piece of confusion amongst American home cooks due to some labeling issues here in America.
Sweet potatoes have a softer flesh and are generally orange in color. Yams have a very tough skin and are pale white on the inside and very starchy. The problem is that in most American supermarkets, sweet potatoes are labeled as yams for some unknown reason.
For some other visual examples of both, check out this nice description!
How to prepare sweet potatoes
For this recipe, you definitely want sweet potatoes (or jewel yams in some markets) so be sure you are get the right variety.
Once you have your sweet potatoes, I like to peel the sweet potatoes, mostly, but leave some peel at the bottom of the potato to help it stick together during the hassleback cutting.
The best way to do this is to lay the sweet potato flat and figure out which way it naturally wants to rest, then make that the bottom and peel the rest of the potato so it will rest naturally on the baking pan and not want to flip over.
How to cut something hassleback (hasselback)
This type of preparation looks fancy but is actually very easy to do. The trick to making anything hasselback is to get something about 1/4 inch thick and place it on both sides of the potato.
Then use a sharp knife to slice down through the potato, stopping at the guide spot. That will make sure you don’t cut all the way through the potato and thereby ruining the hasselback effect.
I’ve used everything from chopsticks to metal straws for this and pretty much anything works just fine as long as it is strong enough to stop your knife if you cut too deep. Make very thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick if you can. Don’t be too precious about it though. It’s okay if they aren’t all perfect.
How to roast these sweet potatoes
Ultimately, I like to add a rich spiced butter sauce to these potatoes, but they need to roast for 50-60 minutes to be very tender and if you add the butter sauce too soon, it will just burn.
So to start, drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and roast them for 30-35 minutes at 375˚F
After this roasting, they will start to be crisping on the edges and tender in the center, but definitely not completely cooked yet.
While the sweet potatoes roast, you can make the butter!
Making the butter seasoning mix
In a small microwave-safe bowl stir together the butter, brown sugar, chives, chili powder, and garlic powder. Microwave this until the butter is melted, maybe 30 seconds, and then stir everything together.
If you use salted butter, you shouldn’t need any extra salt here, but if you use unsalted butter, you might want to season this with a pinch of salt.
Finishing these sweet potatoes
These hassleback potatoes are easy enough to finish! After the initial roast on the potatoes, remove them from the oven and brush them with the butter sauce. If you wanted to keep yoursheet pan clean, you could wrap each potato in foil, but I didn’t bother with that.
Bake the potatoes a second time for 15 more minutes. I recommend removing them ever five minutes and basting them with the butter in the pan to make sure they are very covered with the sauce.
When the potatoes are done, garnish them with chives and serve while warm!
What to serve with these sweet potatoes
These would go great as a Thanksgiving side so feel free to browse my Thanksgiving recipes. But, I like them as a side to many dishes, specifically roasted or grilled pork dishes like these broiled pork chops!
Substitutions and other ideas
There are many ideas for these if you want to change up the flavors for these hassleback sweet potatoes.
- Make these spicier with cayenne pepper.
- Turn these into a dessert by adding chopped pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- At the very end of cooking, add mini marshmallows and broil, similar to a classic sweet potato casserole.
These potatoes reheat really well. I recommend reheating them in a 350F oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. While you can microwave them, they will lose some of their texture and turn soggy in the microwave.
Potatoes will keep well in the fridge for five days.
Hassleback Sweet Potatoes
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ teas kosher salt
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 teas garlic powder
- 1 teas chili powder
- 1 teas dried chives
- Chives, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Peel sweet potatoes, leaving some skin at the bottom of the potato to help with it sticking together. Place each potato between two chopsticks to avoid cutting all the way through and make thin 1/8-inch slices down each potato, spreading out the slices as you go. Try not to cut all the way through the potato, but if you do, it's okay!
- Place potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 minutes.
- Add butter, chili powder, garlic powder, chives, and brown sugar to a small bowl and microwave until butter is melted. Stir together.
- Brush butter mixture over potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes. Every 5 minutes remove potatoes and spoon butter mixture back over the potatoes, basting. Try to get it in all the cracks.
- After roasting, potatoes should be tender and crispy in spots. Remove and garnish with chives. Serve while warm.