Sweet potatoes are one of those vegetable that can be a nuisance to cut. A lot of times they are lopsided in shape, and they are difficult to cut through. But if you have the right equipment and know the right techniques, it can be much easiesr! So today I want to teach you how to cut sweet potatoes 6 different ways.
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6 Methods For Cutting Sweet Potatoes
The way you decide to cut your sweet potatoes largely depends on the recipe you are making. For roasted sweet potatoes, you might want a large chop or a smaller dice. For soup, you might want a simple small chop. For a side dish, you might want some beautiful sweet potato rounds. And of course, there is the beloved sweet potato fry as well.
But cutting a sweet potato each of these ways has its differences, so we’ll cover each method separately. If you are interested in one particular method, use the table of contents below to jump to it.
Table of Contents
What You Will Need
Before you get started cutting sweet potatoes, there are a few things you will need to make the process easier.
A sharp chef’s knife: this is absolutely essential. I used to cut sweet potatoes with a dull knife of my moms (at the time, I didn’t even know it was dull!) I had SO much trouble cutting through the tough flesh of sweet potatoes. I even almost lost a finger a few times from the potato and knife sliding around.
Let’s just say, using a dull knife is a bad idea. Contrary to common belief, it is actually much more dangerous to use a dull knife, for the reasons I just described. So do yourself a favor and make sure your knife is sharp before cutting sweet potatoes.
If you’re not sure if your knife is sharp, you can test it by holding up a piece of paper in one hand and slicing through the paper one a diagonal with the knife in your other hand. The knife should go through effortlessly. If it doesn’t, it needs a good sharpening.
A cutting board + something non-slip: Obviously, you’ll need a good strong cutting board when cutting sweet potatoes. But also, don’t forget about something to anchor that cutting board to the counter. If your cutting board is not non-slip, just put a kitchen towel underneath it. This will keep it from sliding around.
A kitchen ruler: This tool is optional. But if you want to make sure your cuts are even (especially on the dicing and fry-cutting) a kitchen ruler will do the trick.
Sweet potatoes + vegetable peeler: Finally, you’ll need some sweet potatoes and a peeler!
All of the methods are shown in this video, or scroll down for separate photo tutorials and instructions.
The first way you might want to cut sweet potatoes in into rounds. As rounds, sweet potatoes make an excellent side dish. They can be roasted up with brown sugar for a sweeter side, or turned into a savory side as well.
Thankfully, cutting sweet potato rounds is one of the easiest cuts! Simply peel your sweet potato and cut slices with your chef’s knife at your desired thickness.
If your sweet potato is a very strange shape and won’t hold still on the cutting board, you can always cut off a small bit of one side to create a flat surface (just note that doing this will result in the pieces not quite being round).
If your knife is very sharp, however, this extra step shouldn’t be necessary. Instead, you should be able to anchor the sweet potato with your non-dominant hand, and use your knuckles as a guide when slicing.
2. Small Chop
Now, let’s say you want to roast some smaller chunks of sweet potato, but you don’t care about getting perfectly even sized pieces. This is when a small chop comes in handy! Follow these steps:
First, follow the directions for the previous cutting method to make sweet potato rounds. Cut them at the desired thickness of your finished chop.
Take one of the rounds and make 2 cuts so you have a total of 3 pieces of sweet potato.
Rotate the round so that you are now working perpendicular to the cuts you just made. Make another 2 cuts, spacing them as evenly as possible (though perfect cubes are not attainable using this method).
And there you have a quick small chop, perfect for roasting!
3. Large Chop
If you’re also in a hurry and you need slightly bigger pieces of sweet potato, you have another option that is a slight “spin off” of the previous method.
Once again, cut round slices out of the sweet potato. But this time, simply make 1 cut down the center of the round. Then rotate, and make another cut down the center, so you have 4 diamond-shaped pieces.
This will result in a larger chop of sweet potato!
4. Rough-Cut Fries
I get a hankering for some good sweet potato fries every once and awhile. There’s really nothing like them! Here is the fastest way to cut sweet potato fries (we’ll cover the more even, technical way next).
Start off with either a half or whole peeled sweet potato. I’m using a half in this demonstration because it’s what I had on hand. A half will also be slightly easier to handle, but you can use a whole if you’d like.
First of all, slice off a small bit of the sweet potato on one side to form a flat surface (top left photo). Lay the flat surface down on the cutting board.
Cut planks out of the sweet potato at the desired thickness of your fries (usually 1/4 or 1/2 inch is good). Simply slice down the potato, using your knuckles as a guide and pressing down firmly to keep the potato in place.
Lay your planks down on the cutting board and cut them into fry shapes! You should make these cuts the same size as the last one you did. When you get down to the “edge” pieces, you can still cut these into fries. If they are slightly smaller than the rest of the planks, just cut them into less fries (I did 4 fries out of the regular planks and 3 fries out of the edge planks).
5. Evenly Cut Fries
The above method is great if you’re in a time crunch, but if you have a little more time and want nicely even sweet potato fries, then keep reading! In this demonstration I’m using a more lopsided sweet potato.
The first thing we need to do is square off our sweet potato. Start by cutting off a small piece on one side just like we did in the previous methods. Lay the flat edge down on the cutting board and continue to cut off each side until you have flat edges on every side.
Cut the sweet potato into planks just like before. Rock your knife down and into the potato, using your non-dominant hand to help guide it through if you’re having trouble.
In the bottom left photo, you can see what the planks should look like. From here, you can cut each plank lengthwise to get a fry shape! Remember, all these cuts should be the same size. You can always use a kitchen ruler if you’re not used to keeping cuts even.
Here’s what a few of my finished fries looked like:
Lastly (but definitely not least) let’s dice a sweet potato! Use this method when you want nice and even cubed sweet potatoes for roasting.
Follow steps 1-3 of the fry method. Before we can get an even dice, we need shapes just like a fry!
Take your fries and line a few of them up. Now, cut the fries into even cubes! Make sure your cut here is the same size as the previous cuts, as always.
Simply repeat this process, cutting more planks, planks into fries, and then fries into cubes!
P.S. Check out the recipe I like using diced sweet potatoes in here!
Let’s finish this post with a few more questions about cutting sweet potatoes!
Why is it so hard to cut sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are much denser and harder than regular white potatoes. This makes them tougher to get through. However, it can be made much easier by using a sharp knife.
What is the best knife to use to cut sweet potatoes?
You’ll want to use a sharp chef’s knife to cut sweet potatoes. This is the chef’s knife I use (recommended by America’s Test Kitchen). It works great and is relatively inexpensive.
Will a mandolin cut sweet potatoes?
Yes, a mandolin does work for cutting sweet potatoes! It is especially good for cutting thin slices of sweet potato. For larger cuts of sweet potato, I prefer using a knife as I’ve shown in this post.
Can a food processor slice sweet potatoes?
While a good food processor may be able to break up a sweet potato, it’s not going to give you even slices. For that, you’ll need to use a mandolin or a sharp knife.
Do you have to peel sweet potatoes?
No, you actually do not have to peel sweet potatoes! The skin is perfectly edible and even good for you. But most people still prefer to take the peel off. It is totally up to you.
Do you wash sweet potatoes?
Yes, it is a good idea to wash sweet potatoes, especially if you are not peeling them. In this case, a good scrub with a vegetable brush will help get all the dirt off.
More Knife Skills to Learn
Now that you know how to cut a sweet potato, there are lots of other veggies you can learn to cut too! Learn how to dice a carrot or cut it into sticks. Learn the best carrot cuts for stir fry here. Or, learn to dice a regular potato 2 ways.
All of these knife skills are great to know!
Cutting sweet potatoes does not have to be a painful process. So long as you have a sharp knife, an anchored cutting board and some good technique, it can actually be quite easy to cut a sweet potato. So which cut is your favorite? Try them all out in your kitchen today and let me know!