spicy sweet potato wedges + five etceteras

Five Bits of Housekeeping

  • After a series of unfortunate kitchen mishaps over the last week, I decided to give up cooking for at least a couple days and focus my efforts instead on mixology at my friend Jocelyn’s Oscar Party on Sunday night. I guest-blogged Dove Cocktails over on her site today, though I prefer to call them Pomegranate Margaritas. [Dove Cocktails at, sorry, the now -defunct Pixxiestails]
  • Earlier this month, Alex and I took some photos of two of our favorite chocolate shops in New York City, Li-Lac Chocolates in the West Village and Jacques Torres in Dumbo. You can see them on [Jacques Torres on, Li-Lac on]

nonpareils/li-lac (6)

  • Among those kitchen “mishaps” were not one but two failed attempts at butterscotch pudding last week, both of which I sobbed to David Lebovitz about. David, meanwhile, was having his own kitchen melodramas, trying to recreate black-and-white cookies at home. So, we made a deal. He posts his flawless butterscotch pudding recipe (which you should go drool over right now) and I’ll post my near-flawless black-and-white cookie recipe sometime soon. [Butterscotch Pudding at]
  • I have never been one to make New Years Resolutions, after That One Time I tried and failed to become a nicer person. However, in the beginning of this year, I set out several resolutions for this here site, and you know what? It’s been great! In reference to the third item—getting thriftier in the kitchen—here are a couple things I have made with odds and ends that would have otherwise gone unused or wasted: I used up some heavy cream, the zest of an old grapefruit and an odd handful of dried figs to make an adaptation of my favorite scones; we used tomato puree, a half onion, part of a bag of frozen spinach, a leftover ball of mozzarella and three quarter-full boxes of different pasta shapes clogging our pantry to make a baked “ziti” of sorts; and most deliciously, some nearly, always forgotten, leftover half-baguette and a few cups of milk on their way out for some weekend French toast, replete with sautéed apples, ohyeswedid.
  • In fact, the Site Resolutions have been going along so swimmingly, we’ve done gone and added more. In the next week, we *hope* to unveil a place where you can buy reasonably-priced prints of photos—we’re just waiting for our order to arrive, so I can personally verify that we will not be inadvertently selling you sub-par prints, a fear which has kept me from setting up such a shop for a very long time. What? I worry a lot.

sweet potato wedgessweet potato spices

At Last, A Recipe!

I have been making these spicy sweet potato wedges for so long, I can’t believe I haven’t told you about them yet! You should revolt or something. (Just kidding! Please don’t!) In short, I found the recipe a few years ago and the odd mix of spices intrigued me—fennel, oregano, coriander and red pepper flakes. I love contrasting sweet with bright and sharp flavors, so this quickly became my favorite way to roast sweet potatoes. Try them out!

spicy sweet potato fries

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2002

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (the latter will make them quite spicy, so using according to your preferences)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coarsely grind coriander, fennel, oregano, and red pepper flakes in an electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir together spices and salt.

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1-inch wedges. Toss wedges with oil and spices in a large roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 20 minutes. Turn wedges over with a spatula and roast until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

121 comments on spicy sweet potato wedges + five etceteras

  1. Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell
    About three bad brothers you know so well
    It started way back in history
    With Adrock, M.C.A., and me – Mike D.
    Been had a little horsy named Paul Revere
    Just me and my horsy and a quart of beer
    Riding across the land, kicking up sand
    Sheriff’s posse on my tail cause I’m in demand
    One lonely Beastie I be
    All by myself without nobody
    The sun is beating down on my baseball hat
    The air is gettin’ hot the beer is getting flat
    Lookin’ for a girl I ran into a guy
    His name is M.C.A., I said, “Howdy” he said, “Hi”

    Those cocktails were IT! Yum so good.

    1. Monica

      Wow, these were fantastic! Served as part of fish & chips dinner with a mayonnaise, cayenne, & lemon dipping sauce. Added another 10 mins to cooking time. Exquisite!

  2. jacques is our favorite too, we’ll have to try li-lac. or would that be like chocolate betrayal?

    those sweet potatoes sound/look delicious! we’re so lazy with our roasted potatoes (oil, salt, pepper, thyme) … but coriander and fennel? i could eat these right off the screen … drool …

  3. alexandriamama

    I love sweet potato wedges and these look fabulous! Sadly, I am very much not a fan of fennel seeds. Any other alternatives that you’ve tried and liked? Thanks!

  4. Ooh Sarah, great idea for putting prints in the kitchen for inspiration. I’m looking forward to the opportunity (though it will probably be many moons before I can afford even a smidge of a splurge). :)

  5. Roasted sweet potato chunks are one of my Very Favorite Things, but I’ve never tried this particular spice mix – will definitely try it out soon.

    I made David’s butterscotch pudding recipe a couple weeks ago as a present for my husband after he gave blood. It was lovely.

  6. Maggie

    I would like a 24X36 photograph of the ice box cake please. Or the cake from earlier this week. Or any of your cookies. Hmm….I notice a trend. I hope this works! You take great pictures…I would love to use some on my bare kitchen walls!

  7. Jeff C

    If you are not satisfied with your printer, think about trying I have used them a bunch and have been very satisfied with price, quality and service.

  8. Faye

    Deb, you are on fire this week! I was just thinking I’d like to make sweet potato wedges one night this week. These look great, I can almost smell them from here. Beautiful photos, as usual.

  9. I made these too! I found the recipe a little while ago and have been using it ever since. The spice blend is perfect. I can’t wait to see the new and improved black-and-white cookie recipe. I have yet to try the original so the homebaked version will have to do for now

  10. *crossing fingers* oh please let one of the photos be the poached egg. oh please, oh please oh, please. I have the perfect spot in my kitchen for it…..

  11. Drakenrahl

    when I make potato wedges, of any sort I tend to hit them with a little olive oil first and then sprinkle them with a mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle (just a bit), and red ancho (a good bit more then the chipotle because it’s got a nice sweet smokiness and a little heat on the finish).

    Also I usually set the wedges on their skin side edge, that way I don’t need to flip them during cooking. Okay, so the pan looks like it comes from some O.C.D. chef’s kitchen, but it works well.

  12. whitney

    So, I’ve had this question for a while (anyone should feel free to answer):

    I love the idea of grinding my own spices in a coffee/spice grinder (someday when I’m in a more permanent kitchen and it makes sense to buy one) but I’ve always wondered if once you start grinding spices you can go back to coffee and vice versa. Is it hard to clean/get the aroma of whatever was last ground out?

    Thanks for all of your insight.
    (those “fries” look hella-good but I may have to wait as I’ve just decided to give up on roasting for a while after yet another sub-par performance by my microwave’s oven (it actually has an oven setting — I’m not just trying to roast via microwaving and failing))

  13. Malva

    Now I’ll have to dig out the Beastie Boys CDs.

    Oh and the seasoning for the sweet potatoes is very intriguing, I’ll have to try it out. Thanks!

  14. Sweet potatoes fried, wedged, baked, mashed and souffled have all had a role in my kitchen delights for ages now. We have a local restaurant that makes a fab sweet potato fry. Nothing like it with just a thin shake of sea salt!

    I hope your photo deal is a success! They are done so well.

  15. Susie

    Whitney, try grinding some plain ol’ rice in your grinder to clean it. It works like a charm! I use the grinder to make chile powder from dried, roasted chiles and then
    just whirl some rice afterwards. Just wipe out the grinder after you’re done with the rice with a damp paper towel and it’s good as new.

  16. deb

    Whitney, Susie — I’ve actually had bad luck getting the scent of some of the strong Indian spices I use out of my coffee grinder. I can’t always still… sense it a little. Fortunately, I spent about $12 on it, so it seems worth it to buy a second one if I ever get back to making coffee at home. Have you considered getting a cheap one just for this?

    One plus of using a grinder is that you get things so fine, you can get the flavor into things without the texture. My Russian Black Bread recipe has caraway seeds, something Alex says he hates, but when I grind them up, nobody notices but you still get that great flavor. I digress! Just wanted to tell you some of the things that I think makes it a good investment.

  17. Joanna

    I am so excited about the Smitten Kitchen prints! I’m well on my way to purchasing a home, and a few gorgeous prints from you would really brighten up the kitchen!

  18. Casalea

    ahhh!!! I LOVE your pics of what are also MY two chocolate faves. I even debated between the two for wedding favors and ended up going with jacques. I would have wanted the Li-Lac napoleon bar or any of the caramel bars. Which truffles did you do for yours?

  19. Those look fabulous! I make sweet potato fries often, but I’m thinking wedges would be a lot easier and less time consuming. Not that the fries are time consuming, but there’d be less knife work, hehe. I usually toss mine in olive oil, s&p, chili powder, onion and garlic powders, and always a dash of adobo. But I think whichever spices you end up using, they’ll be delicious.

  20. Isn’t David the very nicest author? I once sent him an email with a picture of my pave cake in tiny pieces asking him what went wrong, and by God, he answered me!! And I don’t even KNOW him!! He is the very best.

  21. Looks good! Put it on my to-make list. What replacement do you suggest for someone who has neither corianderseeds nor fennel seeds. I had aniseeds, cloves (haha), chimichurri (argentinian steak spices), the usual nutmeg, grated coconut (I’ve been eating very “exotic” lately :-)…. Suggestions?

  22. RA

    Whitney – I’ve never tried this, since I do not have a coffee grinder, but Alton Brown says that you can clean it out by grinding up plain bread. But be advised that I hang on every word out of that man’s mouth.

  23. That recipe couldn’t have come at a better time. I have way too many sweet potatoes and I’m really sick of baking them. I’m also sick of looking at them So yay! I know what I’ll be doing with them. Thanks!

  24. I love sweet potatoes to death, so while I could revolt for the delay in posting them, I think I’m going to hold that over your head for another time. Lucky save ^__^.

  25. Oh, YUM. I love sweet potato fries/wedges!! Maybe this is just the push I need to make them at home. I love the orange color in these photographs, it just conveys the texture so well and I can almost smell the spices. Gosh. I’m making myself hungry! :)

  26. mmmm…I love sweet potato fries! These look so perfect, all crispy & spicy. I’ll admit I generally just buy frozen sweet potato fries & bake them, but now that will have to change! I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about these all the time now…

  27. Wow, those are almost just like the yam fries I make practically once a week! I haven’t tried fennel and coriander seed, though…I bet that would make these awfully good with a seriously garlicky and creamy sauce. Must experiment!

  28. I thought I was original when I made baked sweet potato fries with garlic salt, chili powder and cumin, but these look fantastic. Uncooked sweet potatoes are sometimes hard to cut into wedges, so I just slice the potato into 1/4″ slices and sprinkle all the seasons on top. Thanks for the recipe!

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  29. honey, these sweet potato fries were AWESOME!!! made them last night and well, I told the kids that they were “smitten kitchen fries” so now that’s the name of the fries. Except Nathan keeps saying “kitten fries”

    xo, j

  30. What a surprise! I discovered just yesterday that I actually enjoy sweet potato fries, despite my hatred for the sweet potatoes themselves (I know, culinary blaspheme!). I’ll have to see if I can make ones that I like even more.

    Also, I would certainly consider buying prints as a gift, so I do hope they are available soon.

  31. DC Sarah

    This is too funny. I got some great looking baby sweet potatoes at the farmer’s market on Sunday, and on Tuesday perused Gourmet for a great recipe, and stumbled upon the very same one that you posted above. It was SO delicious! A really unusual combination of spices made my apartment smell fabulous and the potatoes were just wonderful. :D YUM@

  32. Whitney

    deb, Susie, RA– thank you so much for the spice grinder info. I have really been enjoying trying my hand at Indian food lately and think the addition of a spice grinder would be fun. Thanks again.

  33. Jen

    I tried these twice in the last week. First time I folloed the reciepe exactly, however, the fennel didn’t go over well for me and they were a touch too spicy. My husband however was a huge fan! The second time I didn’t use the fennel and used less red pepper. So awesome. This is definitely going to be a regular in our house!

  34. deb

    I would try to not let them get too close together (they might steam each other a bit) and really crank it up–keep them in there until they’re good and dark/crisp. Often it takes longer than I think it will but it’s worth it. They will still get soft faster than russets, which are dryer, but these tricks help a lot.

  35. cheryl

    WOW, what took me so long to try these? Mine did not all crip up since I didn’t keep them in the oven long enough. They smell so good who could wait. Just perfect with salmon with mustard. It was great to use my new mandoline for these. I went full blast with the crushed red and they are spicy. I also added some ground black pepper, a couple twists. Well worth the heat in the kitchen.

    Now to search for recipes for my mandolin.

  36. Yum! Those roast sweet potatoes were scrum-diddly-umptuous! That recipe is going in my file. I’ve bookmarked your site and will visit again soon. Thanks for the quick, easy and tasty twist on the old yam.

  37. These are The-Perfect-Yam-Fries…seriously. I’d been looking for ages for something that stood up to those my bf used to make at his restaurant, and these are finally it.

    Might I recommend, for dipping, blending some mayo, minced garlic and a couple of chipotle peppers? Because that’s what heaven looks like to me.

  38. Deb. Oh my God, Deb. I just made these, but I swapped out the spices. 2 lbs of sweet potatoes, 3 tbsps of veg. oil, BUT, 1 tsp of garam masala, 1/2 tsp. of smoked spanish paprika, and 1 tsp. of kosher salt.

    I am SO VERY HAPPY at this moment.

  39. Nicola

    Hey, just found your website when googling for something interesting to do with sweet potatoes. I’ll definitely be trying this for dinner tonight! Fab site by the way ^_^

    One thing I would say to the more health conscious amongst you – whenever I roast potatoes or veg of any kind, I always put about 1tbsp oil into a roasting pan and put it in the oven for 5 mins or so before adding the veg and tossing it around. The oil expands when it’s hot so you only need a fraction of the amount – it also helps them go crispy when there’s not so much oil :D

  40. Lenore

    Wow, finally a recipe for sweet potatoes that actually sounds good! I’m a jewel yam-aholic, but they get kinda mushy inside when roasted. I’m going to add this to my roasted potato rotation.

  41. I have made these potatoes twice in the last week, that’s how much I loved them. The first time, for T-Day, they came out more mushy than crispy probably because I crowded them a little in the pans. It didn’t matter though, the flavor was out of this world. The second time, I used fewer and they came out less mushy but still, once they started to get almost too brown, I took them out and they were not exactly crispy. I wonder if it’s the sweet potatoes that can’t crisp up the way other potatoes do? Anyway, they were great and I love them crispy, mushy and everything in between.

  42. Jennifer

    These were great! Why on earth have I not thought to roast sweet potatoes before? I cut some in wedges, and some in smaller, 1 inch cubes. Since they don’t crisp up as much, I think I liked the cubes better, because they had more surface area to at least crisp the outside. I used garam masala, cayenne, and steak seasoning for my spices. I will be making these regularly from now on!

  43. Made these yesterday. Didn’t have oregano so I used dried thyme instead. Also used corn oil instead of vegetable oil. Made sweet potato wedges and regular potato wedges. They were AWESOME!!! So tasty! So easy to make too! They weren’t even spicy (and I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food) so I’ll probably increase the hot red pepper flakes next time.

  44. Cynthia

    This recipe looks fantastic! I roast sweet potatoes a lot, though I haven’t even thought of these spices together before. I’d love to make this recipe for the Thanksgiving dinner I’m going to, but I’m worried about how well they travel. I’ll be driving an hour away, and then they’ll likely sit for another hour or two before eaten. I’m sure I’ll be able to reheat whatever I bring, but I’m worried that roasted sweet potato wedges just wouldn’t do very well on that trip. Can anyone confirm or deny that for me?

  45. Thanks to you I am having sweet potato wedges almost every day. They are my favourite food and I’m eating a bowl full right now! I use coriander powder and omit the fennel just because I didn’t have it and it still tastes fantastic.I’ve also cut them in cube, use chilli powder and garlic infused olive oil and it’s awesome.

  46. LOVE the sweet potato fries! I just had them with some grilled portobello burgers with piquillo aioli and they were a perfect match. You have mad skills in recipe selection and adaptation–every Smitten Kitchen recipe I’ve tried turns out just as I would have hoped!

  47. I had some sweet potatoes that needed to be eaten and found this recipe. I did not have all the spices necessary for this exact recipe so I decided to use it for inspiration with some of the spices I did have on hand. I ended up making three varieties – one with creole/red pepper/oregano, another with allspice/pumpkin pie spice/a dash of sugar, and lastly one with Old Bay seasoning. They all turned out great. I have a hard time choosing my favorite but I must say the allspice mixture melded well with the sweetness of the potatoes.

  48. Bradley

    Made these sweet potatoe fries last night. Awesome! Had them with roasted game hens that I brined in Schlafly Coffee Stout and rubbed with a Java rub……mmmm, great combo! I can definitley see these potatoes in my near future:)

  49. joant

    Delish. Thanks, Deb. If you place your tray in the oven to get hot first….it helps to get the potatoes crispy. BTW – I also had your eggplant salad toasts over the weekend – AGAIN – minus the toasts. Awsome!

  50. kvnsgrl

    I adore these sweet potatoes! Just wanted to let you know that the flavor is enhanced amazingly with the addition of garlic. I used garlic powder, but I’d also love to try it with fresh.

  51. dave

    Very nice. I’ve been trying to find a recipie that cooked sweet potato pieces just right, and this was the one. I cut a corner and used ground coriander and cayenne pepper instead of whole seeds and flakes.

  52. Thank you for the recipe! About two years ago, my boyfriend and I were invited for a whiskey tasting and prepared these wedges for the first time at our friend’s house. Since we arrived a bit late, the other guests had already eaten quite a bit in order to be prepared for the whiskey. Some of them tried the wedges, but somehow, the two of us ended up with the bowl and a small bowl of sour cream on the sofa and finished them all by ourselves. Once we had gotten started, we didn’t insist on offering them to anyone else anymore… They were delicious.
    Thanks to this evening, I now know that I like sweet potatoes and whiskeys from the isle of Islay. I have tried Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Laphroaig so far.

  53. Anna

    I just made these. I did not have fennel seed so I hope that did not make a big difference although I suspect it made one somewhat. I have not tried them yet. They do not look crispy but I had them on foil so maybe that was not the right thing to do. I have a question. Do I leave these in the oven after I turn them off or take them out right away? Globally is there any kind of product that is left in the oven after you turn the oven of for any kind of purpose? What’s the general rule?

  54. I’m SO late to this party! But! I read elsewhere that tossing sweet potatoes with oil then _cornstarch_ works wonders for crisping skinny SP fries. Do you think that might work for wedges too, not just skinnies?…

  55. tunie

    @Whitney re: coffee/spice grinders – whirl a decent sized piece of fresh bread in the grinder before and after an alternative use and it will wipe it clean of the fragrant oils and leave it shiny clean! Read that somewhere and it works.

  56. Hi, it’s me again.
    I always wanted to tell you that during the last couple of years, we have been using the five-etcetera-spices on roasted pumpkin wedges. Pumpkin is a lot cheaper here in Germany than sweet potatoes. It works very well, too.
    Last week, my boyfriend used the spices for a sweet-potatoe-soup. It was delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!

  57. Cristina

    I made these to accompany the wild rice gratin recipe (yum!) in the SK cookbook. I started at a lower temp and later cranked it up, but they were still soft. Flavor was very good with the spice combo! Next tim,e I’ll pay attention to the temp and the tips that have been posted for this recipe.

  58. Allie

    Oh, I really want to make these but the sweet potatoes in the market here in Jerusalem are no good right now. I skimmed the comments but couldn’t find an answer: Can I make this with regular potatoes and have it turn out delicious still? Thanks!

  59. C Rios

    Fun side note: I put bamboo skewers about an inch’n’a’half apart on my baking sheet and laid the potato pieces across them perpendicularly (so the skewers held the potatoes off the tray). This kept me from having to turn the potatoes and they got crispy-ish on all sides without any fuss. Took less time too because the oven didn’t have to be opened.

  60. Janet

    Putting the finishing touches on my “Thanksgivikah” menu, and realized I forgot about an ingredient I’d wanted to use–the most ethereal maple balsamic vinegar! When I first sampled it at the store, I knew my sweet potato casserole was OUT– replaced with these sweet potato wedges instead (you know, keeping it simple to highlight that sublime liquid!) But now, trying to figure out how to SERVE something like that to a large group of 12 seated at the table…Help!?
    Can you think of a way to use the balsamic as an ingredient with sweet potatoes, rather than a “spritz”?

    Many thanks in advance!

    1. deb

      Hi Janet — You can try brushing on a very thin amount of it before roasting the sweet potatoes. They’ll really need to be roasted at the last minute. Well, I suppose they can be rewarmed before serving, too, but they might lose some crispness.

  61. Laurie Lathem

    This dish has become a Thanksgiving staple for me! Any tips for getting the wedges to crisp up like in the photo? Looking forward to eating these again on Thursday.

  62. Kat

    LUV ME SOME BEASTIE BOYS!!! And gonna luv me some sweet potato fries! I don’t have all the spices, but I bet I can get some good flavor out of what I’ve got (no fennel or chili flakes) but I do have chili powder, coriander and oregano, so I’ll compromise. I’m writing a term paper this weekend and looking for an excuse for a break – these fries are it! My brain needs carbs for energy – ha ha.

  63. willard

    did’nt have any coriander or fennel, used mrs dash,the rest i had,for the first timetrying this it was great,love sweet potatoes,good addition.

  64. With 2 Vegetarians and 1 Vegan coming for Christmas dinner the above look very tasty. One question can I leave out the coriander?

    It is not a favourite seed. Thank you
    Newcomer Deirdre

  65. Kalyani

    Hi there, I found your sweet potato wedges recipe on Yummly and boy ain’t I glad ;) I made these for my Thanks Giving party and it was BIG hit. It’s amazing how easy was to make them and that too under 5 Ingredients!! My guests loved and couldn’t stop eating them. So all thanks to

  66. Terri

    I love sweet potato fries! There’s a vegan restaurant here in Tucson that dusts them in cocoa powder, chili powder and a little cayenne. Served with chipotle dipping sauce. They are delicious, but I can’t wait to try your version, especially unpeeled!

  67. Jennifer

    These are insanely delicious! Strangest spice blend I could imagine. And yet we’ve had them twice this week (which *never* happens at my house) because my sweet-potato-hating husband requested an encore.

    Thanks for sharing!

  68. The coriander and fennel seeds are much easier to grind in a mortar if first lightly toasted in a dry pan – which will also make the kitchen smell wonderful. Just watch carefully and keep the heat low, to avoid the seeds burning. Grind the seeds when cooled and then add the oregano, pepper flakes and salt.

  69. Patti

    Made these for Thanksgiving along with a traditional menu and they added wonderful new flavors to the meal. I will definitely make these more frequently though – love the seasoning. Thanks!

  70. Madeline

    Made these last night — they were delicious! I love the long-wedge shape for sweet potatoes; it’s easy prep and resulted in a really nice, creamy texture after cooking ~40 min total. I did set off not one but two fire alarms (possibly from burning some of the stray spices on the baking sheet?) but I got some really nice dark/caramelized surfaces on the potatoes out of it, so for me, it was worth it. (My cat, on the other hand, was not happy.)

    I didn’t have fennel so I ground up one star anise along with the other spices, which ended up going really nicely with the overall sweetness of the potatoes (though it was certainly unique). But I’ll definitely try these again with the correct spice profile. Really nice side dish!

  71. Katy

    These were delicious. I was a bit worried as I was grinding the spices up as they were so heady and liquoricey that I couldn’t see how they would work, but they mellowed in the oven and just brought out the sweetness of the veg.