Sweet potatoes can be used for a whole range of dishes, both savory and sweet.
While the process of freezing sweet potatoes is not difficult, it can be time-consuming, as you do need to cook them before you freeze them.
Attempting to freeze them without cooking them first will strangely result in them spoiling faster, when that’s the opposite of what you want!
It’s also worth asking yourself if you really need to freeze sweet potatoes (See also Should You Freeze Sweet Potato Mash?). It doesn’t take long to cook a sweet potato at all, but it does involve some effort.
If you’ve had a busy day, you might be tempted to reach for that takeaway (see also article on freezing Chinese takeaway) instead, and you may not actually get round to using your sweet potatoes before they start to go soft.
Let’s take a look at the shelf life of a sweet potato to help decide if freezing sweet potatoes is a good idea in your case.
The Shelf Life Of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can last a long time in their raw form, depending on where you put them. If you have them in a cool pantry, they may last up to 5 weeks before you need to worry about throwing any away.
In the fridge, they can keep for up to 3 months, though most people will tend to store them somewhere dark and cool. Putting sweet potatoes into the fridge isn’t recommended.
It can render the taste unpleasant, and the center of the potato can harden, making any dish made with a refrigerated sweet potato disappointing at best.
If you freeze sweet potatoes, as long as you’ve pre-cooked them (see also Freezing Cooked Sweet Potatoes), they will last nearly a whole year, making a great argument for freezing them.
It makes sense to freeze sweet potatoes (see also Can You Freeze Yams) if you have a glut of them, which need using up sooner rather than later.
How To Freeze Boiled Sweet Potatoes
If you’re freezing sweet potatoes for the first time, or you’re not sure what you want to do with them when it comes to defrosting them, why not boil them first?
With this method, you’ll be able to prepare them as you want when it comes to thawing them.
It leaves you free to decide at a later date how to cook them, whether you want to mash them, fry them, or roast them in wedges, or add them to stews.
Just remember that you’ve already pre-cooked them, so whichever method you choose when you thaw them, they will take less time to cook.
First, prepare the potatoes as you normally would, while a pan of water boils. It needs to be a big enough pan that you’ll be able to fit all the sweet potatoes in without making them smaller.
Scrub the potatoes with a vegetable brush, and place them into the boiling water. Let them boil for about 15 minutes maximum, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes.
You want them to be tender. Drain them, and let them cool. Peel them if you like, slicing or dicing them to your preference.
You’ll also want to portion them out, as this will help cut down on the defrosting time and any food waste.
You may want to keep them whole if they are smaller, or make them into wedges or roundels, which will save you time when you defrost them.
Put the sweet potatoes into a freezer bag, laying them flat. Seal, write the date, and freeze. Easy!
The Best Way To Freeze Baked Sweet Potatoes
While this method does take a little longer than boiling, baking sweet potatoes before you freeze them is also a good option.
They still freeze well using this method, so it just depends on your preferences, and what you plan on using them for when you eventually thaw them.
To bake them, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 392°F, or 200°F (180°C fan). Clean the sweet potatoes, making sure there’s no soil.
Use a sharp knife or even a fork to poke holes in the potatoes, which will help them cook better, and they’ll also take less time to cook.
Use a baking tray lined with either foil or parchment paper, and put the sweet potatoes in the oven. They’ll need to cook for about an hour, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Once cooked, take them out and let them cool.
While you can freeze them as is, it’s highly recommended portioning them first. Trying to thaw a whole sweet potato is possible, but it will result in a lot of frustration, and cooking them through will be more difficult, and will take an age.
Cut them into roundels, or dice as you wish. This will also help defrost them faster when you need them, and they will cook better.
Put the sweet potatoes into freezer bags. If you have portioned them, lay them flat in the bags to make it easier. Label as necessary, and freeze.
How To Freeze Sweet Potato Fries
This is by far the longest method, but it does save some time when you actually come to use the sweet potatoes, as you’ll only have to thaw and reheat them.
Preheat the oven to about 430°F, or 220°C. If you plan on leaving the skin on the potatoes, scrub them. Otherwise, peel them.
Cut them into wedges in a size that you prefer, and coat them in olive oil and your favorite spice or herb mix. Make sure each wedge is coated in the stuff. It’s easier and less messy to do this in a large bowl.
Make sure to line a baking tray or roasting pan with foil, and put the fries on, in a single layer so that they will cook evenly.
You’ll want to bake them for about 30 minutes maximum, depending on the size of the wedges. It could be as little as 20 minutes, if you cut them smaller.
Once they have gone soft, and you can see the sugars appearing on the top, they’re ready to remove from the oven.
Once you take them out, let them sit until completely cool, but no longer than that.
Portion as necessary into freezer bags or suitable containers, label, and freeze.
How To Thaw Frozen Sweet Potatoes
There are several ways of thawing frozen sweet potatoes, and it depends on your preference.
The first method is the universal one for frozen food: stick the whole container into the fridge. Let it thaw overnight, and you’ll be able to use them the next day.
You can also use a frying pan to defrost sweet potatoes, no need to wait for them to thaw. Put them with a little oil on a gentle heat, and the water will start to evaporate.
This will mean the potatoes will take a few minutes to defrost, and a bit longer to cook.
If you dice the sweet potatoes small enough before you freeze them, you can also throw them straight into a cooking meal, no need to defrost them first.
This works best in soups or stews, where the temperature is much hotter. You’ll need to extend the total cooking time to allow for the drop in temperature that the sweet potatoes will cause while they defrost.