Different types of ovens all have different capabilities, but with some slight adjustments you can figure out how to artfully bake a sweet potato in the toaster oven as well as in the convection oven or even the conventional oven.
And why wouldn't you want more options to cook a sweet potato? According to Harvard Health Publishing, the sweet potato is increasing in popularity, with consumption rates increasing by 42 percent between 2000 and 2016. Maybe people are hearing about how these root vegetables have more beta carotene than any other vegetable, or maybe they merely heard sweet potatoes have lots of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
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It's definitely a point that science is emphasizing: A November 2016 review published in Food Research International noted that sweet potatoes are good for fighting oxidation, inflammation and aging, as well as for helping you manage diabetes and obesity. That might be one of the reasons sweet potato fries seem so irresistible.
Read more: Sweet Potato Fries Nutrition
Using the Convection Oven
If you're just cooking for a single person, making your sweet potato in the toaster oven might be your best option. As the Department of Energy points out, toaster ovens are useful for cooking smaller quantities of food. You can pop a sweet potato in the toaster oven and cook it at the same temperature and for the same time as you would in the conventional oven but while heating up a much smaller amount of space.
Even if you use a full-sized convection oven, you'll use less energy than you would with a conventional oven. The Department of Energy estimates convection ovens use 20 percent less than conventional ones. That's because convection ovens use a fan to circulate the hot air inside, meaning food can be cooked at a lower temperature and in less time. Some toaster ovens even have a convection feature.
Your product manual for your convection oven can give you specifics on how to adjust recipes written for conventional ovens. For example, Maytag encourages subtracting 25 degrees Fahrenheit from the temperature listed for a conventional oven and multiplying the cooking time by 0.75.
This formula holds up to cooking techniques shared by New Jersey Department of Agriculture, which gives specific directions for cooking sweet potatoes in a convection oven — at a temperature 25 degrees lower and for three-quarters of the cooking time. Per this recommendation, cook the sweet potato in the convection oven at 425 F for 25 to 30 minutes as opposed to cooking it in the conventional oven at 450 F for 30 to 35 minutes.
Making Toast in the Toaster
The beauty of a toaster oven is that it can toast food as easily as it can bake it, meaning one of your options for cooking your sweet potato in the toaster oven is to turn the convection feature off and make sweet potato toast.
Although some techniques for making sweet potato toast, such as those described by the Magnolia Regional Health Care Center, entail slicing sweet potatoes and inserting them into the toaster the way you would bread, you could just as easily lay the slices flat inside the toaster oven. Once the slices are tender, top them as you would toast, using such healthy options as peanut butter, egg or avocado.
All of those options will give you a boost of healthy fat. As a review published in May 2013 in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition explained, avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, making them great for cardiovascular health and weight management.
With these ideas, you should have no problem creating a healthy snack from a sweet potato, and cooking it up in an energy-efficient, no-hassle way!
- Maytag: “Convection Oven Vs. Conventional Oven”
- Department of Energy: “Cooking Up Some Energy Saving Tips”
- Magnolia Regional Health Care Center: “Sweet Potato Toast”
- Food Research International: “Chemical Constituents and Health Effects of Sweet Potato”
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Vegetable of the Month: Sweet Potatoes”
- New Jersey Department of Agriculture: "Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes"