These Sautéed Sweet Potatoes are well-seasoned with lots of garlic, easy to make, and ready in just 30 minutes. A healthy and delicious vegetable side dish, these flavorful pan-fried sweet potatoes are made with only 8 ingredients and are perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
Whenever I make dinner, I often use different cooking methods to make the meal come together more quickly.
If, for instance, I'm using my oven to cook a whole roasted chicken and a sheet pan of Brussels sprouts, then I can easily prepare my other side dishes on the stovetop.
These sautéed sweet potatoes are the perfect side dish to make when your oven is otherwise occupied. They're quick, easy, and perfectly seasoned. And they pair well with a variety of meats, vegetables, and other sides.
I love sautéing sweet potatoes in a cast iron skillet because it's naturally non-stick, cooks evenly, and caramelizes them really well. But, you can also use a Teflon-free non-stick skillet if you prefer.
So, if you want to learn how to sauté sweet potatoes on the stove, keep reading for all of my best tips and tricks.
>> Want to learn more ways you can use your cast iron skillet? Check out this Brown Butter Cornbread, Seared Chicken Breast, and Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Ready in 30 Minutes- This quick vegetable side dish will help you get dinner on the table in no time. Cook these sweet potatoes on the stovetop while you have chicken roasting in the oven.
- Only 8 Ingredients- Most of which are pantry staples! Sweet potatoes, garlic, olive oil, and a few seasonings are all you need.
- Healthy- Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, vitamin A, potassium, and plenty of other vitamins and minerals.
- Garlicky- These pan-sautéed sweet potatoes are seasoned with both fresh garlic and garlic powder for extra garlic flavor. Garlic lovers, rejoice!
- Customizable- Not a fan of smoked paprika? Try chili powder instead. Or add a little cayenne pepper to give these cast iron skillet sweet potatoes some heat. Don't be afraid to customize the seasonings in this recipe to your liking.
Here are some notes on the key ingredients. For the full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Sweet Potatoes- Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into small ½-inch cubes so they cook quickly and evenly on the stovetop.
- Garlic- Add a few cloves of fresh minced garlic for a bold garlic flavor.
- Olive Oil- Light olive oil is preferred because it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.
- Seasonings- I use a mix of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. The flavor of smoked paprika pairs so well with sweet potatoes.
- Water- Just a small amount of water creates steam and helps the potatoes cook through without burning.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing this sautéed sweet potato recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Sweet Potatoes- Prefer butternut squash? Give my sautéed butternut squash recipe a try. Diced pumpkin, acorn squash, hubbard squash, and carrots can also be cooked using this same method. However, the cook time may vary slightly depending on the vegetable.
- Garlic- Use an extra ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in place of fresh garlic or leave the fresh garlic out altogether. Alternatively, garlic-infused olive oil can be used to sauté the sweet potatoes.
- Olive Oil- Any high-heat, neutral-flavored oil can be used in this recipe. If you want to use butter, I recommend mixing it with a little oil to prevent it from burning.
- Seasonings- Swap out the seasonings in this recipe for any blend of seasonings you like.
- Water- Substitute the water with a little vegetable broth or chicken stock for extra flavor.
Sweet potatoes taste delicious with just a little salt and butter. But, seasoning your pan-fried sweet potatoes with spices, herbs, and sweeteners really helps them shine. Here are a few ideas:
- Spicy & Sweet- Add a few shakes of cayenne pepper and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a vegetable side dish that's both spicy and sweet.
- Cinnamon Brown Sugar- Swap the savory spices for warm, sweet spices that are perfect for fall. Try a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.
- Herbed- Chopped fresh thyme and rosemary pair beautifully with sautéed sweet potatoes.
- Goat Cheese- Sprinkle some goat cheese over the potatoes after they've finished cooking for a tangy, cheesy flavor that pairs well with sweet potatoes.
- Indian-Inspired- Try using curry powder, turmeric, coriander, and cumin for a warm, Indian-spiced side dish.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Cast Iron Skillet- I love using cast iron for just about everything I cook, but especially for sautéing sweet potatoes on the stovetop. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is naturally non-stick. Plus, cast iron heats evenly and retains heat well, which means the sweet potatoes brown and cook through evenly.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make these sautéed sweet potatoes with garlic.
Step 1: Sauté sweet potatoes. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet. Once hot, add sweet potatoes to the skillet, spreading them out into a single layer. Cover the skillet with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir the sweet potato and pour the water into the skillet. Quickly cover again with the lid and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and tender.
Step 2: Season sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the sweet potato, stirring to coat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and serve.
Tips for Success
- Cut the sweet potatoes into small, uniform pieces. Cutting the sweet potatoes into uniform ½-inch cubes ensures they cook quickly and evenly.
- Choose the right type of skillet. Use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a Teflon-free non-stick skillet to ensure the cooked sweet potatoes do not stick to your pan.
- Use enough oil. Don't shy away from using enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. The oil prevents the sweet potatoes from sticking and helps them brown.
- Don't overcrowd the skillet. Use a large skillet so you can spread the cubed sweet potatoes out into an even layer. Overcrowding the pan may prevent the sweet potatoes from cooking evenly.
- Resist the urge to stir too much. We want to brown and caramelize the sweet potatoes to give them lots of flavor.
What to Serve With Sautéed Sweet Potatoes
Pan-sautéed sweet potatoes are a versatile vegetable side dish that pairs well with a variety of main dishes and other sides. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken
- Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie
- Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Chicken Sausage
- Turkey Smash Burgers
- Parmesan-Crusted Halibut
- One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- Vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Honey Chipotle Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Air Fryer Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Kale Crunch Salad
How to Use Leftover Sautéed Sweet Potatoes
Leftover sautéed sweet potatoes are versatile and easy to repurpose into another delicious meal. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use leftover sautéed sweet potatoes:
- Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash
- Red Curry Lentils with Sweet Potato
- Sweet Potato Tacos, Quesadillas, or Burritos
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Purée into Sweet Potato Soup
- Use as a Salad Topping
- Sweet Potato Casserole
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store leftover sautéed sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
- Freezer- According to the U.S. Sweet Potato Council, cooked sweet potatoes may be stored for up to one year in the freezer.
Quick Tip: Whole, raw sweet potatoes will last up to 2 weeks if stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area.
How to Reheat
If your leftover sautéed sweet potatoes are frozen, I recommend thawing them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Stovetop- Heat a small amount of butter or olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the sweet potatoes and heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until fully warmed through.
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the leftover sautéed sweet potatoes out evenly on an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. Heat the sweet potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
- Microwave- Place the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe dish and cover them with a lid or damp paper towel. Heat on HIGH in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until the potatoes are fully warmed through.
- Air Fryer- Preheat the air fryer to 325°F for 5 minutes. Spray the basket with a small amount of oil and add the leftover sweet potato cubes. Heat for 4-5 minutes or until fully warmed through.
When it comes to making sautéed sweet potatoes ahead of time, it doesn't get more convenient.
Peel and cut raw sweet potatoes into cubes and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator with ice water for up to 4 days before cooking. Storing them this way prevents browning and helps them remain crisp.
Alternatively, sauté the sweet potatoes up to 3 days before serving. Then, reheat them on the stovetop or in the oven for the best results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sweet potato skin is edible and full of fiber. Many people leave the sweet potato skin on because they enjoy the texture, the nutritional benefits, and the reduced prep time. For this recipe, I recommend peeling the skin off, but if you prefer to leave it on, that's fine too!
Sweet potatoes are root vegetables, which means they grow underground. If your sweet potatoes have a lot of dirt on them, give them a quick rinse before peeling. Otherwise, just peel the skin off and you're good to go.
When cut into ½ to ¾-inch cubes and covered with a lid, it takes about 13-15 minutes to fully cook sweet potatoes in a skillet over medium-low heat.
You'll know your sautéed sweet potatoes are done cooking when a fork easily pierces through the cube with little to no resistance.
Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions. You can also connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or via email at [email protected].
More Vegetable Side Dishes
Sautéed Sweet Potatoes
- 10-inch cast iron skillet with lid
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil
- 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet. Once hot, add sweet potatoes to the skillet, spreading them out into a single layer. Cover the skillet with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir the sweet potato and pour the water into the skillet. Quickly cover again with the lid and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and tender.2 tablespoons light olive oil, 2 large sweet potatoes, ¼ cup water
- Sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the sweet potato, stirring to coat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and serve.1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 2 cloves garlic
- Quick Tip: Use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a Teflon-free non-stick skillet to ensure the cooked sweet potato does not stick to your pan.
- Storage: Store leftover sautéed sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to one year.
- Make Ahead: Peel and cut raw sweet potatoes into cubes and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator with ice water for up to 4 days before cooking.
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