Hard Work Generates Results

Guaranteed Crispy Yam Fries

The Scholarly Plate

What is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?

You may be surprised to find out that they are not the same thing! Some varieties of sweet potato are also called yams in parts of the US and Canada, but in fact sweet potato is not part of the same family, they instead are part of the Morning Glory family. Sweet potatoes can have white, red, yellow, purple or brown skins and white, yellow, orange or reddish flesh. In Canada what we’re purchasing at the grocery store, despite them sometimes being mislabelled as yams; are sweet potatoes. International food markets or Carribean/African food stores will carry true yams.



  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 TBSP starch (tapioca, arrowroot, any type will do)
  • Spices of choice; chipotle, garlic salt, rosemary
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Cut sweet potatoes into consistently-sized 1/4′ ‘cards’ and then into 1/4′ matchsticks
  3. Put the cut sticks into cold water in a covered bowl for 1 hour – overnight.
  4. Pour sticks into colander, rinse with fresh water and pat dry until they are no longer visibly wet
  5. Line baking sheets with aluminium foil, dull side up and spritz with non-stick cooking spray
  6. Put several batches of matchsticks into a large ziploc bag with 2 TBSP starch  (arrowroot, tapioca, any starch will work well) and a lot of air, shake them around until evenly coated
  7. Empty bag into a mixing bowl and toss with 1 TBSP of oil. Do not use olive oil as it will smoke, grapeseed, canola or peanut will all work well
  8. Add spices to taste; garlic salt, chipotle, crushed rosemary
  9. Spread out matchsticks on the baking sheets and arrange so they are not touching, there needs to be enough airflow to dry all of them properly
  10. Do not crowd the pans in the oven, do several batches if need be, too much moisture being released in the oven will not allow them to dry
  11. Set time for 15 minutes then flip all fries and turn sheets to avoid any hot spots in oven
  12. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until they are cooked (browning and crisping)
  13. After 10-15 minutes prop door open halfway, let cool and crisp up before serving
  14. Toss with salt and serve hot