These naturally vegan air fryer sweet potato cubes are tasty and crispy. The added red onions and maple syrup give them a punch of savory/sweet flavor. The small amount of added olive oil makes them extra crispy. This recipe was developed to serve with my Tofu Vegan Scrambled Eggs but is a delicious plant-based side dish for any meal of the day.
Love me some sweeties! Roasted sweet potatoes have to be one of the most satisfying plant-based sides – or even main dishes out there. These sweet potatoes are easy to make, tasty, and so versatile too! Read more below about why sweet potatoes are a favorite plant-based superfood.
You can quickly fix these crispy sweet potato chunks for a quick snack, to serve as a perfect side dish, or to add to a plant-based breakfast burrito, burrito bowls, or as part of a healthy Buddha bowl. This recipe is for a sweet version. Stay tuned for a savory version of roasted sweet potatoes soon.
Why should I use an air fryer?
An air fryer is a versatile and convenient kitchen appliance that offers several benefits. It allows for healthier cooking by using minimal or no oil, reducing the intake of unhealthy fats and calories. With its fast cooking times, it saves time and energy, making it ideal for busy individuals or families. Additionally, air fryers are easy to use and clean, with user-friendly controls and dishwasher-safe components. Overall, an air fryer provides a healthier, time-saving, and more efficient alternative to traditional frying methods.
Air fryer pumpkin fries and butternut squash fries are both cooked perfectly crisp and caramelized on the outside and tender on the inside. Using an air fryer takes basic corn on the cob to a whole new level of tender-crisp delicious! You are going to love how these sweet potatoes turn out when cooked in the air fryer.
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What are sweet potatoes?
First of all, sweet potatoes are not actually related to potato potatoes. What we know as potatoes – russets, white, rose, gold, red, etc, are actually in the nightshade family, and sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory family. Nor are sweet potatoes yams, which belong to an entirely different family. In fact, when you see “yams” in the grocery store, they are most likely actually sweet potatoes.
The different varieties of sweet potatoes
There are around 1000 different varieties of sweet potatoes, though you are only likely to encounter a handful at the grocery store and perhaps a few more varieties at your local farmer’s market.
Sweet potatoes are known for their creamy orangy flesh, but some varieties can be white or even purple. Their flesh is mild and sweet and can be combined with sweet or savory add-ins and toppings to lend just the flavor you are looking for!
All the healthy benefits of sweet potatoes
No matter the variety or color of your sweet potatoes, you will find them to be a powerhouse of nutritious deliciousness when eaten whole – skin and all.
Sweet potatoes provide fiber, a healthy chunk of the daily values for vitamin A, B6, C, magnesium, and potassium. In fact, one colorful sweet potato provides a ridiculous 700% of your daily vitamin A needs!
Sweet potatoes with dark orange or purple flesh also provide antioxidants that protect your body against free radicals that can cause damage and disease. They may also provide help in building and maintaining a healthy gut as well. To learn more about the health benefits of sweet potatoes, read this useful article from Health Line on the 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes.
Ingredients needed to make these air-fried sweet potatoes:
The ingredients are super simple and what you probably have on hand already.
- sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- red onion diced
- maple syrup
- extra virgin olive oil – I use robust flavor olive oil
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
- optional sweet bell peppers
- You will also need an air fryer.
A few notes about the ingredients
- You can leave the peels on or remove them. Today I chose to remove the peels.
- You can use any variety of onions you’d like. Today I used a red onion. I also like shallots – but they can be a challenge to peel…and I didn’t have any on hand. A small onion will yield a heaping cup.
- Sometimes I add a half-cup diced sweet bell peppers too. You can use any variety of sweet bell pepper you’d like. I don’t recommend green bell peppers as the flavor is a little harsh.
- There is very little oil used in this recipe. If you eat oil-free then omit the oil. Be aware that the sweet potatoes won’t crisp up quite as much. I also sometimes spritz the oil on instead with an oil spritzer I bought on Amazon.
- The oil I like best for flavor is robust flavor extra virgin olive oil.
Directions to make these super simple air fryer sweet potato cubes
Step 1: Peel and dice
Peel two medium/large sweet potatoes and dice them into bite-sized sweet potato chunks – OR leave the skins on for added fiber and nutrition. Dice the red onion (and the bell pepper if using).
If you choose to leave the sweet potato peels on, make sure to scrub them well and cut out any weird pieces, including the shriveled ends. It’s easier to cut the unsavory pieces out BEFORE you dice them. If you wait until after dicing the sweet potatoes, you’ll have to check every little piece and will likely miss a few.
Step 2: Toss with the oil and maple syrup
Place the cut vegetables in a med/large bowl. Add in the salt, pepper, maple syrup, and oil. Give it a good toss to evenly coat.
Step 3: Air fry the sweet potatoes
Place the prepared sweet potatoes into an air fryer basket in a single layer. If you are working with a smaller air fryer, you might need to work in batches.
This recipe is not especially messy, however, you might want to use a disposable air fryer basket liner for easier cleanup. Make sure to select the correct size for your basket size.
Cook at 380° for ten minutes, turning the potato pieces or shaking the basket halfway through. *A special note about the air fryer cook time* Not all air fryers are created equally. I have three different air fryers in my house and they all cook a little differently. Check to see if your cooked sweet potato cubes are fork-tender. If you need more cooking time, add in one or two-minute increments until finished.
A few questions and answers
Yes, you can cook sweet potatoes in the oven. Place a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Check after ten minutes. You will probably need to add more time in two to three-minute increments. Also, I recommend spritzing with a little extra oil for total crispness.
This recipe is best to serve immediately. However, they should keep in a tightly covered container for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave. They will lose their crispness though.
Yes, you can! Use the same cooking guidelines.
For some other delicious plant-based sweet potato recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try:
Some of these sweet potato recipes are savory and some are sweet. But I can guarantee they are all pretty tasty!
- Sweet Potato Brown Sugar Praline Boats
- Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar and Pecans
- African Peanut Soup
- Rich and Hearty Sweet Potato Stew
- Black Bean Burgers with Sweet Potatoes
The printable recipe card
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Air Fryer Sweet Potato Cubes
- air fryer
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil I use robust flavor
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- optional sweet bell pepper
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes – about 1-inch thick. Place in a medium-sized bowl. See notes.
- Dice the red onion into smallish pieces – but larger than minced. Place in the bowl with the cubed sweet potatoes.
- Add the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well so that the sweet potatoes are evenly covered.
- Place in the air fryer's basket. Select 380° and cook for ten minutes, turning halfway through.
- Serve hot. You can save any leftovers or use for meal prep if kept tightly covered in the fridge for up to five days. Be aware though that the crispy exterior will soften.