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orange Jewel yam, baked and sliced in half with a white background

How to bake Jewel yams (sweet potatoes) without foil

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This is a how-to post on how I bake Jewel yams. There are tons of ways to do it and it’s so easy.

Two unbaked Jewel yams that have been stabbed for venting and placed on a silicone make for baking. These are ready to go into the oven.
The 2 giant Jewel yams I am about to bake, together they weigh over 3 pounds

This post might seem a bit basic, but when I was younger and learning the ways of food, I would have benefitted from this post.

A minor kitchen disaster

I remember the time 20-something me roasted a whole eggplant in the oven without poking holes or stabbing it to vent and it exploded. An apartment neighbor actually came to check on me because the KA-BOOM was so loud. I was left with eggplant guts all over the oven and I had to go get a new eggplant for my curry. The eggplant curry was fabulous, but the recipe was written by someone who assumed I knew how to roast a whole eggplant in my oven. Here you go 20-something me, you’re welcome!

Jewels yams are my fav

I prefer Jewel yams to any other yams or sweet potatoes, so does the primary Plant Test Kitchen taster, Ryan. Jewel yams are rich in flavor. Baking without wrapping the yams in foil gives the yams a soufflé-like, less wet, fluffier texture.

For a long time, I kept buying Garnet yams, because I liked the name, but I’m a Jewel yam gal, through and through. I actually had to put effort into reminding myself that I preferred the Jewels. For me, Jewels have the right flavor, starchiness, and texture. Yams are starchier than sweet potatoes.

I bake Jewel yams in the oven once or twice per week, especially in the fall and winter because having the oven on warms up the apartment and they are a yummy staple to have around.

Sometimes when these tubers are done baking, we pull them out of the oven and cut them open and eat them with:

  • Earth Balance, salt and pepper,
  • Hummus and Garlic Shake or whichever sauces we have around.
  • Ryan has been known to load them with hot sauce and hummus.
  • Quinoa, another very easy thing to make ahead
  • Pan-roasted Chickpeas

Other times, when they’ve cooled enough, I drop them in a big ziplock bag and put them in the fridge. We eat them later as snacks, with salads or in power bowls. We eat the skins, but that’s up to you.

Let’s bake some yams!

Today, I am baking two very large Jewel yams. Together, these 2 giant beauties weigh over 3 pounds. I’ve preheated the oven to 400 degrees F. I’ve stabbed them each about 7 times with a big knife which gave me flashbacks to analyzing the shower scene from Psycho in college film class. Truly, it was a door-opener for filmmakers. Thank you, Hitchcock, for your big finger-up to the censorship people.

A big knife and two jewel yams on a cutting board
Really big knife, not unlike the one in Psycho

Then I put the yams on a sil-mat lined pan, put them in the oven and bake for an hour. Then I turn the oven off, leaving the yams in the oven. I set a timer for another hour or 2 so I don’t forget they are still in the oven. When they are really big like this I’d say a longer time in the oven is best.

How long?

I usually bake them for at least an hour when they are smaller and I am doing 4 or 6 Jewels, they usually get fully cooked. You can always cut them open to see if they are cooked all the way through. They should be very soft. Please be careful about handling them because they will be very hot. If you cut one open and it’s not done you can press it back together or lay the cut pieces cut-side down on the sil-mat and put them back in the oven.

A little syrupy ooze will form on the sil-mat and it will smell delicious (like autumn) when you open the oven.

Oven baked Jewel yams with a little bit of starchy, sugary ooze on a sil-mat
Oven-baked Jewel yams with a little bit of starchy, sugary ooze
orange Jewel yam, baked and sliced in half with a white background
Ready to eat or store in the fridge
orange Jewel yam, baked and sliced in half with a white background
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5 from 2 votes

How To Bake Jewel Yams

My favorite yam / sweet potato, baked without foil. Baking without wrapping the yams in foil gives a soufflé-like, less wet, fluffier texture. A great make-ahead to eat various ways later.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Indian, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword flavorful, make-ahead
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 1 minute
Servings 6 Servings, 8 oz each
Calories 268kcal


  • knife
  • oven
  • pan
  • sil-mat or parchment to line pan


  • 3 pounds Jewel yams you can make as many or as few as you want


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Rinse and dry Jewel yams, stab ends and middles with a big knife to vent
  • Place yams on a sil-mat or parchment paper lined pan in the oven
  • Bake for one hour, turn oven off and leave yams in the oven for an hour or 2 if desired
    After one hour of baking, carefully (with protective oven-mitt) remove one yam and cut it open to check to see if it's soft and cooked all the way through.
    If it's not cooked all the way through push the yam back together or put both sides of the yam cut-side down on the mat and cook longer.
    Cooking time depends on how big your yams are. I like big yams, so I tend to just let them hang out in the oven.


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 1851mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 313IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

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What’s your favorite variety of yam or sweet potato and how do you eat it? What’s your best kitchen disaster story, have you ever exploded something in your oven? Tell me in the comments section below.

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