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The sweet potato is one of the healthiest starchy vegetable options around. So naturally, you probably want to incorporate fresh sweet potatoes into recipes. That’s where you might hit a snag: some recipes call for a pound (or more) of sweet potatoes. But how does that translate at the grocery store? How many sweet potatoes in a pound? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- A Quick History of the Sweet Potato
- How Many Sweet Potatoes in a Pound?
- Need a More Precise Measurement?
- How Much is a Pound of Sweet Potatoes?
- Health Benefits of the Sweet Potato
- How Do You Eat Sweet Potatoes?
- Getting Creative with Sweet Potatoes
A Quick History of the Sweet Potato
Before we jump into our central question, let’s take a look at this beloved root vegetable and where it came from. This colorful veggie has been cultivated for thousands of years. Historians have discovered that sweet potatoes were cultivated in South America for 5000 years! They were next brought to Easter Island, New Zealand, and Hawaii. The plant could be propagated by vine cuttings, so it was easy to spread.
Today, sweet potatoes are grown all over the world. They are highly adaptable and will grow in many different climates. Sweet potatoes are incorporated into the cuisine in Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.
As you may have guessed from its history, the sweet potato grows more readily in warmer climates. In the United States, it was initially grown in the South (in present-day Virginia) in the 1600s. From there, it spread both north and south as a crop. It proliferated more in the South. Today, it is much more popular in the southern U.S. than it is in the Northern U.S.
If you’re also wondering “how many yams in a pound?” the answer will be similar. But contrary to popular belief, yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing. Both are root vegetables, but yams are sweeter, grow larger, and are generally not as nutritionally rich as sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are also grown much more extensively (at least in the United States) than yams are. Yams are much more popular in Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of Central America. Interestingly enough, the sweet potato is related to the morning glory, while the yam is related to the lily.
If you’re curious to learn more about the sweet potato’s fascinating history, check out this cool video!
How Many Sweet Potatoes in a Pound?
The answer to this question is a little complex. After all, the number of sweet potatoes in a pound will depend on how you’re measuring them. These are some common ways you’re likely to need to measure sweet potatoes.
It might be possible to find a 1 lb sweet potato, but that would be highly unusual. So 1 pound of sweet potatoes will almost always be made up of multiple sweet potatoes. Exactly how many are in a pound will depend on the size of the potatoes. We’ll break them into three categories: small, medium, and large. Here’s the average weight of each:
Small – About 3-4 ounces each
Medium – About 5-7 ounces each
Large – About 8 ounces each
We’ll use these sizes of potato for our measurements today. If your grocery store has only one size, it’s usually safe to assume each is a medium sweet potato. Typically, most sweet potatoes in stores are all around the same size.
So how many sweet potatoes make a pound? Here’s a general estimate to use when buying raw sweet potatoes:
4 small sweet potatoes = 1 pound
3 medium sweet potatoes = 1 pound
2 large sweet potatoes = 1 pound
Cut Sweet Potatoes
If your recipe calls for a certain amount of cut sweet potatoes, the measurement becomes a little different. Chopped potatoes are usually measured by the cup rather than the pound. About four cups of chopped or sliced sweet potato will give you a pound. So if you need four cups of sliced potato, buy a pound of sweet potatoes.
Keep in mind that the smaller the pieces of chopped or sliced sweet potato, the more will fit in a cup. Use your best judgment when adding chopped potato to something you’re cooking.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Some recipes may call for a certain amount of mashed sweet potatoes. Most sweet potato pie recipes will., and mashed sweet potato is essential to a good sweet potato casserole. So whether you scoop them out of a can or boil and mash them yourself with a food processor or potato masher, you’ll need to know: how many mashed or pureed sweet potatoes are in a pound?
Mashed potato is a lot denser, so it takes less of it to make a pound. Usually, you need 1 pound of sweet potatoes to make 2 cups of mashed sweet potato.
Need a More Precise Measurement?
Remember that the measurements we’ve put forth are just estimates. After all, there’s no standard weight for a small or medium size sweet potato. If you need to measure your sweet potatoes down to the ounce, it might be worth getting a food scale. These small scales sit on the counter and can fairly accurately measure the weight of food.
How Much is a Pound of Sweet Potatoes?
Now you know the answer to “how many sweet potatoes in 1 pound?” But before you run off to the store, you probably want to know how much a pound of sweet potatoes will cost.
This of course varies greatly depending on the country you live in and the general cost of living in your area. But luckily, sweet potatoes are very affordable. They usually range from about $.50 to $1.50 per pound.
Health Benefits of the Sweet Potato
The sweet-tasting flesh of the sweet potato can create some truly memorable dishes. You’ve also probably heard that it’s full of health benefits. But what makes the sweet potato so good for you? Here are some of its major health benefits:
They have plenty of fiber – One sweet potato of average size gives you 6.6 grams of fiber. Fiber is important to gut health, and some research indicates that eating a diet high in fiber may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
They’re especially rich in beta-carotene – Like other orange vegetables, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. This is a plant pigment with a number of key benefits for your health. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects you from cell damage. Its powerful antioxidant effects may also reduce your cancer risk.
They’re rich in vitamin A – Vitamin A is necessary for a range of functions within the body including cell division. It also supports eye health and vision. Like vitamin C, vitamin A also helps boost your immune system and reduce your risk of illness.
They’re a good source of vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 is important to how your whole body functions. It’s vital to the communication between brain and nerve cells and it also regulates metabolism.
They contain vitamin C – Vitamin C is very helpful to your immune system. It also has benefits for bone health and a number of other metabolic processes.
They have plenty of antioxidants – Antioxidants help reverse damage from harmful particles known as free radicals. Damage from free radicals can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.
They contain lots of essential minerals – Sweet potatoes include manganese, copper, and potassium. Manganese helps support a range of metabolic processes and is especially important for bone health. Copper also has a number of other benefits, one of which is properly using iron.
How Do You Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Now you know that when it comes to nutrition, sweet potatoes have an edge over regular potatoes. But how can you incorporate them into your diet? Here are a few ways you can use sweet potatoes in your diet.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
This is a great, simple way to enjoy sweet potatoes. A baked sweet potato is a lot like a baked white potato. It’s flavorful enough that you can season it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. But if you want to make your sweet potato extra sweet, a sprinkling of brown sugar will make it a real treat. Some people prefer to add some butter alongside the brown sugar.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potato fries are a modern classic. They’re a great way to mix up burger night or just enjoy something different. They’re cooked in the same way: you just need to slice them in uniform pieces, season as needed, and fry them. If you’re making them at home, you can bake them to reduce the fat content. They’re still delicious! Sometimes, you can find them offered at restaurants, too.
Bacon and Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Want to try something different? This breakfast treat will help you see the sweet potato in a whole new way. It functions like a breakfast sandwich, except the sweet potato itself serves as the main carbohydrate. And since sweet potatoes are so packed with nutrients, you may find yourself more energized throughout the day!
To make this dish, simply bake the sweet potatoes as needed. You may want to scoop some off the top to make a kind of bowl. Line it with cooked bacon and place a fried egg on top. Of course, feel free to add cheese or any other toppings you like.
Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet potato with bacon and eggs might be something a lot different than you’re used to. But pumpkin pie is as traditional as it gets! Much like pumpkin pie, sweet potato blends a vegetable puree with classic spices and vanilla to give it its signature taste. Its good all year round, but sweet potato pie enjoys a surge in popularity each Thanksgiving.
Of course, you can make sweet potato pie with a can of sweet potatoes. But if you want the real thing, cook and mash the potato yourself!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole is another traditional favorite that’s perfect for holiday get-togethers. It’s seasoned similarly, but it usually includes pecans and toasted marshmallows on top. Like the sweet potato pie, this one can be made from canned or freshly mashed sweet potato.
Sweet Potato Greens
This one is a bonus! You might not know that the leaves and stems of sweet potatoes are edible, too. In fact, there are plenty of cultures across the world that prepare and eat them as greens. If you’re feeling adventurous, cook the greens as you would collard greens, mustard greens, or turnip greens.
You don’t often see potato greens at the grocery store. So if you want to try this interesting food, you might need to grow your own potatoes or find someone who does.
Getting Creative with Sweet Potatoes
The next time you find yourself surveying the vegetable selection at your local grocery store, we hope you’ll confidently know how many sweet potatoes to get for your next recipe. The good news is that they keep well. And like white potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, they can be incorporated into a whole range of dishes. Between the sweet taste and the health benefits, the sweet potato just might become your favorite food!
Still have some questions on how many sweet potatoes make a pound? Here are some answers:
How much do 2 sweet potatoes weigh?
Sweet potatoes come in a range of sizes. In very general terms, there are 8 small sweet potatoes, 6 medium sweet potatoes, or 4 large sweet potatoes in 2 pounds.
How many sweet potatoes make up 3 pounds?
Going by the estimate above, there are usually about 12 small sweet potatoes, 9 medium sweet potatoes, or 6 large sweet potatoes in 3 pounds.
How many cups of sweet potatoes is 2 lbs?
The answer to this depends on how you’re measuring. Either about four cups of mashed sweet potatoes or about eight cups chopped sweet potatoes will give you two pounds.