1. Turn oven heat on 375 degrees.
2. Scrub sweet potatoes well, then slice through skin lengthwise with sharp knife, just into potato but not all the way through.
3. Place potatoes on tin foil covered baking sheet. *see note below*
4. Put in oven and bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until potatoes are soft. (This will depend on how big they are.)
5. Remove, let cool slightly, then over bowl, squeeze potato skin between fingers and potato insides will squeeze out; take spoon to gently remove any still clinging to skin - discard skins, do not eat.
6. Add butter, salt, and pepper to sweet potatoes in the bowl, then with a potato masher, mash until smooth. Add more seasonings and butter if preferred.
When I discovered how easy these sweet potatoes are to make, I started making them more and more often, sometimes as a substitute for regular mashed potatoes. Why struggle with peeling them when baking works so well? Also, why let all those good nutrients boil out in the water? These are the absolute best sweet potatoes you'll ever make - you'll never go back to boiling them again.
* The reason you need to line the baking sheet with tin foil is sweet potatoes are LOADED with sugar; and when that sugar bubbles up out of the slit in the skin, it turns black and hard as rock candy - you will NEVER get it off your baking sheet. This is also the reason why you don't make these baked potatoes by just setting them on the oven rack like you would white baking potatoes.*