Have you tried the delicious goodness of Japanese Sweet Potato recipes? Try these amazing variations that are healthy, low in calories (and Weight Watchers points) and full of nutrition.
Since I started sharing What I Eat in a Day on a whole-food, plant based, gut-healing diet, I’ve shared pictures of my Japanese sweet potatoes and gotten a ton of requests for more information about these yummy tubers.
I understand, because I hadn’t even heard of these potatoes until a few months ago and now I’ve developed a bit of an obsession. I eat them almost every day.
This Japanese Sweet Potato Ultimate Guide to answer all your questions plus provide a list of the top recipes that use them. Along with the recipes, I’ll show you where to purchase them, how to cook them, meal prep tips and more.
What are Japanese Sweet Potatoes?
Japanese sweet potatoes are oblong or round potatoes with a rusty red colored skin and a densely, cream colored flesh. The flesh more dry and starchy than a sweet potato (what we in the United States refer to as a yam) and sweeter than any other potato.
Japanese sweet potatoes are also called:
- Japanese white sweet potatoes
- Japanese yams
- Asian sweet potatoes
- Murasaki Sweet Potatoes
- Mountain yams
- Satsuma Imo
Although these potatoes can be somewhat hard to find, they are no more expensive than other types of potatoes and are well worth the hunt.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes on a Whole Food, Plant Based Diet
When I switched to a Whole Food, Plant Based (WFPB) diet earlier this year in order to heal my gut, I noticed that in many Facebook groups I joined people raved about these delicious potatoes.
I was curious what all the buzz was about…and when I tasted one I had the answer.
Japanese sweet potatoes taste completely different from a regular sweet potato and different from a white potato. They are denser, sweeter, and almost creamy and a bit caramel-like in flavor. They really are worth finding.
These potatoes are perfect for vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, healing for the gut, and great for Weight Watchers members (especially WW Purple because these are zero points, and just 3 points for 1/2 cup cooked on WW Green and Blue). They are also low in calorie density, brimming with nutrition and are excellent for anyone who wants to eat for weight loss or a healthier diet.
Looking for more ways to enjoy potatoes? Check out these 50+ weight loss potato recipes.
Where are Japanese Sweet Potatoes Near Me?
You are ready to try Japanese sweet potatoes. Now, where you can you find them near you?
Trader Joe’s usually has these potatoes in stock both sold by the pound and in bags labeled Murasaki potatoes. Both types taste the same. (I tested this. You are welcome.)
I have purchased these at Whole Foods. Whole Foods also often carries Hannah sweet potatoes, which aren’t quite as good as Japanese but are a close second.
Unfortunately ordering online will be more expensive, but is an option if you live in an area where they aren’t available.
Asian Grocery Stories
My husband and I headed over to our local Asian market and sure enough, they had plenty of Japanese sweet potatoes available in the produce section. (A trip to the Asian market also makes for a fun time seeing all the live seafood and viewing about 50 types of mushrooms. I picked up several new varieties of rice that we are excited to try.)
Request at Your Local Store
Chat with your local grocery store produce manager and they might be willing to order some for you.
Grow Your Own
Japanese sweet potatoes can be grown in your backyard garden by planting the whole potato. Get a gardening tutorial here.
Try Hannah’s or Freida’s Potatoes
While not as good as a regular Asian sweet potato, if you can’t find any near you look for Hannah sweet potatoes or Frieda’s Stokes purple sweet potatoes which are the closest in flavor and texture. (There are other purple sweet potatoes, but those have a similar texture and flavor to white potatoes.)
How to Cook Japanese White Sweet Potatoes
What is the best way to cook Japanese sweet potatoes?
After trying a number of different cooking methods, the best way to eat Japanese sweet potatoes is roasted in a hot oven. Here’s how to do it.
How to Roast Japanese Sweet Potatoes in the Oven
Simple oven roasting provides the best texture and flavor for Asian white sweet potatoes.
Oven-Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes
- 4 Japanese sweet potatoes
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Do NOT prick skin with a fork. (This allows the inside to caramelize.)
- Place potatoes on baking sheet and put into hot oven.
- Roast for 40 (smaller potatoes) to 60 minutes (larger). Turn potatoes once or twice during baking. You'll know potatoes are done when the outer skin pulls away from the potato. You can also carefully prick potato with a fork or knife, which will go through cleanly when potato is cooked.
Other Ways to Cook Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Here are other ways to cook these yummy root vegetables.
- Instant Pot – To pressure cook, pour 1 cup water into Instant Pot. Add trivet. Place desired number of potatoes on top and cook on “manual” for 15 minutes. Quick release. Prick one with a fork to check for doneness throughout. If not done, pressure cook for 2 more minutes. Cool and store.
- Boil – I do not recommend boiling Asian yams unless you are using them to make mashed potatoes. The result has a watery texture.
- Microwave – While not my favorite method, this will work in a pinch. Wrap potato in a damp paper towel and microwave for 5 minutes. Check for doneness. If not done, continue cooking at 1 minute intervals until soft throughout.
- Air fryer – Raw Japanese potatoes can be air fried, but I’ve had the best success with air frying potatoes that I already oven-roasted and using the air fryer to crisp the edges or make into sweet potato fries or wedges.
- Griddle – Slice thick rounds of cooked potato and place into pre-heated griddle such as a George Foreman. Slices are done when brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. This is one of my favorite cooking methods and I eat these rounds (along with beans and greens) for my breakfasts several days a week. I never get tired of them.
Meal Prep for Japanese Sweet Potatoes
We are a bit obsessed with potatoes of all varieties at my house, so several times per week I make a sheet pan full of Japanese, traditional sweet, and red or yellow potatoes.
Once your potatoes are baked, cook and store in a zipper bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Use to make sweet potato fries, wedges, cut into thick slices and cook on griddle, freeze some (see below) or simply break open and eat.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Japanese Yams
Here are questions we receive most often about these delicious Asian potatoes.
Japanese sweet potatoes have a white, starchy interior and are sweeter than a traditional sweet potato which has a softer, orange flesh.
No, they are two district types of sweet potatoes. Japanese sweet potatoes have a white center that turns off-white or yellow when cooked.
Yes, these are both Japanese white sweet potatoes.
Hannah sweet potatoes and Frieda’s Stokes purple sweet potatoes are most similar to Japanese sweet potatoes.
Yes! Popular as a snack in Taiwan, a roasted Asian yam makes a delicious creamy treat that can be eaten like a popsicle. (See below for how.)
10 Japanese Sweet Potato Recipes
Here are the top 10 recipes for Asian yams.
- Roast and eat. My favorite way to eat these potatoes is the most simple. Roast and eat! I meal prep batches of these potatoes and enjoy them throughout the week.
- Enjoy one frozen. Yes, you can eat these potatoes frozen for a dessert-like treat that is totally healthy. Here’s a video that explains more.
- Slice and top with your favorite condiment. Top potatoes with cinnamon, a small drizzle of maple syrup, a dash of lemon or lime juice, hot sauce, barbeque sauce, salsa (especially fruity ones), chili powder, or miso.
- Japanese sweet potato fries. Slice cooked, cooled potatoes into fry shape of choice. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Roast in Air Fryer or oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until edges are slightly crispy. If needed, use parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Japanese sweet potato chocolate brownies – Nutmeg Notebook shares this amazing chocolate cherry brownie recipe that uses Japanese sweet potatoes as the base. I made these as a treat to go along with our Easter dinner this year and loved them.
- Whipped Japanese sweet potatoes. This side dish comes together with just a few basic ingredients. When I make these, I plan to replace the coconut milk with almond milk to make it lower in calories for weight loss.
- Japanese sweet potato chips. Slice and bake into chips for a sweet snack or dinner side dish.
- Use them in chili. Here’s a chili recipe to try that uses these delicious potatoes.
- Sweet potato rounds with sour cream – A delicious appetizer.
- Japanese Sweet Potato Curry. This dish is full of warm flavor and comforting sweet and white potatoes.
- Sweet potatoes with Lemon – Try this traditional fall Japanese simmered sweet potatoes with lemon recipe that requires just 3 simple ingredients.
Now you have all the information you need to enjoy Japanese sweet potatoes to your heart’s content: what they are, where to find them near you, how to cook them, and a variety of recipes to enjoy.
Do you eat Asian yams? Tell us about it in the comments below.