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Hero shot of Candied Sweet Potato.
Candied Sweet Potato (Daigaku Imo)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
7 mins
Soaking sweet potatoes
10 mins
Total Time
22 mins

Candied Sweet potatoes is a simple Japanese snack food (some people serve it as a side dish too). Bite-sized sweet potato pieces are deep-fried, then tossed in a sticky syrup. The sweet potatoes are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It’s so delicious that you won’t be able to stop eating them.

Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.

Recipe Type: Dessert, Side, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: japanese sweet potato, sweet potato recipe
Serves: 3 -4 as snack
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 200g / 7oz sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds
Honey Syrup
  • 40g / 1.4oz honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Sugar Syrup
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • tbsp water
  1. Cut the sweet potato into bite size pieces (note 1), then place them in a bowl filled with water. Leave it for 10-15 minutes (note 2).

  2. Heat oil in a saucepan to 160°C / 320°F.
  3. Pat-dry the sweet potato pieces.

  4. Deep-fry sweet potato pieces for 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through (note 3). Transfer them to a tray lined with a couple of kitchen papers. I fried in two batches.

  5. Bring the temperature of the oil up to 180°C / 356°F.
  6. Return the sweet potatoes back to the oil and fry until the surface of the potato pieces start getting golden (about 30 seconds).

  7. Transfer to the tray lined with kitchen papers.
  8. Put the potatoes to the saucepan with a syrup and mix, ensuring that every potato piece is coated.

  9. Sprinkle black sesame seeds over the potatoes and serve.
Syrup - pick one
Honey Syrup
  1. Add the Honey Syrup ingredients to a saucepan which is large enough to put all the sweet potato pieces.
  2. Bring it to a boil over low heat.
  3. When small bubbles come up and fill the surface of the syrup, turn the heat off.
Sugar Syrup
  1. Add the Sugar Syrup ingredients to a saucepan which is large enough to put all the sweet potato pieces.
  2. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium low heat, occasionally stirring with a metal spoon.
  3. When bubbles cover the surface and starts lifting, remove from the heat.
Recipe Notes

1. Traditionally, people apply rangiri method (roll cutting) to cut the sweet potato into bit size pieces. This is because each piece will have more surfaces which means more syrup will stick to the piece. Since rangiri is suited for thin and long root vegetables, I quartered the sweet potato lengthwise to make long wedges, then applied rangiri.

You don’t need to cut your potato in my way. You can simply cut them straight into equal-length sticks. Alternatively, you can halve the sweet potato lengthwise, then cut into thick semi-circular discs.

2. This is to remove harsh after taste before cooking.

3. Put a thin bamboo skewer or a toothpick through the potato piece. If it gets through easily, the potato is cooked.

By lifting a piece, you can also judge if the ingredient is cooked or not. When the ingredient is cooked through, it feels very light when pick it up from the oil. This is because the water inside the ingredients comes out by deep-frying. But if you hardly deep-fry, this method may be a bit risky since you rely on the 'feeling'.

4. You can keep Candied Sweet Potatoes for a couple of days in the fridge, or in the freezer for 3 weeks. To defrost, leave them in the fridge to naturally defrost or you can even eat them half-frozen.

5. Nutrition per serving (3 servings). It is assumed that the oil absorption rate of sweet potato is 3% and ¾ of the honey syrup is consumed.

serving: 92g calories: 159kcal fat: 6.6g (10%) saturated fat: 0.8g (4%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 3.3g monounsaturated fat: 2.2g cholesterol: 0mg (0%) sodium: 85mg (23%) potassium: 275mg (8%) carbohydrates: 24g (8%) dietary fibre: 3.3g (13%) sugar: 11g protein: 2.7g vitamin a: 189% vitamin c: 2.8% calcium: 8.8% iron: 10%