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Japanese-Style Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame

4 Servings

25 minutes

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Candied sweet potatoes, or daigaku imo, a favorite Japanese snack, inspired this recipe. To make daigaku imo, chunks of Japanese sweet potatoes, or satsuma imo, are deep-fried then coated in a syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. To make a side dish out of a snack, we simmer the potatoes in a skillet with water and seasonings, then cook off the moisture at the end, leaving the potatoes coated with a savory-sweet glaze. Common orange-fleshed sweet potatoes work in this recipe, but use Japanese sweet potatoes if you can find them. They have dry, starchy flesh and a sweet, chestnut-like flavor. If you like, garnish the potatoes with sliced scallions, shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend) or chopped fresh chilies.




Don’t raise the heat above medium while the potatoes cook covered. A moderately low temperature helps ensure even cooking without scorching. Also, sweet potatoes vary in water content depending on the variety. If you find that the moisture in the pan is gone before the potatoes are tender, just add a tablespoon or two of water as needed and continue cooking.

25 minutes


  • 2

    tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • ¼

    cup white sugar


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Sarah D.
November 5, 2022
What Flavor!
I’ve made this recipe several times and every time it is a delight. My husband, who is a fairly picky eater, loves it. The sauce has much multiple layers of flavor that are fun to experience and I’ve used different types of sweet potato all with great success. I followed the recipe to the letter and had no issues. My only alteration was reducing the black pepper to 1/4 tsp. I’m not a huge black pepper fan and felt the 1/2 tsp was too much. But that’s just me!
John M.

This was very, very good! The ingredients all melded together well, with no one ingredient overpowering the other, making for a delicious side. A great addition to my ever-growing sweet potato recipes. Thanks, Courtney & Milk Street team!

Cora D.

This did not work for me. Almost all the water was still in the pan after the 20 minutes, which meant that I had to overcook the potatoes by time the water reduced once I took the lid off. Next time I wouldn't keep the lid on to avoid this issue. The flavors were a little dull so overall this was a disappointment.