This Japanese sweet potato air fryer recipe leaves you with the perfect smooth and creamy texture in just 30 minutes! All you need is a few minimal ingredients to have a fluffy, tender, and oh-so-sweet snack fresh out of the air fryer. Follow these simple steps to enjoy Japanese roasted sweet potato a lot quicker than using a conventional oven.
I'll walk you through how to pick the right sweet potatoes for this dish (the murasaki sweet potato is a favorite) and show you how this beloved snack is eaten in Taiwan.
- how are japanese sweet potatoes different
- ✨ why you'll love this recipe
- 📋 key ingredients
- 🍠 how to pick japanese sweet potato
- 📖 substitutions & variations
- 🔪 instructions
- 🍲 equipment
- ❄️ storage
- 💭 top expert tip
- 💭 faq
- 🥬 more taiwanese vegetable dishes
- 👨🍳 COOKING WITH KIDS
- Japanese sweet potato (air fryer roasted)
- 🌡️ food safety
how are japanese sweet potatoes different
Japanese sweet potatoes are set apart from other sweet potatoes mainly by color, texture, and flavor. The most common varieties are satsuma-imo or murasaki.
Other sweet potatoes tend to be orange, and the texture skews watery.
The Japanese variety is magenta or auburn on the outside and pale, almost white on the inside. They’re a bit more starchy and dense than other varieties, so the flavor and the experience of eating them are unparalleled.
As they cook, the inside turns golden yellow and the texture also becomes light, fluffy, and creamy!
They taste sweet with a subtle nutty flavor. The caramelized bits after air frying or roasting add an extra layer of rich sweetness.
✨ why you'll love this recipe
This easy recipe only takes two ingredients. The toasted black sesame seeds are an optional addition.
Have you visited Taiwan during colder months? If so, you might remember getting hot roasted sweet potatoes as street food. Use this recipe to recreate those same flavors.
As a kid in Taiwan, I often enjoyed clay oven-roasted sweet potatoes sold from a rotating clay oven cart. I used to get excited when I could smell the sweet aroma and would run straight to the “sweet potato lady.”
The experience was similar to finding roasted chestnuts in New York City on a crisp fall day!
Here, I recreate that experience with an air fryer so that you can replicate the same flavors any time you want. Talk about the ultimate easy comfort food! Plus, the cooking time is much shorter than roasting in the oven.
Korean sweet potato air fryer recipes use the same variety and cooking methods as this recipe too.
Japanese sweet potatoes take longer to cook because the flesh is denser. The air fryer cuts down on cook time so you can enjoy your sweet potato within 30 minutes!
While you have the air fryer going, you should whip up an easy dessert recipe I love. Mochi muffins don’t require a mixer, and you can make so many different flavors depending on what you’re in the mood for.
📋 key ingredients
This is a simple 3-ingredient recipe! Enjoy the ease of making this delicious and satisfying snack with minimal effort.
- japanese sweet potato - the murasaki or satsuma-imo variety are the best for this recipe. Both are commonly labeled as "Japanese sweet potato" in grocery stores in the US. Look for medium-sized ones (about 4-5 inches in length) with purple-ish or magenta-colored skin. For details on how to pick sweet potato, see below.
- black sesame seeds - I like to toast them as needed, but you can also find already toasted black sesame seeds in some Taiwanese, Chinese, or Korean grocery stores.
- canola or avocado oil - Add a neutral flavored oil with a higher smoke point into a handy oil spray bottle (affiliate link).
See the recipe card for quantities.
🍠 how to pick japanese sweet potato
- look for a variety of shapes - Different shapes will work. Look for thinner ones if you love the caramelized exterior of roasted sweet potatoes. Smaller potatoes will also cook faster.
- check the surface - Look for mostly smooth and firm surfaces.
- avoid - Avoid buying potatoes with mold spots or large blemishes with the skin peeled off.
📖 substitutions & variations
- another type of Japanese sweet potato - Satsuma-Imo is another type of Japanese sweet potato. They have magenta, purple-ish skin with creamy, pale-yellow flesh that gets deeper in color when cooked.
- different shapes - if you love the caramelized layer that's revealed from peeling the cooked sweet potatoes, pick thinner ones. You'll get more of the deeply sweet flavors per bite.
- sesame seeds - toasted white sesame seeds will work as a substitute for black sesame seeds since they’re similar in flavor. Or you can simply leave them out of this recipe.
I’ll guide you through each step in detail below. In a hurry? You can jump straight to the printable recipe.
Start by washing the sweet potatoes under cold running water. You can lightly scrub them with your hands to remove any dirt or debris. Then, pat them dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
Using a metal fork, poke holes into each sweet potato.
Place both Japanese sweet potatoes in the air fryer basket and spray with canola oil until evenly coated (about 5 sprays). Air fry at 400ºF for 30 minutes.
Or until the tip of a paring knife or cake tester can be inserted easily.
Enjoy while hot or warm. Traditionally in Taiwan, they are split in half by hand and eaten straight as a handheld snack.
You can peel the skin as you eat or even eat the skin too if you like based on your personal preference. Or cut each sweet potato in half lengthwise and top with toasted black sesame seeds (optional).
pro tip: If you like fluffier sweet potatoes, try this. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes, then freeze them before roasting in the air fryer. The cook time will increase, but you’ll get a fluffier center with the same caramelized exterior.
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Like the ingredients in this recipe, you don't need many tools either! I highly recommend an oil sprayer to get an even and measured coating of oil, and of course, an air fryer! Here are links to the products I recommend.
Allow the roasted sweet potatoes to cool at room temperature (for no more than 2 hours). Then, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Reheat already roasted Japanese sweet potatoes in the air fryer at 400°F for 6-8 minutes from the refrigerator, or 15-20 minutes from frozen.
💭 top expert tip
If you want your muraski potato to come out of the air fryer ready to grab and go, try wrapping it in foil. The foil will make it easier to break in half and hold your potato in hand while you snack! This trick also keeps the moisture inside and makes the sweet potato super tender.
This variety of sweet potatoes is traditionally cooked in a clay oven and sold as street food in Taiwan. At home, you can cook them in a few different ways:
• wrap them in foil and cook over hot coals or a grill
• in an air fryer (see this recipe for detailed instructions) for faster cooking, or
• roast in an oven at 450°F for 30-45 minutes
You can find them at local Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Korean grocery stores. Some that I frequent include 99 Ranch Market, H Mart, Mitsuwa, Marukai, Uwajimaya, or online at Weee! (affiliate link). I’ve also seen them sold at large grocery store chains such as Ralphs and Wholefoods.
Yes, you can make sweet potato fries in the air fryer with these Murasaki sweet potatoes. Just slice the potatoes into spears, coat them with sprays of oil, and then air fry at 400°F until golden (tossing halfway through).
The cook time will vary based on the size of your spears and your air fryer. Add additional seasonings if you'd like. For example, a little salt, chili powder, and ground white pepper. I personally enjoy them plain, sprinkled with toasted black sesame seeds, or served with a contrasting savory dip.
There are many different ways you can enjoy Japanese sweet potatoes. As mentioned above, you can make fries or air fry/roast bite-sized pieces and enjoy them with a protein dish. The simplest cooking method is to just air fry them whole like in this recipe.
You can also air fry or stir-fry them with other vegetables you have on hand to make a well-rounded side dish. Summer squash, mushrooms, cauliflower, opo squash, purple daikon, and green beans are some examples that would work well. Also, some people like to enjoy this variety of sweet potato candied or glazed as a dessert!
🥬 more taiwanese vegetable dishes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
👨🍳 COOKING WITH KIDS
What can kid chefs help with?
- help with picking out a perfect sweet potato
- poking holes in the potatoes with a fork (carefully and with supervision)
- sprinkling the sesame seeds
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Happy cooking! ~ Cin
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Japanese sweet potato (air fryer roasted)
- 2 japanese sweet potatoes, murasaki or satsuma-imo variety
- 1 teaspoon canola oil, in a spray bottle, about 5 sprays
- ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
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- Wash the sweet potatoes under cold running water and scrub with your hands to remove any dirt or debris, then pat dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel. Using a metal fork, poke holes into each sweet potato.2 japanese sweet potatoes
- Place both Japanese sweet potatoes in the air fryer basket and spray with canola oil until evenly coated. Air fry at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until the tip of a paring knife or cake tester can be inserted easily.1 teaspoon canola oil
- Enjoy while hot or warm. Traditionally in Taiwan, they are split in half by hand and eaten straight. You can peel the skin as you eat or even eat the skin too if you like based on personal preference. Or cut each sweet potato in half lengthwise and top with toasted black sesame seeds (optional).½ teaspoon black sesame seeds
Allow roasted sweet potatoes to cool at room temperature and then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in the air fryer at 400ºF for 6-8 minutes from the refrigerator or 15-20 minutes from frozen.
🌡️ food safety
- Don't leave cooked sweet potato sitting out at room temperature for extended periods. The moisture content of cooked sweet potatoes has a higher risk of bacteria growth.
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a higher smoke point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using an air fryer