Yakiimo, roasted sweet potatoes, is a popular treat in Japan sold by street vendors and in supermarkets.  I make this at home using a red sweet potato called satsumaimo and roast it in my air fryer with butter, honey and sesame seeds to give it a sweet and crunchy glaze. Kids of all ages love this candied treat.

Japanese sweet potato is cooked at high temperature with honey, butter and sesame creating a sweet and crunchy glaze.  The leftover liquid makes a great dipping sauce.

Japanese sweet potatoes are colored red and are long and thin. The inside is white like a normal potato, but is much harder. Use a cleaver or a very sharp knife to cut the satsumaimo into slices.

This dish is super easy to make, and is family friendly. The salted butter and honey along with the sesame is delicious and so very sweet.

If you don’t have satsumaimo, you can use any sweet potato to make this treat, but you might need to change the cooking time to be sure that the potatoes properly caramelize in the oven.

If you do not have an air fryer I highly recommend getting one. There are some links at the bottom of this page to reasonably priced units.


This recipe uses an air fryer to get the perfect taste.  Air fryers are actually small ovens that superheat the food, and provide a great alternative to frying food in oil.  If you don’t have an air fryer you can use a conventional oven and put the potatoes under the broiler using the same cooking temperature and time.

Air Fryer showing a view of the basket.
Air Fryer showing a view of the basket.
10 minutes 22 minutes Serves 4
PREP 10 minutes
COOKING 22 minutes
YIELD Serves 4


  • 5 TBSP lightly salted butter (70g)
  • 5 TBSP honey (70g)
  • 3 TBSP white sesame seeds
  • 2 satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potatoes) (400g)


  • Cut the ends off and then slice the sweet potatoes in 1/2 inch slices using a sharp knife or cleaver.  Try to keep the thickness of each slice uniform to ensure even cooking.  Do not peel the potato- the skin is edible and delicious.
  • Melt the butter and honey over the stove at medium heat or in a microwave oven (600W @ full power for about 30 seconds should do it).  Pour the honey-butter and the sesame into a large mixing bowl.

  • Fold the sweet potatoes into the mixture using a wooden spoon or your hand until the potatoes are completely coated.

  • Later the sweet potato into the fryer basket.  Pour the remaining honey butter mixture evenly over the potatoes.  Set the air fryer to cook for 22 minutes at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Remover the basket halfway through cooking and shake the potatoes or flip them over.  Remove the basket again when there is two minutes remaining an shake the basket once again.
  • When cooking is complete, plate the satsuimo.  Pour the leftover sauce into a bowl to use as a dipping sauce.  Enjoy while hot.


  • Yakiimo is best when eaten hot out of the oven, although it can also be eaten after cooling.
  • Yakiimo can be stored in an airtight container and kept for a day at room temperature. Refrigerate the dipping sauce and microwave for about 10 seconds to soften it up.

Related Recipes

Leave a Reply