Vegan Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

Vegan Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding is the vegan version of this popular dessert enjoyed in Jamaica and the Caribbean throughout the year! It is  very moist, rich, and indulgent!

Vegan Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

I enjoyed this dessert while growing up in Jamaica. It is easy to make, using a food processor or a blender. I must say it wasn’t as easy to make when I was growing up, but it was such a delight to eat and an appreciation of my mother’s labor of love that brings back warm memories!

My mom would grate the sweet potatoes by hand using a box grater, this was one of my least favorite tasks! She would mix the grated sweet potatoes with coconut milk (freshly grated), flour, spices, and raisins.  The mixture was then baked outdoors, using a traditional coal stove. She would make a fire with charcoal beneath the baking pan, then cover the baking pan and put more heated coals on top of the baking pan.

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

In Jamaica, this style of baking is called, “hell a top, hell a bottom and hallelujah in the middle” The results would be a decadent pudding perfectly baked with a sweet custard top.

Nowadays I make my version of Jamaican Sweet Potato pudding vegan and gluten-free. In a jiffy,  I peel and chop the potatoes. Process in a food processor, add canned coconut milk, gluten-free flour, and spices and pop it in an oven. I do a special step to get the custard topping  by adding extra sweetened coconut milk halfway during baking.

This recipe is a must try, there isn’t much room to fail if you are trying it for the first time. You will be happy you tried it! Serve it with my Jamaican Stew Peas with Dumplings and my Jamaican Sorrel Drink for a truly authentic taste of the Island.

Jamaican Sweet Potato

To make Jamaican Sweet Potato pudding, you will need a special variety of sweet potato that has a white flesh with red skin. It is mainly sold in West Indian, Asian and African grocery stores. But fortunately it’s getting more popular here in the USA and it can even be found in Walmart. Sometimes it is also sold as ‘batata’.

Here are some of the differences between Jamaican white-flesh sweet potato and American orange-flesh sweet potato:

  1. The Jamaican white flesh sweet potato is white flesh with red skin and the American sweet potato is orange flesh with brown skin.
  2. The Jamaican sweet potato is sturdier when cooked, the American sweet potato is softer.
  3. Jamaican sweet potato is starchier in texture than American sweet potato
  4. Although they are both sweet, there is a distinct difference in their sweetness.

Vegan Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

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Update: I have known of readers who have replaced the gluten-free flours with regular all purpose flour with great success.

Ingredients

For: 12 Servings

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and roughly chop. Grate using the grater or a food processor in batches. (If using a food processor or blender, add some coconut milk to help process)
  3. Transfer grated sweet potatoes to a large bowl, add coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, spices and salt.
  4. Stir in flour to form a mostly smooth batter.
  5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly on the top of the pudding.
  7. Return pudding to oven and bake for another 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. Delicious served alone or with coconut whipped cream.

Recipe notes

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Notes:

  1. I have used a combination of sweet potato and other Caribbean/African root vegetables, such as yellow yam, white African yam, taro, eddoes etc.  with great success.
  2. You can omit the spices and just use vanilla or a combination of ground coriander and cardamon. Basically, you can tweak the flavors to suit your taste buds. Cinnamon and nutmeg can be irritating to the lining of the stomach in the long run.
  3. Make sure you add extra coconut milk or water if you are using a high-speed blender. Chop the sweet potato into smaller pieces, pause and periodically scrape down the sides of the blender.
  4. Sweet potato pudding gets firmer as it cools. My husband prefers it when it is softer so I sometimes add extra liquid. I don’t care whether it’s soft or firm. So you might want to adjust liquid depending on your preferences.
  5. If you decide to grate sweet potatoes by hand, make sure you use the smallest hole on the grater to ensure pudding is smooth when baked.
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      • Batata? Wow.
        Never mind. I am going to the store.
        But banana dumplings? Jeeze ,that’s new. And how do you make that?

        • Michelle Blackwood

          Hello Lew, It’s delicious make sure it is the Latino or West Indian sweet potato and not the American type. Soo delicious. To make banana dumplings you add grated green bananas to your dough.

  1. I made this recipe and it totally flopped! The taste was heavenly, but the texture was not at all what I was expecting. I used regular American sweet potatoes, could that have caused it to be like mush?

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Sophia unfortunately, the American sweet potato has too high a water content for it to remain firm in this recipe. You would have had to increase the flour for it to be more solid.This recipe is such a great one when you use batata or the Jamaican or Korean sweet potato. You can find this sweet potato in the Oriental, Latino, Indian, West Indian Grocer or in the International section of most popular supermarkets like Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods, Pathmark, Safeway, Food Lion, Shoprite etc.

        • Michelle Blackwood

          Hello Sophia, It has been many years since I actually made the recipe with American sweet potato. It was when I lived in central Virginia and I couldn’t always get Caribbean sweet potato. I never use recipes when I cook for my family, the only time I write recipes is for my readers. I don’t want to promise you that I will experiment with the recipe anytime, but I’ll visit it in the future. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t give you a better answer.

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Jana, I believe they will definitely work. I have bought that type at the Asian market and they worked fine! I would love to know if they work for you.

  2. I would love to make this recipe but I would like to know what kind of coconut milk you used. Is it the Grace brand coconut milk used for peas and rice recipes or the carton of coconut milk that is drinkable for smoothies,cereals and such?

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Shonnie, that’s a good question! It is actually the brand in the tin like the Grace brand not the drinkable one. I find the one in the tin has more flavor but it will still turn out good with the one from the carton.

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Hello Petal, I’m Jamaican as well and yes in Jamaica butter and cow’s milk combined with coconut milk are sometimes used which are both animal products. It all depends on where on the Island you are from.My husband is from St. Catherine and I am from Hanover and our style of cooking is slightly different. For instance, he grew up cooking with pimento berries and my mother cooked with the leaves because we had a tree at home. I grew up with green banana dumplings, he ate more cassava dumplings.

  3. Bridget Matthews

    I tried this recipe within minutes of finding it. I used a blender. Your tips were useful. I used a white california sweet potato, almond and coconut milk; delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Awesome Bridget, I’m so happy you love it and can find the sweet potato in California, love your almond/coconut blend too :)

    • Michelle Blackwood

      You are so right Maralondon, I believe the Philipines have a version also. I remember my fingers accidentally grating my fingers too, ouch!!!

  4. So now I am wondering if the US sweet potato is a hybrid. If it is we should not be eating it, as it is labatory based and not in nature. Will look into this.
    Have you tried this with a graham cracker crust?

    • Michelle Blackwood

      RBBVegan, I’m not so sure if it is or not, but that is a thought. Now I’m curious. The reason why we don’t traditional put it in a crust is because the texture is pretty firm unlike the traditional American style sweet potato. It’s such a remarkable tasting dessert on its own that it doesn’t really need a crust. It would just be added work seriously. The both don’t compare, they taste so different.

      • This is the same recipe blacks used in the south with the American sweet potato. There has never been a crust. This is a pudding

        • Michelle Blackwood

          Wow Lynda, I didn’t know this! Thank you for the information. I will definitely try it using regular sweet potato. I guess they use eggs in the recipe to hold it.

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Hello Joyce, yes no need to make a crust, as long as you use the white flesh sweet potato with red skin sold in the West Indian, Asain, or African market or ask for it in Kroger, Pathmark, Walmart, Shoprite. You can ask for batata it will work. This type of sweet potato has less water content, that results in a firmer dessert. Tastes amazing!

    • Michelle Blackwood

      Jo, I’m so sorry. The taste will be great but the texture will be softer. Add an extra 1/2 cup of gluten free flour. I haven’t made it with the orange flesh alone, but I have done it half and half.

  5. It looks heavenly. I can not wait to try it. Just bought a new food processor yesterday. This recipe will be in heavy rotation. Thank you for sharing the vegan version!

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