I enjoyed sweet potato pudding 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!
Vegan Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding
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.
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.
How To Make Vegan Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding
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
- The Jamaican white flesh sweet potato is white flesh with red skin and the American sweet potato is orange flesh with brown skin.
- The Jamaican sweet potato is sturdier when cooked, the American sweet potato is softer.
- Jamaican sweet potato is starchier in texture than American sweet potato
- Although they are both sweet, there is a distinct difference in their sweetness.
Pro Chef Tip
Update: I have known readers who have replaced the gluten-free flours with regular all-purpose flour with great success.
Also, a reader noted that she has doubled the flour and was able to have success using American sweet potatoes. I will have to try it soon.
How To Store Jamaica Sweet Potato Pudding?
I usually keep mine for 1-2 days in a container with a tight-fitting lid, and then refrigerate if any is left. It also freezes well.
Other Jamaican Gluten-Free Vegan Desserts To Try
- Jamaican Cornmeal Pudding
- Jamaican Blue Draws
- Vegan Pineapple Tart
- Gluten-Free Mango Bread
- Vegan Plantain Bread
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- 2 pounds sweet potato, (aka. Batata) *See Notes
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup Gluten-Free all purpose flour, or brown rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Set aside.
- 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)
- Transfer grated sweet potatoes to a large bowl, add coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, spices and salt.
- Stir in flour to form a mostly smooth batter.
- Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes.
- Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly on the top of the pudding.
- Return pudding to oven and bake for another 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
- Delicious served alone or with coconut whipped cream.
- Note: Please double the flour if using regular American sweet potato variety.
- Use the white flesh sweet potato also called Batata or Boniato, with dry white flesh and pink to purple skin. Boniato is not sweet as regular orange flesh sweet potatoes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.