Sweet Potato “Rice”
This Sweet Potato Rice recipe is a healthy and delicious side dish that’s also easy to make! It only takes 25 minutes to prepare, and pairs well with many different meat entrees like Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Steak, and Slow Cooker Short Ribs.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve made this rice. Easily hundreds of times.
After James was born, I started experimenting with cooking every single vegetable in every way imaginable. The point being to get him to eat more vegetables, hah. From the very beginning, he LOVED sweet potato rice.
This sweet potato recipe is nothing more than shredded, sauteed sweet potato, but it takes on a really fantastic texture that’s soft but also slightly golden and crisp, and an intensified sweet flavor that is usually only coaxed out with a long roast in the oven.
And that’s quite a feat for 25 minutes, because normally it takes at least an hour to make Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Tips for Best Results
Use a nonstick skillet – Because of the natural sugars in this root vegetable, I recommend you use a nonstick skillet here. This will ensure maximum caramelization without risk of the shredded bits sticking to the pan and burning.
Don’t stir too much – Much like when you make Hash Browns, try not to stir too much, so that you develop more browning and also don’t break down the shreds excessively.
Select good and fresh sweet potatoes at the store – Make sure each piece you buy is rock hard and firm to the touch. If there are any soft spots at all, that means they’re old and rotting, and you should steer clear. Also try to select ones without any bruising or cracks.
While this is a great side dish to all sorts of meals, it can also be used as the base for on-the-fly bowl meals, just as you would use a white rice or brown rice, or even cauliflower rice.
Sometimes I’ll simply add some black beans, corn, thinly sliced radishes, cotija cheese, and this cilantro lime dressing, and make a meal of it. It’s a great way to use up lots of other ingredients!
What Type to Use
For best results, I recommend Jewel or Garnet varieties, which are the typical sweet potatoes you will find at the grocery store.
I have tried this with japanese sweet potatoes, and other sweet white potatoes, and find the texture is not as conducive to this method.
Step by Step Overview:
While you don’t have to peel the skin off, I like to remove the skin first for a more consistent texture:
Some health professionals discuss health benefits from eating the skin, so if this is your personal preference, that will work too.
Next, it’s time to shred. I recommend using a food processor (affiliate) for this, and you will likely have to cut smaller pieces in order to fit chunks into the chute:
Use a shredding disk to cut ribbons:
Heat a nonstick skillet (I’m using a 12″ large skillet here) over medium heat and add the freshly cut shreds, sea salt, black pepper, and your fat of choice.
Butter tastes the best, but to make it dairy-free, I use olive oil most of the time. I’ve tried coconut oil, and personally I find the flavor to be too odd of a pairing. Same with avocado oil.
After about 15 minutes, the shreds should be soft and tender:
You’ll see that the strands start breaking up into a more rice-sized shape, as they become tender.
Even though this should be tender enough to eat after 15 minutes, I like to take it further to about 20-25 minutes of total cook time, until the pieces start to get golden brown in spots.
You may need to play between medium and medium-high heat to develop the browning, but watch out for scorching.
You can see here that many of the clumps have a golden, caramelized exterior, and that’s perfect:
The sweet potato rice will have a soft, slightly crisp texture with a deeply caramelized taste. It’s SO good.
This recipe goes well with meat entrees like 40 Clove Garlic Chicken, Parmesan Crusted Chicken, and Glazed Spiral Ham as the perfect side dish. But sometimes I use it to bulk up savory fritters like shrimp cakes or salmon cakes.
This sweet potato side dish is whole 30 friendly and paleo friendly, and is excellent for meal prep as well. You can cook up a big batch, then pack individual servings into containers, making sweet potato rice bowls with your favorite ingredients.
Enjoy as is, or feel free to add your favorite fresh herbs, or even toasted sesame seeds for a unique crunch. You can also add spices like chili powder or garlic powder during cooking. I like to play up the savory flavors whenever I add other ingredients. Enjoy!
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Keep any leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. For best results, thaw by leaving in the fridge overnight.
My favorite method is to pan fry your desired serving over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until warm. However, you may also microwave it in 30 second intervals, until heated through.
It’s not going to taste anything like the original, but you can certainly treat it the same way and flavor with soy sauce and add egg, meat, and your favorite vegetables. See my Fried Rice post for inspiration.
Sweet Potato “Rice”
- 1.5 lbs sweet potato
- 3 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- Peel the sweet potato if desired, then shred using the shredding disk of a food processor.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the olive oil or butter, sweet potato, salt, and black pepper.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the shreds shrink down considerably and starts to become golden and caramelized on the edges. If the "rice" starts to look dry, add one tablespoon more oil.
- Do a final tasting and see if it could use more salt, and season appropriately. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.