Mexican candied sweet potatoes (camotes enmielados) feature sweet potatoes, piloncillo, and aromatic spices. Slow-cooked sweet potatoes are covered in spice-infused syrup and are perfect for a festive fall or winter treat.
Table of Contents
Camotes enmielados have become our go-to dessert as the weather gets chillier here in Mexico. This one-pot recipe is not only quick and easy to make, but it will also make your house smell absolutely amazing!
What are camotes enmielados?
Camotes enmielados translates to candied sweet potatoes. If you're anything like us, your mouth must be watering already.
This tasty dessert (or side dish) comes together with camotes (sweet potatoes), piloncillo (a raw form of cane sugar), and cinnamon.
Traditionally, cinnamon is the only spice added. But nowadays, there are a wider variety of aromatics used to create different flavors and smells.
We really enjoy making camotes enmielados because of how easy everything comes together (we're all about that).
All you have to do is simmer the ingredients until the piloncillo dissolves and the camotes become melt-in-your-mouth creamy. You'll know you're doing it right when your house smells like you're inside a gingerbread fairytale.
The flavor of these candied sweet potatoes is truly unforgettable. With the addition of spices like clove and star anise, this recipe is great for the holiday season.
Are camotes enmielados vegan?
The easy answer is yes! Camotes enmielados are vegan.
The longer answer is it depends on what they're garnished with. Many people add a splash of milk or cream, but those can easily be replaced with soy milk.
By themselves, candied sweet potatoes are 100% vegan and gluten-free!
The Uto-Aztecan word, camotli, forms the root of many words referring to sweet potatoes — including the Spanish word camote.
Peru is said to be the first place where sweet potatoes were harvested, dating back as far as 2800 B.C. From there, they spread across most of the tropical areas of the Americas (including Mexico).
The earliest reference to sweet potatoes by the Spanish conquistadors was found in 1518 in Juan de Grijalva's journal.
He wrote about the roasted chestnut flavor of cooked sweet potatoes when he tried them from the indigenous people of the Yucatan.
These types of crops were very common in the Mayan diet, and sweet potatoes (along with cassava, jicama, and macal) were consumed regularly.
It's no surprise sweet potatoes are still eaten hundreds of years later, and comprise many Mexican dishes (including candied sweet potatoes).
Whether you serve your camotes whole or sliced into pieces, don't miss the piloncillo syrup on top!
As we mentioned above, some warm almond or soy milk makes a great addition, transforming your sweet potatoes into an extra creamy treat.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Camotes (sweet potatoes)
Taste: with a pleasantly sweet, starchy, and rustic taste, camotes are what make this dish irresistible. We keep the skins on for this recipe because it adds texture and health benefits, but you can remove them if you prefer.
Health: if you want to receive the most benefits from sweet potatoes, leave the skins on. One sweet potato with the skin contains 7 grams of fiber, half our daily requirement of manganese, and a whopping 700% of our vitamin A needs!
Taste: often used interchangeably with brown sugar, piloncillo has some unique characteristics that make it the preferred choice for candied sweet potatoes. Piloncillo provides a rich caramel flavor with hints of smoke and molasses. If you can't find it though, brown sugar also works!
Health: because piloncillo is the raw form of cane sugar, it's a more natural choice for a sweetener. It also contains nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C that are beneficial to our health!
For more information check out our detailed guide on piloncillo.
Taste: warm, fragrant, spicy, and sweet, cinnamon is the aromatic that elevates this dish and rounds out the flavor. We always recommend Ceylon cinnamon sticks since they infuse the dish best.
Health: there's been emerging research showing cinnamon's positive effects on blood sugar control, diabetes, and cholesterol-lowering properties. That's pretty impressive if you ask us!
Star anise & cloves
Taste: adding to the intoxicating aromas is the sweet licorice flavors of star anise and the intense warmth of cloves. Not only will these spices make your whole house smell amazing, but the flavors are to die for!
Health: clove and star anise have been used in Eastern medicine for hundreds of years to treat a variety of ailments. They contain powerful antioxidants, which are needed to help fight off influenza, respiratory illness, and other types of bacteria.
If you have questions about this camotes enmielados recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: wash the sweet potatoes well, then add them to a large stockpot or Dutch oven with the water, cinnamon, star anise, clove, and piloncillo.
Step 2: cover the pot and bring it to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low-medium for 45 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
Step 3: uncover the pot and let it continue simmering for another 10 minutes to finish reducing the syrup.
Step 4: turn the heat off and let the potatoes rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut them in half and serve in bowls with a drizzle of syrup on top and plant milk if you'd like. Happy eating!
The only thing that compares to freshly made camotes enmielados are the leftovers you get to eat the next day! Follow these steps to keep the flavors locked in.
Reheat the camotes in your oven at 350 degrees F until heated through. Alternatively, you can heat camotes in the microwave in 30-second bursts until warm.
💭 Tips & variations
We'd like to share some tips and variations we learned while experimenting with this camotes enmielados recipe:
- Use brown sugar. If you can't find piloncillo where you live, use a 1:1 substitution of brown sugar for a similar end result.
- Skip the anise and clove. If you're not a fan of the flavors, leave out the star anise and cloves! You can also add other spices like cardamom or nutmeg.
- Try other vegetables. If you can't orange sweet potatoes, try kabocha squash, butternut squash, or purple sweet potatoes for an equally delicious meal.
- Chop the potatoes. To make this recipe even quicker, cut the sweet potatoes before cooking them.
🍴 Tasting notes
The aromas and flavors of camotes enmielados are enough to put us in a food coma just thinking about them! They're
If you try these Mexican candied sweet potatoes, please rate the recipe and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
- Large stockpot
- 3 large sweet potatoes ($3.08)
- 1 ½ cups water ($0.01)
- 1 cinnamon stick ($0.05)
- 2 pods star anise ($0.01)
- 1 whole clove ($0.01)
- 1 8-ounce piloncillo cone ($0.35)
- Wash the sweet potatoes well, then add them to a large stockpot or Dutch oven with the water, cinnamon, star anise, clove, and piloncillo.
- Cover the pot and bring it to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low-medium for 45 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
- Uncover the pot and let it continue simmering for another 10 minutes to finish reducing the syrup.
- Turn the heat off and let the potatoes rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut them and serve in bowls with a drizzle of syrup on top and plant milk if you'd like. Happy eating!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty recipes featuring piloncillo, check out our:
- Torrejas for a Mexican take on French toast that is crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and smothered in a sweet piloncillo syrup!
- Mueganos to try puffed squares of dough stuck together with a delectable syrup made from (you guessed it) piloncillo.
- Gorditas de piloncillo for a sweet take on this popular Mexican snack. They're made from a base of piloncillo and masa harina, then drizzled with even more syrup.
- Tejuino for a fermented corn drink that's been popular for centuries. It's sweet, slightly tangy, and extremely refreshing.
Yes! If you don't have access to Mexican cinnamon sticks, powder will work fine. Use about ½ teaspoon per 1 stick of cinnamon to start with.
For the best flavor and texture, orange sweet potatoes are the preferred choice. Although, any variety you use will taste great!
Yes, you can make camotes enmielados in a pressure cooker! Just cook them on high pressure for about 10-15 minutes, then let them naturally release.