Nikki’s Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Decadent, delicious baked sweet potato recipe made from seven ingredients - sweet potatoes, ginger, coconut milk, shredded coconut, maple syrup, macadamia nuts and a bit of butter or olive oil.

Nikki’s Sweet Potatoes

Ten years ago, my friend Nikki shared this recipe with me. She described these sweet potatoes as a sweet potato mash, but with a twist - they get creaminess from a generous splash of coconut milk, crunch from toasted coconut and macadamias, and a kick from freshly grated ginger. For those of you who have been long-time readers, this is the same Nikki who took my site by storm when I posted her Healthy Cookie recipe forever ago. The same Nikki I've been friends with since she showed up in my sixth grade class, fresh from Los Angeles, wearing a Swatch watch and white Reebok hi-tops. Both things I'd never seen before. She won't lead you astray, this sweet potato recipe is legit amazing.Nikki's Sweet Potato Recipe
I know a good number of you love this recipe, so I popped off a few fresh photos the other day. The only (recent) tweaks I made to the recipe - baking the sweet potatoes without foil, and suggesting an (optional) finishing drizzle of lemon olive oil. It's a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. Enjoy the sweet potatoes! Miss you Nik!Nikki's Sweet Potato Recipe
I think Nikki hit the nail on the head when she told me she paired it with lots of garlicky, sautéed greens. It's the perfect Thanksgiving side dish, but also an A+ option outside of the holidays as well.

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Nikki's Sweet Potato Recipe

4.78 from 9 votes

If you'd like to prepare part of this recipe in advance you can certainly bake the sweet potatoes a day or two in advance and save the mashed sweet potatoes in the refrigerator until you are ready to move forward with the remaining steps. Also, you can make these vegan by using olive oil and not butter.

  • 2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk or non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • 1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • to serve (optional): lemon zest, lemon olive oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F degrees, a rack in the upper third. Butter or oil 6 ramekins or a single medium-sized casserole dish.
  2. Scrub each potato, rub with a bit of salt, and place directly in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes - in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. Mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. If your sweet potatoes are on the fibrous side, take a hand blender, puree them for a minute or so (alternately you could use a food processor). Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste - adjust the seasoning if you need to - this is your chance to get the right amount of salt and ginger in the sweet potatoes before they go in the oven.
  3. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into individual baking dishes (or single larger baking dish), sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 25 - 35 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts.
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 5 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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looks heavenly. i recently mashed sweet potatoes and left the skin on for it's nutritional value as well as for texture. it was delicious! at my local Whole Foods there were a few different varieties of sweet potatoes to choose from--I went with a light-colored variety that I'd never had before. It also wasn't as stringy as others I've tried. Interesting!

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

No wonder you've been friends for so long - this Nikki is a great cook. Yum!


Sweet potatoes = my obsession.


Could you do part of this recipe the night before- everything but popping it in the oven? I'd like to try this for Thanksgiving. We love coconut milk! HS: Yes, sorry I forgot to note my make-ahead tips! I actually baked the potatoes off the night before.


This looks so good, I'm making a soup version out of it right now. As I type. No macadamia nuts, so I'm tweaking it into a soup. I'll make the real thing on Thanksgiving. Thank you so much Nikki and Heidi, I do appreciate your great recipes! Melissa


I've tried a number of your recipes, Heidi, and they always turn out delicious: bright, light, modern flavours. I started my own veggie food blog a couple of months back (I'm very, very new to blogging and still learning about it!), and incidentally I, too, posted a sweet potato recipe on my blog this morning (it's an old-fashioned Creole-style pudding). We don't have Thanksgiving here in the UK, but I love the combination of ingredients in your recipe, so will definitely try it. Oh, and what a wonderful friend you have!


Perfection healthy combination! I will be trying these this week!


On a not-food related note... it made me smile your comment on Nikki's swatch and white hi-top Reebok.... even tho I lived in Italy at the time (we are I guess very close in age...) I had the same accessories.... And i still greatly miss my reebok!!! :-) Thanks for all the great recipes, from both me and my husband, who is really appreciating the new flavors in my cooking!


This sounds great! I actually did a similar combo for some twice-baked sweet potatoes (mashed and put back into their jackets) a couple weeks ago. One set had coconut milk, ginger, orange, and other spices. The other had coconut milk and red curry paste. I bet the simpler spice combos in this one will let the flavors really shine. Can't wait to try it! Sweet potatoes are so incredibly satisfying any time of the year, but they really hit the spot as the temperatures drop.

Laurel from Simple Spoonful

I love your words to describe your lovely friend. They make me want to meet her. On a funny note..I just found my Swatch watch.. needing a new battery of course! :0) Wishing everyone much love over this much needed Holiday Season!

Melissa T

Looks delicious. Question: Can we boil or steam the sweet potatoes instead, then bake them? I figure it will take less time and save some gas/electricity.


I cannot WAIT to try this recipe - looks superb... I think your friend Nikki is genius. I tried the healthy cookies and they were a huge hit - and they are now my standard sweet traveling fare. No wonder you look forward to email exchanges with your dear friend. Thx for posting...


I was going to make the Vanilla Sweet Potatoes for Thanksgiving, but I think this one just won that spot. Thanks so much! HS: Thanks for the heads up Jami - I just fixed the links.


I love that they have coconut milk in them...and Swatch Watches were soooo cool. ;)

Fit Bottomed Girls

HMoG this is exactly what I was looking for. Trying to keep Thanksgiving dinner sane and modest yet interesting. This is the final touch I needed. Thank you Nikki and Heidi!


That looks amazing! I usually shy away from sweet potato bakes/casseroles because the amounts of sweetener called for tend to overpower rather than highlight the natural sweetness. But the touch of sweetness the coconut and maple syrup add look just right to me!


I have been studying abroad this semester, which means no kitchen. I go home right before Christmas and cannot wait to cook and bake the entire break. All semester I have read your blog and salivated over each new post. I have written down different dishes I want to make, and this sweet potato recipe has made the list. Cannot wait to try it!


I'm a first time posted although I've been following your blog closely (and making a lot of the recipes) ever since I randomly came across your eating healthy while traveling post. This looks absolutely delicious. Made Nikki's cookies last night and can't wait to try this. Sweet potatoes abound here and I am trying to cook more with seasonal veggies. Thank you for all your wonderful, healthy, creative recipes!


heidi, this looks lucious- once again your photos are as achingly beautiful as the recipes are wonderful. looks like this could work in a pie (a la your glorious spice-kissed pumpkin pie post) as well. thanks as always!


i cannot wait to make this! my recipe is similar -- no macadamia nuts, but instead an oat streusel -- but the very idea of twice-baking the potatoes and adding shredded coconut is wonderful! thank you for sharing this, heidi.


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