Since I love sweet potatoes, I decided to make sweet potato balls an appetizer for tonight's dinner. Also called sweet potato puffs and sweet balls, sweet potato balls are a savory and sweet bite-sized treat. Because I recently tried sweet potato balls at a Malaysia-based street food pop-up, I chose to make a sweet ball recipe oil-free with an air-fried and baked option.
Because I wanted my sweet potato balls recipe to taste savory and sweet, I focused on the flavors in the sweet balls I ordered. And, I chose to serve my sweet balls with Vegan Ranch Dressing because my family loves it. But, I also selected other dips and sauces which work as an alternative dip.
How to pick a sweet potato
To find the best sweet potatoes, choose small to medium sweet potatoes, sweet and creamy. (The larger ones tend to be starchier.) Furthermore, the potato skin should be firm, smooth, and even-toned. The deeper the color of the potato, the better.
How to make sweet potato balls
First, saute the garlic and shallots in a skillet on medium-low. When the shallots start to stick to the bottom of the pan and brown, add 1/8 cup water and use a spatula to scrape browned shallots and garlic from the bottom of the pan.
Then, remove from heat and set aside while cooking the sweet potatoes.
First, boil the cut sweet potatoes until soft and easy to penetrate with a fork.
- Skin and then cut the potatoes into uniform sizes for equal cooking.
- Add a teaspoon or 2 of salt to the water for boiling.
- Use a colander to drain the potatoes and allow them to cool completely before making the dough.
- For quicker cooling, run cool water over the sweet potatoes in the colander until all the potatoes are cool.
Once the sweet potatoes cool completely, transfer them to a food processor with a large blade. Or, mash potatoes with a hand mixer or by hand with a potato masher until all the pieces and mashed.
Now, add the other ingredients:
- Sauteed Shallot and Garlic Mixture
- Garbanzo Flour (or flour of choice)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Cayenne (optional)
- Sea Salt
What is nutritional yeast?
- An inactivated form of yeast commonly used to leaven bread, nutritional yeast looks like red pepper flakes, only yellow, or powdered Parmesan cheese. It shares a deceptively similar flavor, despite being non-dairy.
- Vegan-friendly ingredient adds a cheesy flavor to everything from popcorn to garlic bread to pasta. Aficionados often refer to it as "nootch."
Then, transfer the mashed sweet potato dough into a bowl, add chopped parsley, and stir. At this point, the dough appears too wet to roll the potato balls, so cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until the dough thickens.
Next, roll the sweet potato balls into uniform meat-ball-sized sweet balls.
How can I cook sweet potato puffs in the air fryer?
To make fried sweet potato balls oil-free and delicious, follow these simple steps:
- Roll the sweet potato balls into uniform sweet balls the size of meatballs.
- Place a single layer of sweet balls in the base of the air fryer
- Cook at 370 degrees for 10 minutes, flipping the balls over 5 minutes into cooking.
Baked sweet potato balls
Don't worry; baking these bite-sized treats only requires an oven if you don't own an air-fryer.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place rolled sweet potato balls on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, or use a mini-muffin pan to keep the balls rolling.
Sauces for sweet potato ball recipe
Whenever anyone dips at my house, they ask for Vegan Ranch Dressing, so I aim to please. But, these sweet balls taste great dipped in any sauce. However, I recommend these delicious vegan dip options.
- Maple Dijon Dressing
- Lemon Basil Dressing
- Vegan Thousand Island Dressing
- French Dressing
- Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Cranberry with Orange Sauce
- Romesco Sauce
- How to Make Organic Vegan Barbecue Sauce (Quick & Easy!)
How do you make savory sweet potato puffs?
- The trick is the combination of shallots, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. The combination of these ingredients supplies the "savory" to balance out the sweet from the sweet potatoes.
How long do you cook sweet potato puffs?
- In an air-fryer, cook at 370 for 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes.
- In an oven, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
How do I make crispy sweet potato puffs?
- Both air-frying and baking will result in crispy potato puffs.
Can sweet potato balls be frozen?
- Yes, but cook them first. Then place them in a freezer-proof container with an inch between the lid to prevent freezer burn. Also, freeze in a single layer with wax paper between layers.
- To reheat, thaw completely, and reheat in a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes or in the air-fryer at 325 degrees for 5 minutes.
Do you love healthy bite-sized savory food? Try these recipes!
- How to Cook Fried Mushrooms in the Air Fryer
- Portobello Fries
- Lentil Falafel
- How to Make Oil-Free Falafel In An Air Fryer (With Exclusive Tips!)
- Baked Sweet Potato Vietnamese Loaded French Fries
- How To Cook Crispy Air Fryer Steak Fries With Sriracha Ketchup
- Baked Parmesan Tomatoes
- Asparagus with Parmesan
- How to Make Plant-Based Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂