Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes

Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes Recipe

This irreverent, inside-out approach to everyone’s favorite sweet potato casserole is irresistible to children once they find out there is a marshmallow inside. It also becomes a not-so-guilty pleasure for adults when they become privy to the same secret. It’s a surprise dish that’s always a hit at the holidays. (And yes, instead of being fried, they can be baked on a baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment if you really want. But, like most things, these inside-out sweet potatoes are better fried.)–Martha Hall Foose

LC Juggling Everything At Once Note

Thanksgiving may not seem the ideal time to stand at the stove and deep-fry sweet potato-smothered marshmallows one by one. We realize that. Yet these crazy little bombs of sweet, gooey deliciousness are perhaps better suited to no other day of the year. Clearly, it’s a conundrum, one made easier thanks to cookbook author Martha Hall Foose, who suggests a savvy make-ahead strategy. She bakes and mashes the sweet potatoes early in the day or even the night before, then coats the marshmallows with the sweetly spicy sweet potato goo, plops them on a baking sheet, and refrigerates them for up to several hours. This means you can forget about them until after you take the turkey out of the oven and are waiting impatiently for it to rest, which is when you roll the sweet potatoes in the cornflake crumbs and get to frying. We’d even go so far as to suggest you snag a guest, hand him an apron, and ask him to do the honors. See how simple it can be?

Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer

Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 8


  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or bourbon, or if kids will be partaking, vanilla extract
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • Canola oil, for frying (1 1/2 cups)


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • 2. Pierce each sweet potato several times and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool in their jackets. When cool enough to handle, halve the potatoes, scoop out their flesh, and mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth.
  • 3. To make the inside-out sweet potatoes, place the cornflake crumbs in a shallow dish or pie pan. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl.
  • 4. Combine the mashed sweet potatoes with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, flour, orange juice, and sherry, bourbon, or vanilla extract.
  • 5. Working with your hands, encase each marshmallow in some of the sweet potato mixture, forming a ball. If the sweet potato mixture seems too soft to hold its shape, stir in some of the crumbs to thicken it. (You can cover and refrigerate the sweet potato-smothered marshmallows for up to several hours.) Dip each ball in the egg and then roll it in the crumbs. Refrigerate just until the oil is hot.
  • 6. Lower the oven temperature to 200°F (93°C). In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375°F (190°C) on a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer. Place a wire rack over newspaper or paper towels.
  • 7. Fry the inside-out sweet potatoes one or two at a time for 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed, until lightly browned. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon, and place the drained balls on the prepared rack and transfer to the oven to keep warm while frying the remaining batches. Serve warm.

Baked Inside-Out Sweet Potatoes Variation

  • If you have the oven space on Thanksgiving and want to save a few calories (and blow them later on pumpkin pie), we have it on good authority (aka from the author Martha Hall Foose herself) that you can skip the deep frying. Instead, follow steps 1 through 3 per the recipe above and then preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper and generously spray the inside-out sweet potatoes with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until browned.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Adrienne Lee

Nov 22, 2010

The flavors of this fantastic dish are amazing. The accompanying picture is a little misleading because it makes the balls look small—when you actually start to add sweet potato around the marshmallows, they become rather huge. Don’t skimp on the amount of sweet potato or cornflakes, or cracks may appear during or after frying and cause the marshmallow to ooze out before you get to eat them.


      1. Brilliant concept, isn’t it?! We’ll be expecting a report, Deb. Happy Turkey Day.

    1. Much as I’d like to say yes, I wouldn’t, Becky. I think the moisture content of foods tends to get slightly wacky after freezing, and since you’ll be deep-frying these, you don’t want extra spattering or sogginess. Especially not as you’re juggling everything for the Thanksgiving table. Although take a look at the note prior to the recipe, it does offer some advice for making them partly in advance. Every little bit helps. And don’t be shy about asking someone else for help in the kitchen and give them a specific task to accomplish.

  1. Everything I have tried from Martha’s book Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, have been nothing shy of Southern satisfaction! Bon appetit!

    1. Hi Kathy, I wish that i could give you some specific guidance for baking them, but our testers only tested them as written, fried. If you do try and eliminate the frying step, please let us know how they turn out. It could be a great help to other readers.

      1. My family has made these for years, baked. Since the potatoes will be cooked already, you really just need to melt the marshmallow and crisp up the corn flakes, adding some butter on top of the balls just before baking them really helps the browning part. Good luck! These are my families secret holiday treat.

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