Coffee-Baked Sweet Potatoes

This technique for roasting sweet potatoes on a tray of coffee beans infuses the vegetables with the subtle aroma of earth and spice, with just a hint of freshly brewed coffee essence. Tangy crème fraîche, lime zest, and cilantro brighten the dish while spices add sweetness with a bit of heat. Quantities aren’t too important here, so feel free to ad lib based on what’s on hand. Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish


  • 1 pound inexpensive coffee beans
  • 2 jewel yams (sweet potatoes) of the same size
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the coffee beans onto a baking sheet. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and then nestle them into the coffee beans. Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 30 minutes, monitoring occasionally to make sure the beans are not smoking. if the oven is too hot the coffee beans will smoke and give off a burnt aroma to the sweet potatoes.
  2. After 30 minutes, turn the sweet potatoes over and stir the beans a bit. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking the sweet potatoes until very tender and collapsed in their skins, about 30-45 minutes more. test the sweet potatoes for doneness by piercing all the way through the flesh with a table knife. set the sweet potatoes aside until just cool enough to handle. once the coffee beans have cooled they can be discarded.
  3. Make the spice mixture. in a small bowl, stir together the sea salt, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon, cayenne, and brown sugar.
  4. Now prep the sweet potatoes as you would a baked russet potato. slice each potato in half lengthwise and use a fork to fluff the flesh. sprinkle the spice mixture amongst the 4 sweet potato halves. Garnish each with a tablespoon of crème fraîche, a few pinches of lime zest, and some cilantro leaves. serve warm potatoes immediately.