Updated: Lightly seasoned and pan fried these sweet potato fritters are served up with a sweet and spicy sauce. Perfect for tailgating or as an easy side dish.
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One of the most American things about fall is our national love of football. It’s the perfect excuse to gather a group of friends together to watch the big game. However, no football party is complete without the food.
Spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and fennel these sweet potato fritters have all the flavors of fall. Served up with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce, you’ll be amazed at how quickly these disappear. Who said that vegetables can’t be popular for the big game?
Before we start, this recipe is very easy to double or even triple for a crowd. As written, the recipe will feed 2 people as a side dish or 3 people as an appetizer. For a game day party, my rule of thumb is 1 medium potato for every three people. This should make for simple math if you are going to double it or more. You can make them in advance. I’ve included instructions for freezing and reheating at the end of the post just before the recipe.
Start with a washed and peeled sweet potato. Grate the entire potato using the coarse side of a box grater or the grater function of your food processor. I typically use the box grater for 1 potato, but if making more than that it’s worth it to dig out and then clean the food processor.
Place the grated sweet potato into a medium sized mixing bowl. Grate the ginger using a fine grater or microplane, then add it along with the egg to the bowl. There is a huge difference between fresh ginger and ground ginger and I would not recommend substituting one for the other. Fresh ginger is in the produce section and typically sold by weight, which means you can break off and purchase the size that you need.
I wash and dry the whole chunk, then store it in a zip top bag in the freezer. When I’m ready to use it I simply slice or grate what I need (peel and all) while frozen, returning the rest of it to the freezer for later use.
Add the flour, ground cinnamon, ground fennel, and salt to the sweet potato, ginger and egg. Grab a long handled spoon and thoroughly combine all the ingredients, making sure there are no lumps of flour and no uncoated bits of sweet potato. You should have a heavy, chunky, batter like consistency that is slightly sticky.
These sweet potato fritters are pan fried, which means you need just enough oil in the pan to come halfway up the side of the fritter, or in this case about a 1/4″ of oil. A shallow cast iron skillet works best and provides the most flexibility when flipping without splattering oil everywhere.
For the oil I suggest peanut or coconut oil, but a standard vegetable oil will work too. Heat the pan over medium to medium high heat for a couple of minutes before adding your oil. You want cold oil going into a hot pan. Then give the oil 2 – 3 minutes to heat up. The oil is ready when you can see the oil moving around and feel the heat holding your hand about 4 inches above the surface.
If you add the first fritter and everything starts to splatter everywhere, your oil is too hot and the outside will burn before the inside cooks. If it doesn’t sizzle, the oil is too cold and you’ll get a soggy fritter. Adjust the heat as necessary while cooking.
Shape the fritters into patties that are about 1/2″ thick and about 2″ – 3″ across. Gently place the fritter in the oil making sure that they don’t touch each other and that they don’t touch the side of the pan. Cook each side for about 2 – 3 minutes, or until they have slightly browned. I use both a spatula and tongs to flip these safely without splattering. If they don’t look golden after you have flipped them the first time, you can always flip them back and give them a minute more.
Place the fried sweet potato fritters on a cooling rack over a layer paper towels and sprinkle them immediately with a little salt. If you are making multiple batches, you can store the fried fritters on a baking sheet in the oven, set to the lowest temperature it will go. The dry heat will keep them crisp and warm until you are ready to serve.
Like all party appetizers, these sweet potato fritters needs a dipping sauce and nothing pairs better than my Spicy Sweet Sriracha Sauce. I use three parts mayo, one part honey, and one part sriracha. Whisk to combine and smooth out any lumps, and it’s ready to serve. If you don’t love spicy foods but want the flavor, start with half of the sriracha. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there.
One of my favorite parts of these sweet potato fritters is that they can be made in advance. Once they are fried, sampled for quality control, and cooled lay them flat on a baking sheet and freeze 4 hours or until solid. Place the frozen fritters into a zip top bag and store them in the fridge for up to 6 months. When ready to serve place frozen fritters on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes or until hot and crispy.
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Sweet Potato Fritters with Sweet & Spicy Sauce Recipe
Sweet Potato Fritters with Sweet & Spicy Sauce
For the Fritters:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 tsp grated ginger root
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup + 1 TBSP all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground fennel
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus more for after frying
- peanut or coconut oil for frying
For the Fritters:
- Wash, peel, and grate sweet potato using the coarse section of a grater.
- Grate ginger using a fine grater or microplane.
- Place grated sweet potato, grated ginger, and egg in a medium to large mixing bowl. Add the flour, cinnamon, fennel, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix together thoroughly.
- Heat a shallow frying pan over medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add oil to the hot pan so that it is about 1/4" deep.
- Shape fritters into patties about 1/2" deep and 2 - 3 inches across.
- Gently place fritters in oil, ensuring they are not touching each other or the sides of the pan.
- Fry for 2 -3 minutes on each side, adjusting time to achieve a light golden brown surface.
- Place on paper towels to drain and salt lightly while they are still hot.