Daigaku Imo – Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Besides popular savory street foods like Takoyaki, Curry Bread, or Korokke, Japan also has some sweet street foods! One of my faves is Daigaku Imo or Candied Sweet Potatoes.

Daigaku Imo is a popular Japanese snack made from sweet potatoes. Its name translates to “university potato,” supposedly because it was a popular snack among university students in the early 20th century. The snack gained popularity for its affordability and energy-boosting properties.

Best Daigaku imo recipe ever
Japanese caramelized sweet potato

These Candied Sweet Potatoes are typically deep-fried and coated with a sweet syrup made from sugar and soy sauce, giving me the perfect blend of crunch and sweetness. It’s like a street party in my mouth!

Apart from being a beloved street food, this Japanese sweet potato dessert is also a popular treat in Japanese festivals and celebrations, like Shichi-Go-San, a celebration of children’s growth.

The Daigaki Imo recipe is easy and simple. However, I’m not a fan of deep-fry dishes, so baked these Japanese sweet potatoes instead. Here’s how to cook Daigaku Imo Candied Sweet Potatoes:

Easy Daigaku Imo – Candied Sweet Potatoes

A simple yet captivating snack
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Asian, Japanese
Servings 4
Calories 180 kcal


  • 2 medium-sized Japanese sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin sweet rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


  • Wash the sweet potatoes carefully and cut them into bite-sized pieces or wedges. Don't peel the skin.
  • In a large bowl, combine salt and water, and fully soak the sweet potato pieces for about 30 minutes. This helps to remove excess starch and ensures a crispier texture when baked.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Set aside.
  • Drain and pat dry the sweet potato pieces.
  • Toss the sweet potatoes with vegetable oil to coat evenly. This helps sweet potatoes more brown and crisp.
  • Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are golden and crispy, turning them halfway through for even cooking.
  • Once the sweet potatoes are baked, transfer them to a bowl. Pour the prepared sauce over the baked sweet potatoes and gently toss to coat evenly.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds over the glazed sweet potatoes for added flavor and texture.


If you don’t have an oven, you can use an air fryer instead or just deep fry sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes, and then transfer them to the wire rack to drain the oil.
Keyword homemade, japanese, street food, sweet potatoes
Johanna Cleveland
About the author

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating