19 Sweet Potato Substitutes & How to Use Them

Sweet Potato Substitutes

The sweet potato proudly bears the title “superfood” as it is incredibly beneficial for your health and exceptionally delicious and versatile. The biggest downside of the sweet potato is that it isn’t always available and is considerably more expensive than other vegetables intended for similar purposes. But some substitutes are pretty close to the sweet potato taste and quality-wise. So what are the best sweet potato substitutes? 

Pumpkin, butternut squash, white potato, red potato, carrot, celery root, yams, golden beets, parsnips, acorn squash, jewel potatoes, spaghetti squash, Japanese sweet potatoes, taro roots, Japanese pumpkin, plantains, eggplant, russet potatoes, and ube are some of the best sweet potato substitutes. 

When we think of substitutes for whatever it may be, we instantly think that the substitute would be ok but not good enough. However, when it comes to sweet potatoes, some substitutes are pretty tasty and pretty close to what you’re looking for. In the following paragraphs, I will list and explain 19 sweet potato substitutes that will do a great job. 

List of Sweet Potato Alternatives

The sweet potato alternatives will in no case be identical to the sweet potato, but they will manage to bring your dish as close as possible to the original thing. When substituting sweet potato, it is important to select similar category produce. Since sweet potato grows underground, most of the vegetables that grow the same way will be an excellent substitute.

However, some above-ground growing vegetables are also suitable as they share the same color, shape, or consistency. This list contains some of the best sweet potato substitutes.

Pumpkin

Although it grows above ground, the pumpkin is still very close to the soil, so it contains the earthy whiff in its flavor, and that is recognizable. Furthermore, the pumpkin is very similar in color and consistency to the sweet potato, so it doubles as a sweet potato very successfully. You can use the pumpkin just as you would use the sweet potato, roasted, baked, or fried; it works all ways. 

However, be prepared that the pumpkin will be considerably more moister than the sweet potato, so adjust your temperature and length of cooking accordingly. 

Butternut Squash 

The butternut squash is another great sweet potato substitute. It has the same earthy groove and is similar in color and consistency to the sweet potato. The butternut squash is less moist than the pumpkin and doubles great as a sweet potato. 

If fried, sautéed, stir-fried, baked, or roasted, the butternut squash will work anywhere where you would use the sweet potato. However, the butternut squash is a bit bitter and less sweet than the sweet potato, but it is an excellent solution. 

White Potato 

Whether baked, roasted or fried, the white potato will be a great sweet potato substitute. The white potato’s consistency is similar to that of the sweet potato, but the thing is, they react differently to high temperatures. While the sweet potato remains soft, the white potato tends to harden; therefore, you can’t expect an identical effect. 

Also, the white potato is considerably starchier than the sweet potato, which is much sweeter. Still, the white potato does retain the creamy interior underneath the solid surface, coming pretty close to the sweet potato consistency-wise. The earthy whiff is present in the white potato too. 

Red Potato

The red potato is a great sweet potato substitute if you bake it, as it doesn’t do well fried or roasted. The red potato’s earthy aroma and flavor are present, though the consistency is quite different. The red potato contains more water than the sweet potato, which makes it stick and lose its consistency when fried or roasted. 

The red potato isn’t as dense as the sweet potato and is considerably less sweet. However, what makes the red potato an excellent sweet potato substitute is its creamy and juicy consistency; when baked, it resembles the sweet potato to a great extent. 

Carrot

This may come as a surprise, but the carrot and the sweet potato share many similarities. The most obvious common feature is the color, though the carrot has a brighter shade of orange than the sweet potato. Another similarity they share is the earthiness, which is intensely expressed in both. 

Furthermore, like the sweet potato, the carrot is also considerably sweet with similar density and consistency as the sweet potato. You can cook the carrot just as you would cook the sweet potato. It does well fried, baked, and roasted, so wherever you’d use the sweet potato, you can use the carrot too. 

Sweet Potato Substitutes

Celery Root 

Although not very similar in taste, sharing some commonalities in texture and consistency, the celery root made it to this list because it combines very well with the food you’d combine your sweet potato with. The celery root has a distinctive smell and flavor that makes us think instantly of soup, but it gets a different dimension when baked, roasted, and seasoned. 

The celery has the earthy bitterness typical for this plant, but it isn’t sweet like the sweet potato. However, when baked or roasted, it has the creaminess of the sweet potato, intertwined with the distinct celery strings. In addition to being a suitable sweet potato substitute for taste and consistency, celery is also a very healthy option. 

Yams

Compared to sweet potatoes, yams taste more neutral than sweet but are still earthy. They are starchier than sweet potatoes but still creamy when cooked. Yams do well in all forms of cooking and can be served in pieces or mashed. 

They absorb tastes very easily, so they taste like whatever they have been seasoned with. Much like the white potato, yams will do a great job substituting for the sweet potatoes, being creamy on the inside with a nice solid shell on the outside when fried or roasted and all creamy when baked.

Golden Beets

The golden beets are a very underrated beetroot, as the red beets are prevalent. However, the golden beets do an excellent job substituting for sweet potato. Their flavor is a mixture of apricot sweetness, earthiness, and nuttiness. 

Fried, baked, or roasted, all they need is butter, and they’re good to go. Although not very similar in flavor to the sweet potato, the golden beets make a great sweet potato substitute as they are delicious and very creamy on the inside when cooked. 

Parsnips 

Parsnips are very similar to celery. It looks like a carrot, tastes like celery, and has a consistency similar to sweet potato. Still, the parsnip flavor isn’t very similar to that of the sweet potato, and other than the earthiness they both have, they don’t share much else. 

Still, even though they have different flavors, the parsnips not being sweet at all; the parsnips and the sweet potatoes are compatible, meaning that what goes with the sweet potatoes goes with the parsnips too. 

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a fantastic substitute for sweet potatoes, especially during wintertime, which is the acorn squash season. In addition to being a suitable sweet potato substitute, acorn squash is a very healthy option. 

Acorn squash does great air fried, as well as baked or roasted. Taste-wise, the acorn squash is very similar to the sweet potato with an expressive earthiness, so you can combine it with whatever you’d pair your sweet potatoes with. 

Sweet Potato Substitutes

Jewel Potatoes

Jewel potatoes look very similar to sweet potatoes. They are fleshy and dense, making them a great sweet potato substitute. They also allow for any cooking and are very liberal in terms of combining. 

Jewel potatoes contain the typical root earthiness and the creaminess of the sweet potatoes when cooked.

Spaghetti Squash 

Primarily known as a spaghetti substitute, spaghetti squash is also an excellent sweet potato substitute. They share many similarities in taste and consistency, so you can use the spaghetti squash wherever you use the sweet potato. 

If you want to fry it, use butter instead of oil, and don’t deep fry. Baked spaghetti pumpkin is almost identical to the sweet potato. 

Japanese Sweet Potatoes 

Japanese sweet potatoes are less sweet than regular ones, but they are still a great substitute. The earthiness and creaminess remain, only the sweetness is slightly on the downside. Nevertheless, you can use them as regular sweet potatoes and combine them the same. 

Taro Roots

Although taro roots and cube roots are frequently mistaken for one for the other, other than the similar appearance, they don’t share much else. Compared to the sweet potato, the taro root is starchier and less sweet, but when cooked, it gains some mild sweetness, which is why this vegetable made it to this list. 

The taro root is a better substitute for regular than sweet potato, but it can also do a good job substituting for sweet potato. The flavor will not be the same, but it will be close enough. You can bake, fry and roast the taro root, whereby you can fry and roast it cut in stripes and bake it whole. 

Japanese Pumpkin 

Very similar to the regular pumpkin, only a bit fresher-tasting, the Japanese pumpkin is yet another incredibly healthy option. Its taste combines carrots, regular pumpkin, and sweet potato; therefore, you can combine it with the same ingredients with which you would combine the sweet potato. 

Japanese pumpkin holds up well fried, roasted, and baked, so feel free to experiment.

Plantains 

Plantains are green bananas known for their use as sweet potato substitutes. They are sweet and soft and do well fried and roasted; however, they don’t do well baked. Even though the sweetness of the plantains is noticeably fruity, they make up for it with their creaminess, and in many cuisines, they are combined with savory foods. 

One thing the plantains lack and the sweet potatoes have is an earthiness, which is to be expected because they grow on trees. Still, they are worth a try as a sweet potato substitute. 

Eggplant 

The eggplant is an excellent sweet potato substitute, but in a very limited number of cases, meaning you cannot use it everywhere where you would use the sweet potato. Predominantly, you can use eggplant instead of a sweet potato with roasted vegetables and roasted meat. 

The eggplant has a distinct bitterness and isn’t sweet at all, but it has some earthiness, making it suitable to substitute for the sweet potato. Consistency-wise, the eggplant, and the sweet potato are creamy and soft, with the eggplant containing significantly more liquid than the sweet potato. 

Before cooking, the eggplant has a spongy texture, but it loses density after being cooked. When baked, the eggplant is watery, roasted, and fried; it is much drier. 

Ube 

In essence, the ube is a purple yam. It differs from the yam in terms of flavor, being stronger and not as mild as the yam. The use is a bit more stubborn and doesn’t absorb other flavors as easily as the yam, but it is still pretty receptive. 

When baked, the earthiness and creamy consistency make the ube an excellent sweet potato substitute. However, when fried, the ube root needs to be cut in thin circles to fry well, whereas you can fry whole chunks of the sweet potato. 

The use of yam doesn’t do well when cooked with other ingredients, so it is best to cook it individually and then mix it up. 

Russet Potatoes 

Russet potatoes are perhaps the most common type of potatoes. They make excellent sweet potato substitutes because they are moderately sweet, very receptive to other tastes, and can be cooked the same way as sweet potatoes. Russet potatoes are very versatile, and you can combine them with everything under the sun, meaning you can do the same combinations as you would with sweet potatoes. 

What Are Some Sweet Potato Substitutes? 

The Keto diet is a carbless diet, where sweet potatoes don’t fit. However, there are some low-carb substitutes, thanks to which you can still practice your diet and enjoy great food. 

Carrots, daikon beet, butternut squash, pumpkin, celery root, and turnips are excellent sweet potato substitutes for the keto diet. They are packed with nutrients and have a decently low carb amount. 

Can You Substitute Sweet Potatoes for Carrots in Soup?

Yes, you can replace sweet potatoes with carrots anytime. The soup won’t be as sweet as when using a sweet potato, but still, it will taste amazing. The carrot can make the soup denser, just like the sweet potato does.