How do you make sweet potato balls? Well, first, make sure you only purchase male sweet potatoes…

Go ahead and snicker. There’s no way we’re gonna get through this recipe without some awkward double entredres. Maybe even triple entendres.

Actually, this recipe came to us while we were on a recent cookbook tour. We asked the audience for their favorite family heirloom recipes. One woman mentioned the “Sweet Potato Balls” her family made for every Thanksgiving dinner. We called them her family jewels, of course. Snicker. While her version was spiced with typical pumpkin pie spices and stuffed with a marshmallow (yum,) we were inspired to make a savory, pretzel coated version – stuffed with goat cheese.

Follow along these step-by-step photos showing you our balls. Snort. (full recipe at bottom of this post.)

Potatocide! Before baking, be sure to pierce them deeply (and carefully) with a fork or sharp knife.


After baking, let them cool completely before slipping off skins. Because of their high sugar content, sweet potatoes can stay scalding hot much longer than regular potatoes. (Besides, you’re going to reheat them later, so it doesn’t matter if they cool completely.)


Once cool, they’re easy mashed with a fork.


Use the cheapest pretzels you can for the coating. No need to get fancy.


Pulse them in a food processor until they’re very coarsely ground.


Half the mixture will go into the sweet potato filling, while the other half will be mixed with parmesan to form the coating.


Slice up your fresh chèvre…


And form it into little balls. Giggle.



Then comes the fun part. Grap a palmful of the sweet potato mixture, and poke one of the little balls (ouch) right into the center. Then add enough sweet potato mixture to fully cover the goat cheese and form a much bigger ball.


Roll the sweet potato in the pretzel crumb/parmesan mixture. Don’t push down too hard. The sweet potato is pretty soft and will fall apart.


Gently transfer your balls to an oiled baking sheet. Tee hee.


Bake until just golden brown.


Nice balls. Snort.




  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¼ finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels



Additional Information


Preheat oven to 375F. Carefully, but deeply prick one side of sweet potatoes with either fork or knife. Place on oiled baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until cooked all the way through. Allow to cool. Reduce oven to 350F.

Slip peels from sweet potatoes, and mash flesh with fork in medium bowl. Add sage, rosemary, pepper, chives, salt & egg and stir to combine well.

Divide goat cheese into 7 equal portions (approx 1½-2 tablespoons each.) Roll into balls with hands.

Add approximately 3-4 cups whole pretzels to food processor (to yield 2 cups crushed.) Pulse intermittently until very coarsely ground. Add 1 cup of crushed pretzels to sweet potato mixture, stir to combine.

Combine remaining crushed pretzels with grated parmesan in shallow dish.

Using hands, gather handful of sweet potato mixture (approximately 1 cup each.) Insert goat cheese round into center of sweet potato mixture. Roll sweet potato into ball, and roll in pretzel/parmesan mixture.

Place balls on oiled baking sheet. Return to 350F oven, and bake for and additional 15-20 minutes.  Serve hot.


by Josh and Brent

Reader Comments

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I want to try reducing the salt next time I make these, but that may have to do with the kind of pretzels I chose. They came out great! I love how simple the steps are to make a very elegant looking, and tasting, dish.


I love trying new things and this recipe was a home run with the entire family. My 9 year old daughter and my 23 year old son asked for more,more more!!! My hubby put his nose up at first but now he is telling his friends what I made at work. I left one to put in his lunch the next day. Its true you can make many variations of this from sweet to savory.

Kelly M

We eat lots of sweet potatoes so I’m always interested in new recipes. I’d like to try it with ground almonds instead of pretzels to make it gluten free!


Do you have the original recipe with the marshmallow center and pumpkin pie spice? That one sounds good too! I tend to have a sweet tooth!