Like many of you, I have an abundance of leftover sweet potatoes in my fridge right now, and I wanted to make something else with them besides more roasted sweet potatoes. So, I used them like carrots in this paleo sweet potato bread, which makes a delicious, easy, and freezer-friendly gluten free, dairy free, and paleo dessert or breakfast treat.
While the rest of the internet is bickering about who makes the best mashed potato sandwich, I’m staying out of the fray.
That’s for two reasons: first, because I made a very small Thanksgiving meal and we don’t have any leftovers. And second, because the idea of putting mashed potatoes in a sandwich low-key horrifies me.
But I’m not neglecting the leftover question — not at all. I assume that everyone else overbuys sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving like I do (right?). We ate our weight in roasted sweet potatoes this year as a Thanksgiving side dish, and I need a break.
So what’s a gal supposed to do with all of the sweet potatoes lingering in my fridge? Bake with them of course.
I’ll bet you already knew the answer to that one almost as soon as I asked the question.
Let’s Dig Into This Spiced Paleo Sweet Potato Bread
You’re already familiar with other types of starchy vegetables masquerading as cakes like carrot bread, banana bread, or pumpkin bread or anything of that sort. So, if you can do it with one root vegetable, why not others?
The answer is: You can.
As the mother of a toddler who swore, pre-children, that I would never resort to hiding vegetables in things (har har. Now that’s the only way I get him to eat vegetables!), I can call myself the proud creator of beet muffins, turnip muffins, and of course sweet potato muffins and bread.
Here is my recipe for blueberry-beet muffins, which is one of my son’s favorite breakfasts. He doesn’t even know there are beets in them — and neither will you. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today!
Speaking of covert vegetables, you don’t really know that there are sweet potatoes in this bread, either. Sure, you see little orange flecks throughout the bread — but you can’t distinguish the texture from the rest of the bread. And as far as flavor goes, the sweetness of the potatoes means they could just as easily be apples (especially to picky eaters!).
How to Make Spiced Gluten Free & Paleo Sweet Potato Bread
Like most of the rest of my paleo dessert recipes, I kept this one as simple as possible. If you ask me, simplicity is even more important when dealing with these sorts of recipes. Because if you’re just trying to use up leftover ingredients, you probably haven’t set aside a ton of time to do it. Save your leisurely baking time for special occasion projects, like birthday cake.
So what does that mean in terms of what this recipe requires from you? Not much.
There’s a standard list of ingredients, most of which you probably already have handy (particularly if you made paleo sweet potato casserole or other sweet potato recipes for Thanksgiving dinner last week).
The ingredient list contains the normal flours you expect in paleo-friendly baking, like blanched almond flour, coconut flour, and arrowroot flour. Beyond that, you’ll need a couple of other dry ingredients like fine sea salt and baking soda. You’ll also need eggs, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and of course your shredded sweet potatoes.
The method itself is simple: You mix the wet ingredients and, separately, the dry ingredients. You mix the wet and dry mixtures together to form a batter, fold in the grated sweet potato, and bake!
Why Use Shredded Sweet Potatoes Instead of Mashed?
This recipe, unlike many fruit or vegetable breads and cakes, calls for shredded raw sweet potatoes instead of purees.
Why? Well, because shredded raw sweet potato requires the least possible effort to prepare — and adds the least possible additional moisture to the cake. Moisture imbalance is, as you know if you’ve been here long enough, a huge deciding factor in whether a paleo baked good (or a conventional one) is a success or a flop.
I initially set out to use sweet potato puree (which is just cooked, mashed sweet potatoes) in this recipe, but it didn’t turn out because the steaming process added too much water to the potatoes, and ultimately to the bread, that it was too hard to balance it out with the dry flour mixture.
So I tried raw, grated potato instead. Luckily, using grated sweet potatoes yields both a better bread and also a much easier process, as this is the easiest possible preparation short of dumping a whole, unwashed potato into the bread batter (caution: not recommended!) All you have to do is wash and quickly shred your sweet potato rather than going to the time consuming process of cooking, cooling, and mashing your potatoes — then you’re ready to fold them into the batter.
Full Disclosure: The Glaze is Technically Not Paleo-Friendly
A quick word on the glaze: It does not adhere to the paleo diet, because it contains powdered (cane) sugar. Although you can make a paleo-friendly glaze it usually requires a lot of ingredients and a lot of lowering your standards. So when I do the occasional glaze, like the occasional frosting, I do it right.
That said, I know that many of you can’t tolerate cane sugar, even rarely. So the glaze is completely optional. The bread tastes just as good — and is much more breakfast-appropriate — without it!
Tips for Paleo Sweet Potato Bread Recipe Success
If it’s your first time making sweet potato bread or experimenting with grain-free baking, you might have a few questions. Hopefully, these tips and tricks set you up for success.
Substitutions for Paleo Sweet Potato Bread
- Can I substitute the almond flour? I haven’t tried it, and don’t recommend it. But if you absolutely must, I’ve heard that cashew flour is a good sub for almond flour, if you can tolerate other tree nuts.
- Can I substitute the coconut flour? No, I’m sorry. Grain-free flours, like almond and coconut flour, have completely different chemical makeups. Therefore, you cannot substitute one for another at a 1:1 ratio as you would whole wheat or all-purpose flour.
- Ok, what about the arrowroot flour? You can use tapioca flour, but will get a slightly denser, slightly gummier texture.
- Can I substitute baking powder for baking soda? No. I tend to avoid baking powder in my recipes, as it typically includes cornstarch, which many people have trouble tolerating. But, even if you can tolerate cornstarch, you can’t use baking soda and baking powder interchangeably, because, although they are both leavening agents, they work very differently – baking soda is a pH basic ingredient that reacts with acid in the recipe, while baking powder is a mixture of baking soda and an acid like cream of tartar – and the same amounts of each produces very different results.
- Can I substitute something else for the maple syrup? Yes, you can substitute another natural, liquid sweetener, like honey or agave. I do not recommend substituting a granulated sweetener, like white or brown sugar (cane sugar), coconut sugar, maple sugar, or liquid or granulated stevia or monk fruit.
More Gluten Free & Paleo Sweet Potato Bread FAQs
- Where do I get pumpkin pie spice (aka pumpkin spice)? You can buy it in the spice aisle of the grocery store, or in the bulk spices section of Whole Foods or other health food stores. You can also make your own using a 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, and 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Or, simply substitute a teaspoon ground cinnamon for pumpkin spice at a 1:1 ratio.
- Can I make this dairy free? It’s already dairy free! Eggs are not dairy, a term which only applies to milk and the products we make from it (like butter, yogurt, and cheese).
- What kind of oil should I use? I recommend avocado oil. If you can’t find that, use another oil that is flavorless and liquid at room temperature, such as a half cup vegetable oil (preferably organic) or grapeseed oil. I don’t recommend using coconut oil. Because it is solid at room temperature, it affects the texture of the bread. Using a liquid oil produces a softer, fluffier bread.
- How do I jazz this up? Add 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts, pecans, or dark chocolate chips.
- What is a loaf pan? It’s a rectangular 8.5 inch long pan with high sides that encourage batter to bake up into a loaf shape. You can also find loaf pans in a larger size (10 inch long), so be aware of what size you’re using. You can use a 10 inch loaf pan but you’ll have to reduce the baking time by about 15-20 minutes, and you’ll end up with a loaf that doesn’t appear to have risen as much.
Still Stuck With Leftover Sweet Potatoes?
If you still have sweet potatoes coming out of your ears (even after this recipe), I sympathize. Here are a few paleo recipes that use up your leftover sweet potatoes:
- Sweet potato fries: Roast thinly sliced sweet potatoes in a preheated 375°F oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tinfoil, tossed with olive oil or coconut oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder until crisp. Serve with just about anything. Bonus: These are Whole30 friendly!
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: There are a million recipes online, and you can find my favorite variation in this post about ways to use shredded chicken.
- Make quick and easy Whole30 mashed potatoes by slicing washed sweet potatoes lengthwise and baking them facedown in a baking dish at 400° until soft. Then scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Mash the flesh with a bit of salt salt and full fat coconut milk until smooth and creamy. You can cook the potatoes even faster in your Instant Pot using the steaming rack over about 2″ water, on high pressure for about 10 minutes plus natural release.
- Mini carrot latkes, which make a great appetizer or paleo breakfast, topped with smoked salmon and/or a fried egg.
- You might also try replacing the white potatoes with sweet potatoes in these gluten-free and vegan classic latkes.
Bottom line: Sweet potatoes are the basis of so many wonderful comfort foods this time of year. This spiced paleo sweet potato bread is just the beginning!
Looking for more paleo diet recipes? Check out plenty more easy sweet and savory options here!
Ingredients for the bread
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, (or cinnamon)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water, or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup peeled, shredded sweet potato
Ingredients for the glaze (optional)
- 1 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, (powdered sugar), sifted
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8.5" loaf pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until beaten, then whisk in the oil, water, maple syrup, vanilla, and vinegar.
- Pour the wet (eggs, etc) mixture into the dry (flours) mixture and stir until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the batter, making sure that everything is well combined.
- Fold in the shredded sweet potato until well incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use your spatula to level the top of the batter.
- Bake for 60-65 minutes, until the bread has risen and springs back slightly when lightly pressed.
- Remove bread from oven and cool 15-20 minutes in the pan before removing from the pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the bread has come to room temperature, prepare the glaze (if using) by whisking together the sugar and milk, then slowly pouring it over the top of the loaf. Use a spatula to spread it into an even layer, if necessary.
- Allow the glaze to set before slicing and serving.
Optionally, you can fold in 3/4 cup of roughly chopped walnuts, pecans, or dark chocolate with the shredded sweet potato.
Store leftover bread in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, in the fridge for up to 5 days, or tightly wrapped in the freezer for up to 3 months. The bread will keep best without the glaze.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 31mg Sodium: 271mg Carbohydrates: 37g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 24g Protein: 5g