A dark blue dish with roasted sweet potatoes and a spoon visible
Photography, Quentin Bacon

Roasted Mexican Sweet Potatoes

A cumin compound butter makes this Mexican street food favourite extra savoury.

Camotes are an old-school Mexican favourite. In some places in Mexico, they are slowly cooked in a piloncillo syrup (a syrup made from unrefined brown sugar; a traditional ingredient) and served in a bowl, to be mashed with cold milk. In major cities, they are a popular street food sold from a pushcart-turned-portable oven that you can hear a mile away because of a horn that vendors use that sounds like a train whistle. They sound it to let sweet potato-lovers that they are around and ready to serve. In this recipe, we make them extra savoury by pairing them with a cumin compound butter. –Bricia Lopez

A dark blue dish with roasted sweet potatoes and a spoon visible

Roasted Mexican Sweet Potatoes

Bricia Lopez's recipe for a traditional Mexican street food dish, roasted sweet potatoes, served with a cumin compound butter.
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6


  • 6 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes about 1½ pounds (630 g), scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cumin Butter

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds roughly ground
  • 2 tbsp pepitas
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ stick salted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • finishing salt


  • Preheat your grill to 375°F/190°C (if using a pellet grill), to low heat (if using gas), or for indirect cooking (if using charcoal), with the lid closed, for 15 minutes.
  • Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and rub them all over with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Grill the sweet potatoes over indirect heat, covered, turning occasionally, until very soft inside, about 45 minutes. For extra char, you can move them to direct heat for the final 10 minutes of cooking.
  • In a small nonstick pan over medium heat, toast the semi-crushed cumin seeds, the pepitas and sesame seeds until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt, shaking the pan occasionally. Stir in the cilantro and remove the pan from the heat.
  • To serve, cut a slit down the center of each sweet potato and top with spoonfuls of the cumin seed butter and lots of flaky salt. Serve immediately.

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