Japanese Sweet Potato Bread (Vegan, Whole Grain)

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Creamy, caramelized roasted Japanese sweet potato makes this bread dense, moist, and perfectly sweet. Egg-free, dairy-free, and oil-free!

Sweet potatoes are in season and what better way to celebrate than with this Japanese sweet potato bread! If you’ve never had a roasted Japanese sweet potato (or yaki-imo 焼き芋), they’re almost like cake in that they’re very sweet, moist, and dense but also fluffy. I love eating them as is or with peanut butter, but they’re also extremely delicious baked into breads and cakes. This sweet potato bread is slightly denser than banana bread but isn’t gummy; it’s tender, nutty, not-too-sweet, and made with wholesome ingredients!

ingredients for japanese sweet potato bread

Key Ingredients

  • Roasted Japanese Sweet Potato Also known as yaki-imo 焼き芋. In Japan you can find yaki-imo at many supermarkets or street vendors. Roasting the sweet potato brings out its natural sugars and results in a fluffy, creamy texture.
    • Japanese sweet potatoes have purple skin and yellow flesh. You can also use Korean sweet potatoes which are similar.
  • Yogurt Adds moisture and healthy fats to give the bread a tender texture.
    • Use plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (or unsweetened vanilla and omit the vanilla extract). I prefer Trader Joe’s or Forager Project’s unsweetened cashew yogurt.
  • Walnut Butter ⟶ Instead of oil or butter, this sweet potato bread gets most of its fat from heart-healthy walnuts!
  • Whole Wheat Flour Preferably white whole wheat flour which is a bit softer than whole wheat flour. You can also use all purpose flour or half all purpose and half whole wheat
  • Roasted Black Sesame Seeds Japanese sweet potato and black sesame is a very popular combination in Japan. The nuttiness from the sesame pairs deliciously with the sweet, creamy sweet potato. You can use roasted white sesame seeds, they just won’t be as noticeable.

Tips for Success

Bake for over an hour Most quick breads are done in about an hour, but there is a lot of sweet potato in this bread which means there’s also a lot of moisture! If you take it out of the oven too early, the bread will look very dense and uncooked inside and the bread will likely fall flat. So be patient and keep baking until your toothpick comes out clean or with cooked crumbs!

Roast sweet potatoes ⟶ You may be tempted to just boil or steam the potatoes to save time, but roasted sweet potatoes are so much sweeter and creamier! I recommend roasting the sweet potato a day or two before you bake this bread.

Batter should be thick The batter will be very thick, but don’t add extra milk! The sweet potatoes release more moisture as the bread bakes. If you add extra liquid, your bread will not bake in the center.

Use gram measurements ⟶ I highly recommend getting a kitchen scale*, especially if you do a lot of baking, because gram measurements are much more accurate.

stack of Japanese sweet potato bread slices

Japanese Sweet Potato Bread FAQ

How do I store sweet potato bread?
Because this is a very moist bread, I recommend storing it in the fridge after the first day. It will last about a week in the fridge, or you can freeze slices for up to 2 months.

What can I use instead of walnut butter?
Another nut butter such as almond butter, pecan butter, or cashew butter should work. Sunflower seed butter would probably taste good, but it may turn the bread a greenish color due to a chemical reaction between the chlorophyll in the seeds and the baking soda. Tahini would probably be delicious too if you enjoy the flavor of it.

What yogurt should I use?
I use unsweetened plain cashew yogurt from Forager or Trader Joe’s.

Can I use other sweet potatoes?
I’ve only tested this bread with Japanese/Korean sweet potatoes, but orange or purple sweet potatoes should work. The flavors are a little different though and will affect the color of the bread.

Can I use all purpose flour?
Yes, you can replace the whole wheat flour with equal amounts of all purpose flour.

close up slice of sweet potato bread

More Wholesome Quick Breads

If you make this Japanese sweet potato bread, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking. I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!

japanese sweet potato bread cut in half

Japanese Sweet Potato Bread

Creamy, caramelized roasted Japanese sweet potato makes this bread dense, moist, and perfectly sweet. Egg-free, dairy-free, and oil-free!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Japanese, Vegan
Servings 8


  • 240 grams roasted sweet potato**1, about 1 medium
  • 90 grams (¾ cup) unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • 72 grams (6 tbsp) sugar
  • 120 ml (½ cup) soy milk
  • 60 grams (¼ cup) walnut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 190 grams (1 ½ cups + 4 tsp) white whole wheat flour, or all purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F for convection oven). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Mash roasted sweet potato until smooth (a few small lumps are fine).
  • Mix in yogurt, sugar, soy milk, walnut butter, vanilla extract, and vinegar.
  • Sift whole wheat flour and baking soda in, then fold with a spatula to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. Batter will be thick.
  • Stir in black sesame seeds.
  • Pour batter into lined loaf pan. If you have leftover roasted sweet potato, you can cut some into chunks and add to the batter.
  • Bake for 75-90 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Tent with foil if the top of the loaf is browning too quickly.
  • Cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the bread from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.


1) To roast Japanese sweet potatoes, wash the skin, pat dry, and bake in the oven at 350°F for about 1 hour or until soft. Then let the sweet potato cool completely (I recommend roasting the sweet potato the day before).
You can test the doneness by inserting a skewer or knife through the center of the potato. If it slides in easily, the potato is ready. I like to bake a few sweet potatoes at a time and snack on the remaining ones that don’t get baked (they’re also good frozen!). 

Nutrition per serving: 215 kcal | 7.5g fat | 1g sat fat | 36g carbs | 4g fiber | 9g added sugar | 6g protein | 150mg sodium

*Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, but the price remains the same to you. Thank you for supporting Ellie Likes Cooking!

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