Grilled Sweet Potatoes

5 from 6 votes
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Grilled sweet potatoes are a healthy recipe with lightly charred slices tossed in a cilantro lime dressing—an easy barbecue side dish to complete your meal.

Slices of grilled sweet potatoes with char marks.

Recipe Science

  • When grilling, use a medium-high heat of 375 to 400°F (160 to 204°C) to quickly boost the sweetness of the spuds.
  • Grilling sweet potatoes causes their natural sugars to caramelize at 320°F, enhancing sweetness and creating a complex flavor profile.
  • Direct grill heat chars sweet potatoes, adding smoky flavor and crisp texture while keeping the interior soft.

Why It Works

Grab a few sweet potatoes if you want a simple summer side dish! Slice them, toss them with olive oil and savory seasonings, and throw them on the barbecue. The grilled vegetables cook quickly, taking on stunning char marks and infusing smoky flavor into each bite.

Like roasted sweet potatoes, you can enjoy these grilled tubers as is, but I’ll show you how to enhance the taste with a quick dressing. A cilantro lime dressing adds a citrusy punch, brightening the dish and boosting the potato’s natural sweetness. Serve with your favorite barbecued foods, such as steak, chicken, pork chops, and juicy burgers.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Sweet potatoes and cilantro lime dressing ingredients laid out on a table.
  • Sweet Potatoes: You’ll find many different types of sweet potatoes at the market. For this recipe, I used orange-fleshed sweet potatoes with reddish-brown skins. These are the most common type in grocery stores, and they come in varieties such as Jewel, red garnet, or Beauregard. The flesh is sweet, with a moist and creamy texture that holds together when cooked. 
  • Oil: Use a high smoke point oil, like olive oil or avocado oil. It’s used to season the potatoes, grease the grill to prevent sticking, and thicken the dressing.
  • Seasoning: Keep it simple with salt and pepper.
  • Dressing: A tangy combination of lime juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, cilantro, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Potato Swaps: For a drier and sometimes sweeter kind, try white-fleshed sweet potatoes. Japanese white or Murasaki with purple to reddish-purple skins or Hannahs make an excellent choice. Purple fleshed potatoes like Okinawa or Stokes tend to be dry and mealy but look very pretty.
  • Seasoning Options: You can sprinkle smoked paprika on top for a barbecued taste, but don’t add too much, as the spice will burn quickly on the grill. Make it spicy with chili powder or chipotle. I added onion powder or onion powder to add a boost of allium flavor.
  • Citrus: Add lemon juice or orange juice, which is a tangy substitute.
  • Switch up the Herbs: Try dill, basil, parsley, chives, thyme, and rosemary. 
  • Dressing Swaps: If you want a creamy dressing to drizzle or dip the sweet potatoes, try my green goddess dressing or homemade ranch dressing. It pairs well with a sour cream-based cilantro lime dressing, as used on my Southwest Chicken Salad.

How to Grill Sweet Potatoes

Step 1: Prepare the Sweet Potatoes

It’s the chef’s choice whether to keep the sweet potato skin on or peel it off. I enjoy saving time on prep, and the crispy edges are delicious! For even cooking, cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices. I like to slice them on a bias, or angle, to give longer pieces. This cut prevents them from falling through the grates.

Experimentation EncouragedIf you prefer shorter discs, cut them straight down perpendicular to the length. If you want sweet potato wedges for dipping, look for smaller sweet potatoes to cut into long, 1-inch wide pieces. These will take longer to grill.

Sweet potatoes with orange flesh and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Season the Potatoes

The sweet potatoes are seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The savory mix helps to balance the honeyed notes. The fat also provides a protective coat around the sugary spuds so they don’t burn too fast on the grill. Add garlic powder and onion powder for a hint of allium flavor.

Sliced sweet potatoes cooking on a barbecue grill.

Step 3: Grill the Potatoes

Grease the grill grates to prevent sticking. Add the sweet potatoes to the grill, then cover and cook until the slices are lightly charred and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes per side.

Using a charcoal grill or gas grill, utilize medium-high heat, between 375 to 400°F (160 to 204°C). This temperature also accounts for the loss of heat when opening the lid. I use a similar temperature to make crispy sweet potato fries. It’s just hot enough to enhance the natural sugars in the potato for caramelized notes.

Tips for Perfect Execution: You want to soften the flesh without it completely burning on the barbecue, which is a higher risk due to the increased amounts of sucrose in the plant.

Cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and seasonings in a bowl.

Step 4: Make the Dressing 

The sweet potatoes don’t need any additional sweetener. A bit of acid to enhance the taste makes it a savory side dish instead of a dessert.

Cilantro lime dressing in a bowl after being whisked together.

I combine fresh lime juice and zest with minced garlic, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil for a bright, citrusy flavor.

Serving platter of grilled sweet potatoes with cilantro lime dressing drizzled over top.

Step 5: Serve the Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Like to serve the grilled sweet potatoes warm. Drizzle the tangy citrus dressing on top, then turn to coat. It’s an easy side dish that pairs perfectly with any barbecue meat or seafood!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are grilled sweet potatoes good for you?

Although the tubers may taste like a dessert, they are low in fat and deliver protein, fiber, and nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. The orange-fleshed varieties are packed with vitamin A, and purple-fleshed spuds have phytonutrient-rich antioxidants. Grilling with olive oil and simple seasonings makes for a healthy side dish.

Do I have to remove the potato skin?

You can eat sweet potato skin. They contain insoluble fiber that gives a nice crisp contrast in texture when grilled. It also helps keep the potato slices intact, essential when cooking more dry, mealy potatoes like white and purple-fleshed varieties. Orange-fleshed potatoes can be peeled and will hold up well on the grill.

How long to grill sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are rock hard when raw and need time to soften but not turn mushy. Achieving golden grill marks and tender pieces takes about 5 to 8 minutes per side. Covering the grill helps trap the heat and steam so the potatoes can cook faster while browning the surface. If using a grill pan, add a few extra minutes since you can cover them up. 

Can I use a grill pan?

A grill pan is an excellent choice for cooking sweet potatoes on the stovetop. You’ll get the grill lines without having to step outdoors. Since the potatoes will not be covered, it will take a few additional minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to ensure that the surface does not burn.

Serve This With

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Grilled sweet potatoes tossed in a cilantro lime dressing—an easy and healthy barbecue side dish to complete your meal.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions 

  • Prepare the Vegetables – Wash, scrub, and dry the sweet potatoes. Keep the skin on, or if desired, peel it off. Cut into ½-inch thick slices on a bias or into discs. Alternatively, cut into 1-inch thick wedges to make grilled sweet potato fries.
  • Season the Potatoes – Brush both sides with olive oil. Evenly season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the Potatoes – Preheat the grill or a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat between 375 to 400°F (160 to 204°C). Clean the grates and grease with olive oil. Place the potato slices on the grill at a 45-degree angle to the grates. This will give a lovely char mark pattern and prevent the pieces from falling through the grates.
    Lightly press down on the pieces to make contact with the grates. Cover and cook until golden brown lines form, about 5 to 8 minutes. Flip, cover, and cook until tender but not mushy, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a sheet pan or serving dish.
  • Make the Dressing – In a medium bowl, combine lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil until a lightly thickened emulsion forms—season to taste.
  • To Serve – Drizzle some of the dressing over the warm potatoes. Use tongs to turn and evenly coat. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Serving Size: About 2 to 3 slices
  • Storing: Store grilled sweet potatoes and dressing in separate, airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Cover and microwave on high heat in 15 to 30-second intervals until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 166kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 18g (6%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 10g (15%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 7gSodium 414mg (17%)Potassium 295mg (8%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 12072IU (241%)Vitamin C 3mg (4%)Calcium 28mg (3%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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