Armadillo Sweet Potatoes

Crispy and brown with an ridged exterior, these sweet potatoes look like armadillos burrowing on your plate! The heat of cayenne pepper and chili, combined with their appearance, makes these little tubers a sweet and spicy treat that calls to mind tumbleweeds and Texas. Potatoes cut this way are usually called hasselback potatoes, but my roommate Karly suggested armadillo and it stuck. Not only is this side dish adorable, but it combines my two favorite, very different elements of sweet potatoes. Partially slicing the sweet potatoes results in a crispy outside and a sweet, creamy inside–an easy way to add a unique twist to the average baked vegetable.

I first saw this idea in a magazine (either Real Simple or MS Living) and it seems to have been popping up all over since then. When experimenting with my savory version of this dish, I referred the recipes by Seasaltwithfood (white potatoes) and Jan’s Sushi Bar (Maple-Sage Sweet Potato) for their beautiful pictures and suggested cooking time. I added two of my favorite spices and came up with a new favorite side.

Armadillo Sweet PotatoesServes 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

2 small sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons melted butter, coconut oil, or ghee
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
cayenne pepper, cracked black pepper, and salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. Thoroughly wash and dry sweet potatoes. Using a sharp knife, cut thin 1/4″ slices into the potato, leaving about a quarter to a half inch uncut at the bottom. As the song goes, “the first cut is the deepest”-be careful and don’t cut all the way through your potato. Headless armadillos are still tasty, but not quite as cute.

Place potatoes on the baking sheet. Brush or rub your melted butter, coconut oil, or ghee into the potatoes. Try to work a little down in between the slices. Sprinkle sweet potatoes with chili powder and a light dusting of cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Gently rub the spices in between slices of the sweet potato. Most will stay on the outside, and this is fine too.

Bake potatoes for 30-40 minutes depending on their size. Potatoes are done when the outside is crispy and a fork slides easily into the middle of a slice.

About Humble Foodie

While we both love to eat well, life as AmeriCorps volunteers doesn’t afford us the budget to try every new restaurant and type of cuisine. With many post-graduate expenses and limited financial resources, what’s a foodie to do? The answer is here, at The Humble Foodie. Instead of spending our hard-earned cash paying other people to cook for us, we’re spending as frugally as possible making delicious meals at home.
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6 Responses to Armadillo Sweet Potatoes

  1. I will def be making these! Thanks!!

  2. Lacey says:

    I just thought of an idea and saw it somewhere I think….when slicing, place chopsticks on either side to present from going all the way through

    • Lacey says:


    • This tip is very helpful…I’m going to try it next time. I keep accidentally cutting off the tiny ends and, while of course they are still tasty, they just aren’t as cute! I think I need a little more patience, and some chopsticks. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Five Foods I’m Totally Crushing On | The Humble Foodie

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