Okinawan Sweet Potato Cheesecake

This is what happens when I don’t want to waste food.

A couple of week ago I bought two pounds of Okinawan sweet potatoes. My original intent was to make sticky buns with them, which I did. But since those only took about a quarter of what I had, I decided to also make chili with some of them. Even after making that, I still had a couple left.

And so this cheesecake was born.

Huzzah for not wasting food!

Photos by Arbine Villanueva-Hoapili

Okinawan Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Yield: 16 slices


  • Crust
  • 12 whole Graham crackers, processed into crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Filling
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cooked and mashed Okinawan sweet potato
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Topping
  • 1 cup whipped cream (homemade or store bought)
  • ½ cup toasted coconut (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. To make the crust: In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
  3. Maintain the oven temperature.
  4. To make the filling: Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor. Process for 10 to 20 seconds, or until smooth. Add Okinawan sweet potato, coconut milk, salt, and ginger and process for 5 to 10 seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, processing after each addition. Pour the filling over the crust. Bake 60-70 minutes, or until the edges are puffed and center is firm. Turn off oven. Leave oven door slightly ajar and keep cheesecake in there for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for another 30 minutes to an hour. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  5. To make the topping: Remove cheesecake from refrigerator. Spread whipped cream evenly over the top. If desired, sprinkle toasted coconut over the whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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