This Sweet Potato Chicken recipe is full of warming spices, and it's cooked and served in one skillet. A comforting and hearty dinner, it's sweet and savory with a kick of heat.
Imagine incredibly succulent chicken that's braised in a creamy blend of deep and rich warming spices, coconut milk and mashed sweet potatoes.
Full of Shiitake mushrooms, peas and caramelized onions, Sweet Potato Chicken is a hearty, stew-like, comforting one-pan dish.
It's delicious year round, but it's especially warming during the cooler months.
- sweet potato - These don't have to be perfectly shaped, as we'll be mashing them. Choose firm sweet potatoes with smooth skin and no cracks.
- chicken - Fresh raw chicken should be a light pink color with white pieces of fat, little to no odor, and soft and moist.
- onion - Look for onions that are firm, heavy for their size and without bruises.
- garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which is an indication of old garlic. (Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots.)
- shiitake mushrooms - Shiitakes have a soft, meaty texture and a delicious umami flavor. While the chicken and sweet potatoes are the main ingredients in this recipe, the Shiitake mushrooms are what make the dish -- they bring it to a another level. Choose Shiitakes with the thickest caps possible, that are curled under, and avoid those that look wet, slimy, or shriveled.
- vermouth - This adds more fantastic flavor -- it's subtly sweet with notes of citrus and warming spices like cardamom and cinnamon.
- canned unsweetened coconut milk - Light or regular are both okay.
- fresh basil - Look for perky bunches with smaller leaves, without bruising or yellow leaves.
- frozen peas - These are added last and the pop of green color finishes the dish.
- salt - I cook with Kosher salt. I prefer it over other salts for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
- black pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
- Feel free to use different cuts of chicken. I like the variety of a whole cut-up chicken, but if you only like thighs, only use thighs, etc.
- I like cooking chicken on the bone when I can because it's incredibly juicy. That said, if you prefer the ease of eating chicken off the bone, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. The cooking time will be slightly less.
- I think the Shiitake mushrooms add a little something special to this recipe. That said, if you prefer, you can substitute them with Crimini, Button or Portabellos (all sliced thinly).
- You can substitute vermouth with sherry (medium dry or cream).
- If you like cilantro, it's a nice substitute for the basil.
- Want to make it vegetarian? Use cauliflower steaks instead of chicken. Follow the same instructions and cook just until the cauliflower is tender.
- The sweet potato sauce is on the chunky side. For a smoother sauce, you can add the sweet potato with the coconut milk to a blender and blend for a few seconds before adding it to the pan.
- If your basil leaves are on the larger side, roughly chop them.
- To save time you can use jarred, minced garlic.
- It's best to thaw the frozen peas before adding them to the pan.
How to Make it
- You can either bake the sweet potato in the oven, or more quickly in the microwave. For the oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes in half and place them flat side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. For the microwave: Pierce the potato with a fork a few times and place in on a double layer of paper towels in the microwave. Cook on high for about 4 minutes per side.
- Cut the baked sweet potato in half and use a spoon to gently scrape out the potato. Add it to a small mixing bowl and then use a fork to mash it.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet (at least 12-inches) with olive oil and over medium-high, sear both sides of the chicken pieces. Once each side is golden, remove them from the pan and set aside.
- With the medium-high heat still under the pan, add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until soft and golden.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan and add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to brown.
- Turn the heat to low to add the vermouth, and then turn it up to medium. Use a flat-edged wooden spatula, to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits of food that are stuck. Once the vermouth has almost completely cooked off, turn the heat to low and add the spices and stir.
- Then add the mashed sweet potato, coconut milk and honey. Mix until it's as smooth as possible, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Return the chicken to the pan, spoon some of the sauce on top, add the basil leaves between, cover and braise just until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the peas and mix them into the sauce.
(More detailed instructions including recipe times, are in the recipe card below.)
- Since sweet potato chicken is somewhat of a stew, it's delicious with rice with herbs, your favorite pasta and/or a warm bread. All of these foods are perfect to soak up any extra sauce.
- And it's always nice to serve a bright, fresh salad with chicken dish. A Little Gem Salad or Snow Pea Shoot Cranbery Salad would both be great choices.
More Scrumptious Sweet Potato Recipes
- Easy Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Basil Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
- Baked Sweet Potato Slices with Rosemary
Making it Ahead and Storage
- Ideally, Sweet Potato with Chicken should be served right after it's finished cooking. That's when the chicken will be at it juiciest. However, it's still excellent the next day. Let it come to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container, then to reheat it, set it out at room temperature for about 30 minutes, place it in a casserole dish in a 375°F oven just until it's hot, about 15 minutes.
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- It can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months in an airtight container of freezer bag with a bit of room for expansion.
Warming spices have a deep aroma and strong flavor, and can make any dish taste richer. Many warming spices also have the potential to increase your internal body temperature. (The warming spices in this recipe make it one of the most comforting chicken dishes of all time. It includes turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.)
Enjoy every last delicious bite of this sweet potato chicken dinner! I hope you love it!
Sweet Potato Chicken Recipe
- 1 pound sweet potato, baked (see notes)
- olive oil for the pan
- 1 approximately (3-pound) whole cut up chicken, skinless, bone-in
- 2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1½ tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 cups Shiitake, thinly sliced (about 5-ounces)
- ¼ cup vermouth
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 13½ ounces coconut milk (1 can should be 13½-ounces)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
- 1 cup green peas frozen and thawed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the sweet potatoes. You can either bake the sweet potato in the oven, or more quickly in the microwave. For the oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes in half and place them flat side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. For the microwave: Pierce the potato with a fork a few times and place in on a double layer of paper towels in the microwave. Cook on high for about 4 minutes per side.Cut the baked sweet potato in half and use a spoon to gently scrape out the potato. Add it to a small mixing bowl and then use a fork to mash it. Set aside.
- Sear the chicken. Coat the bottom of a large skillet (at least 12-inches) with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Once the pan is very hot, place them, presentation side down, in the pan. Use kitchen tongs to flip the pieces over once they’ve browned, after about 2 minutes. Cook for another minute. (This gives the chicken a nice caramelization, and will speed up the overall cooking time.) Remove the chicken pieces form the pan and place them on a plate. Set aside. The chicken will finish cooking with the sauce later in the recipe.
- Sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Over medium-high heat, add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add a bit more oil to the pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze and add spices. Turn the heat to low to add the vermouth, and then turn it up to medium. Use a flat-edged wooden spatula, to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits of food that are stuck. Once the vermouth has almost completely cooked off, turn the heat to low again and add cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric. Stir and cook just until it's aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add sweet potato, coconut milk and honey. Then add the mashed sweet potato, coconut milk and honey. Mix until it's as smooth as possible.
- Season and return chicken to pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here’s How to Season to Taste.) Return the chicken to the pan, presentation side up, and spoon some of the sauce over each piece.
- Add basil and braise. Add the basil leaves between the pieces of chicken and cover. Braise just until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- Add peas and serve. Mix the peas into the sauce. Let them warm and serve.
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I found this recipe because I had 3 ingredients I needed to use up. Chicken, sweet potato and basil. I was impressed with how it came out and especially how the potato just became part of the sauce making it creamy in the best way. This recipe is a keeper for sure. I had to change a couple of things because I did not have a couple of ingredients on hand like coconut milk so I used regular milk and I was out of fresh mushrooms so I used canned. Still the recipe turned out good.
Hi there! Thanks so much for writing in. This makes me so happy -- especially because my intention with the sweet potato is to make the sauce rich and creamy (and add flavor, of course). So glad it was such hit and that you want to make it again. Yay! 🙂 ~Valentina
Is there something I can use in place of vermouth? Thank you
Hi Cherylnn. Thanks for writing in. Sherry is a great alternative to the vermouth in this recipe. I'd use medium dry or cream sherry. I hope you love this -- it's such a comforting chicken dish. Enjoy. 🙂 ~Valentina
Sorry! I should have asked if there was a non-alcoholic alternative to the sherry or vermouth? Thank you.
Hi! Ah, I see. You have a few choices . . . you can use chicken stock, water, coconut water, or even a touch more of the coconut milk. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!
I love everything about this: sweet potatoes, mushrooms, coconut milk - everything. I especially love that you recommend a skinless chicken - although how they grow those is anybody's guess 🙂 - because i don't like chicken skin in a stew or braise. This would send such a scent through the house on a cold, winter Saturday!
I love this, Jeff. Lovely for a winter Saturday. (or Sun - Fri!) 😀 Enjoy and have a great weekend. ~Valentina
Frank | Memorie di Angelina
What an intriguing recipe! I don't think I've had anything quite like it, but it sounds delicious. I already have all of the ingredients, so I may try this out on my family... I think it'd be a big hit.
I hope you love it, Frank. It's one of my favorite chicken recipes. Thank you! 🙂 Valentina
Doesn't this sound and look delicious!! Love the warming spices paired with the chicken and sweet potato. I already know this would be a hit in our home. It would be the perfect thing to serve for supper this week, especially with this cold, snowy weather. Warm ya right up!
Hi, Dawn. I know we're fortunate to have a lot of sunshine where I am, but I being in snowy weather sounds really nice -- I'm imagining being inside, looking out, with a fire and a bowl of something warm, of course. 😉 ~Valentina