I Tried the TikTok-Famous Sweet Potato “Popsicles” and I’ll Definitely Be Eating Them All Summer Long
Growing up in a Chinese-American household, dessert was almost always a form of fruit. Because we lived in an area with lots of grocery stores and street vendors, my parents liked to shop daily rather than make big shopping hauls — and this was especially true when it came to produce. My mom would pick some up on her walk home from work, choosing whatever looked good to her that day. During the winter months, there would be citrus; in the summer, we’d share slices of ripe stone fruit and melons.
In the cooler months, a few non-fruit items would make their way onto our dessert plate, usually chestnuts or sweet potatoes. My mom would pop them into the wok as soon as she got home so they could steam as we ate. We’d all then sit on the couch, peeling away the skin as we watched Hong Kong dramas. Years later, while studying abroad in China, I’d encounter freshly roasted sweet potatoes on the streets of Shanghai and finally understand how the root vegetable became one of my mom’s go-to desserts. Picked hot from metal barrels that were rigged to slowly cook them over coals, the sweet potatoes felt every bit as luxurious and sweet as a slice of cake.
So when I saw Instagram and Tiktok star George Lee’s tip about freezing sweet potatoes, I was immediately intrigued. According to Lee, a Taiwan native, frozen sweet potato “popsicles” are readily available in his hometown — you can even find them at local 7-Eleven stores. Since it’s highly unlikely that my New York City grocery store would have sweet potatoes nestled among ice cream sandwiches and King Cones, I decided to give his technique a try at home.
Get the recipe: Frozen Baked Sweet Potato from Chez Jorge
How to Make a Frozen Baked Sweet Potato
Making a frozen baked sweet potato is as straightforward as it sounds: You bake it, then freeze it. Rather than using the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes we associate with Thanksgiving, however, Lee opts for the Japanese satsumaimo, which have purple skin and a light yellow interior. I found some at my local Chinese supermarket and picked up half a dozen, along with a few orange ones so I could do a side-by-side taste test. Lee says to use small to medium sprout-free potatoes since they’re less starchy, which worked out because my market only had teeny tiny ones (some of them could literally fit in the palm of my hand!).
Once home, I scrubbed the outside clean and let them air dry completely before popping them into the oven at 450°F. Here’s the important part: Don’t prick them! I normally poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork before roasting them, but Lee’s recipe calls for leaving them intact, which traps the moisture inside and helps the skin push away naturally from the flesh. I let them go for about an hour, then did Lee’s tap test to see if the skin had separated from the flesh. “It should feel hardened and almost completely separate from the flesh, creating a hollow sound,” he explains on his site.
Once the skins had separated, I left the sweet potatoes on my kitchen countertop to cool before placing them inside the freezer. Lee recommends leaving them there for at least four hours; if freezing overnight, then thaw for 10 minutes before eating, which is exactly what I did.
My Honest Review of the Frozen Baked Sweet Potato
I’m so used to light and fluffy sweet potatoes that I was initially baffled by just how creamy these frozen ones were. The flavors were so familiar — sweet and slightly nutty — but the texture was exactly as Lee describes it: almost popsicle-like. The next day, rather than eating one straight out of the skin, I turned my frozen baked sweet potato into a faux sundae with a little Trader Joe’s granola and homemade whipped cream (using my go-to mason jar method). While it’s nowhere as decadent as a real ice cream sundae, it was a perfect mid-afternoon snack that had just enough sugar to satisfy my sweet tooth, but also felt filling at the same time. I gave one to my two-year-old during dinner, who proclaimed it was “yummy.” Did he eat it as ravenously as he does a true popsicle? No, but he liked it enough that I could see this being a fun chilled snack in the summer months.
My #1 Tip for Making a Frozen Baked Sweet Potato
As Lee advises, using the right kind of sweet potato makes a big difference. I also tasted one of the orange sweet potatoes and while it was similarly creamy, the sweet potato flavor was definitely more muted. If you’re trying this for the first time, I recommend looking for the Japanese satsumaimo since the caramelization you get is much more pronounced — especially if you let them roast long enough.