Jamaican Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Banana and Coconut

  • Sweet potato on barbecue

Grilled sweet potatoes and bananas mashed with coconut milk taste so wonderful. All the best features of all the flavors you associated with those words combine into something even more fabulous than the sum of its parts.

Here’s the recipe that got me started on the whole idea of having a Jamaican-themed cookout at my workplace, and, in turn, started my love affair with Jamaican food. I was leafing through the pages of the grilling chapter of Alton Brown’s book I’m Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, 2002) when my eyes fell on a recipe he called Tropical Mash. It is scrumptious. The recipe here is very close to the one in Brown’s opus.

After making it, though, I decided it wouldn’t scale easily enough for the quantities we needed at the cookout. I would have had to grill 80 sweet potatoes the day before the cookout. That’s a lotta coals. So although it inspired my first big Jamaican feast, it didn’t actually make it into the feast itself. That shouldn’t stop you, though!

Skip to the recipe for Jamaican grilled sweet potatoes, banana and coconut.

If you’re cooking out at home, it’s a perfect use of any extra inches of grill space you might have going. Brown says to start up the grill an hour early to dispatch the veg, but I have found it just as easy to find a little corner for this treat.

So easy to make. You can think of it as mashed potatoes tropicale.

Jamaican grilled sweet potatoes, banana and coconut recipe

Extra notes

Alternately, you can roast these in the oven – a great wintertime option. But a charcoal grill imparts a special flavor.

Jamaican grilled sweet potatoes, banana and coconut recipe

The recipe


  • 4 small or 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • several grindings pepper

Equipment that bears mentioning

Rubber gloves (optional)


In a nutshell

Grill bananas and sweet potatoes. Mash everything together.

Detailed instructions

Prick sweet potatoes and banana all over with a fork so they don’t burst in the heat. Grill sweet potatoes about 1 hour or until tender. Grill banana about 1/2 hour or until tender.

As soon as you can handle them, remove peels from sweet potatoes and banana. You can wear rubber gloves to ease the process

In a saucepan, heat coconut milk and melt butter into it. Add salt and pepper.

Transfer to a mixing or serving bowl, and mash potatoes and banana into it.

Source recipe

Tropical Mash

I’m Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking

Alton Brown

Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, 2002

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