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Sweet Potato Balls

Sometimes traditional snacks can be very satisfying and delicious, like this sweet potato balls, or bola-bola ubi as we call it in Indonesian. You will need sweet potato, tapioca starch, and sugar. That’s it! Oh, and you will need oil for deep frying. So, this simple snack is perfect for vegans, for those who need gluten-free food, and for those who have nuts/eggs/dairy allergy. Great right?

Sweet Potato Balls
Sweet Potato Balls

First, peel sweet potato (maybe 1 or 2) to get 500 gram of sweet potato, sans skin. Cut into wedges, and steam until soft enough to mash. Steaming time depends on how large your sweet potato wedges, but mine took about 15 minutes. Next, mash the sweet potato (using fork is okay), add in 75 gram tapioca starch and 50 gram sugar, stir really well. Place this mixture in the fridge until cool enough to touch.

Sweet Potato Balls
Sweet Potato Balls

Heat enough oil for deep frying on medium heat. Prepare some tapioca starch in a bowl for dusting. Next, grab a tablespoonful of sweet potato mixture, drop this into the bowl with tapioca starch to give a thin coat of starch to the sweet potato mixture, shape it into a ball, then deep fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat until all sweet potato mixture is used up. Serve hot.

Sweet Potato Balls

4.7 from 3 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson





Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 25-30 balls

Print Recipe


  • 500 gram sweet potato, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 75 gram tapioca starch
  • 50 gram sugar
  • enough oil for deep frying


  1. Steam sweet potato until soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes.
  2. Mash the sweet potato in a mixing bowl, add tapioca starch and sugar. Mix well. Chill in the fridge until cool enough to touch.
  3. Prepare enough oil for deep frying, set the heat to medium.
  4. Prepare a bowl of tapioca starch.
  5. Take a tablespoonful of mashed sweet potato, drop it into the bowl of tapioca starch to coat, shape the tapioca starch coated mashed sweet potato into a round ball, then deep fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat until all mashed sweet potato is used up.
  6. Serve hot.


  • Melissa Novotny Melissa Novotny says:

    What a fun treat. I would love to try these. 🙂

  • Gina Gina says:

    Can I substitute corn starch?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Gina, I have never tried making this with corn starch, but it could work. In Indonesia, we sometimes use sago starch instead of tapioca, so if you have that at home, you can definitely use sago starch. I hope this helps :)

  • Sarah Sarah says:

    I made these and the outside was golden but the I side was still kind of mushy. Is that how they're supposed to be?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hm.. not exactly mushy, though it's supposed to be chewy. Perhaps a bit more flour is needed.

  • Katherine Katherine says:

    Could these be baked instead? I know they won't be as crispy as deep fried.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Katherine, I haven't tried baking before. Now this makes me wonder if I should start to experiment ;)

  • Carol Carol says:

    I'm wondering if these would work in an Air Fryer?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Carol, I tried digging around for an answer. It seems that you can try air frying too, and here is how to do it. "Preheat air fryer to 170°C (340°F). Coat the sweet potato balls with coconut oil, then arrange the sweet potato balls on the air fryer grill pan. Air fry the sweet potato balls for 10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown."

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