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Haitian Pain Patate: A Sweet and Soulful Treat

Pain Patate

Haitian Pain Patate, or Sweet Potato Bread, is a delicious Haitian dessert that is made with grated sweet potatoes, grated fresh coconut, coconut milk, spices, and a touch of sweetness. It is a popular treat in Haiti and is often served during holidays and special occasions.

The bread is moist and flavorful, and it has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It is often served warm with a scoop of ice cream, or it can be enjoyed at room temperature.

I seldom make this dish because it requires time and patience. It is not a recipe that you can whip up in a jiffy. As far as patience, you seriously need it if you want to make it the old-fashioned way, which is to grate the coconut and the sweet potatoes using a handheld grater. Thankfully, food processors have made this task much easier.

Pain Patate is one of the most popular Haitian desserts. I am not sure when it originated, but I bet it is one of the main recipes passed down from generation to generation. When my father was alive, he would make this dessert a lot for us, friends, and family. I always say that only people from the old school enjoy making things the old-fashioned way.

Pain Patate
Haitian Pain Patate

Type of potatoes to use

Two main ingredients in this dish, sweet potato, and fresh coconut, are essential. If these ingredients are substituted, you will end up with a dish that is not Pain Patate or Sweet Potato Bread.

  • Sweet potatoes

The sweet potatoes in this recipe are not your typical yellow sweet potato or yam found in many regular supermarkets. They are called “patate” (Creole/French), and “batata” (Spanish), and they are cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions wherever there is sufficient water to support their growth. I usually find them in West Indies Supermarkets or Spanish Supermarkets. Another variety that is available is the Asian sweet potato. Both types can be used in this recipe.

Fresh coconut

Fresh coconut is also essential for this recipe. You can find it in most grocery stores. Be sure to buy a coconut that is heavy and has a thick husk. To open the coconut, you can use a hammer and chisel.

sweet potatoes and coconut for pain patate

How to make Haitian Pain Patate


Sweet white potato: A type of sweet potato with red skin and white flesh. Grated to incorporate its sweetness and texture into the dish. Essential for the authentic flavor and consistency of Haitian pain patate

Freshly grated coconut: Adds a rich, nutty flavor and aroma to the bread. Provides a moist and slightly chewy texture. Traditionally grated by hand for a more authentic experience

Coconut milk: Enhances the coconut flavor and adds a creamy texture. Contributes to the sweetness and overall richness of the dish

Milk: Whole milk or evaporated milk can be used. Provides a subtle dairy flavor and moistens the bread. Evaporated milk offers a more concentrated flavor and thicker consistency.

Water. Simmer the grated sweet potatoes and coconut to soften and release their flavors. Balances the sweetness and creates a moist, cohesive bread batter.

Butter: Adds richness, flavor, and tenderness to the bread. Contributes to the overall moistness and crumbly texture.

Sugar: Brown sugar, white sugar, or organic sugar can be used. Provides sweetness and balances the flavors of the other ingredients. Contributes to the caramelized flavor and golden brown color of the bread.

Lime/lemon zest: Adds a bright, citrusy flavor and aroma. Enhances the overall flavor profile and balances the sweetness. The lime zest is better and more pungent.

Ground cinnamon: Warm, fragrant spice that complements the sweetness of the potatoes and coconut. Essential for the traditional flavor of Haitian pain patate.

Ground nutmeg: Warm, earthy spice that adds depth and complexity to the flavor. Pairs well with cinnamon and enhances the overall flavor profile.

Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract provides a rich, sweet aroma and flavor. Enhances the overall sweetness and complexity of the dish

Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the other flavors. Essential for a well-rounded flavor profile.

Ground ginger: Warm, spicy flavor that adds depth and complexity to the dish. Complements the cinnamon and nutmeg and adds a touch of heat

Raisins: Black-dried raisins are traditionally used, but golden raisins can also be used. Add sweetness, chewy texture, and contrast to the smooth texture of the bread.

Well-ripened bananas: Crushed bananas provide sweetness, moisture, and a subtle banana flavor. Enhance the overall flavor profile and contribute to the moistness of the bread.

Pain Patate - caribbeangreenliving.com
Pain Patate


Here is a short version of the instructions for the pain patate.

  1. Peel, cut, and set aside sweet potatoes.
  2. Break and grate coconut.
  3. Mix all ingredients except bananas and vanilla extract.
  4. Cook for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Add bananas and vanilla extract.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375°F.
  7. Cool before serving.

Notes and Tips for Haitian Pain Patate

  • Use sweet potatoes that are firm and have smooth skin.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes before grating them.
  • Use a food processor to grate the sweet potatoes and coconut.
  • Be sure to grate the coconut until it is very fine.
  • For a richer flavor, use full-fat coconut milk.
  • You can also add other spices to the bread, such as cloves or allspice.
  • Top the bread with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to make a more festive dessert.

When making this dessert, ensure that you have plenty of time and patience, as I mentioned earlier. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the main ingredients. If you grind the ingredients, the texture will be smoother than if using a food processor. Unless you have a powerful food processor that will give you a smooth texture, you will have the same great taste except for the crunchiness.

Pain Patate is a delicious and easy-to-make dessert that is sure to please everyone at your table. So, next time you’re looking for a sweet and satisfying treat, be sure to give Pain Patate a try!

You can serve this dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. You can substitute raisins for dried cherries for a more tangy taste. Enjoy!

Pain Patate

Pain Patate or Sweet Potato Bread

A delicious and easy-to-make Haitian dessert made with sweet potatoes, coconut milk, spices, and a touch of sweetness. Often served warm with ice cream or enjoyed at room temperature.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Caribbean, Haitian Cuisine
Servings 8
Calories 568 kcal


  • 6 cups sweet white potato grated, about 3 – 4 pounds – skin is red, but the inside is white
  • 1 – 2 coconut freshly grated – about 1 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup milk whole milk or evaporated milk
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar brown/white or organic
  • 1 teaspoon lime/lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup raisins black raisins preferably
  • 2 bananas – well ripened crushed


  • Peel off skin of all sweet potatoes cut into cubes and set aside. Break shell of coconut and remove second brown layer and cut into small to medium size pieces. If using a grater, grate potatoes and coconut. If using a food processor, blend potatoes and coconut in batches with water added gradually.
  • In a large bowl, add all ingredients with the exception of the bananas and the vanilla extract. Stir and make sure all ingredients are well blended
  • Place mixture into a deep pot and cook for 20 – 25 minutes while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  • Once cooked, stir in crushed bananas and vanilla extract. Spread evenly into a grease baking dish and bake for 40 – 45 minutes at 375°F. Cool before serving.


  • Use sweet potatoes that are firm and have smooth skin.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes before grating them.
  • Use a food processor to grate the sweet potatoes and coconut.
  • Be sure to grate the coconut until it is very fine.
  • For a richer flavor, use full-fat coconut milk.
  • You can also add other spices to the bread, such as cloves or allspice.
  • Top the bread with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to make a more festive dessert.


Serving: 1gramsCalories: 568kcalCarbohydrates: 96gProtein: 4gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 246mgPotassium: 736mgFiber: 6gSugar: 60gVitamin A: 14578IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 2mg

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Keyword chicken with coconut, pain patate, patate, patate douce, sweet potato bread
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Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

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Corn Allergy:

Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.

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