In Gastronomy + Nightlife

Recipe and content created by Aurelio Rojas, a native Dominican chef and 2019 MasterChef Latino Contestant

If you’re experiencing a little wanderlust, I have just the thing to trick your taste buds into thinking you’re on a tropical vacation. Helado de Potecito (ice cream in a jar) ― traditionally served with fresh mangoes and passionfruit ― is a Dominican Republic staple beloved by many. The coconut and Japanese sweet potato combo with the silky mango and sharp passionfruit top layer make this easy, delicious treat my all-time favorite.

Growing up in Santiago, Dominican Republic, I remember going to Doña Lucía and asking the woman who sold the best Heladitos (little ice creams) in the entire city how to make my own flavor combinations. After that, I was inspired to make my own version of Helado de Potecito and let my wild, young palate lead the way. Now, being a former MasterChef Latino contestant, I have the honor of recreating my favorite childhood dishes from my home country.

Below is my simple recipe that you can use to make your very own Helado de Potecito from home. For a full video tutorial, check out my video here.


Batata & Coco (Sweet Potato n’ Coconut):

  • 3.5 cups of Japanese sweet potato
  • 1 can of coconut milk 13.5 OZ
  • 1 can of evaporate milk 11.49 OZ
  • 1 can of sweet condensed milk 14 OZ
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of golden sugar (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • Vasitos (old little mason jar)

Mango n’ passion fruit:

  • 3 cups of frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup of frozen passion fruit purée
  • 1/4 cup of sweet condensed milk (you can substitute for simple syrup or agave if you are lactose intolerant)



Step 1: 

  1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in about one-inch pieces, bring it to a boil with a pinch of salt until it softens (approx. 20 min in medium high heat)
  2. In the blender, combine coconut milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, pinch of salt, vanilla extract and blend until you get a smooth and silky consistency (depending on you taste, you can add the sugar (more or less) after everything is combined)
  3. Pass the mixture through a strainer to get rid of any lumps that may be there.
  4. Divide and pour the mix into your little “potecitos” and let it freeze for a minimum of 6 hrs. (Don’t fill your “potecitos” all the way because you will need space for the mango and passion fruit portion, in step two)

Step 2: 

  1. In a Food processor (or high-power blender) combine the frozen mango, passion fruit purée and the sweet condensed milk until it gets silky smooth.
    1. You can substitute the mangoes for berries instead and it will also be delicious.
  2. Pour the mix in an airtight container and save it in the freezer until serve time.
  3. To serve Helado de Potecito, I like to take it out of the fridge 10 minutes before serving, after I just put a healthy scoop or my smooth and delicious mango and passion fruit sherbet.

This dessert was traditionally served in recycled glass containers of baby food. You could choose to eat it with a spoon or on a stick. I prepare mine in a mason jar (but feel free to use an empty glass container of baby food if you have one!). Growing up, Helado de Potecito taught me responsibility because if I brought back the little jar, I would get my deposit back to buy a discounted ice cream. Win-win situation!

So, gather your family and pick a night to make this Dominican Republic staple! And once you feel comfortable traveling again, visit the Dominican Republic to taste the many iconic desserts and cuisines the country has to offer. For more Dominican recipes head to my Instagram page, mr.aurelio here.

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