Japanese New Year dish Kuri Kinton is served in the lacquer bowl.

Kuri Kinton (Candied Chestnuts & Sweet Potatoes)

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: chestnut, osechi, osechi ryori, sweet potato
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Nami

Kuri Kinton or Candied Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes are a special Japanese New Year dish, which symbolizes economic fortune and wealth. Let's make this gold color food for a prosperous year ahead!



  • 1.1 lb Japanese sweet potato (Satsumaimo) (500 g)
  • 1 jar Kuri Kanroni (Chestnuts in Heavy Syrup) (Marrons Glacés; 10 chestnuts)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
  • 3 Tbsp syrup from Kuri Kanroni
  • 1 Tbsp mirin

Optional for Coloring

  • 2 Kuchinashi no mi (dried gardenia pods) (See Notes)


  1. Gather all the ingredients.

    Kuri Kinton Ingredients
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes. Slice the sweet potatoes into ½ inch pieces (so that they will be cooked equally).

    Kuri Kinton 1
  3. Soak the sweet potatoes in water for 15 minutes to remove starch. Then put them in a large pot and add water just enough to cover them.

    Kuri Kinton 2
  4. Bring the water to a boil on medium heat. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low heat and cook them for 15-20 minutes or until the skewer goes through smoothly. Then reserve about ¼ to ½ cup of the cooking water and drain completely.

    Kuri Kinton 3
  5. Mash the boiled sweet potatoes through the fine-mesh strainer/sieve with a wooden spatula to puree them. You can use a food processor. If necessary, add a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid (I did not need it).

    Kuri Kinton 4
  6. Here’s the finished pureed sweet potato. Take out all the chestnuts and 3 Tbsp of the syrup from the jar of Kuri Kanroni.

    Kuri Kinton 5
  7. In the same pot, add the pureed sweet potato, sugar, salt, mirin, and the syrup from the chestnut.

    Kuri Kinton 6
  8. Cook, stirring constantly, on low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. If needed, add the reserved cooking liquid to loosen up the paste (I did not add) and adjust the sweetness with the syrup and mirin.

    Kuri Kinton 7
  9. Add the chestnuts and cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 hours.

To Serve and Store

  1. Serve at room temperature. To store, put Kuri Kinton in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

    Kuri Kinton 9

Recipe Notes

Kuchinashi no mi (dried gardenia pods): This give a sunshine yellow color when simmering sweet potatoes. They are used to naturally color “takuan” radish pickles, noodles, and other foods. If you can find them, crack in half and wrap in a cheese cloth to cook with sweet potatoes.


Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.