MASHED SWEET POTATOES are the perfect easy, creamy, wickedly addictive side to practically everything!
These Mashed Sweet Potatoes are super easy to make and belong on your dinner table weekly! They make a fantastic everyday side to chicken, steak and seafood but are scrumptious enough for company and your Thanksgiving and Christmas table. This Mashed Sweet Potato recipe is mega creamy, buttery, salty, sweet and savory; but the deliciousness doesn’t stop there, I’ve also included ways to mix up the flavor profile from adding bacon, cheese and nuts, to brown butter, garlic and herbs. These Mashed Sweet Potatoes can also be made ahead of time and kept warm in your slow cooker for an easy, make-ahead win.
Sweet Potato Mashed Recipe
I LOVE Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Potatoes are one of my favorite foods on the planet. And while it seems traditional mashed potatoes get most of the love, these Mashed Sweet Potatoes are every bit as delicious. I could eat them all day, every day.
How to make Mashed Sweet Potatoes. To make the BEST, luxuriously creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes, the humble sweet potato is boiled until fork tender then mashed with ample butter, warmed milk, sour cream, chives, a splash of maple syrup and ample seasonings: cinnamon, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and just a hint of nutmeg and cloves.
The Best Sweet Potatoes. The resulting Mashed Sweet Potatoes are wonderfully buttery, indulgently creamy, sweet and savory and the most addictingly flavorful Mashed Sweet Potatoes you’ve ever tasted. You will crave them for breakfast lunch and dinner; no joke.
Easy Sweet Potatoes. In addition to being luxuriously creamy and dreamy, this Mashed Sweet Potato recipe is one of the simplest sides for any weeknight meal but also SO fabulously decadent and satisfying, they are always a company homerun. So, if you’re still searching for a Thanksgiving side that is simple, easy and everyone will love – this Mashed Sweet Potato recipe is it!
Mashed Sweet Potato Ingredients:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes are made with pantry friendly ingredients for the win! You will need:
- Sweet potatoes: are often called yams at the grocery store (more on that below), but don’t be confused! Look for the red/orange sweet potato/yam varieties such as red garnet, Beauregard or jewel. Avoid white or purple varieties such as Boniato, White Delight, Nancy Hall, Sumor, etc.
- Milk: any type of milk works here.
- Butter: use salted butter so we can control the salt. If you only have salted butter, be sure to add less salt than the recipe calls for.
- Sour cream: adds unparalleled creaminess. Nonfat or full fat work great. I have not tried substituting with Greek yogurt and hesitate to recommend it because of its strong tanginess.
- Pure maple syrup: please use real maple syrup and not imitation kind. If you don’t have real maple syrup than substitute with brown sugar rather than fake syrup.
- Seasonings: cinnamon, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried thyme, ground cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper round out the flavor profile. Each seasoning adds a layer of flavor without being overwhelming. You can use more or less of any seasonings to taste.
- Chives: infuses the Mashed Sweet Potatoes with a delicate onion flavor.
Can I make vegan mashed sweet potatoes?
Yes! Swap the milk for soy milk or coconut milk and swap the butter for vegan butter and omit the sour cream. The rest of the Mashed Sweet Potato ingredients are vegan.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWEET POTATOES AND YAMS?
Selecting sweet potatoes in America can be confusing because both “sweet potato” and “yams” are used interchangeably. It is safe to assume, however, that all “yams” you see are actually sweet potatoes! It is actually hard to find true yams in America unless you frequent international or ethnic food stores. They are long like sweet potatoes, but do not taper at the ends and are darker, almost black, and have a rough texture.
HOW TO CHOOSE SWEET POTATOES?
So, now that you don’t have to worry about selecting “yams” vs “sweet potatoes” – the question is which sweet potato should you choose for this Mashed Sweet Potato recipe?
Sweet potatoes come in 4 colors: purple, orange, yellow and white. When selecting your sweet potatoes for this Mashed Sweet Potato recipe, look for garnet yams – these are the red sweet potatoes masquerading as yams! You may also use Jewel or Beauregard, which are also sweet potatoes often confused as yams. These orange fleshed sweet potatoes are sweeter and creamier compared to their tan or purple skinned counterparts.
When selecting your sweet potatoes, look for ones that are firm, free of blemishes/scars and are not green, wrinkly, soft, mushy, or moldy. Also, try and select sweet potatoes that are uniform in size so it’s easier to create uniform cubes that boil evenly.
HOW DO I STORE SWEET POTATOES?
Now that we have selected the correct sweet potatoes for our Mashed Sweet Potato recipe, it’s important to know how to store them so they don’t go bad prematurely.
After purchasing sweet potatoes, remove them from any plastics bags so they have breathing room. Do not wash them and if they have come in contact with any moisture, dry them off. The sweet potatoes should be completely dry before storing to prevent premature rotting or sprouting.
Now, don’t place them in the refrigerator, INSTEAD sweet potatoes should be stored in a dark, cool place away from the heat of the kitchen. The dark bottom of your pantry or covered bins placed on the cool ground are optimal. Sweet potatoes will last about 3-5 weeks in a cool, dark place.
do you need to peel sweet potatoes for mashing?
Yes, you will want to peel the sweet potatoes before cubing them to roast or add to the boiling water. The skin of sweet potatoes is edible and contains fiber and nutrients BUT it is also tougher than the skin of white potatoes so I recommend peeling them first for luxuriously creamy sweet potatoes.
If you are going for more rustic, chunky mashed sweet potatoes, you can theoretically leave the skin on, but you might find the skin distracting.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BOIL SWEET POTATOES TO MASH?
Sweet potatoes require between 10 and 15 minutes to boil until fork tender. The time varies depending on how large the potato chunks are, how large of a pot you have, how deep of a pot, the type of pot and stove.
This timing does not include the time it takes to bring the water to a boil. Timing should start after the water is boiling. The potatoes are done when you can EASILY pierce the largest cube with a fork. It is better to error on the side of overly-tender potatoes that will mash easily verses borderline tender potatoes that can leave you with chunks that translate into lumpy Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
HOW MANY POTATOES SHOULD YOU MAKE PER PERSON FOR MASHED SWEET POTATOES?
When mashed potatoes are served as a side dish, you can safely plan on 1/2 pound of potatoes per person. That means this recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes which calls for 3 pounds will safely serve 6 people. You can scale the recipe up from there to meet your serving needs.
HOW TO MAKE MASHED SWEET POTATOES
These easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes are super easy to whip up! Here are step-by-step instructions:
Step 1 – HOW TO PREP SWEET POTATOES:
Start by first peeling your sweet potatoes. I like to pick the largest potatoes because this means less surface area to peel. After you peel your potatoes, chop them into 2″ cubes. Don’t worry about being exact here, just cut them so they are generally the same size so they will cook evenly.
Step 2 – HOW TO BOIL SWEET POTATOES:
Next, you add your cubed potatoes to a Dutch oven and salt. Always place the sweet potatoes into the pot before you add the water to so you know exactly how much water you need to just cover the tops. This also prevents unnecessary splashing.
Also, NEVER start with hot water. By bringing the potatoes to a boil with the water, they cook more evenly and you aren’t left with overcooked mushy outsides and under cooked insides, but instead achieve the perfect melt in your mouth consistency.
By adding salt to the boiling water, you are instantly infusing your potatoes with flavor from the inside out that simply isn’t achievable any other way. You can also add garlic cloves and any other aromatics to the water, just another way to add flavor. Simmer your potatoes for about 10-15 minutes, being aware that it’s better to overcook the potatoes than undercook them so they will mix easily without hard pockets.
Step 3 – HOW TO DRAIN SWEET POTATOES:
Drain your sweet potatoes by transferring them to a colander and letting them sit for several minutes, shaking occasionally, then patting dry before transferring to the mixing bowl. You can also use a salad spinner.
It is important to thoroughly dry the sweet potatoes otherwise you will end up with watery Mashed Sweet Potatoes instead of ideal maximum fluffiness.
Step 4 – HOW TO ADD INGREDIENTS TO SWEET POTATOES:
Heat butter and milk in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes or until the butter is mostly melted. Add butter/milk to sweet potatoes along with sour cream, maple syrup and all seasonings. It is important to use warmed milk to maintain the temperature of the sweet potatoes for creamier results.
Add the maple syrup (you can start with less and more to taste if you like), cinnamon, and all seasonings. Reserve the fresh chives for after mashing.
Step 5 – HOW TO MASH SWEET POTATOES:
There are several ways to mash sweet potatoes: with a food processor, hand potato masher, or handheld electric mixer. A food processor will create smooth but less fluffy results and a potato masher will create chunkier/heavier results. My favorite method is a handheld electric mixer. It creates fluffier, smoother potatoes that can’t be achieved any other way – and its effortless.
When potatoes are almost to desired consistency add chives and mix in. Add additional milk if desired for smoother/creamier potatoes.
HOW DO YOU MAKE MASHED SWEET POTATOES IN THE OVEN?
Instead of boiling the sweet potatoes, you can also oven roast them first. It takes a bit more time to cook the potatoes, but they are equally delicious. To make Mashed Sweet Potatoes in the oven:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash sweet potatoes and keep them whole.
- Pierce each potato a few times with a fork so they don’t explode.
- Wrap each potato tightly up in foil and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until potatoes are easy to slice with a butter knife.
- Let baked potatoes rest for 10 minutes or so. When cool enough to handle, remove skins
- and add flesh to a large mixing bowl.
- Proceed to add butter, sour cream, milk, etc. and mash/mix to desired consistency.
MASHED SWEET POTATO VARIATIONS
- For sweeter Mashed Sweet Potatoes: add additional maple syrup. You can also replace the maple syrup with brown sugar or honey for a slightly different flavor profile.
- For more savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes: reduce or omit the maple syrup and either add cheese or additional herbs. Add cheese directly to the Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Both Parmesan cheese and Gruyere cheese are be tasty.
- For Browned Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes: replace the butter with nutty brown butter. To make browned butter, melt butter in a light-colored skillet (so you can see the color). Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter is dark golden.
- For Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes: spice them up with a pinch of cayenne or chipotle chile powder. You could even add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo.
- For Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon: cook thick-cut bacon until crispy and add directly to the top of the potatoes for a salty, savory crunch.
- For Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Bacon: stir one tablespoon brown sugar into chopped, cooked bacon and cook an additional two minutes; add candied bacon directly to the top of the potatoes for a sweet, tantalizing crunch.
- For Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Nuts: use my easy 5-minute caramelized nuts recipe for an easy no-fail win.
- For Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Nuts: for a more savory nut crunch, try dry roasted pine nuts or oven roasted pecans.
- For Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes: replace the garlic powder with sautéed or roasted garlic. You can add some fresh herbs to the garlic while sautéing for an extra flavor boost.
- For Herb Mashed Sweet Potatoes: add fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme.
- For Spiced Sweet Potatoes: get creative and mix up the flavor profile. Go Mexican and add chile powder, ground cumin and smoked paprika or go Indian and add curry powder or garam masala.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MASHED SWEET POTATOES
Here are some pro tips for the BEST Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
- My grocery store calls sweet potatoes garnet yams. So, look for garnet yams or your sweet potatoes might actually be white inside!
- Use very tender cooked sweet potatoes so they blend into creamy perfection. A butter knife should slice through the potato with zero resistance.
- Use a handheld electric mixer for the creamiest, fluffiest potatoes.
- Melt the butter with the milk to maintain the temperature of the sweet potatoes and so the butter can easily incorporate into the potatoes.
- If your Mashed Sweet Potatoes taste bland – they are probably missing salt. Salt enhances all of the flavors.
- Serve warm. Keep the potatoes warm in the oven or slow cooker after mashing so they stay creamy (see how to below).
WHY ARE MY MASHED SWEET POTATOES GUMMY?
By following my Mashed Sweet Potato recipe, you shouldn’t run into any problems, but here are some troubleshooting tips to prevent gummy mashed potatoes:
- use garnet yams/sweet potatoes because they are creamier than their purple counterpart
- drain potatoes extremely well after cooking
- always mash the potatoes while they’re still hot
- don’t overmix potatoes
Overmixing sweet potatoes is usually the culprit for gummy, gluey or sticky potatoes. The science behind this is simple: when the potatoes are boiled, they develop swollen starch cells. When the potatoes are mixed, the cells are ruptured and release starch. The more cells that are broken, the starchier and gummier the potatoes will become. For the fluffiest potatoes, you are going to want to mix as little as possible, for creamier more dense potatoes, beat a little longer but be aware not to overbeat.
WHY ARE MASHED SWEET POTATOES LUMPY?
If you end up with lumpy Mashed Sweet Potatoes, it means your potatoes were undercooked before mashing and therefore not incorporating easily. Next time, make sure you check your potatoes with a fork before removing them from the heat. A fork should easily slip into the potatoes AKA the potatoes should be “fork tender.”
CAN MASHED POTATOES BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes, there are two ways to make Mashed Sweet Potatoes ahead of time. You can either prep the potatoes or make them in their entirety. Here’s how:
- Prep sweet potatoes: You can peel the sweet potatoes a day ahead of time and keep them in a bowl/pot filled with water in the refrigerator to keep them from browning. I would not boil the potatoes ahead of time because the potatoes need to be warm when mashed.
- Make ahead & keep warm: You can prepare the Mashed Sweet Potatoes earlier in the day and either: 1) cover and place in a warm oven until ready to serve or 2) transfer to your slow cooker on the warm setting until ready to serve.
- Make ahead & refrigerate: You can prepare the Mashed Sweet Potatoes up to two days ahead of time, allow to cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container.
How to Reheat Mashed Sweet Potatoes
You can reheat Mashed Sweet Potatoes in the oven, slow cooker or microwave:
How to REHEAT IN OVEN:
- Transfer mashed sweet potatoes to an oven safe casserole dish and spread into an even layer.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes reach 165 degrees, stirring and returning the foil once half way through.
- Be ready to stir in some melted butter and milk to add some moisture back in; the butter will also awaken the flavor – yum!
How to REHEAT IN slow cooker:
- Transfer mashed sweet potatoes to a lightly greased slow cooker.
- Heat on low until warmed though, approximately 3 hours, stirring a couple times.
- Add additional milk and melted butter as needed.
How to REHEAT on the stove:
- Transfer mashed sweet potatoes to a Dutch oven.
- Heat on medium-low until warmed though, stirring often, approximately 20 minutes.
- Stir in additional milk and melted butter as needed to re-hydrate.
How to Store Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Sweet Potatoes should be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. When stored properly, they are good for about four days.
CAN YOU FREEZE MASHED SWEET POTATOES?
Yes and no. I personally am a mashed potato critic so I do not like frozen mashed potatoes because the texture changes when thawed. The potatoes can be doctored with additional butter, etc., but they still aren’t the same in my opinion. If you are not a texture critic, or the mashed sweet potatoes are going to be blanketed in sauce, then feel free to freeze them.
If freezing potatoes, make sure you don’t skimp on any of the butter or cream in my Mashed Sweet Potato recipe because the extra fat will make them more freezer friendly. You can even add additional butter for a better thawed result.
TO FREEZE MASHED SWEET POTATOES:
- Prepare Mashed Sweet Potatoes according to directions taking care you don’t have any chunks because the chunks will become mealy when frozen.
- Refrigerate mashed potatoes in a shallow pan in the refrigerator until completely cool.
TO FREEZE INDIVIDUAL MASHED POTATO SERVINGS:
- Scoop massed sweet potatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet using a cookie scoop so they are not touching (you may use more than one scoop per serving).
- Freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.
- Transfer individual servings to separate plastic bags, press out excess air and seal.
- Thaw frozen sweet potatoes overnight in the refrigerator, remove from plastic and microwave until warmed through.
- Thawed, reheated potatoes will likely be watery. Stir in some sour cream to make them creamy again.
TO FREEZE BATCH MASHED SWEET POTATOES:
- Add the desired amount of cooled mashed sweet potatoes to a freezer size bag.
- Flatten potatoes in bag and press out excess air.
- Label and freeze for up to 6 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove from plastic, place in a baking dish and bake uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through.
- Thawed, reheated potatoes will likely be watery. Stir in some sour cream to make them creamy again.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH MASHED SWEET POTATOES?
Mashed Sweet Potatoes make a tasty side to practically everything! Serve them whenever you would serve traditional potatoes as a side. They pair beautifully with chicken, steak, pork or seafood. We also love Mashed Sweet Potatoes with holiday favorites such as: Herb Butter Turkey, Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, and Honey Baked Ham.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes also are exceptional with:
- Garlic Herb Butter Pork Tenderloin
- Spice Rubbed Steaks with Herb Butter
- Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Roast Beef
- Beef Brisket
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
are sweet potatoes healthy for you?
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fiber as well as many other vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, vitamin C and B vitamins. They are also particularly high in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A once digested.
Vitamin A is especially crucial for overall eye health and vision. It helps protects the eyes from age related degeneration as well night blindness. Vitamin A also supports the immune system, bone health and promotes cell reproduction. It also helps vital organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
As far a sweet potatoes compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes digest more slowly than white potatoes which means they more gradually release sugar into the bloodstream, helping to keep blood sugar levels stead. Slower digestion also helps you feel fuller longer.
More sweet Potato Recipes
- For a savory sweet potato dish, I love these Scalloped Sweet Potatoes. They’re made with herbs simmered in cream poured over layers of sweet potatoes, bacon, onions and Gruyere cheese then baked to tender, golden, bubbly perfection.
- Sweet Potato Casserole is the quintessential Thanksgiving side! This Sweet Potato Casserole is made with both marshmallows AND buttery, brown sugar pecan topping! It has been our favorite sweet potato casserole recipe ever since we tasted it almost a decade ago and you will love that you can assemble it the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas!
- Tender, melt-in-your-mouth Hasselback Sweet Potatoes look impressive but the only skill required is slicing and stirring in order to make them! The potatoes are smothered with garlic herb butter; serve them with sour cream, goat cheese or melt Gouda in between the slices for extra decadence!
- Enjoy sweet potatoes in soup form with healthy, easy, mega creamy (without any cream) Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup! It’s loaded with flavor and intentionally easy and delicious while unintentionally gluten free, dairy free and crazy healthy! It can be made in the crockpot or stove top for an easy dinner any night of the week!
- One of my favorite everyday meals utilizing sweet potatoes are 30-minute Cajun Chicken Black Bean and Sweet Potato Bowls. They are spicy, fresh, deceptively healthy, made in one skillet, quick and easy, packed with flavor, and bursting with fresh ingredients!
- Serve sweet potatoes for breakfast with mega soft, fluffy, comforting Sweet Potato Pancakes! These Sweet Potato Pancakes are infused with coconut and oatmeal then spiked with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla for a delicately spiced, perfectly textured pancake you will CRAVE!
Looking for more Holiday Side recipes?
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Green Bean Casserole
- Rice Pilaf
- Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese
- Potatoes Au Gratin
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Creamed Corn
- Cranberry Apple Wild Rice
- Apple Salad, Fall Salad, Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, or Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Want to try this Mashed Sweet Potato RECIPE?
Pin it to your DESSERT, PIE or Thanksgiving Board to SAVE for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes! I am always pinning :)!
©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Carlsbad Cravings© Original