Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes shine when made with herbs, butter, and just a touch of brown sugar. This one-pot recipe always delivers delicious results, and is a perfect side to work into your weeknight routine.
Serve savory sweet potatoes with…anything! Turkey Meatballs for a fast dinner, or Alice Springs Chicken for something a little more special. If you love all things potato, find a new favorite recipe here.
Most recipes slather sweet potatoes with tons of brown sugar and marshmallow fluff—as if these golden spuds aren’t sweet enough already! This recipe for easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes lets the natural flavor and texture of the root vegetable come through, without a lot of added sugar.
Yes, there’s a little brown sugar in the recipe, which you can replace with honey or even maple syrup, if you like. You’re also free to leave it out altogether. It will still be delicious.
Once you perfect your technique, you’ll be buying big bags of sweet potatoes instead of just one or two, every once in awhile.
Making Mashed Sweet Potatoes for an army? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?
At most grocery stores, nothing! Yams and sweet potatoes are both names given to one root vegetable. Back in the 1930s, Louisiana farmers started calling the orange-fleshed vegetable "yams" to differentiate it from other sweet potatoes and market it another way.
Real yams, however, are very different from sweet potatoes. True yams have skin like the bark of a tree, and have more starch content--much like a Russet potato. They're often found in specialty grocery stores and used in Caribbean and West African cooking.
How to make Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
Savory mashed potatoes are naturally sweet with sweet potatoes. Choose any color: white, orange, or purple.
- First, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2” thick slices. This will help them cook faster.
- Then add them to a large saucepan with a little water, fresh thyme, salt, and brown sugar.
- Cook them covered over low heat until the potatoes are fork tender and even falling apart at the edges—25 to 30 minutes. Keep an eye out--the water should be mostly absorbed when they’re finished.
- Remove the potatoes from the heat and mash them (a masher or fork is fine) until you get your desired consistency. Then stir in the half-and-half and butter.
- Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Do I peel sweet potatoes before boiling?
For this recipe, yes. They'll cook much faster without the peel. Boiling sweet potatoes whole with skin takes a lot longer, and needs more water.
How to make Mashed Sweet Potatoes healthy:
Use olive oil in place of butter, then stir in vegetable or chicken stock next in place of cream. If you're avoiding sugar, leave the brown sugar out.
What else can I mix with sweet potatoes?
It's popular to mix up root vegetables and mash them together for an easy, more healthy sweet potato recipe. You can absolutely mix and match another root vegetable to mash into the sweet potatoes. However, you might want to boil the vegetables traditionally, in a full saucepan of water, before mashing them.
- Cauliflower. Not technically a root vegetable, but people's love of cauliflower is very, very real. Boil until soft before mashing.
- Parsnips, turnips, rutabagas. These firmer root veg need a little more time in boiling water. Peel, cut into chunks, and cook until fork-tender.
- Carrots. An easy mix-in. Cut 1/2" slices of carrots to boil in the brown sugar water along with the potatoes.
- Potatoes. Mix half potatoes and half sweet potatoes for a lighter-hued dish.
How to reheat Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
It's easy to reheat mashed sweet potatoes in a microwave. First, place the potatoes into a microwave-safe container. Stir a little extra cream into the potatoes, and microwave at 50% power for 2 to 3 minutes until hot throughout.
Planning on making Mashed Sweet Potatoes ahead of time? Bake them.
Baked mashed sweet potatoes takes a little longer. Make sure the container is safe for the oven, then cover the potatoes with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees until hot throughout. Stir in a little extra cream or butter, and serve.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes go great with:
- Chicken. Any kind of chicken at all. Rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, you name it.
- Pecans. Toasted pecans sprinkled over the top of sweet potato mash.
- Pork. Any cut of pork--chops, tenderloin, or roast--begs to have sweet potatoes as a side dish.
- Turkey. It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to have some turkey and sweet potatoes.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 4 small)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar packed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons half-and-half warmed
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- In a large saucepan over low heat, add sweet potatoes, water, thyme, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until the potatoes fall apart easily and all the water has been absorbed, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Mash the potatoes until just a few lumps remain. Stir in the half-and-half and butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.