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Mashed sweet potatoes in a gray bowl.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

These Mashed Sweet Potatoes are flavored with fresh thyme, butter, and just a touch of brown sugar. They make a delicious side dish for your weekly menu or holiday table.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings (1 1/4 cups each)
Calories 257kcal


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (about 4 small, see note 1)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar packed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half warmed (see note 3)
  • 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.


  1. Sweet potatoes: Use orange, white or purple sweet potatoes. What about yams? At most grocery stores, yams and sweet potatoes are the same. Years ago, farmers renamed the potatoes to "yams" as a marketing schtick. True yams have bark-like skin and much more starch content similar to a Russet potato.
  2. Thyme: Fresh (or dried) thyme taste great with sweet potatoes. You could also try garlic, parsley, rosemary, or sage.
  3. Half-and-half: I recommend half-and-half for this recipe, and not substituting sour cream.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 5 cups of mashed sweet potatoes, enough for 4 generous servings, 1 ¼ cups each.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: Peel and cube the raw potatoes up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with water and chill in the refrigerator.
  7. Freezer: Cool the mashed sweet potatoes completely, then spoon them into a freezer-safe container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 1 month.
  8. Meal prep: Mashed sweet potatoes make a great side dish for weekly meal prep, if you're into that (you may want to omit the sugar).
  9. Peel before boiling: They'll cook much faster without the peel. Boiling sweet potatoes whole with skin takes a lot longer, and needs more water. I also slice them to speed up the cooking time.
  10. For chunky, rustic-style mashed sweet potatoes: Use a basic potato masher. A waffle-head masher will mash the potatoes into a smoother consistency, if you like them somewhere in-between.
  11. For super-smooth mashed sweet potatoes: Use a potato ricer (peeled potatoes) or food mill (unpeeled potatoes). These gadgets make the smallest, finest pieces of cooked potato, which fluff up beautifully.
  12. Classic mashed potatoes: For the classic version without the secrets, try my best mashed potatoes recipe.
  13. Garlic mashed potatoes: Toast garlic in a skillet (or roast whole bulbs of garlic in the oven), peel, mince, and add to your mashed potatoes. You’ll need about 1 bulbs of garlic (20 cloves) for every 2 pounds of potatoes.
  14. Cauliflower mashed potatoesFor a low carb, highly satisfying side dish, try cauliflower mashed potatoes (without a potato in sight).
  15. Boursin mashed potatoes: Soft-skinned small red potatoes mixed with fresh herbs and a block of Boursin cheese. You don’t even have to peel the potatoes!
  16. Slow cooker: Once the mashed sweet potatoes are ready, you can put them in a crock pot and heat on the LOW setting to keep them warm and fluffy throughout your feast. I have never found a mashed potato recipe MADE in a slow cooker that I thought tasted good.


Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 800mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 32366IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg