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This easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe is a simple and delicious side dish for your next family dinner. They’re light, fluffy, buttery and sweetened with just a touch of brown sugar. Best of all, you only need 4 ingredients and less than 30 minutes!

Close overhead shot of sweet potato mash with butter and parsley on top

Switch up the regular weeknight meal by serving this easy mashed sweet potatoes recipe! They’re a nice change from regular mashed potatoes or smashed red potatoes, and since it’s made with just a handful of wholesome ingredients, this creamy sweet potato mash comes together quickly.

Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes are a simple, rustic side dish made by boiling (or baking) peeled, diced sweet potatoes until they’re incredibly tender. Milk and butter are added to the hot potatoes, and everything is mashed together either by hand or with an electric mixer. The natural sweetness and earthy flavor of the potatoes shines through, for the perfect combination of sweet-and-savory in one dish. You can add brown sugar, warm spices (like cinnamon), or savory herbs (like thyme, rosemary, parsley or chives), but the creamy sweet potato mash is truly exceptional on its own.

How to Make this Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe:

These fluffy, creamy and sweet mashed sweet potatoes are so simple to prepare. There’s no need to wait for Thanksgiving or for any other special occasion — these are your everyday, weeknight sweet potatoes — and they’re ready in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Brown sugar

And salt and pepper, of course!

Step 1: Peel and Dice Potatoes

Peel the sweet potatoes, and then cut them into small pieces. The smaller the dice, the faster they’ll cook!

Step 2: Cook Potatoes

Place the diced sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Add plenty of salt to the water, which will help to season the potatoes as they cook. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the temperature to low. Simmer the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until they’re very tender when poked with a fork.

Step 3: Add Remaining Ingredients

Drain the potatoes really well — you want to make sure that you don’t end up with watery mashed sweet potatoes! Stir in the butter, milk and brown sugar.

Step 4: Mash Sweet Potatoes

Use a potato masher or an electric mixer to mash the potatoes until they reach the desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Process shot of making mashed sweet potatoes recipe

What to Serve with this Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe:

Sweet potatoes pair well with any of the following dinner entrées:

Close up horizontal shot of a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes with a pat of butter on top

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same thing? Can you use yams for this mashed sweet potatoes recipe?

Yams and sweet potatoes are entirely different root vegetables. The skin of a yam looks kind of like tree bark, while a sweet potato is more reddish-brown. Real yams are like yucca in texture and flavor. They have bumpy, tough brown skin with starchy, unsweet flesh. You cannot use yams in this mashed sweet potatoes recipe; however, it’s not likely that you’ll actually find a true yam in your grocery store anyway. True yams are not readily available in this country and are seldom grown here. However, they are available throughout Latin America, Asia, India, West Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

To add to the confusion, canned sweet potatoes and long fresh sweet potatoes are often labeled as “yams.” In other words, in American grocery stores, “yams” and “sweet potatoes” are actually the same thing and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Chopped and peeled sweet potatoes on a cutting board

Do you peel sweet potatoes before boiling?

Yes — for a smoother mash, it’s best to peel the sweet potatoes before boiling them.

How long to boil sweet potatoes for mash:

Dicing or slicing the sweet potatoes (instead of boiling them whole) will significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to boil them. Smaller pieces will cook a little bit faster than larger chunks, but in general you will need about 15-20 minutes to boil the sweet potatoes when starting them in cold water. If the potatoes are cut very small, they may be done in as little as 10 minutes.

You’ll know that the sweet potatoes are ready if they feel very tender when poked with a fork.

Why are my mashed sweet potatoes stringy?

This is usually a result of the sweet potato that you start with — not the actual cooking process or recipe. “Strings” develop when a sweet potato grows in soil that’s too fertile. In these cases, the vines grow too fast and too big, resulting in long stringy roots (i.e., sweet potatoes).

To avoid stringy potatoes, look for short, plump sweet potatoes instead of long skinny ones (and don’t buy the biggest sweet potatoes available).

Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

Many sweet potato recipes include a lot of sugar and other decadent ingredients like marshmallows, heavy cream and pecans. While we love these dishes for special occasions, they are definitely indulgences best enjoyed in moderation.

This mashed sweet potato recipe is healthier, since it only includes 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (which you can omit if you like), and is otherwise made with butter and milk. I prefer 2% or whole milk for a creamier mashed potato, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Enjoy them as a regular addition to your weekly dinners, since you’ll reap the many nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes each time you spoon a serving onto your plate!

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, as well as many vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin C. One of the key nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes is that they’re high in the antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed (source).

Square image of a bowl of an easy mashed sweet potatoes recipe

Preparation and Storage Tips — Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe:

  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the mashed potatoes in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: To freeze the mashed sweet potatoes, allow them to cool completely, transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag, flatten, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • To Reheat: Place the mashed potatoes in an oven-safe dish or casserole. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. Give them a stir about halfway through, and if they seem dry, add a tablespoon or two of milk. You can reheat smaller portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • How to mash sweet potatoes by hand: You can mash sweet potatoes using a potato masher or large fork, which will give the dish a nice, rustic consistency. If you prefer smoother, fluffier mashed sweet potatoes, use a hand mixer, immersion blender or food processor.
  • Spices for Mashed Sweet Potatoes: If you would like some warm spices in your mashed sweet potatoes, you can add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. If you prefer more savory seasonings, try adding herbs such as parsley, thyme, chives or rosemary.
  • To serve a larger family, double all of the ingredients. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.
  • I prefer 2% or whole milk in this mashed sweet potatoes recipe, because the higher fat content yields a smoother, creamier dish. You can substitute with half-and-half or heavy cream, if you like.
  • Make sure that the milk and butter is at room-temp or warm. Adding cold ingredients to hot potatoes brings down the temperature of the dish (lukewarm potatoes do not taste as good!), and it also makes it harder for the potatoes to absorb the liquid. If your potatoes can absorb more liquid, they will turn out creamier!
Side shot of a bowl of homemade mashed sweet potatoes with a spoon in the bowl for serving

More sweet potato recipes that you might enjoy:

Close overhead shot of sweet potato mash with butter and parsley on top

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 210 kcal
This easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe is a simple and delicious side dish for your next family dinner!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup salted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup milk, at room temperature (I prefer whole milk or 2% milk for this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with about 1 inch of water. Season generously with salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain well.
  • Add butter, milk and brown sugar to the hot potatoes; mash with a potato masher or, for a fluffier, smoother texture, beat on high speed with an electric mixer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

  • How to mash sweet potatoes by hand: You can mash sweet potatoes using a potato masher or large fork, which will give the dish a nice, rustic consistency. If you prefer smoother, fluffier mashed sweet potatoes, use a hand mixer, immersion blender or food processor.
  • Spices for Mashed Sweet Potatoes: If you would like some warm spices in your mashed sweet potatoes, you can add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. If you prefer more savory seasonings, try adding herbs such as parsley, thyme, chives or rosemary.
  • To serve a larger family, double all of the ingredients. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.
  • I prefer 2% or whole milk in this mashed sweet potatoes recipe, because the higher fat content yields a smoother, creamier dish. You can substitute with half-and-half or heavy cream, if you like.
  • Make sure that the milk and butter is at room-temp or warm. Adding cold ingredients to hot potatoes brings down the temperature of the dish (lukewarm potatoes do not taste as good!), and it also makes it harder for the potatoes to absorb the liquid. If your potatoes can absorb more liquid, they will turn out creamier!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipe (about 1/2 cup)Calories: 210kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 156mgPotassium: 523mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 21697IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: easy mashed sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes recipe
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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