Mashed sweet potatoes are incredibly creamy and complement any main side dish at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any weeknight meal.
Sweet potatoes are an underrated side dish and usually get overlooked because of the regular mashed potatoes. On my dinner table, there is always both because I have a few people who do not like sweet potatoes and others who love them, so to make everyone happy, it’s easier to accommodate both.
Three simple ingredients and you have everything it takes to make a great side dish, besides a little bit of salt and pepper. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and flavorful. That said, a few ingredients pair beautifully with sweet potatoes, like the orange flavoring and warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
What is the difference between Sweet Potatoes and Yams?
Ingredients for Mashed Sweet Potatoes
You only need a few ingredients for this recipe, and you will find the measurements below in the recipe card.
- Sweet Potato In this recipe, I use one very large sweet potato, but you can use a couple of smaller-sized ones.
- Unsalted Butter I like to use unsalted so that I can monitor the level of saltiness in the dish. If you are using salted butter, I would just use less salt later in the recipe.
- Whole Milk I use whole milk because that is generally what I have in my fridge, but you can use cream or half and half as well.
- Maple Syrup You can use honey or brown sugar to sweeten the sweet potatoes. This is an optional add-in though.
How to make Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Cooking Methods You can roast the sweet potatoes and then mash them, but I find sometimes they dry out in the oven, so I prefer to boil the sweet potatoes. Plus, sometimes it is hard to coordinate when to put them in the oven when there is a big turkey. You can also place them in the oven. I will have notes about cooking them in the microwave in the recipe notes. Skin Peeling the potatoes makes a creamier potato, but you can leave the skins on if you like a bit of a chunkier potato.
- Drain Once the potatoes are cooked, make sure to drain them well in a colander.
- Mashing I like to use a hand masher to mash the potatoes, but you can also use a hand blender or a food processor if you want a really creamy sweet potato. Any of these options will work.
- Milk and butter For the best result, mash with unsalted butter and milk. If you have dietary restrictions you are concerned about, you can use dairy-free options like almond milk, coconut milk, and coconut oil.
- Salt Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Flavors and Variations for Sweet Potatoes
I love sweet potatoes just plain with a little bit of butter and salt and pepper, but there are so many flavors that go very well with sweet potatoes.
- Brown sugar or honey butter
- Top with toasted or candied pecans or walnuts
- Sweetened with maple syrup or brown sugar
- Sprinkle in fresh ground Cinnamon and or nutmeg
- Roasted garlic
- Add chopped bacon
One of my favorite ways to sweeten sweet potatoes is with brown sugar or maple syrup and candied pecans on top. I love the combination. There are so many great combinations, so you can choose your own combination and go with it.
If you have leftovers, I like to make sweet potato rolls with them. I always have leftovers because there are not very many of us in my family who like them, so I always try and find a way to repurpose the leftovers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to boil sweet potatoes?
It takes about 15-20 minutes once the water starts to boil; if you need them faster, place them in the microwave for 10 minutes, making some holes in them. Another option is placing it in the air fryer.
Should I peel the Sweet Potato?
This is completely up to you and depends on the texture you prefer. Sweet potato skins are edible. I prefer to remove the skin for a smoother texture. But some people actually like it a little bit chunkier.
How do I make the Sweet Potatoes creamy?
First, start by adding small amounts of creamy dairy (such as butter and whole milk). It doesn’t take a lot, because sweet potatoes have a naturally creamy texture.
Easy to make Sweet Potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- Peel and cut into 1 inch pieces so that they all cook at the same time. and place in a pot of boiling water.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Carefully add the sweet potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, shaking to remove all of the water. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add ¼ cup milk, butter, and salt. Use a potato masher or hand blender and mash the potatoes until smooth. Add additional milk, if necessary. Serve warm.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add ¼ cup milk, butter, and salt. Use a potato masher or hand blender and mash the potatoes until smooth. Add additional milk, if necessary. Serve warm.