Mashed Sweet Potatoes

by Nov 2, 2015

Mashed sweet potatoes are a must on our Thanksgiving table. When I made these for a cooking class at the Cancer Support Community, we preferred a sweet topping on less sweet mashed sweet potatoes, which is how I wrote this recipe, but you have options. Orange juice and sugar are delicious in the mash, please see notes for that and other good ideas.

Once you get these sweet potatoes roasted you’ll want to eat them straight off the pan, which is not a bad idea. Melissa Clark from the New York Times tops hers with horseradish compound butter, which looks pretty tasty! Just remember that sweet potatoes can play all year long, not just at Thanksgiving. Try one with a scoop of black bean chili.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Servings 6


  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, about 6 medium
  • 4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt
  • additional butter for the baking dish


  • ½ cup pecans, halves or pieces
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small pieces


Roast the Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice each sweet potato down the center, lengthwise. Smear a bit of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet pan and place the sweet potatoes cut-side down on the sheet pan. Roast 40 minutes, or until they give when you squeeze them. Remove from oven and let cool.

  2. Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter a baking dish that holds about 6 cups. Scrape the flesh from the sweet potato skins into a food processor or stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add the cream, butter, and salt and mix until smooth.

  3. Scoop into buttered baking dish and smooth top with a spatula. Top with pecans, maple syrup, and butter pieces, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 additional minutes, until potatoes are hot and pecans are crunchy.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • Need to double the recipe? No problem. Just make sure you have a big enough dish for baking and serving. (For double, you’ll need a 3–4 quart capacity.)
  • Roast the yams in advance and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to proceed with mashing. I usually put the yams in the oven when I’m baking something else, maybe a night or two before I want to make this dish.
  • Prepare this dish a day in advance without the topping and refrigerate. Next day, bring to room temperature, add the topping, and heat as in the recipe (375° for 15 with foil, remove foil for 15 additional minutes.)  
  • For a sweeter version, add to the sweet potato mash: juice of 1 tangerine or ½  orange, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or maple syrup or honey), ½  tsp. vanilla, ½  tsp. cinnamon, ¼  tsp. ground nutmeg, ¼  tsp. ground allspice, ⅛  tsp. ground cloves. Top and bake as in recipe.


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