Bring some excitement to the dinner table with this easy recipe for my savory Bourbon-Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes! Their vibrant orange color, creamy texture and delicious fall flavor make this simple, quick side dish a welcome addition to any dinner, especially for the holidays.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Now that there’s a nip in the air come dinnertime, it’s time to welcome in all the hearty, cozy, and comforting meals that are made for cooler weather. These savory mashed sweet potatoes are my current easy side dish obsession (along with these marinated brussels sprouts and Boursin mashed potatoes) because they pair beautifully with everything from roasted salmon to Thanksgiving turkey.
They’re rich, creamy, and infused with a stellar combination of hard herbs, sweet maple syrup, and punchy bourbon that makes them absolutely crave-worthy. Aside from being exceptionally delicious, this easy recipe for mashed sweet potatoes is:
- Made With Just 10 Ingredients, many of which you already have on hand. The perfect side dish to your weeknight dinner!
- Wholesome & Nutritious. Sweet potatoes are packed to the brim with important minerals and nutrients like fiber, beta carotene, and potassium. While there is a touch of butter in the recipe for some richness, most of the creamy goodness comes from milk and the sweet potatoes themselves!
- Budget-Friendly - With sweet potatoes now in season, you can find them for between $0.75 - $1.50 per pound. That means you can whip up a batch for under a dollar per serving!
As promised, this healthy mashed sweet potatoes recipe requires just 10 easy-to-find, simple ingredients. Here’s what to grab:
- Milk - I personally like using full-fat dairy for most applications, so this recipe was developed using whole milk. That said, feel free to swap in 2% for a lighter batch!.
- Sweet Potatoes - Regular orange-hued sweet potatoes are what I typically reach for, but you can amp up the drama by reaching for Japanese purple sweet potatoes instead. You can also use them to make all kinds of creations like sweet potato cupcakes or a sweet potato tart!
- Kosher Salt - If you’re using a different type of salt, please refer to this conversion chart for proper measurement.
- Unsalted Butter & Salted Butter - I like to use unsalted butter to make the creamy sweet potato mash because it gives me greater control over the total salt content, and then serve it with salted butter as a garnish. If you don’t want to have to fuss over both kinds, opt for unsalted butter and add an extra sprinkle of salt on top of the little butter pats you use for garnish.
- Maple Syrup - Maple syrup is the sweetener of the season, if you ask me. Feel free to swap in brown sugar if that’s what you have on hand.
- Fresh Thyme & Rosemary - I always have a cache of fresh herbs on hand to help gussy up my meals and cocktails. If you’re working from the spice cabinet, opt for about ½ teaspoon of each
- Bourbon - Adding a bit of whiskey is a great addition - it adds a phenomenal depth of flavor, evoking hints of oat and vanilla. Don’t worry, there isn’t enough to harm any kiddos at the table. If you’re worried about it, consider swapping in a teaspoon of alcohol-free vanilla extract instead.
- Nutmeg & Cinnamon - For a hint of warmth. If at all possible, I suggest purchasing whole nutmeg and grating it yourself; it’ll last indefinitely in the spice cabinet and will have a much more potent flavor than the pre-ground kind.
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
While these are probably the best mashed sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten, there’s always room for customization depending on your family’s needs. Good news, there are a few variations to consider for this great side dish during the holiday season.
- Dairy-Free - Turn these into lactose-free, vegan mashed sweet potatoes by opting for plant-based milk and butter. I suggest reaching for unsweetened, unflavored dairy-free milk that is on the creamier side of the spectrum (e.g. oat milk or soy milk) for the best, creamiest consistency.
- Bourbon-Free - If you don’t keep booze in the house, try subbing in about 1 teaspoon of alcohol-free vanilla extract, vanilla powder, or vanilla paste instead.
You don’t need much by way of fancy equipment to make this creamy mashed sweet potatoes recipe for a holiday meal alongside the main course. Here’s what to grab at your local grocery store:
- Saucepan - For infusing your milk.
- Stock Pot - You need something large enough to boil the sweet potatoes in. Feel free to use a larger saucepan or a Dutch oven if that’s what you have on hand.
- Potato Masher, Potato Ricer or Hand Mixer - I sort of love the zen act of mashing sweet potatoes by hand. Using a potato masher also gives you a bit more control over the consistency, which is needed for those of you who like a little bit of chunk in your potatoes. You can also use your electric hand mixer to make life a little easier.
📖 Step by Step Instructions
These easy mashed sweet potatoes are simple enough for even a novice home cook to pull off. Here’s how they’re made:
Step 1: Infuse Milk. Warm the milk to a light simmer on medium-low heat. Remove from heat, add the herbs, and allow to infuse for 30-60 minutes. Strain and discard the herbs before using.
Step 2: Boil Sweet Potatoes in a large pot filled with salted water until they’re fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Drain & Mash potatoes until mostly smooth.
Step 4: Add Milk & Flavorings. Carefully pour in the infused milk and mix until incorporated.
Step 5: Flavorings. Follow with the rest of the ingredients, tasting and adjusting the seasoning (salt) as needed.
Step 6: Serve hot with a pat of butter. Enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
This healthy mashed sweet potatoes recipe is pretty straightforward, but I’ve learned a few things along the way that’ll make your life easier:
- Salt your cooking water. Much like pasta, you should always salt the water that you cook sweet potatoes in so you can add seasoning right from the start. Before you add the sweet potatoes, taste a spoonful; it should taste like the sea.
- If you’re making a big batch for the holidays, consider boiling the sweet potatoes before you peel them. While the actual process of boiling them will take a bit longer, you will greatly reduce the amount of active time you have to spend. Drop whole sweet potatoes (with their skins) in salted water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to a high simmer, then continue to cook until they become tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander, and, using a clean kitchen towel to protect your hands from the heat, make a small slit in the skins using a paring knife. The skins should slip right off!
- Use your slow cooker to keep them warm on your holiday buffet.
- Need some ideas for leftover mashed sweet potato recipes? Consider turning them into potato pancakes or gnocchi, or use them to top a shepherd’s pie. A delicious side!!
💭 Recipe FAQs
Absolutely, here's what I've found to be the best method! After you’ve mashed them, let them come to room temperature, then transfer to zip-top bags with the date written on them. Flatten the bags out and remove as much air as possible, then freeze until solid. Once frozen, stack them like books on a shelf to keep your freezer tidy! They should last for about 6 months when stored this way and will give you extra time the next time you prepare a meal!
Nope! If you boil them whole, you can keep the skins on. However, if you want to cut down on the cooking time, peel and cube them first before adding to the pot to boil.
Yep! Simply remove the skins and mash away. Note that you’ll get a better consistency when they are warm, so consider giving them a quick zap in the microwave or adding them to the warm infused milk to help you out.
More Holiday-Worthy Side Dish Recipes
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Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Stock Pot
- Potato Masher or Hand Mixer
- ⅓ cup Whole Milk, or non dairy alternative
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 Thyme Sprig
- 1 Rosemary Sprig
- 3 pounds Sweet Potatoes, about 4 large sweet potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
- ¼ cup Maple Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons Bourbon
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
- Extra butter for serving
- First off, infuse your milk and butter with herbs. Warm your milk to a light simmer. Add the thyme and rosemary and allow to infuse for 30-60 minutes. Strain and discard the herbs, before using.⅓ cup Whole Milk, 1 Thyme Sprig, 1 Rosemary Sprig, 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Once the water has come to a boil, add the sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt, 3 pounds Sweet Potatoes
- Drain the potatoes and place them in a medium sized bowl. Using a potato masher or a hand mixer, mix the potatoes until smooth.
- Slowly pour the infused milk into the potatoes while mixing. Then follow with the remaining ingredients!¼ cup Maple Syrup, 2 Tablespoons Bourbon, ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon, Extra butter for serving
- Can you freeze mashed sweet potatoes? Absolutely, here's what I've found to be the best method! After you’ve mashed them, let them come to room temperature, then transfer to zip-top bags with the date written on them. Flatten the bags out and remove as much air as possible, then freeze until solid. Once frozen, stack them like books on a shelf to keep your freezer tidy! They should last for about 6 months when stored this way and will give you extra time the next time you prepare a meal!
- Do you have to peel sweet potatoes before boiling? Nope! If you boil them whole, you can keep the skins on. However, if you want to cut down on the cooking time, peel and cube them first before adding to the pot to boil.
- Can I mash leftover baked sweet potatoes? Yep! Simply remove the skins and mash away. Note that you’ll get a better consistency when they are warm, so consider giving them a quick zap in the microwave or adding them to the warm infused milk to help you out.