Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Super Healthy Kids

Mashed Sweet Potatoes are so creamy and naturally sweet, they are a perfect side dish to complement a savory meal. Amazing enough to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner, and with only 4 ingredients, simple enough for a weeknight meal side. 

Ingredients for Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • Sweet Potatoes: For this recipe you will want to buy actual sweet potatoes with orange flesh and a rosy brown skin. A lot of people get confused between yams and sweet potatoes. A yam has white flesh and a more bark-like skin.
  • Milk: You can use whatever type of milk you want for this recipe. The higher the fat, the more rich and creamy your final product will turn out.
  • Butter: Salted butter works best for this recipe unless you like to add your own salt.
  • Maple Syrup: This ingredient is actually optional if you don’t want added sweetness to the dish. Sweet potatoes are generally sweet enough to stand on their own, but a touch of maple syrup does make them taste a bit more fancy.

ingredients for mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, milk, butter, maple syrup.

What is the Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes? 

There are a lot of ways that you can cook sweet potatoes, but in our opinion there are definitely 2 strong winners, and a top winner for cooking them to make mashed sweet potatoes.

  • Boiling: This is a traditional way to quickly cook your sweet potatoes.
    • Pros: It is simple and you just need a regular pot and some water.
    • Cons: You will need to cut up your sweet potatoes before boiling them.  Also, boiling can be kind of messy on your stovetop.  Definitely not hands-off because you need to make sure the pot doesn’t boil over.
  • Crockpot: the sweet potatoes come out super soft and creamy with an amazing texture for mashing or just eating.
    • Pros:  Super easy – just wash the skins and place in your crockpot whole.  No water needed and no need to watch them.  You really can’t overcook sweet potatoes this way.  Literally set it and forget it.
    • Cons:  It does take a lot longer than other methods so if you don’t have a lot of time, this method won’t work for you.
  • Instant Pot: a bit faster than the crockpot method with a fairly similar result.
    • Pros:  Definitely as easy as the crockpot if you are familiar with using a pressure cooker. Come out super creamy and the skins fall right off.
    • Cons: You have to add water to the Instant Pot which does make them a little more watery than some of the other methods.
  • Baking: delicious if you are wanting to eat roasted sweet potatoes.  You can leave them whole and poke holes in them and then have a yummy crispy skin on the outside.
    • Pros:  Taste amazing and mostly hands off when cooking.
    • Cons: Baking makes some of the sugar ‘weep’ out of the sweet potato.  You need to make sure they are on a pan, or covered in foil, or something is under them if you don’t want your oven to be a mess.  You have to poke holes in the sweet potatoes so let the steam out before cooking.

process photos for making mashed sweet potatoes

Do I Need to Peel Sweet Potatoes for Mashing?

The answer is that it really depends on your preference.  Just like regular mashed potatoes, some people prefer a more rustic mash with bits of the skin providing a different texture and visual appeal.  If you decide to leave the skin on, make sure you scrub the potatoes well before cooking.  No one likes to crunch tiny pieces of dirt in their mashed sweet potatoes!

If you do decide to peel the skin, the easiest cooking methods to do this are definitely in the crockpot or Instant pot.  Both these methods cook the sweet potatoes so that the skin literally falls off.

mashed sweet potatoes in a white dish with butter and cinnamon on top

How Do You Make Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes?

A lot of sweet potato recipes call for cups of sugar, butter, and other heavy ingredients. To make a lighter, more healthy version, we keep it simple with just the sweet potatoes, milk and butter and if you want a bit more sweetness then maple syrup is perfect.

overhead view of a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes with a pat of butter on top

How Long Should I Boil Sweet Potatoes for Mashing?

For the best texture, you will want to boil your sweet potatoes cubes for about 20 minutes. You should be able to pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and it should be very tender when they are done.

a spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes being lifted out of a bowl

Our Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes

 

mashed sweet potatoes in a white dish with pats of butter on top

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into cubes.

  • Place in the pot and boil for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl.

  • Using a hand mixer, beat potatoes until fluffy. Add milk, butter and maple syrup and stir until combined. Serve warm.

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 21533IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg

Natalie Monson

I’m a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie