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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar

These Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar are perfectly cooked and served whipped with cinnamon, butter, and nutmeg. Feel free to drizzle them with honey or maple syrup if you wish.

mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl with butter and brown sugar being drizzled in honey

These make a wonderful side dish for any meal, including Thanksgiving and the holiday season. This dish has all of the flavors of candied sweet potatoes, but light and fluffy!

raw sweet potatoes, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in different bowls

The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams

In most grocery stores there is no difference between the two. Most stores often label sweet potatoes as yams.

Yams have more starch and are drier. They have bumpy tough, brown skin. Yams are typically used in Caribbean and West African dishes. You have probably never eaten yams, as they are hard to find in the United States.

Years ago, Southerners (primarily in Louisiana) started to refer to them as yams. And since this is a Southern recipe, you will often hear it called candied yams.

You can read more about The Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes here.

sliced and cut sweet potatoes on a cutting board

Do You Leave the Skin on the Potatoes

This is up to you. The skin has lots of nutrients, so it’s beneficial. You can leave the skin on if you wish. If boiling or pressure cooking the potatoes you can leave the skin on the potatoes and remove it after cooking (if you wish). It will take a little longer for the sweet potatoes to boil if you do this.

Health Benefits

Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also offer various antioxidants which may help prevent certain cancers. You can read more about the health benefits here.

What Type of Brown Sugar or Sweetener to Use

You can use whatever type of brown sugar or sweetener you wish in this recipe. I use the brown monkfruit sweetener from Lakanto. It’s a 1:1 replacement for brown sugar and contains zero net carbs and zero calories. You can always use the exact same amount that is called for in a recipe that uses sugar.

If using sugar, and contemplating dark brown sugar vs light brown sugar, the difference in the two is simply the amount of molasses each contains. Light brown sugar has fewer molasses. Molasses is a thick, dark syrup made during the sugar-making process. It’s what is left after the sugar has been removed from the juice.

They are typically interchangeable. Dark brown sugar is sweeter and has a deeper flavor.

How to Cook the Sweet Potatoes

You can boil, air fry, or make the sweet potatoes in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. I like the Instant Pot method because it’s quick and eliminates guessing.

For the Instant Pot method, you will need to add the sweet potatoes to the pot along with enough water to cover the potatoes. Pressure cook for 15 minutes.

For the air fryer method, you will need to cook the sweet potatoes for 35-50 minutes on 400 degrees.

To boil them, add the sweet potatoes to the pot along with enough water to cover them by an inch. Boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.

a collage photo showing cooked sweet potatoes in a pot

How to Make Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Cook the sweet potatoes and mash with a potato masher.
  2. Add in butter, vanilla, brown sugar or sweetener, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  3. Stir and serve.
mashed sweet potatoes in a pot with a wooden spoon

How to Make Sure The Potatoes Aren’t Watery

The best way to avoid watery potatoes is not to use any water at all. You can air fry or bake the potatoes, but it does take a lot longer. If you are going to use a pressure cooker or boil them on the stove, your cook time has to be on point. If you overcook the potatoes they will result in watery mush.

Also, be sure to drain the water from the potatoes, completely, once cooked.

You can always thicken up watery potatoes using 1/4-1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of flour, or 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

a wooden spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes

Lumpy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

If your potatoes are lumpy, they weren’t cooked long enough. They were undercooked while mashing and therefore aren’t going to incorporate easily. Make sure you check your potatoes and poke them with a fork before removing them from the heat.

How to Make Them Savory

Omit the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Focus on salt and the substitutions below.

Other Seasonings and Substitutions

  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Chives
  • Bacon
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl with butter and brown sugar

Can You Make Them Ahead/How Long Do They Last/How to Store

You can make them ahead. If making these for a crowd, I personally prefer serving them pretty fresh. They will last tightly sealed in the fridge for 3-4 days.

You can also cut and slice up your sweet potatoes ahead of time and store them submerged in water in the fridge. They will dry out if not stored in water. They will last for a day or two.

Freezer Tips

You can store leftovers in the fridge, tightly sealed, for up to 6 months.

mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl with butter and brown sugar

Main Dishes to Pair with This Recipe

Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
Baked Turkey Wings
Smothered Turkey Wings
Cajun Roasted Turkey
Baked Crab Legs
Air Fryer Scallops
Air Fryer Lamb Chops

Air Fryer Frozen Burgers

More Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet Potato Cornbread
Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes
Purple Sweet Potato Recipe
Sweet Potato Soup
Sweet Potato Au Gratin
Healthy Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Beef Chili
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Air Fryer Baked Sweet Potatoes
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

More Side Dishes

Creamy Ranch Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Southern Cooked Cabbage
Southern Collard Greens
Southern Homemade Cornbread

Serve this with my Homemade Maple Butter recipe.

mashed sweet potatoes in a bowl with butter and brown sugar
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar

These Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar are perfectly cooked and served whipped with cinnamon, butter, and nutmeg. Feel free to drizzle them with honey or maple syrup if you wish.
Save this recipe here.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword mashed sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar, mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 152kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Peel the sweet potatoes and dice them into 1-inch cubes. Add the diced sweet potates to the pot along with enough water to completely cover the potatoes.
  • Place the lid on the pot and cook for 15 minutes on High-Pressure Cooking.
  • When the pot indicates it has finished, allow the steam to release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Open the pot and drain the excess water from the sweet potatoes.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher. You can also use a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  • Add the butter, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar or sweetener, nutmeg, and salt to the pot. Stir until well combined.
  • Serve.

Air Fryer instructions

  • Add the whole sweet potatoes to the air fryer. Air fry for 35-50 minutes on 400 degrees or until soft.
  • Remove the sweet potatoes from the air fryer. Slice into the skin and remove the flesh.
  • Add the sweet potato flesh to a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher. You can also use a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  • Add the butter, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar or sweetener, nutmeg, and salt to the pot. Stir until well combined.
  • Serve.

Stovetop (Boiled)

  • Peel the sweet potatoes and dice them into 1-inch cubes. Add the potatoes to a large pot along with cold water. Use enough water to completely cover 1 inch above the potatoes.
  • Place the pot on the stove on High and allow the water to come to a boil. When the water reaches boiling, reduce to medium-high. Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Pierce with a fork to check.
  • Drain the excess water from the pot.
  • Add the butter, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar or sweetener, nutmeg, and salt to the pot. Stir until well combined.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • Leave the skin on the potatoes if you wish.
  • When slicing the sweet potatoes into cubes, try to make each slice as even as possible. This will allow all of the potatoes to cook evenly and consistently.
  • Larger cubes will require a longer cook time. I like to stick to 1 inch.
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar or sweetener will result in mild sweetness. If you like them really sweet, taste repeatedly, and add more as necessary. If you don’t like them very sweet, start with a teaspoon of sugar or sweetener. Continue to build from there. Refrain from adding 2 tablespoons because you can’t take that back once it’s added.
  • You can use whatever type of brown sugar or sweetener you wish in this recipe. I use the brown monkfruit sweetener from Lakanto. It’s a 1:1 replacement for brown sugar and contains zero net carbs and zero calories. You can always use the exact same amount that is called for in a recipe that uses sugar.
  • If using sugar, and contemplating dark brown sugar vs light brown sugar, the difference in the two is simply the amount of molasses each contains. They are typically interchangeable. Dark brown sugar is sweeter and has a deeper flavor.
  • For really creamy potatoes you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream or milk of your choice.
  • The best way to avoid watery potatoes is not to use any water at all. You can air fry or bake the potatoes, but it does take a lot longer. If you are going to use a pressure cooker or boil them on the stove, your cook time has to be on point. If you overcook the potatoes they will result in watery mush.
  • Be sure to drain the water from the potatoes, completely, once cooked.
  • You can thicken up watery potatoes using 1/4-1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of flour, or 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
  • If your mashed potatoes are lumpy, they weren’t cooked long enough. They were undercooked while mashing and therefore aren’t going to incorporate easily. Make sure you check your potatoes and poke them with a fork before removing them from the heat.
  • Nutrition facts assume brown monkfruit sweetener is used. Feel free to calculate the nutrition on your own using the calculator of your choice taking into account the ingredients you personally use in the recipe.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Recipe Rating




Shawna

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

These were so so good. I love the time you put into your recipes to give advice to make everything perfect. No more runny sweet potatoes for this girl.

staysnatched

Thursday 14th of October 2021

No more runny sweet potatoes!

Emily

Thursday 7th of October 2021

Absolutely delicious. I chose to leave the skin on the sweet potatoes. Followed the directions for instant pot cooking exactly — creamiest mashed potato consistency ever. Adding to the rotation for sure!

staysnatched

Friday 8th of October 2021

I'm so glad to hear you will add them to the rotation.