These Make Ahead Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar are a delicious addition to any weeknight meal, but special enough for the holidays, too! In fact, this is one of my go to Make Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes and you'll soon see why.
My youngest sister is back in New England visiting for Thanksgiving. She's sweet, fashionable, and super chill about what we do while she's in town - even when that means taking an hour drive (in circles) to get Olivia to nap! Saturday, we made these brown sugar sweet potatoes together. We did it in between catching up, and coloring with the kids. The best part about this recipe is that it is so simple and easy.
Little did I know that this would become a new favorite for my family!
It occurred to me afterward that these are the perfect make-ahead side dish for Thanksgiving (or once a week cooking). You don't need anything special from the grocery store to whip them up either. The hint of brown sugar brings out the sweetness of the potato for a dish everyone will love.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions (and answers!) readers sometimes ask about our sweet potatoes with brown sugar recipe.
This question is one that has long stumped me when I'm making a big meal for family or friends. How many potatoes do I really need? I did some research, and here's the answer: a large sweet potato is about a ½ pound. You'll want to figure on ⅓ to ½ pound per person. This Sweet Potato recipe feeds about 6, with maybe a little leftover.
In general, when it comes sweet potatoes and white potatoes, one isn't healthier than another. They have different nutritional qualities. Sweet potatoes are higher in fiber and Vitamin A. White potatoes, on the other hand, have more iron, potassium and magnesium. Of course, it also depends on how they are prepared. Recipes with lots of cream and butter are not as good for you as those without, of course.
The short answer is not much. The red-skinned long "yams" are just a variety of sweet potato. Sweet Potatoes have more fiber than yams and also have lots of Vitamins A and C. They are so similar that in most recipes you can swap out sweet potatoes for yams and no one will notice.
Chances are you have everything you need to make this Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar recipe right in your refrigerator and pantry because you just need simple ingredients:
- 6 large sweet potatoes (or about 3lbs)
- Brown Sugar
- Whole Milk or Cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
This is meant to be a brief overview of the sweet potatoes with brown sugar recipe. For step-by-step instructions and a full printable recipe card with ingredients, please scroll down to the teal box below or Jump to Recipe. You'll also find our slow cooker method there.
- First, preheat oven to 400-degrees and place a pie of tinfoil on the top rack. Scrub and pat dry the potatoes, prick each several times with a fork. Place the potatoes on top of the tinfoil and bake under fork tender, about 1 hour.
- After that, remove them from the oven to a cutting board. Use an oven mitt to hold the potato while you slice each in half lengthwise. Let the potatoes sit for 10 minutes.
- Into a large mixing bowl, add the butter (cut into pieces). Scoop out the inside of the baked sweet potato with a spoon and add it to the bowl. Discard the skins. Using a potato masher, break up the potatoes and incorporate the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and add a little of the milk at a time until you have the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Next, transfer the mashed sweet potatoes into a baking dish with a lid. Add an additional pat or two of butter to the top (optional) and cover.
- When you want to serve the potatoes, place the dish an oven pre-heated to 350-degrees F and bake until heated through.
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- Stock Pot and Colander
- Potato Masher
- Dry Measuring Cups and Liquid Measuring Cup
- Vegetable Peeler
- Cutting Board and Knife
- Serving Bowl - (I love this CorningWare Bakeware Set because the pieces are so versatile and they go from the oven to the table and still look nice.
The key to having light fluffy mashed sweet potatoes is not to mess with them too much. Just like white potatoes, sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetable. The more you mix and mash, the more your potatoes are going to become the consistency of glue.
Never ever use an electric mixer or food processor to mash your potatoes. A potato masher is all you need to get the right texture. Then use a spatula to fold in the butter, milk, and seasonings until just combined.
This is one of those simple recipes that's pretty hard to mess up, and while I think it is pretty perfect the way there are, here are some different ways to make our brown sugar mashed sweet potatoes recipe.
- For a different flavor, replace the milk with apple or orange juice.
- If you're short on sweet potatoes, use Yukon Gold potatoes to help make up the difference.
- Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the potatoes while mashing - perfect for Thanksgiving especially.
- Make them extra special by toasting 2 cups of chopped pecans in a skillet for a couple of minutes and then sprinkle them over the top.
- You can use either light brown or dark brown sugar, or try using an equal amount of maple syrup, which is especially yummy during the holiday season.
- A couple of readers have told me that they like to add a little bit of vanilla extract to their mashed sweet potatoes.
🍴 Serving Suggestions
While they don't really need anything extra, the mashed sweet potatoes are always good with a little pat of Brown Sugar Butter for extra goodness, too!
This is always on our Thanksgiving table because it's one of our most favorite and delicious side dish recipes. However, you don't have to wait for a holiday meal! This sweet potatoes recipe is really good on weeknights with Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin or even Air Fryer Chicken Tenders! It would also be pretty terrific with our Grilled Ribeye Steak.
Find more great dinner recipes:
😋 Similar Recipes
Our readers LOVE this dish and it is one of our top Thanksgiving recipes! You can find more Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes here. Our Garlic and Herb Feta Mashed Potatoes are a unique spin on a classic side dish. Here are a few other easy recipes you might enjoy next time:
- Make Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows - classic sweet potato dishes like this are always a hit!
- Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes - perfect family recipe great for any night of the week.
- Loaded Cauliflower Mash - with bacon and white cheddar - so good!
- Cranberry Walnut Stuffing - a delicious and easy skillet stuffing recipe.
📋 How to Make Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Not ready to make these sweet potatoes with brown sugar yet? Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later! When you do make it, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @jugglingactmama or #jugglingactmama – I’d love to see your pictures! And finally, if you get a chance, please comment and leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below!
Make Ahead Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar
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- Stock Pot
- Potato Masher
- Vegetable Peeler
- 6 large sweet potatoes or about 3lbs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup whole milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400-degrees and place a pie of tinfoil on the top rack. Scrub and pat dry the potatoes, prick each several times with a fork. Place the potatoes on top of the tinfoil and bake under fork tender, about 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven to a cutting board. Use an oven mitt to hold the potato while you slice each in half lengthwise. Let the potatoes sit for 10 minutes.
- Into a large mixing bowl, add the butter (cut into pieces). Scoop out the potato with a spoon and add it to the bowl. Discard the skins.
- Using a potato masher, break up the potatoes and incorporate the butter.
- Stir in the brown sugar and add a little of the milk at a time until you have the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes into a baking dish with a lid. Add an additional pat or two of butter to the top (optional) and cover.
- When you want to serve the potatoes, place the dish an oven pre-heated to 350-degrees and bake until heated through.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2-inch slices.
- In the slow cooker, add 4 tablespoons butter (melted), ¼ cup of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.
- Then, add the sweet potatoes to the crock pot and toss to coat them in the brown sugar mixture.
- Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, or HIGH for 2-3 hours, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Add the milk to the slow cooker and mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
- After that, season with salt and pepper to taste.