Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter. #recipe @MJsKitchen


Mashed sweet potatoes are one of my old standbys as a side for beef and pork.  They are SO easy to make (can be on the table within 30 minutes) and do not need a lot of stuff added to them.  They are great with just a little milk, a touch of butter, salt and pepper.  Sometimes for a little change, I’ll add a little bourbon.  The other night I fancied up the bourbon a bit with some brown butter and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to have mashed sweet potatoes any other way again!

Before I get to the recipe I have to tell a story. If you don’t know already, Bobby and I have been married for over 35 years.  In all those years, he has been my potato masher.  He’s always mashed the potatoes using a simple “potato masher”.  Five years ago at a family reunion, I gave him the task of mashing 10 potatoes.  I handed him his mom’s potato masher which was different from mine.  His immediate response was “WOW, this potato masher works SO much better than ours! I want one!”  It was then that I decided to tell him the truth – that, all of these years, he has actually been using a pastry cutter, not a potato masher!  Yes – it was a mean joke, but it still makes me smile thinking about how long I got away with it and the look on his face was priceless! 🙂   The first thing I did when we got home was buy him a REAL potato masher.

And now for the recipe!


Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Serves: 4 servings
Prep and Cook time: less than 30 minutes


2 large sweet potatoes or yams, washed and scrubbed
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. bourbon (optional)
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste


You can make the brown butter while the potatoes are cooking.

  1. Puncture each sweet potato with a sharp knife in 2 places.  Place on a plate and cook in microwave on high for 4 minutes. Flip and rotate. Cook another 4 minutes.
  2. Check doneness by poking with a fork. If the fork goes easily through to the middle of the potato, it is done. If not, then cook for another 2 minutes and check again. Times will vary depending on the size of the potatoes and the wattage of the microwave.
  3. When done, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Let cool enough to handle.
  4. Brown Butter Bourbon sauce  –
  5. Melt the butter in the small light colored sauce pan. Cook over medium to medium-low heat, How to Make Brown Butter @MJsKitchenuntil the water evaporates (the foaming stage) and the solids and butter starts to brown. (The solids will sink to the bottom of the pan.)
  6. Once the butter is almost to the desired caramel color and has a nutty aroma, remove from the heat and whisk in the bourbon.
  7. Return to the heat and continue to simmer, stirring constantly. Cook for about 1 minute. Be careful not, to let the butter burn.
  8. Remove from the heat. Transfer sauce to a glass dish or set on a bowl of ice to stop the cooking process.
  9. Once the potatoes are cool, scoop out the pulp into a non-metal mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher (not a pastry cutter 🙂 ).
  10. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter-bourbon sauce and the milk. Mix with the potatoes and continue to mash to the desired texture (we like ours more smashed than mashed). If too thick to your liking, add a little more milk.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste.

Reheat in microwave and serve.



Kitchen Notes

Brown Butter – I had never made brown butter before now, and found that it was pretty easy to make. The trick is to keep a watch on it so it doesn’t burn and to cook it in a white or light colored skillet or pan.  If you use a dark colored pan you won’t be able to watch the color turning as the butter cooks, so it’s easy to under or overcook.   As the butter cooks, the solids in the butter will sink to the bottom of the pan and start to brown. In fact, some of the brown color in the picture above is due to the brown solids on the bottom of the dish.  If you do overcook it, not to worry. You could always use it as Beurre noir.  To read more about Brown Butter, visit Bay Area Bites.

You can use the leftover Brown Butter Bourbon Sauce with carrots, to sauce a steak, or poured over pasta.

Milk substitute – If you don’t want to use dairy or can’t have dairy, you can always substitute soy, rice, or almond milk.  I’ve used soy before and didn’t notice any difference.

Bourbon – Just use your favorite Bourbon.  I use either Maker’s Mark or Blanton’s. Because the butter bourbon mixture only gets simmered for 1 minute, the alcohol will not evaporate. Therefore, if you don’t drink or even cook with alcohol, not to worry, just omit it.  The nuttiness of the brown butter will still add a deliciousness to the potatoes that you’ll love.

For more sweet potato dishes, check out these recipes:

Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Quick and Easy

Spicy Orange Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Green Chile Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Massaged Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato, Fennel and Andouille



Before I wrap-up this post I would like to finally thank Soni of Soni’s Food for Thought for awarding me with the Liebster Award back in February.  Liebster is a German word for sweet, beloved, kind, pleasant, lovely; therefore, receiving this award is very special.  Liebster is a great way to describe Soni and everyone needs to get to know her! Her blog is fun to read and her recipes are unique and mouthwatering. She has introduced me to a wide variety of cuisines, flavors, and recipes. So please be sure to stop by her blog and say Hello. You’ll definitely be glad you did!


This Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter recipe has been linked up to the following blog hop.  Click on the link to see a variety of delicious recipes.

Katherine Martinelli’s St. Patrick’s Day Hop, Hearth and Soul Hop


Hearth and Soul, March 27, 2012.





Gluten-Free Wednesdays @ The Gluten-Free Homemaker – October 2012

If you like this recipe, then you’ll probably like these.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Smoked Paprika


Potatoes, Onion, Fennel and egg pileup

Suppertime Pileup – Sweet Potatoes with fennel, onion and an egg.

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53 Responses to “Sweet Potatoes with Brown Butter”

  1. Linda October 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    That’s funny about the potato masher. I use a pastry blender for mashing bananas, but not potatoes. Your sweet potatoes look delicious.

  2. Heidi October 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    I am such a sweet potato fan! I would love it if you visited my new Gluten-Free Monday party at OneCreativeMommy.com and linked up this and any other idea you would like to share. I hope to see you there.

  3. Janelle (Gluten Freely Frugal) April 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Mmmm, looks so good! Thanks for sharing on Allergy-Free Wednesday. Hope you’ll join us again this week with another great recipe!

  4. Magic of Spice April 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    A pastry cutter?…that is too funny 🙂 These look fantastic, wonderful recipe!

  5. Cucina49 March 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Brown butter is such an in flavor right now–I really need to try a dish with it, and this would be a huge hit in my household!

  6. France @ Beyond The Peel March 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    MJ, These do sound absolutely delicious. I would do something to my husband as well. Thanks for your story, it made me chuckle.

  7. Miz Helen March 24, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your great recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great Spring week end and come back to see me real soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. Sanjeeta kk March 23, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    Never had sweet potato mash before and this looks like a perfect recipe to try for the beginners..love the color of the mash…Your recipes are always simple, flavorful , healthy and gives a feeling of instant try. Hugs.

  9. Jeff March 23, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    He must have been one heck of a good potato masher if he managed with a pastry cutter! I wonder if he shared his technique’s with anyone! This recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait for a big chicken/turkey dinner so I can have this as a side! Great dish!

  10. April @ The 21st Century Housewife March 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Oh bless you, that story of your husband and the pastry cutter made me smile! As for those sweet potatoes, wow, they sound like a real treat. I’ve never thought of using browned butter for sweet potatoes but it really appeals to me, and so does the idea of adding bourbon. This is a really special side dish, and I’m so glad you shared it!

  11. Food Jaunts March 22, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    I started dying!!! LOL! You’ve been making him use a pastry cutter? That’s so funny.

    I admit, I could probably pull something like that with my husband too 😛

    That being said, I’m also a big fan of mashed sweet potatoes as a side but have never tried using browned butter in them (I tend to go the spicy route with ground chipotle in them), but I love the idea of a dash of bourbon against the nuttiness of the butter.

    I’ll be making these soon!

  12. mj March 22, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Thanks for all of your wonderful comments! Bobby is enjoying your comments as well. He’s glad to see that everyone is on HIS side. 🙂

  13. Tina March 22, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    At least you gave him a pastry cutter — I used to make my fiance help me mash potatoes with a fork! One of my friends finally gave me a real masher for my birthday, and it’s been a whole new world of potato mashing since then 🙂

  14. Sawsan@chef in disguise March 22, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Hello MJ
    I have been seeing recipes with brown butter all over the blogoshpere and I can’t wait to give it a go
    To tell you the truth I have never made mashed sweet potatoes only the regular ones and now I must try it because you make it sound so good
    I have to say that I felt sorry for your husband

  15. Jessica @ Cajunlicious March 21, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Mj these look and sound incredible, we eat sweet potatoes like crazy.

  16. easyfoodsmith March 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    That was funny yet cute! I love potatoes and can have then any which way. The addition of nutty butter clubbed with bourbon sounds delicious. Lovely post!

  17. Biana | Meal Planning Tips March 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    These sweet potatoes sound delicious! Just a few ingredients make a wonderful side dish.

  18. Tina (PinayInTexas) March 20, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Lol, MJ. Poor Bobby! My hubby also mashes potatoes for me all the time and he was the one who bought our potato masher. hahaha.
    Your sweet potatoes with brown butter sauce sounds amazing! This will be a great alternative to our favorite regular mashed potatoes.
    Btw, congrats on the Liebster Award!

    • mj March 22, 2012 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks Tina! I’m sure if Bobby had known he was using the wrong tool, that he would have gone out and bought the right one. But he didn’t know and I didn’t tell him. he he. He was doing such a good job, why spend the money? 🙂

  19. Tes March 20, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    I am so in love with the color of your mashed potato right now. It’s so creamy and beautiful 🙂

  20. Viviane Bauquet Farre March 20, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    You’ve done it again, MJ, as usual another fantastic dish… Sweet, smooth, and buttery – there’s nothing more needed for this dish!

  21. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 20, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    That was funny! You two are very cute couple. =) He could probably get the job done a lot quicker by now. If my husband was holding the wrong tool, I won’t be able to keep it secret for too long. I’d probably make fun of him right away. I need to learn more patience! Teehee.

    Now this mashed sweet potatoes will come to our table. I love sweet potatoes and we’ll replace the regular mashed potato easily… and brown butter? Bring it on! YUM!

  22. Deeps @ Naughty Curry March 20, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    lol, pastry cutter… gosh it must have taken him ages! sad for ur husband, but makes for such a cute story 😀 never heard of brown butter, it looks lovely should try this some time

  23. vianney March 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Such a sweet story!! I bet he loves his new tater smasher lovely sweet potoates!!

  24. Anne@FromMySweetHeart March 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    MJ….I love this story! That Bobby has been mashing your potatoes for all these years without complaining…..well he’s a keeper! I’m so glad you got him the real thing! I adore sweet potatoes…..and I can make them my main meal…..even when they are mashed in a big bowl! The brown butter makes them so special. And your photography is just lovely! : )

    • mj March 22, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      Thank Anne! Yes, my Bobby is definitely a keeper! 🙂

  25. Janet March 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    MMMMmmmmm. I may have a new T-day standard.

  26. kitchenriffs March 19, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Brown butter is good stuff. I’ve never used it in mashed sweet potatoes, but it’s perfect for that. Thanks for the idea, one I’ll probably use before long because I love sweet potatoes. They go particularly well with pork, IMO, but I’ll pair them with any meat. Good post – thanks.

  27. Baker Street March 19, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Congratulations on the award MJ!

    The nuttiness of the brown butter is a perfect addition to the sweet potato mash.

  28. sally March 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Three of my favorite ingredients–sweet potatoes, bourbon, and brown butter! What a great side dish!

  29. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen March 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    A somewhat evil laugh escaped me when I read the story about your husband and pastry cutter (aka potato masher). Too funny! These are divine! I don’t think the bourbon should be optional 🙂

    • mj March 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      Totally agree on the bourbon! I would never leave it out! 😉

  30. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles March 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Fun story and about the masher/pastry cutter and I love that you and your husband have that kind of long-standing tradition… I might say that Greg is my garbage dispenser… 😉 (not sure that’s nearly as romantic as potato masher!). My sister-in-law uses a blender to “mash” potatoes – but, I have to admit they do come out enormously smooth and creamy… I’m not sure I make enough potatoes to warrant a real implement. I use a fork. Love the bourbon butter… mmm…mmm… must give this a try!

    • mj March 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      Garbage dispenser, potato masher – no matter what we call them it’s fun to have the kind of relationship that allows you to tease each over! 🙂 Your SIL’s potatoes do sound creamer, but that’s a lot of trouble putting them in the blender. Then you have to clean the blender! 🙂

  31. Katherine Martinelli March 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Hahaha that is too funny!! I bet a pastry cutter works well too. I love sweet potatoes any which way, and brown butter makes everything better – so I bet these are amazing!!! I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for linking up to my blog hop! Pinned 🙂

  32. Soni March 18, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Lol..that’s too funny!I’m glad that you finally got a potato masher for him :)Lovely mashed sweet potato recipe.Never tried it with brown butter and bourbon.Will be making this very soon!
    Thanks for the shoutout, my friend!My absolute pleasure in awarding you the “Leibster”,well deserved and I’m so glad to have connected with you here :)Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

  33. Javelin Warrior March 18, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    MJ, love the story about the potato masher & I have to admit I’ve used both sometimes interchangeably depending on what I’m working with. And it’s amazing the difference in each tool’s effectiveness 😉

    These potatoes sound delicious and thanks so much for linking up to Made with Love Mondays. Please remember to include a link back to the challenge page (preferably the banner image) as this is one of the requirements for adding recipes to the challenge.

    • mj March 18, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Yes, the difference in their effectiveness is amazing! Bobby still gives me a hard time about it, but then I guess I deserve it. 🙂 Thanks for the friendly reminder to link back to your hop! It’s done!

      • Javelin Warrior March 18, 2012 at 10:38 am #

        Thanks MJ – appreciate it 🙂

      • Bobby March 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

        You KNEW it wasn’t a potato masher!!!!!!!!!!

  34. peachkins March 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    This looks delicious. I’ve tried Mashed Sweet Potaoes with Orange and it’s quite good too!

  35. Charles March 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Bwahaha 😀 Pastry cutter to mash potatoes for so many years… love it :D. Did you ever try a press? Something like this – I always find they somehow make the potato taste really light and almost buttery – as long as you press it directly on the plate and don’t compress it or stir it around – although of course you can if you want as well. Very easy and effective.

    I love the sound of the bourbon in this mash – I bet it gives a fantastic background flavour to the sweet potatoes – would love to give it a try!

    • mj March 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

      I haven’t tried a press, but I’ve always wanted to give it a try. But before I buy anymore gadgets I’m going to have to get rid of a few. Bring one in – take one out. 🙂

  36. Dee at Deelicious Sweets March 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Sounds like a great recipe! I don’t drink Bourbon but I do keep it around for recipes. I have two sweet potatoes on my counter and I have wondering what I should do with them. Maybe I will make this….with a real potato masher! LOL!

  37. Dulce fresa March 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    I love your Blog and the recipes look delicious!
    Thanks for visiting Dulce fresa.
    Have a nice day!

  38. Judy@Savoring Today March 17, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    We eat sweet potatoes almost exclusively over white potatoes, this recipe sounds WONDERFUL! I like the idea of browned butter and the bourbon would accent the sweetness of the potatoes perfectly. Great recipe!

  39. Ramona March 17, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Poor, Poor Bobby!! You had him mashing potatoes with a pastry cutter all these years. I wouldn’t even know how to do that… I’m sure his potato mashing has been so much happier the last 5 years. 🙂 You know I love sweet potatoes and these look great. 🙂 Have a great weekend! ~ Ramona

    • mj March 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

      I really should add that Bobby likes telling this story as much as I do! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  40. Rathai March 17, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    That’s a funny story but I have to admit I felt sorry for your husband when I read this. 🙂 I don’t make mashed potatoes because of the same reason… I don’t have a potato masher. But reading this recipe and story makes me want to go and get myself one too. 🙂


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