Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes (Yams)

Mashed sweet potatoes or garnet yams can always be found on our holiday or Thanksgiving table. Most often we make a double or triple recipe because everyone wants the leftovers! Usually we just bake them, scrape out the insides, and mash with some butter and brown sugar.

Here’s the thing with sweet potatoes, they pair beautifully with oranges and holiday spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes

My father first came upon this idea in an old issue of Bon Appetit. The recipe includes grated orange peel, lemon juice, and the spices you would normally find in hot mulled cider. We’ve reduced the sugar from the original recipe, and added some salt and pepper.

The spices give the yams a wonderfully festive holiday accent!

  • Prep: 2 minutes
  • Cook: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

You can easily make this recipe a day or two ahead and reheat right before serving.

If you don't have a fresh orange for the rind, you can stir in a little orange juice instead.


  • 3 to 4 pounds red-fleshed sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Bake the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with the tines of a fork (this is to help release pressure as the potato cooks).

Put the potatoes on a foil-lined roasting pan or thick, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the sweet potatoes are completely tender, about 50 minutes to an hour or more. Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to touch.

holiday-spiced-sweet-potatoes-method-1 holiday-spiced-sweet-potatoes-method-2

2 Remove the cooked sweet potato flesh from the skins: Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the insides into a large bowl.

3 Mix with brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, orange zest, spices: Stir in the brown sugar, butter, lemon juice, orange peel, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.

Use an electric mixer (or by hand with strong arms) to beat the sweet potatoes until they are completely smooth.

Sprinkle with a little ground black pepper to taste. Then taste! (But don't eat them all, even though you will be tempted.)


Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes here on Simply Recipes

Garlic Sweet Potato Mash from Gina of Skinny Taste

Maple Mashed Yams with Toasted Walnuts from Not Just Baked

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary from Sally of A Food Centric Life

Main Ingredients