Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

It’s the holidays, right? We still have time to sneak in a few indulgences? Good, just the excuse I need for these creamy garnet sweet potatoes splashed with smoky bourbon. Funny thing is, if you looked in our liquor cabinet, you would find all sorts of wonderful things to drink—vermouth, marsala, madeira, rum, calvados, JD, Maker’s Mark—yet nobody in our family actually drinks anything beyond an occasional glass of wine or beer. Or maybe a small glass of sherry or port. All those high octane bottles are for use in cooking, including the bourbon. I love the taste of bourbon, with its slightly smoky edge. But I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so only use it for flavoring something wonderful, like chocolate bourbon cake, a New Orleans bread pudding, or these sweet potatoes.

For those of you who avoid alcohol in cooking, I’m afraid this recipe is not for you. Obviously you can easily make the mashed sweet potatoes without the bourbon; it will be great, just add some nutmeg and cinnamon to spice it up a bit. I did experiment with reducing the alcohol content in this recipe by boiling the bourbon first, to accelerate the evaporation, but while the alcohol was reduced, so was the taste of the bourbon. So if you want the wonderful note that the bourbon provides, you’ll just have to add it as is.

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish.


  • 3 pounds garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp of bourbon whisky
  • 4 Tbsp butter (more or less to taste)
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


bourbon-mashed-sweet-potatoes-1 bourbon-mashed-sweet-potatoes-2

1 Place the sweet potato chunks in a large (5 quart) pot, cover with water.  Add a tablespoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.


2 Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and return them to the pot on the stove. Lower the heat to low. Add the bourbon and the butter to the pot and stir. Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract and stir.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth.  Add more salt, bourbon, butter, and brown sugar to taste.

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  1. Michele Garcia

    That’s mostly how we use the high octane stuff in our household too. We love sweet potatoes-sounds like its time to stock up on more bourbon!

  2. Little Kitchie

    mmmm! Our liquor collection looks similar, but we only like wine and beer. But it’s nice to have all those for cooking, or for thirsty guests! :) I love the addition of bourbon in just about any recipe, and never thought about sweet potatoes before. These sound great, and YES I agree, there’s still time to indulge. :)

  3. Sue

    Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes! Your site is always a no-fail option for something delicious. I’ve been making a version of this sweet potato dish for years, with the addition of chopped pecans liberally sprinkled over the top. Yum!

  4. Junie

    Yum! My sister made a similar recipe for Christmas dinner – the other ingredient she added was a few tablespoons of strong coffee – really good.

  5. Pixiesmith

    I make a similar dish with spiced rum (bourbon not being as popular in Canada) – guests always love it! Will try it with bourbon next!

  6. Carolyn

    Loved your post, I too have been making a version of this recipe for years. My feeling is that everything tastes a little better with a little Jack in it especially sweet potatoes. Now I need to take a look at that divine looking bread pudding.

    Carolyn/A Southerner’s Notebook

  7. Lee

    I’ve been making bourbon smashed sweet potatoes for years. Down here, south of the Mason-Dixon line, they are a staple. For those who don’t want to cook with the alcohol, remove the sweet stuff and use grated Gruyere, a bit of fresh sage, and cream. Yummy!

  8. Susan

    The first time I tasted a pumpkin bread pudding with bourbon in it I fell in love with the combo. I’ve since added it to sweet potatoes and butternut squash casseroles. So good!

  9. anissa

    My mother makes a similar dish with whisky instead of bourbon & it’s lovely. I’ll have to try this one. It looks great.

  10. Diane T.

    Terrific suggestion to add bourbon! Recently made regular smashed yams for family while kitchen is in renovation, all in a crock pot. Peeled and diced yams cooked about 5 hours on high with peach juice and water. Alternately stirred and smashed until done. Convenient and easy clean up, with added bonus of being portable. Will be using this recipe next!

  11. mantha

    Diane T’s suggestion is beautiful — cooking the sweets in peach juice. That would take up the bourbon like old family.
    At half a tablespoon of bourbon per serving, with the good dollop of butter per person as well, there should not be any untoward effects.
    Happy New Year to all!

  12. FaeMao

    I’m going to have to try this with my favorite liquor…Jeremiah Weed 100 proof bourbon liquor. :)

  13. Kanta

    This recipe gives me a great new idea! We love eating mashed potato and whiskey is quite popular among men! ;) Sweet potato is also popular but usually fried or added to mixed vegetable curry. But I never had the idea of making sweet mashed potato this way. I will surely try this.

  14. Pink Tulips

    I smiled when I saw this…

    I prepared something very similar but used a Grade B Maple Syrup and ‘craisins’ along with the bourbon. We loved it!

  15. Anna tappero

    Made this for a crowd of 50 (tripled the recipe.) By roasting the sweet potatoes, they are not so water logged and I was able to add some fat free half and half ( 1/4-1/2 cup) which added creaminess and very few calories. Delicious and a keeper.

  16. SelinsgroveMama

    Yum!!! Just made these what a keeper! My DH was also drinking the bourbon so he just thought they tasted like “marshmallow potatoes” but I appreciated the intense flavor. Will make them again! Oh, and I used half-half instead of heavy cream.

  17. Bob @ Cooking with an Evolved Dad

    I made these last night as part of a Valentine’s Day dinner and they were the hit of the meal. Loved ‘em!

  18. shirley royall zinsavage

    love to cook, I made the slaw , but instead of orange I used Raspberry… I tasted great!! your site!!!

  19. Audrey

    I noticed in one of the pictures, this looks like it was baked..way it pulled away from the sides of the dish. The dish was white. Would it affect it in anyway, if it was baked, say 20 minutes???

    • Elise

      Hi Audrey, I do not know which photo you are referring to. As for this recipe, there is no need to bake it. And if you do, you’ll bake away the bourbon and the flavor that comes with the bourbon.

  20. chris

    Very good – thanks!

  21. Stephanie

    Can this be made with cognac/ brandy instead?

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