Sweet potatoes are a year-round staple at my house. Sometimes I cube them, toss them with cumin, and serve them with a taco salad. Sometimes I cut sweet potatoes into fries and serve them with a dipping sauce as a side to roast chicken.
Once the weather starts to turn colder and the calendar hits November, I crave the comforting combination of sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar.
Instead of boiling on the stove, I use my favorite kitchen appliance: the Instant Pot. The result is a bright orange bowl of richly textured, slightly sweetened mashed potatoes that will feed a hungry crowd.
What Type of Sweet Potatoes Should I Use?
There are many different varieties of sweet potatoes. I use orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in this recipe because they have more moisture than white sweet potatoes, making them good for pressure cooking and mashing.
Jewel, garnet, and Beauregard sweet potato varieties can be used interchangeably in this recipe, but garnet’s silky texture is my favorite.
Why Use the Instant Pot?
Making mashed sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot solves multiple problems at once: it's easier (no hovering required, just set it and forget it), quicker, and doesn’t take up valuable stovetop or oven space. An Instant Pot also uses less water than boiling.
Tips and Tricks
- Chop the potatoes evenly into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks. This will ensure that the sweet potatoes cook in the same amount of time.
- Add the water to the Instant Pot before adding the sweet potatoes to make sure you don’t get the dreaded “burn” error.
- Once the cooking program has finished, use a quick release and then check the sweet potatoes for doneness. They should be soft enough to mash with a fork.
- Mash the sweet potatoes while still warm. The butter will melt quickly to make them ultra creamy.
Troubleshooting Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If the sweet potatoes are cooked beyond fork tender—resulting in potatoes that don’t require mashing at all but can be stirred smooth—the extra water can be cooked off by using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot to cook off the extra liquid, stirring all the while.
If, on the other hand, the sweet potatoes are undercooked, replace the lid and pressure cook for another minute. Use a quick release and check again for doneness.
Easy Recipe Variations
I like keeping mashed sweet potatoes simple with butter and brown sugar, but you can make the recipe your own! Here are a few ideas:
- Leave out the brown sugar and add 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Add 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- For a savory option that is also vegan, replace the butter and sugar with extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each dried rosemary and thyme
- Omit the brown sugar and add 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon dried all-purpose adobo seasoning
- Add a zing of citrus with the zest of 1/2 navel orange
Easy Instant Pot Side Dishes
Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
4 pounds of potatoes makes 1/2 pound servings for 8 people. For a smaller gathering, you can halve this recipe but note that the cooking time will need to be increased. It seems to go against logic, but because the Instant Pot will come up to pressure faster, a longer cooking program is required for less potatoes. Start with 7 minutes.
Using the Instant Pot’s trivet isn’t necessary, but I found that the potatoes were less watery.
1 cup cold water
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
4 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Metal trivet (that comes with the Instant Pot)
Add the liquid to the pot:
Add the cold water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and lemon juice to the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
Add the trivet and the potatoes:
Place the metal trivet (or a metal steamer basket) in the bottom with the handles unfolded and set against the sides. Add the cubed sweet potatoes on top.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock it in place. Ensure the valve is set to the sealed position.
Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to get up to pressure before the cook time begins.
Use a quick release:
Once the cooking time is finished, carefully vent using a quick release. It may take up to 1 minute for the pressure to release.
Open the lid and use a fork to prick the potatoes and check for doneness. Check at least 2 potatoes on top and 2 potatoes in the center of the pot to confirm that all of the potatoes are sufficiently cooked.
They will be bright orange and soft enough to be mashed with a fork. If the potatoes are not completely cooked, seal the lid, close the vent, and pressure cook for 1 minute before testing again.
Drain the sweet potatoes:
Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, use oven mitts to remove the inner pot. Remove the trivet and drain the potatoes. Discard the water in the pot.
If your potatoes are so tender that they fall apart, dump them into the liquid and remove the trivet. Add the butter, salt, and brown sugar and stir to mash and cook using the sauté setting until the desired texture has been reached.
Mash the sweet potatoes:
Return the drained potatoes to the empty inner pot of the Instant Pot and add the unsalted butter, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste), and brown sugar. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Serve warm.
The mashed sweet potatoes can be made 2 days in advance. After mashing the potatoes, let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat over medium heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||9%|
|Total Carbohydrate 46g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 7g||24%|
|Total Sugars 17g|
|Vitamin C 40mg||199%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|