Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Side DishThanksgivingSweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes are great, but add a little bourbon and they become outright decadent! Make this easy side dish for Thanksgiving or a holiday party this year.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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Don’t Skip the Bourbon

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.

The Best Sweet Potatoes to Use

Look for garnet sweet potatoes for this recipe. These sweet potatoes have a reddish-brown skin and bright orange flesh. They cook quickly, mash easily, and have a pleasantly sweet flavor.

How Long To Boil Sweet Potatoes

For these mashed sweet potatoes, peel the potatoes, cut them into large cubes, and then boil them until tender. This should take roughly 15 to 20 minutes.

What to Do with Leftover Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Leftover mashed sweet potatoes will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

They can be reheated on their own for an easy weeknight side, or use them to top a shepherd’s pie, fry them into thin potato pancakes, or mix them into a lightly boozy version of our sweet potato waffles.

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Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 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


1 Boil the sweet potatoes until tender: 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 Mash the sweet potatoes: 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.

mash sweet potatoes in pot

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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22 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Grape

    how long do you keep the mashed sweet potatoes on the low flame?
    the recipe doesn’t mention this in the final step.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Tylynn

    I found this recipe 2 years ago and now I make this every Thanksgiving! My husband who isn’t a fan of sweet potatoes, will get seconds of these mashed potatoes!


  3. Judy Aylward


  4. Sonia

    sounds scrumptious can’t wait to make it

  5. Stephanie

    Can this be made with cognac/ brandy instead?

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