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