Thyme infused brown butter and a touch of pure maple syrup make these Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes a side dish worthy of a holiday menu.
Warm maple flavor is such a natural fit with sweet potatoes. We also love this flavor combination in my Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes.
Don’t let the name of this recipe scare you away. It might sound fancy, but these Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes are actually quite easy to prepare. They’re a fabulous choice for Thanksgiving because they can be made in advance and they include simple and readily available ingredients.
I love everything about them. The vibrant color, the texture, the heavenly thyme infused brown butter, and the hint of maple flavor.
They are naturally sweet and utterly delicious. Brown butter adds a depth of delicious flavor to these mashed sweet potatoes that is going to rock your world.
Table of contents
- Cooked sweet potatoes: Make sure you pick up the darker, red-skinned variety for this recipe. Underneath that red skin they have a bright orange flesh, unlike the lighter skinned variety whose flesh is pale yellow and not quite as pretty or sweet. See below for cooking instructions.
- Sour cream: I love adding sour cream instead of milk for great creamy texture and a little tang.
- Butter: Regular salted butter.
- Thyme: I highly recommend using fresh thyme but you can substitute dried in a pinch.
- Pure maple syrup: Adds warm, wonderful flavor.
Methods for Cooking Sweet Potatoes
Before beginning you want to cook the sweet potatoes until they are fork tender. You can accomplish this in the oven or on the stove.
Oven: Scrub the potatoes clean but don’t peel them. Wrap them in foil and place them on a baking sheet in a 400 degree F oven for about an hour or until you can easily pierce the largest potato through the center with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove them from the oven and when cool enough to handle, use paper towels to pull the skin right off.
Stove: Place the unpeeled sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the sweet potatoes at a low boil for about 40 to 45 minutes or until fork tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins with paper towels.
How to Brown Butter
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add a couple of tablespoons of chopped, fresh thyme. The thyme will infuse the butter with wonderful herby flavor as the butter browns.
- When the butter is golden brown and takes on a nutty aroma (this will take several minutes), remove the pan from the heat immediately to prevent it from burning. It can go from beautiful to burnt quickly so be cautious.
- After you remove it from the heat, allow the brown butter to settle for just a minute or two.
Brown Butter Tips
- Use a light colored pan so you can better monitor the color of the butter.
- A layer of foam will form over the surface of the butter as it cooks so stir it or swirl it frequently so you can see the browning process.
- Don’t fret when you see darker brown solid bits floating at the bottom of the pan. These are browned milk solids and they are part of the process.
How to Make Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- After removing the skins from the cooked sweet potatoes, transfer them to a large bowl.
- Add the sour cream and mix to combine. The potatoes should be tender enough to mix with a spoon.
- Drizzle the brown butter with thyme and the maple syrup over the sweet potatoes.
- Season with salt and mix just until combined. Garnish with additional thyme before serving, if desired.
These Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes reheat beautifully. Feel free to make them a day in advance and refrigerate them in an airtight container overnight.
When you are ready to serve you can quickly reheat them in the microwave and spoon them into your serving bowl. Garnish them with a little bit of thyme and a pat of butter (optional but yum!) before serving and they will be perfectly delicious.
Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 4½ to 5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes, about 4 large sweet potatoes
- ¼ cup sour cream, regular or light
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dry thyme, plus additional for garnish
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- salt, to taste
Cook the Sweet Potatoes
- Oven Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the unpeeled sweet potatoes clean under cool water and wrap in foil. Bake for 60 minutes or until the largest potato can be pierced with a sharp knife with little resistance. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Stovetop Method: Place the unpeeled sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over HIGH heat, then reduce the heat to LOW and cover the pot. Simmer the sweet potatoes at a low boil for about 40 to 45 minutes or until fork tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to a cutting board.
Make the Brown Butter
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over MEDIUM-LOW heat. Once the butter has melted, add the thyme. Swirl and cook the butter until it begins to deepen in color and takes on a nutty aroma. When nicely browned, remove the pan from the heat.
Finish the Sweet Potatoes
- Use a paper towel to pull skins from sweet potatoes and place the flesh in a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and using a spoon, mix to combine. Add the brown butter with thyme and maple syrup. Season with salt, to taste and mix again, just until combined.
- Garnish with additional thyme and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on November 18, 2015. It has been updated with new text and images.
Adapted from Serious Eats