Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes

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These simple mashed purple sweet potatoes are super easy to make and are creamy and healthy. This is an amazing side dish that is going to add color and deliciousness to any dinner!


A few years ago I came by purple sweet potatoes at a local farmer’s market here in NC and couldn’t resist buying a few. I had never seen purple sweet potatoes before and I was super curious to taste them. That year I ended up sprouting a few potatoes, planting the slips, and growing my own purple sweet potatoes.

Since then, I harvest a whole lot of purple sweet potatoes every fall and use them throughout the winter. One of my favorite dishes to make is these mashed purple sweet potatoes.

Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes Recipe…

mashed purple sweet potatoes ready for serving

This dish is easy and healthy. The purple color of the potatoes adds interest to the dinner table and I can assure you that this dish is going to stir up a lot of conversation since many people don’t even know that there is such a thing as purple sweet potatoes.

Three Kinds of Purple Sweet Potatoes…

You might come across three different kinds of purple sweet potatoes. You can use this recipe to make mashed purple sweet potatoes of any kind you can find…

  • Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato – has a whitish skin and purple flesh. It is believed to have come to the Philippines and China area from South America around 1490. The plant reached Japan around 1600 and was initially planted in the island of Okinawa before farmers all over Japan started growing the crop.
    Somehow, this potato ended up in Hawaii and became an important part of Hawaiian culture. This is where it is cultivated today for the American market and therefore it’s known today as Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potato.
  • Molokai Purple Sweet Potato – these are purple on the outside and purple on the inside and were developed on the island of Hawaii. I’ve never tried them but it sounds like they are very similar in shape and taste to the Stokes potato.
  • Stokes Purple Sweet Potato –  this variety has purple skin and deep purple flesh. They are dense, a little dry, very very healthy, and a little less sweet than the orange potato we know.
    They are an American made potato, originated in Stoke County, NC, but are now grown mainly in central California. As far as I understand, a mysterious woman gave a farmer from NC some potato slips many years ago. He planted them and ended up with purple sweet potatoes.
    He liked them so much that he kept growing them and eventually they were registered under the name Stokes potatoes. These are the ones that I am growing and cooking.
fresh purple sweet potatoes

Ingredients…

  • Purple mashed potatoes
  • Butter
  • Maple

Kitchen Tools…

To Boil or to Bake Your Potatoes…

There are two ways to soften any kind of potato… The first is to boil it and the second is to bake it in the oven. You can do either with your purple sweet potatoes but I personally prefer to bake them in the oven. 

If you choose to boil your potatoes, peel them first and cut into 4 or 5 pieces. Then place them in a pot. Cover them with water and bring the water to a boil. Then boil until the potato is soft. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool for a little bit before you mash them. If you prefer baking the potatoes instead, follow the tutorial below…

How to Make Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes…

Step one – bake the potatoes. Wrap the potatoes in tin foil with the shiny side of the tin foil in. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven to bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. Once they are soft, take the potatoes out of the oven and let them cool just a tiny bit to the point where you can touch them. We want them to still be hot so they’ll melt the butter. Unwrap the tin foil, slice the potato all the way down its center…

Step two – peel the potatoes. Peel off the skin (It comes off easy), add the flesh of the potatoes to a mixing bowl, and add one tablespoon of butter per potato (or a little more! You can’t go wrong with butter, right?).

Step three – mash the potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup per potato. Since purple sweet potatoes aren’t as sweet as their orange relatives, this adds a tiny bit of extra natural and delicious sweetness. By this time the heat of the potatoes have melted the butter and it’s time to use the hand mixer to mash the potatoes and mix it all together until smooth.

How to Serve Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes…

This dish is best served as a side dish. It’s a great addition to any meat dish or fish dish. It’s a great addition to the Thanksgiving table or Christmas table. It’s not only delicious but it’s also beautiful with its purple color. And, this dish is a great conversation starter! Holiday or not, try serving it alongside…

Options And Variations…

  • Use a pressure cooker – if you choose to boil the potatoes instead of baking them, you can make the process quicker by using a pressure cooker or by cutting them into smaller pieces.
  • Make it sweeter – purple sweet potatoes aren’t as sweet as the orange sweet potatoes, feel free to add a little bit more maple if you want the dish to be sweeter.
  • Thin the mashed potatoes – purple sweet potatoes are very dense. You can add a little bit of milk, sour cream, or whipping cream (one tablespoon at a time) to lighten them up a bit.
  • Season – I usually don’t season my mashed sweet potatoes but you can try to add a bit of salt and black pepper if you’d like.
  • Serve with gravy – I also don’t usually serve my purple sweet potatoes with gravy, but you can try this too. I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure how this tastes.
  • Make it vegan – use a plant-based substitute for butter and you have a very easy, healthy, filling, and beautiful vegan side dish.

How to Store Leftovers…

  • In the fridge – simply add to a glass or plastic fridge-safe dish, cover, and store in the fridge for a few days.
  • In the freezer – you can freeze mashed purple sweet potatoes just as you would freeze regular sweet potatoes. Just add them to a zip lock bag and place it in the freezer. They should last for about a year. I freeze mashed sweet potatoes all the time and use them in my delicious old fashion sweet potato bread, but I’ve never tried to make this bread with mashed purple sweet potatoes before.

Frequently Asked Questions…

Where can I find purple sweet potatoes?

If you aren’t growing your own purple sweet potatoes, you might find them in Asian supermarkets or sometimes in Whole Foods or other organic supermarkets or specialty stores. We used to be able to order them online from Frieda’s, However, I think that now, they are selling in stores. Maybe search your area for their potatoes.

Are purple sweet potatoes healthy?

This dish is not only beautiful but it’s also good for you since these tubers are very healthy! Purple sweet potatoes are low in carbohydrates and fat and are a great source of vitamins like vitamins A and C and fiber. They are also a great source of calcium and potassium, but maybe the greatest health benefit of purple sweet potatoes is their richness in antioxidants. This is a common benefit that all the purple (or, you might call them red) vegetables share. 

Can I use these mashed potatoes the same way as I would use the orange ones?

Yes, go ahead and use them in casseroles, shepherd’s pie or any other way that you’d use mashed potatoes. They are kind of in between regular mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes so they might fit everywhere!


This dish is fun and easy to make! It’s delicious, a great side dish, and it’s beautiful. If you have creative kids, and you don’t mind some food art, there are many ways to “sculpt” these mashed potatoes to be served on Halloween and other holidays and fun events. If you grow purple sweet potatoes, or if you happen to come by them at the store, I hope that you’ll give this dish a try!

More Purple Sweet Potato Recipes…

Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Not too sweet, healthy, and filling. It's super easy to make these mashed purple sweet potatoes!

Ingredients

  • 4 medium purple sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk, whipping cream, or sour cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash your potatoes well, wrap the potatoes in tin foil, shiny side in.
  3. Place your wrapped potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Unwrap your potatoes, peel the skin, and add the flesh to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the butter and maple syrup. Let the butter melt for a couple of minutes and then use a hand mixer or a potato masher to mash and mix everything together. If you feel that the texture is too dense, add a little bit of milk, whipping cream, or sour cream.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

Notes

Options and variations...

  • Use a pressure cooker – if you choose to boil the potatoes instead of baking them, you can make the process quicker by using a pressure cooker or by cutting them into smaller pieces.
  • Make it sweeter – purple sweet potatoes aren’t as sweet as the orange sweet potatoes, feel free to add a little bit more maple if you want the dish to be sweeter.
  • Thin the mashed potatoes – purple sweet potatoes are very dense. You can add a little bit of milk, sour cream, or whipping cream (one tablespoon at a time) to lighten them up a bit.
  • Season – I usually don’t season my mashed sweet potatoes but you can try to add a bit of salt and black pepper if you’d like.
  • Serve with gravy – I also don’t usually serve my purple sweet potatoes with gravy, but you can try this too. I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure how this tastes.
  • Make it vegan – use a plant-based substitute for butter and you have a very easy, healthy, filling, and beautiful vegan side dish.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 mashed potato
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 4gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g

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2 thoughts on “Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes”

  1. We use this sweet purple potato for eating either broiled or roasted. The more we’ll know to us (my family) is the purple yam/yucca, as the purple yucca tubers for a special native cakes. It is very delicious. I’m interested in meeting you.

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