bourbon mashed sweet potatoes

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes


Tired of canned yams swimming in marshmallows and syrup at Thanksgiving?

Try them fresh, with a splash of bourbon and molasses instead!

Bourbon is The Taste Place’s liquor of choice, with a bourbon and coke being our favorite beverage to relax with in the evening.  And while folks have been cooking with bourbon for years, it seems the mainstream is starting to catch on to it as well, with the proliferation of bourbon-based bbq items being offered even at places like Carl’s Jr.:

The attraction (besides sounding adult and edgy in a marketing campaign) is the smoky, sweet, caramelly vanilla taste that you get from bourbon and products made (or based) therefrom.

My favorite bourbon-based recipe for home use is the Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Down Home with the Neely’s. In fact, it is rapidly becoming one of my favorite side dishes for any fall meal for a group.  In fact, last weekend I made a batch for a family dinner to accompany a smoked ham, and this weekend I made a batch for a dinner party to go with grilled elk filet mignon provided by our host!

The recipe calls for “sweet potatoes”, but I have successfully used “yams” (what we call “yams” aren’t really yams at all) as well, and actually have come to prefer their deeper orange color over the yellower ones marketed as sweet potatoes.  And the orange color makes for a stellar Halloween Dinner Party side dish!  They are much easier to find in Fall than the rest of the year, but you may still successfully find them year round depending on the quality of your grocery store.

If you have kids or recovering alcoholics eating with you, you really shouldn’t worry about the bourbon in the recipe.  Only 1/8 of a cup is included, and it gets boiled/simmered for a bit, so I can’t imagine any ill effects at all.  Frankly, for kids, I’d worry more about the inclusion of cayenne pepper powder, though the original recipe has only the mildest kick.

I marked this recipe “portable”, because last night we put the finished potatoes into a crock pot to bring to the dinner party and then plugged them in on “warm” when we got to the party. Turned out great!

Sliced in cold water with salt
Sliced in cold water with salt
After draining, pour mixture over potatoes
After draining, pour mixture over potatoes
And mash!
And mash!
Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 large sweet potatoes or “yams”
  • Salt, for water and separately for potato mixture
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (we generally up this to ¾ teaspoon or so)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ⅛ cup bourbon
  • Brown sugar, for garnish
  1. Peel and slice sweet potatoes/yams into 1 inch slices.
  2. Place in large pot with cold water and salt (same as you use for pasta or regular mashed potatoes) and bring to boil.
  3. When potatoes are mashable (20-30 minutes boil time), drain water.
  4. In a separate small pan, combine ½ tsp of salt, whipping cream, cayenne, pepper, molasses, butter and bourbon and simmer until butter is melted and mixture is creamy.
  5. Pour mixture over potatoes and mash.
  6. Add additional cream or butter for texture and add molasses, bourbon, cayenne, or salt as necessary to please your palate!

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