Roast Sweet Potatoes Before Mashing For A Caramelized Taste

Sweet potatoes are one of the best parts of eating seasonally in the fall and winter months. It's a hearty vegetable that is both satisfying for the stomach and the palate, with plenty of fiber and an irresistible sweet and earthy flavor. They are perfect for making sweet potato pie, french fries, and — of course — the ever popular mashed sweet potatoes. Mashed sweet potatoes are a great way to showcase the tasting notes and creamy texture of this tuber, but for maximum impact, we recommend roasting them first.

Before mashing sweet potatoes, you must cook them in one way or another to soften them. Typically, the suggested method is boiling, as we instruct in our garlic-mashed sweet potato recipe. The benefit of roasting as an alternative method is that it not only alters the texture of the potatoes, but the flavor as well. This is because roasting allows the high amount of sugars in the potato to adequately caramelize, making the potato flesh even sweeter and adding a rich, molasses taste.

How to get a perfect roasted sweet potato

For the basics of this technique, follow your favorite recipe for roasted sweet potatoes. To further ensure beautifully caramelized results, there are a few additional lengths you can go to. One tip is to cut the potatoes into larger chunks to give the insides time to cook through and the outsides time to brown without becoming dry. Another is to avoid crowding the pan, as doing so will cause the potatoes to steam instead of roast, meaning they will not caramelize as well. Once the potatoes have been roasted to satisfaction, you can proceed with your favorite mashed potato recipe as though they have been boiled.

Roasting the potatoes alone will add a ton of flavor to the finished dish, but you can take it to the next level by adding complementary flavors into the mash. Classic additions like brown sugar and pecans will highlight the caramelized sugars in the potatoes. Meanwhile, savory flavor lovers can add spices like garlic or paprika to create mouthwatering contrast.