Holiday baking this year? I know you are, you little baker-Elf, you. I’m guessing that you probably need a few cans of sweet potato puree. If you’ve ever used canned sweet potatoes to make your puree, you most likely know how bland and tasteless it is. That poses a problem, my friend. We have a rep to protect.
Have no fear, though. You know a girl (she’s me). Here’s where I come to the rescue with my method for pureeing sweet potatoes. Not only will your puree be full of flavor, but you are also going to see how easy it is to make plenty for the entire holiday season and beyond.
Why not use canned sweet potatoes?
Have you ever eaten canned sweet potatoes?? I mean, if you have, you know why they’re not highly sought-after in the flavor department. Not only are they processed in a factory, but they’re also partially cooked during the canning process, which means they’re mushier the more they cook in your recipe. Syrup and the sweet potatoes are shoved into the can and pressurized to make them safe for shelf-storage. Did you read that? Storage. On a shelf. Listen, I’m all about convenience, but not at the expense of flavor.
Do you have any idea what it takes to make sweet potato puree at home? I mean flavorful sweet potato puree. Not that stuff that leaves you all, “What is this? Is this pumpkin?? Squash?? What am I tasting here?” I’m talking sweet potato puree that makes you say, “That [insert what you put it in here] is HITTIN’!!” (That means you really like the way it tastes). What it takes to make this puree may shock you, so I need to list it:
- sweet potatoes
Is that intense enough for you? Seriously, the real question you have to ask yourself is, “Why would I use canned sweet potatoes when this is so easy?”
What are sweet potatoes?
Though they share the same name as the common spud, sweet potatoes aren’t from the same botanical family as the potato you use in your potato salad. Sweet potatoes are tubers, and the two most common types have white (or yellow) or a deep orange-colored flesh. The white sweet potato (Boniato) is mealy and milder in flavor. The orange Beauregard sweet potato is sweeter as a result of its higher sugar content. It’s also more moist. Purple Okinawa sweet potatoes are having their moment here in the States. I’m excited to see them being used more and more in cooking and baking. They are milder in flavor than the Beauregards, but they’re just as tasty. Ube, another popular purple tuber, is not a sweet potato, but instead, it’s a yam. It still does well when pureed, though.
I prefer to use Beauregard sweet potatoes for my puree because they are the sweetest of the potatoes. You’ll know them by their orange skins. Garnets are another type of sweet potato that has lighter orange flesh and tan-colored skin. They are a great replacement if you can’t source the Beauregards.
What do I need to make sweet potato puree?
The ingredients you need to make sweet potato puree are sweet potatoes.
Okay! Glad we got that out of the way.
No, but, really, that’s all you need to make this recipe. To make things easier– meaning: to keep the spuds from sticking to the pan- you’ll need a small amount (less than a tablespoon) of vegetable or olive oil. And that’s reallllly all you need.
Additionally, you need a sheetpan, fork, kitchen towel, and a potato masher or food processor. The latter two are optional because you can mash the sweet potatoes with the fork. They do make the going easier, though.
What size sweet potatoes should I use?
Size doesn’t matter here. I’m not kidding. What does matter is making sure your spuds are all uniform in size.
That matters because you want them to roast and end up fully-cooked at the same time. If you plop a tiny potato next to one that won the blue ribbon that year, you’re going to end up with a mushy spud and one that is still rock hard.
I stick to potatoes that weigh between 12-14 ounces each. Generally, for this recipe, I buy 5 pounds of sweet potatoes. This leaves me with close to 7 cups of puree. That’s SEVEN recipes for me to get down with.
Can I use different types of sweet potatoes for this puree?
You most certainly can explore the different types of sweet potatoes that are available in your area. Use this tutorial and apply it to the white Boniato, the milder Okinawa, or even a yellow-fleshed Satsuma-imo.
Do be mindful that the sweetness of whichever variety of sweet potato you choose will determine how much (or little) sugar you need to add to the recipe you’re using the puree in.
I make this puree with purple sweet potatoes for pie, but for a more subtle sweet potato casserole (less sweet), I use the Boniato.
How do I prepare the sweet potatoes for roasting?
First, get the oven ready for roasting by heating it to 400°F (204°C).
Prepare your sweet potatoes for roasting, which prepares them for peeling, which prepares them for pureeing by washing them. Just give the spuds a good scrubbing. Pay attention to any eyes and remove them with the tip of your paring knife.
Once the potatoes are squeaky-clean, dry them well with a kitchen or paper towel.
Next, arrange the spuds on a sheetpan and drizzle them lightly in olive or vegetable oil. You don’t need tons of oil here. This is a preventive measure. It keeps the sweet potatoes’ skins from sticking to the sheetpan and making our dishwashing job harder later.
Now, poke the potatoes with the tines of a fork. This step ensures you don’t have a sweet potato explosion in the oven. The venting allows steam to escape through the holes left by the fork.
How long do the sweet potatoes need to roast?
Slide the pan into the pre-heated oven and roast the potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on your sweet potatoes’ size, you may even need to roast them for as long as 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Roast the spuds until a knife slides in and out of the thickest part, meeting no resistance at all. Remove the pan of sweet potatoes from the oven because now it’s time to peel them.
Before attempting to peel the potatoes, though, give yourself a little help by steaming the skins. Lay a clean kitchen towel over the pan of potatoes and let them cool.
This technique steams the skins as the potatoes cool, which, in turn, causes the skins to lift up and away from the flesh of the sweet potatoes.
What’s the easiest way to peel potatoes?
Now, all you need to do is peel the skin off. Because, according to Hector, I have “asbestos hands,” I can peel my sweet potatoes after about 20 minutes of cooling. If your hands are normal, wait about 30 minutes or longer.
Once you can handle the spuds, grip the peel wherever and pull. The skins literally slide off.
Now discard the peel and return the potatoes to the sheetpan—no need to create more dishes. Continue peeling the rest of the sweet potatoes until they’re all nekked.
What are the different ways to make the sweet potato puree?
There are quite literally a dozen different ways to make the actual puree. You can mash them with a fork, pass them through a potato ricer, puree them in a blender or food processor, or hit them with the old-school potato masher.
Depending on the application: baked in a casserole, used in a pie, etc., you may want to alter your plan of execution.
For chunky recipes like a baked casserole or simple mashed sweet potatoes, grab a fork or a potato masher. I strongly recommend the latter because I’m averse to exercise. Since a fork requires more effort, I like to use a potato masher. With it, just smash the crap outta the potatoes.
How do I make it less chunky?
While a blender works, it also requires a lot of nursing to get all sweet potatoes evenly pureed. Because the chunks are confined to a narrow carafe, you have to stir and mix it more often than if you use a food processor. If you’re looking for super-smooth sweet potato puree, a 14-cup food processor is what you want to employ.
I just throw the peeled potatoes into the food processor and let it rip. Puree the potatoes for 1 minute, scrape down the bowl, and puree for an additional 30 seconds, or until really smooth.
Because most sweet potato pies are custard-based, this type of puree is best suited for that smooth consistency. You can also use this when making cookies, cakes, ice creams, or shakes.
Can I make it ahead?
Make a batch or a double-batch up to a week ahead and use it in whatever recipe you feel like tackling.
It’s so easy to make it in bulk that there’s really no reason to use the canned stuff ever again.
How should I store it?
After pureeing my sweet potatoes, I divide it into 8-ounce portions using a measuring cup. I then scrape it into food storage bags using the cutest rubber spatula ever! Just seal the bags, and that’s that. You can also store it in food containers.
The important thing is to keep the sweet potato puree covered, so it doesn’t dry out and get all gunky and funky.
How long does sweet potato puree last in the refrigerator?
Keep the puree in the fridge for up to 7 days. Any longer than that, and you’re venturing into bacteria territory. If you don’t think you’re going to be able to use all of the puree you’ve made within 7 days, just go ahead and freeze it.
Can I freeze the sweet potato puree?
Because it’s so easy, I strongly encourage you to make plenty of this sweet potato puree. That way, whenever you have a recipe you’re craving, you won’t need to fuss with the canned junk or with roasting, cooling, steaming, and peeling a batch of fresh potatoes.
After pureeing the sweet potatoes, pack the puree in freezer storage bags. I label and date my bags, so I know what to use first. After sealing the bags and pressing out as much of the air as possible, I press them into a flat square. Then I freeze them lying flat. That way, after they are frozen solid, I can stand them up in the freezer, which takes up less space.
Sweet potato puree freezes beautifully for up to 4 months. To use it, just thaw it under refrigeration until soft. You might need to strain it of excess water, which develops when the water in the potatoes freezes and thaws.
How can I use this puree?
I highly suggest making this Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping.
Lisa Lin has a fantastic Sweet Potato Mango Smoothie that this goes well in.
Eden, from Sweet Tea Thyme, has a bomb Brulee Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie, because why not?
Make these Sweet Potato Pop Tarts from my friend, Chenée, over at Chenée Today.
A great side dish is this Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping from my Sis, Jocelyn, over at Grandbaby Cakes.
And, finally, Eric, the dude from Dude That Cookz, has precious Mini Sweet Potato Pies for you to use this puree in!
This Sweet Potato Puree is also excellent as baby food or for your elderly family members. I remember jazzing up sweet potato puree with a little orange zest, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of maple syrup to serve my Mami when I took care of her.
There really are so many ways to make and use Sweet Potato Puree at home. And not just during the holiday season, either. Be sure to make this puree, freeze it for later, and experiment with new and old recipes, alike. Don’t forget to tag @senseandedibility or @ediblesense when you make it! Be sure to pin this recipe to your favorite baking boards on Pinterest and let me know what you used your sweet potato puree in below!
Sweet Potato Puree for Cooking and Baking
- kitchen towel
- potato masher, fork, or food processor
- 5 pounds (2 kilograms) sweet potatoes washed and dried
- cooking oil for drizzling over the potatoes
Roast the Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).Arrange the cleaned, dry sweet potatoes on sheetpan and drizzle them lightly with olive or vegetable oil. Rub the oil over the sweet potatoes to coat them evenly.
- Poke the potatoes all over with the tines of a fork.Slide the sheetpan into the pre-heated oven and roast the potatoes for 45 minutes- 1 hour. (Depending on your sweet potatoes' size, you may even need to roast them for as long as 1 hour and 15 minutes.)When ready, a knife should slide in and out of the thickest part of a potato, meeting no resistance at all.
- Remove the pan of sweet potatoes from the oven before laying a clean kitchen towel over the pan of potatoes to steam and cool them simultaneously. Once you can handle the spuds peel the skins off using your fingers. Discard the peel and return the potatoes to the sheetpan.Continue with the remaining sweet potatoes they're all peeled.
Puree the Sweet Potatoes
- Now you can mash the sweet potatoes with a fork, pass them through a potato ricer, puree them in a blender or food processor, or with a potato masher. Depending on the application on how you plan to use the puree, you may need to leave your sweet potatoes chunky or smooth.
- For a chunky puree: grab the same fork you used to poke holes in the skins of the potatoes. Or you can also use a potato masher. Mash the sweet potatoes until they reach the desired consistency you need for your recipes.
- For a smoother puree: throw the peeled potatoes into a blend or food processor. Puree the potatoes for 1 minute, scrape down the bowl or carafe, and puree for an additional 30 seconds, or until really smooth. If you're using a blender for this method, you may need to shift the sweet potatoes around a bit and blend for an additional 30 seconds.
- Use the Sweet Potato Puree as desired.
- Divide the sweet potato puree into 8-ounce portions using a measuring cup. Then transfer the measured puree into food storage bags or into food containers. Seal the bags (or containers) and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Refrigerate or freeze the sweet potato puree for up to 7 days.
- To freeze: pack the puree in freezer storage bags. Don't forget to label and date the bags. After sealing the bags and pressing out as much of the air as possible, freeze the puree lying flat. After they have frozen solid, stand them up in the freezer to conserve space.
- Sweet potato puree freezes beautifully for up to 4 months. To use it, just thaw it under refrigeration until soft. Strain off any excess water by pressing the puree in a nutbag or clean tea towel.