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Sweet potato puree is better savory. Roasted garlic is the key.

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post; props by Limonata Creative for The Washington Post)
Sweet Potato Puree With Roasted Garlic
Active time:10 mins
Total time:3 hours
Servings:6 to 8 (makes about 4 cups)
Active time:10 mins
Total time:3 hours
Servings:6 to 8 (makes about 4 cups)

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional mashed potatoes, this sweet potato puree is it. The addition of roasted garlic makes for an unexpected and lovely flavor combination, adding savory depth to balance the sweetness of the tubers.

Start by roasting sweet potatoes and a head of garlic in a low-to-moderate oven for a couple of hours. Slow-roasting helps bring out more of the potatoes’ natural sweetness and produces a creamier texture (though you could roast them at a higher temperature if you are short on time or want them to cook while you are baking other things.) At the same time, the garlic becomes mellow and deeply savory.

Then add the flesh of the sweet potatoes and the cloves from the entire head of garlic — garlic lovers, this one’s for you — to a food processor along with butter, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. The result is a savory and sweet side dish that’s simple and full of intrigue.

Sweet Potato Puree With Roasted Garlic

Make Ahead: The sweet potatoes and garlic can be roasted up to 1 day in advance.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.

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  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds (about 6 medium) sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Step 1

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Step 2

Trim the top off the head of garlic, through the rounded tops of the cloves, place in a square of aluminum foil, drizzle with the olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil.

Arrange the sweet potatoes and garlic on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours, or until the flesh of the sweet potatoes is very soft and can be easily pierced with a fork. Let sit on the counter until cool enough to handle, 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 3

Scoop the sweet potato into the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze in the roasted garlic, discarding the spent heads. Add the butter, salt and pepper, and process until smooth and the butter is fully incorporated. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer instead.) Taste, and season with more salt and/or pepper, as desired.

Transfer to a serving dish, top with more butter, as desired, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1/2 cup), based on 8

Calories: 208; Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 390 mg; Carbohydrates: 36 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 3 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Recipe from staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; email questions to

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