Cheddar Herb Sweet Potato Mash (Savory)

Sweet potato mash with chopped sage leaves and melted butter on top.




Cheddar herb sweet potato mash is the perfect Holiday side dish. This mashed sweet potato recipe is full with delicious savory ingredients like cheddar, garlic and sage because sweet potatoes are sweet enough on their own.


This savory cheddar herb sweet potato mash balances out all the other sweet dishes we often eat on Thanksgiving, such as baked honey balsamic brussels sprouts and this orange cranberry sauce. Too many sweet side dishes will make it more like a huge dessert.


And as we all know, we want dessert too, so we need that balance, right? Instead of the traditional pumpkin pie, try these pumpkin crème brûlées or even a decadent chocolate lava cake for dessert.


This mashed sweet potatoes recipe is a part of my Thanksgiving series, where I’ve made a complete Thanksgiving dinner for two (but easily made bigger for larger parties), where I’ve included a bunch of free planners and downloads as well.


Thanksgiving for Two (plus leftovers): A Complete Menu and Planner


And because you will likely have a lot of leftovers, I’ve also created this 7 Thanksgiving leftovers recipes that use the same exact leftovers. For example, this cheddar herb sweet potato mash and this creamy parmesan pumpkin pasta sauce together made a super simple sweet potato shepherd’s pie!


What is the difference between yams and sweet potatoes?


So I’ve always thought yams and sweet potatoes are the same thing. And I’m kind of right. Yams sold in American grocery stores are the orange fleshed sweet potatoes. And that’s exactly the thing I’ve used in this recipe as well.


There are however a side note to this. Real yams are actually more like a yucca in both texture and flavor. Their skin almost looks like a tree trunk, and a starchy, but not sweet, flesh. The reason for this mix-up is because Louisiana sweet potato growers marketed their orange-fleshed potatoes as “yams” to distinguish from other states’ produce in the 1930s—and apparently it stuck! (source)


A white bowl with cheddar herb sweet potato mash on a green tea towel, fresh sage in the upper right corner, flatlay.


I don’t think you need to worry about this too much, because real yams are actually pretty hard to find in the US and Europe, as it’s more of a Caribbean/West-African root vegetable. If you find yourself in these areas, make sure you look for sweet potatoes and not yams.


There are subtle differences between orange fleshed sweet potatoes, but that’s nothing to worry about, especially not in this recipe. White sweet potatoes are drier and wouldn’t work in this recipe. I’ve never cooked with purple sweet potatoes, but they are jammed with antioxidants so they would be an even healthier mash. Read more about all of this on Bon Appetit.


What goes well with mashed sweet potatoes?


The first thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving and turkey. But I think this cheddar herb sweet potato mash can be used wherever you would normally use regular mashed potatoes or even mashed cauliflower. It’s the perfect potato dish to have next to any meat and gravy, meat loaf, sausage, chicken and mushrooms. Mashed potatoes are so versatile! On my must try list from other bloggers are these apple sauce pork tenderloin, baked crack chicken and blueberry braised short ribs.


As sweet potato is a little sweet on its own, even though I’ve savorized it, I would recommend not serving a very sweet main dish, such as a glazed pork or something in that category. Some love sweet on sweet on sweet, and then it would be a perfect match! I prefer it more sweet and salty, a sweet and savory balance.


Thanksgiving for Two (plus leftovers): A Complete Menu and Planner


I serve this sweet potato mash as a Thanksgiving side dish, with some other sweet elements such as honey balsamic baked brussels sprouts and orange cranberry sauce, but also savory sides such as garlic parmesan green beans, apple, sage and mushroom stuffing and the main citrus rosemary turkey breast (the two latter recipes can be found in my comprehensive Thanksgiving for Two post).


How long will sweet potato mash last?


Cooked sweet potato can last for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container. The same goes for this cheddar herb sweet potato mash. It can also last up to six months in the freezer, but quite possibly up to 10-12 months as well.


After it has thawed, it is safe to store in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. If it has been thawed in the microwave it should be consumed right away.


If your sweet potato mash has been in room temperature for over two hours, it is advisable to throw it away. Bacteria grow rapidly in temperatures between 40-140F (5-60C) and should not be consumed.


You know it has gone bad if it has an off smell or appearance. Discard before tasting.


But you will most likely not encounter this problem because there’s no such thing as too much sweet potato mash!


A white bowl with cheddar herb sweet potato mash, close up.


How to Make Smoky and Crispy Sweet Potato Skins


Because I’m all about not wasting good ingredients, I like to make crispy sweet potato skins as an appetizer or snack while I’m cooking all the rest on Thanksgiving (or whatever day). If you want to make crispy sweet potato skins, peel the potato in as large pieces as you can, about 1/4 inch thick.


Pre-heat oven to 425F (220C) and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all the sweet potato skins on the baking sheet in one single layer, making sure no pieces are touching each other. Bake until they are tender, about 20 minutes.


Crispy sweet potato skin in hand.


Meanwhile, mix together 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, 4 chopped sage leaves (optional), 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika in a small bowl. Brush the tender sweet potato skins with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the cheese mixture.


Put the broiler on the oven, or the hottest the oven will go. Broil until they are golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Once they are done, sprinkle with sea salt. Eat immediately.


Crispy sweet potato skin in a clear bowl.


To find the recipe for cheddar herb sweet potato mash, scroll down to the recipe card! Enjoy any day of the week, as a Thanksgiving or Holiday side or whatever you please!


A white bowl with cheddar herb sweet potato mash on a green tea towel.


Did you like this cheddar herb sweet potato mash? Then I know you’ll love these as well!



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Sweet potato mash with chopped sage leaves and melted butter on top.
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5 from 10 votes

Cheddar Herb Sweet Potato Mash

Cheddar herb sweet potato mash is the perfect Holiday side dish. This mashed sweet potato recipe is full with delicious savory ingredients like cheddar, garlic and sage because sweet potatoes are sweet enough on their own.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mashed sweet potato, savory sweet potatoes, sweet potato mash
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 147kcal
Author: Stine Mari | Ginger with Spice


  • 1 large sweet potato about 17 oz/500g
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fresh chives or any herb, finely chopped
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tsp oil or butter for frying sage
  • 3 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese


  • Prepare sweet potato: If you want to make crispy sweet potato skins, peel the potato in as large pieces as you can, about 1/4 inch thick. Check blog post for recipe. Cube the sweet potato in roughly 1 inch pieces.
  • Boil sweet potato: Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water with about 2.5 cm (1 inch) extra above the potatoes. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer uncovered until the potatoes are tender. Approx. 10 minutes.
  • Drain and mash: Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash it to your desired consistency.
  • Cook sage leaves: Sage leaves are best while cooked in fat*. Heat oil, butter or bacon fat in a pan on high heat. Fry the sage leaves for 30 seconds or until crinkly and crispy. Dry a little on a paper towel.
  • Add seasonings to mashed sweet potatoes: Add pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped chives and garlic to the the sweet potatoes and give it a mix. Taste and see if you want to add more salt or seasonings. Top with fried sage leaves and more fresh chives.


* Sage leaves should always be cooked in some way before consuming. Raw sage has a cottony texture that some may find unpleasant. My favorite way is to cook it in bacon fat, but melted butter or oil is also incredible.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @thegingerwithspice on Instagram, I'd love to see!
Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for 6 months. I love to use the leftovers as topping on shepherd's pie (but then I've made a double batch of this sweet potato mash). See recipe for this in my 7 Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes.
Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any specific dietary concerns, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.

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