Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Potatoes 101: Making Puree

As you well know, sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute for pumpkin in recipes.  Not only does that mean I can enjoy pumpkin recipes (Frog Prince is allergic to pumpkin!), but I love using sweet potatoes because they are naturally sweeter than pumpkin, which means I can reduce the sugar added to recipes. 

Furthermore, when I make my own puree, I know exactly what’s in it!   

Baking Sweet Potatoes

When I first started out making sweet potato puree, I baked the potatoes

Scrub ‘em, wet ‘em, poke ‘em, wrap ‘em, bake ‘em at 375 for 1 hour.

While this method is great for making a baked sweet potato to eat, I didn’t particularly care for it to make puree. 

Boiling Sweet Potatoes

Then, I tried boiling sweet potatoes.  This was my favorite for a long time.  An easy way to make just one or two sweet potatoes.  The sweet potatoes are so moist this way – makes pureeing easy. 

Just scrub the sweet potatoes, plop them in a pot of water. 
Bring the pot of water to a boil and then boil for 20-25 minutes.
Potatoes are done when they are tender when pricked. 
Drain the water off the potatoes & allow them to cool. 

Sweet Potatoes in the Crockpot

More recently, I tried using my crockpot to make sweet potatoes.  This is now, hands down my favorite approach to cooking a sweet potato for puree. 

Why do I love the crockpot? 

(1) You can make as many sweet potatoes as fit in your crockpot.  If I’m going to make a mess to puree sweet potatoes, I may as well do a few pounds of potatoes. 

(2) The crockpot is the most efficient way to cook – much better than your “hummer-like” energy hog of a stove/oven.

(3) The prep on this one is simple, and in minutes you can have these potatoes cooking away. 

How to make sweet potatoes in the crockpot:

Begin by rinsing the sweet potatoes – give ‘em a little scrub is you want.  Then, place them into a lightly sprayed crockpot. 

If desired, sprinkle them with sea salt, otherwise, just close that lid and let them go!  Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-3. 

Potatoes are done when they are tender when pricked with a fork.  At this point, remove the cover from the crockpot. 

When potatoes are cool enough to touch, remove them from the crockpot and place them on a cutting board.  Slice them in half. 


Making Sweet Potato Puree

Regardless of which method you choose, slice open your cooked potatoes.  In all instances, they should easily slice open and the skins should appear loose around the edges. 

Carefully, pinch the skin of the potato and it should nicely fall off from the potato.  If not, or you’d rather, use a spoon to carefully scoop out the inside of the potato.  Discard peels.

Place the potato into a blender.  Note, you don’t want to fill your blender more than halfway full at a time, so you might need to do this in shifts. 

Add water to help your blender puree! 

Then, puree until smooth.

Pour the puree into freezer-safe containers. 

I used about 6 lbs of sweet potatoes here, and ended up with about 13 C of sweet potato puree! 

Storing & Using Sweet Potato Puree

Place sweet potato puree into your fridge if you plan to use it within a day or two.  If longer, freeze the puree. 

To use from the freezer, take the puree out and thaw it on the counter or in your refrigerator.  When you do so, you’ll notice that the water has separated from the puree.  That’s okay! 

Simply drain off the excess water, and the place the puree back into the blender to puree until smooth.

Stay tuned… because tomorrow I’ll share my favorite sweet potato recipe of all time! 

Have you ever made sweet potato puree to use in place of pumpkin?

Linked to: Kitchen Tip Tuesday


  1. Now I'm curious . . . is this less expensive than buying canned pumpkin?

  2. I'm not sure what canned pumpkin goes for b/c we don't buy it, but when sweet potatoes are on sale (like they are at this time of year) for say 30-59 cents a pound (depending on where you live), I'm thinking that's cheaper than canned pumpkin. A can is 14 oz (about 2 C puree), which is less than 1 lb. Do you know how much a can costs?

  3. I have several pounds of purple sweet potatoes from my Papa. Have you ever seen or heard of purple sweet potatoes? They taste the same but man does it play tricks on you mind when eating them.

  4. Great idea. I bought 4 1/2 lbs. of sweet potatoes yesterday at .39 cents a lb. The cheapest I've seen a can of pumpkin here is $1.69. Most are $1.99 or more.

  5. Thanks for sharing I am getting my crockpot out now. to try this out cant wait to see your recipe.

  6. I think I just paid $2.79 for a 29 oz can of pumpkin, which comes out to $.096 per oz.
    Based on a price of $.50/lb, the sweet potato puree comes out to $.031 per oz.
    I think I just found my next bulk cooking project!!

  7. What a great idea on the crockpot!

  8. Love that crockpot idea, I'm totally going to do this!

  9. Ever since I started making purees for my babies, I've been using sweet potato in place of pumpkin. WAY cheaper! Also, I like all of your sweet potato recipes on here. So easy and cheap. :)

  10. I add about 1/3 cup sweet potato puree and a mashed banana to the pancake recipe on the Heart Healthy Biquick box (plus a spash of vanilla and some cinnamon. Best pancakes ever! I will try the crock pot method next time I make sweet potato puree! Thanks!

  11. Thank you for this! Have a recipe I want to try that calls for sweet potato puree and I'd like to make it myself. Crock pot idea is brilliant!


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