Don’t save mashed sweet potatoes just for your Thanksgiving menu. Give this orange-fleshed potato a place at your table any time of year - minus all the excess sugar and processed ingredients (a.k.a. marshmallows) commonly added to the Turkey day version. Sweet potatoes have more potassium per serving than bananas, plus they’re loaded with a special phytonutrient called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can be converted by your body to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that’s critical for healthy eyes, bones and more. Danielle’s recipe adds blood sugar-balancing cinnamon and crunchy little pecans for an interesting, yet healthy twist to mashed sweet potatoes.

Instant Pot (or Roasted) Sweet Potato Cinnamon Mash with Pecans


2 - 3 cups

Cook Time

18 - 20 min (instant pot), 60 - 75 minutes (roasting)

Total Time

25 - 30 min (instant pot), 65 - 80 minutes (roasting)

  • 4 medium deep orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (also called yams in some American grocery stores) 
  • 1-2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp. Pure maple syrup (optional)

Optional toppings for toddlers: minced pecans

Optional toppings for grown-ups: chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉. 
  2. Wash yam, stab carefully with a fork in 2 different spots, more if using large yams. 
  3. Cook in a baking dish or on a sheet pan for 60-75 minutes, until very soft to the touch and fork tender. Juice may even leak out of your fork holes and get sticky and burned. This means they are perfectly caramelized! Let cool until you can handle.
  4. In a large bowl, carefully scoop out flesh of yams. Add 1 tsp. each of cinnamon and mix well. Scoop out a serving for baby. Then, mix in 1 tsp. of pure maple syrup to remaining potatoes. Add more cinnamon and maple syrup to achieve your desired taste - adding ½ tsp at a time.
  5. Mix in chopped pecans for adults or minced pecans for toddlers.

* Many people undercook yams and miss out on the creamy, caramelization created from roasting. When the juice leaks out of your fork holes, the yam is likely done.

For the ages

For Babies: BLW

A simple twist on sweet potatoes to pique your baby’s curiosity 

Portion Size:

1 - 2 tablespoons


 mashed sweet potato, cinnamon

Serving Tip(s):

Serve dime sized dollops of mashed sweet potato in tiny bowl with tiny spoon. Let baby use spoon or hands to enjoy!

For Babies: Traditional

Cinnamon and sweet potatoes are a perfect combination for little ones to warm up to

Portion Size:

1 - 2 tablespoons


mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, desired liquid for blending (optional)

Serving Tip(s):

For some babies, the texture of these mashed sweet potatoes is perfect. If your baby needs a thinner texture, puree ¼ cup of mashed sweet potatoes, a sprinkle of cinnamon and desired liquid such as breast milk, water or coconut milk (adding 1 tsp at a time) until preferred texture is achieved. Serve in a tiny bowl with a tiny spoon so baby can try using the spoon too!

For Toddlers

Let your toddler sprinkle on the cinnamon and add minced pecans to create her own personal version of this dish.

Portion Size:

3 - 4 tablespoons


 mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, minced pecans, maple syrup (optional)

Serving Tip(s):

Mix up mashed sweet potato, cinnamon and minced pecans as indicated. Serve mashed sweet potatoes in happy mat alongside your favorite main dish like Sweet and To Herb or Not to Herb Chicken Thighs.

For Grown-Ups

A sweet potato side dish so cozy you can eat it as a snack by itself. 

Portion Size:

¼ - ½ cup


mashed sweet potato, cinnamon, chopped pecans, maple syrup (optional)

Serving Tip(s):

 Mix up mashed sweet potato, cinnamon and minced pecans as indicated. Add maple syrup to desired sweetness. Serve mashed sweet potatoes warm alongside your favorite main dish like Sweet and To Herb or Not to Herb Chicken Thighs

Happy Eating!

Danielle Shea-Tan, MS, CHHC

Functional Family Nutritionist

Danielle is passionate about helping families ditch processed foods and start making real, wholesome food that is both simple and delicious. She blows our minds with fascinating "nutritional nuggets" about foods and herbs. Danielle also recently wrote a book called "52 Small Changes for the Family," an inspiring guide that helps families make one small change each week to improve their overall happiness and health. You can learn more about Danielle at 

1 comment

  • Rose

    How would you make this in an instant pot?

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