Whether you’re looking for basic sweet potato recipes, need some ideas for Thanksgiving side dishes, or want some old-fashioned food that’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans, you’re likely to find something here! These classic sweet potato recipes come from a span of nearly five decades, starting 100 years ago, and the dishes themselves range from main dishes to desserts!
An Early American: the sweet potato. Columbus found it here… carried it back as proof of the wonders of the New World. The first settlers in the South soon made it one of their favorite foods.
Today we know the sweet potato as a prize package of food values. A rich source of vitamin A, it also provides worthwhile quantities of vitamin C and small amounts of other vitamins and of minerals.
Tips: Sweet potatoes don’t last long when kept in the home pantry, so it’s best to buy them in small lots and use them promptly. Also sort and handle sweet potatoes with care — they are easily bruised.
41 sweet potato recipes from decades past
1. Quick mashed sweet potatoes recipe
Peel hot cooked sweet potatoes (6 medium-sized make 6 servings). Mash thoroughly and quickly. Add seasoning and table fat. Beat in hot milk a little at a time until sweet potatoes are fluffy and smooth.
For variety, serve in the following way: Shape seasoned, mashed sweet potatoes into mounds, make small well in center, and brown at 425 F. (hot oven) . Fill the well with cranberry sauce or jelly and serve hot.
For another tasty mashed sweet potato dish use orange juice in place of the milk, add a little grated orange rind, table fat, and a few raisins, if desired. Place in a baking dish, top with meringue, and brown lightly at 325 F (slow oven). Serve hot.
2. Sweet potatoes boiled in jackets
First of all, scrub the sweet potatoes. Then drop them into a kettle of boiling water enough to cover. Boil covered until tender. Drain at once so they won’t get waterlogged. Peel and season with table fat or meat drippings; salt and pepper to taste.
3. Baked sweet potatoes
Wash and dry sweet potatoes of uniform size. Bake until tender at 425 F. (hot oven) 35 to 60 minutes, depending on size.
You can save time by cutting large sweet potatoes in half crosswise before baking. If you want the skin to be soft, rub a little fat on before baking.
Cut crisscross gashes in the skin of the baked sweet potatoes on one side, then pinch them so that some of the soft inside pops up through the opening. Drop in meat drippings, bits of crisp-cooked salt pork, or table fat.
Save fuel by baking sweet potatoes when you oven-cook other food. If a moderate oven is called for, allow a little extra time for the sweet potatoes to bake.
4. Stuffed sweet potatoes
If the skins are not too thin and the inside not too moist, baked sweet potatoes are delicious stuffed.
Cut large baked sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the inside, leaving a little of the sweet potato as a lining for the skins. Mash as for plain mashed sweet potatoes,
adding seasoning and hot milk. Stuff back into the shells, brush the top with melted fat, and reheat at 425 F (hot oven).
For variety, add chopped leftover cooked meat or chopped peanuts. Or add a tablespoon of peanut butter for each sweet potato in place of the fat, or a little grated orange rind and orange juice in place of the milk.
5. Scalloped sweet potatoes with apples
Place alternate layers of sliced cooked sweet potatoes and sliced raw apples in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle the apple layers with sugar and a little salt; dot with fat. Add just enough hot water to cover bottom of dish ; the apples and sweet potatoes do not take up liquid. Bake covered at 375 F (moderate oven) 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender. If desired, uncover the dish for the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking, and top with crushed dry breakfast cereal or bread crumbs mixed with a little fat.
Sliced raw sweet potatoes may be used in this recipe, but will need to bake a little longer.
For variety, try peeled orange slices, whole cranberry sauce, or sliced fresh pears in place of the apples. With the pears, use brown sugar instead of the granulated for added flavor. Top with bread crumbs and bake 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Scalloped sweet potatoes with orange juice
Omit apples and water in recipe above. Pour over the sweet potatoes 1/3 to 1/2 cup orange juice containing a little grated orange rind. Top with breadcrumbs, and bake about 20 minutes.
7. Scalloped sweet potatoes with ham
For a main dish, use chopped cooked ham in place of the apples in recipe above. Omit sugar and breadcrumbs. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until hot through.
8. Scalloped sweet potatoes with peanuts
For a “different” flavor, use chopped roasted peanuts instead of apples in recipe above. Omit the fat and crumbs, and if nuts are salted, omit the salt. Bake 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Sweet potato pork pie
1 pound pork, cubed
1 tablespoon fat
3 cups cubed (about 1-inch cubes) sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups fresh or canned peas
4 small onions, halved
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook the pork in the fat until lightly browned. Add water to cover. Put on a lid and simmer meat until almost tender (about 1 hour).
Add the sweet potatoes, peas (if fresh), onions, and water to cover vegetables. (If canned peas are used, don’t add until the last 5 minutes of cooking.) Cook for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Make a paste of the flour and the 2 tablespoons of water. Add a little hot liquid from the stew. Then add paste to stew, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour hot mixture into a greased baking dish. Top with biscuit rounds. Bake at 425 F (hot oven) 20 to 25 minutes or until biscuits are browned.
For variety, omit the sweet potatoes, and use more peas in the pie. Make a border of mashed, seasoned sweet potatoes on top instead of topping with biscuits. Bake at 375 F. (moderate oven) about 20 minutes. Make six servings.
10. Glazed sweet potatoes recipe
Pare sweet potatoes and cut in half; drop into enough boiling water (containing 1/2 teaspoon salt) to just cover. For each sweet potato, add 1 to 2 tablespoons honey (corn or maple syrup, or molasses), and 1 teaspoon table fat. Cover and boil until sweet potatoes are tender. If liquid has not cooked down enough by the time they are tender, remove cover and boil rapidly until a syrup is formed. Baste sweet potatoes occasionally with the syrup.
With orange. Place alternate layers of cooked sweet potatoes and sliced, peeled oranges in a greased baking dish. You will need about 2 oranges to 6 medium-sized sweet potatoes. Make a syrup by combining —
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons melted table fat
Pour syrup over sweet potatoes. Bake at 300 F (slow oven) about 1 hour. Baste with the syrup several times during baking. Six servings.
11. Roast sweet potatoes
Place peeled raw sweet potatoes around meat in roasting pan during the last hour or hour and a half of cooking the meat. Time will depend on size of sweet potatoes and whether you cover them with a lid. Turn them and baste occasionally with meat drippings.
12. Sweet potatoes fried with apples
Pare and slice (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) about 3 medium-sized raw sweet potatoes and 3 raw apples. (Leave skins on red apples to add color.) Then place in a hot frying pan with about 3 tablespoons melted table fat. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar and a little salt. Cover; cook over low heat until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes; turn occasionally. Six servings.
Or if you have some leftover cooked sweet potatoes, first cook the sliced apples in a little fat until almost tender. Then add sliced cooked sweet potatoes, sugar, and salt, and brown with the apples.
13. Sweet potatoes fried, country-style
Pare and slice (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) enough raw sweet potatoes to make 1 quart. Put in a hot frying pan with 2 tablespoons of melted fat. Cover closely. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Turn and brown on the other side.
If desired, brown a little bit of chopped onion in the fat before adding the sweet potatoes. Six servings.
14. Sweet potato and sausage stuffing
1/2 pound sausage meat
1/3 cup minced onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups soft, dry breadcrumbs
2 cups hot mashed sweet potatoes
Cook sausage meat about half done, breaking it into small pieces. Add onion, celery, and seasonings and continue to cook until the meat is tender. Drain off surplus fat. Combine sausage mixture with crumbs and sweet potatoes. Mix thoroughly. This stuffing is especially good in fowl, in a stuffed roast shoulder of pork, or in pockets cut in thick pork chops.
15. Sweet potato patties
Shape cold mashed sweet potatoes into small patties; roll in bread crumbs or crushed dry breakfast cereal. Brown on both sides in a little fat. For variety, add to the sweet potatoes chopped cooked leftover meat, or finely-chopped apple.
16. Sweet potato hash
Add chopped cooked sweet potatoes and chopped cooked meat to a little fat in a frying pan. Season with salt and pepper. Moisten with about 1/4 cup hot water or gravy to 4 cups of combined sweet potatoes and meat. Brown on both sides over moderate heat.
17. Sweet potato crust
Line a baking dish with mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with salt and a little fat. Fill center with vegetables and leftover bits of cooked meat moistened with gravy, or with firm cooked dried fruit or drained canned fruit. Cover with more mashed sweet potato. Bake at 425 F. (hot oven) until hot through. If you have just a little sweet potato, make only the upper crust.
18. Sweet potato biscuit
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fat
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
About 3 tablespoons milk
Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in fat with two knives or a pastry blender. Add sweet potatoes and enough milk to make a soft dough. Knead lightly, if desired. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness, cut in rounds, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 F, (hot oven) 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 12 medium or 15 small biscuits.
19. Ham smothered in sweet potatoes
1 slice of smoked ham cut into sizes for serving
3 cups of raw sliced sweet potatoes
2 tablespoonfuls of sugar
1 tablespoonful of butter or ham fryings
1 cupful of hot water
Broil the pieces of ham lightly on both sides and arrange them to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the slices of sweet potato over them, sprinkle with sugar. Add the hot water and extra fat. Cover the dish and bake slowly until the ham is tender, basting the potatoes occasionally with the gravy. Brown the top well.
20. Sweet potatoes with roast pork
Parboil the desired number of potatoes with the skin on until nearly done; remove and skin; put in the baking dish with the nearly done roast; cook until done, and serve with the pork.
>> MORE: See 21 additional sweet potato recipes on the next page!