Marshmallows on Sweet Potatoes: WHY?!

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Excuse me readers while I partake in a little bit of a rant. And I’m sorry to say, David Lebovitz, that it was inspired by your post.


Whew. Ok thanks, I feel a little bit better.

But seriously, there are tons of recipes out there like Sweet Potato Casserole or this Holiday Sweet Potato Bake that just douse their precious sweet potatoes in sugary, gloppy marshmallow goop. And I just don’t get it! Why do you people do this?!

Don’t you understand that the sweet potatoes are tasty enough on their own because they have the amazing capacity to glaze themselves when cooked? If it were up to me, I’d NEVER add anything to sweet potatoes because they’re so delicious on their own! It just so happens that we served them with carrots and beef brisket in our tzimmes, but that’s nothing compared to unneccessarily adding marshmallows.

I’m sorry if I offend anyone but I just think you need to try a sweet potato without marshmallows or any additives for once. And when you do, I’m pretty sure you’ll wonder why you ever wasted your money on that pack of JetPuffed Marshmallows (sorry Kraft!)

There are however some good recipes out there that, while adding other ingredients, leave out the marshmallows: Sweet Potato Crisp, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Sweetest Sweet Potato Souffle.

-Hillary, encouraging everyone with great sweet potato recipes to submit them to the contest
Editor, Recipe4Living

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  • tango

    it gives color anmd is good too
    marshmallows are good for you also
    low in fat and high in taste

  • Jimini

    I was introduced to marshmallows on sweet potatoes my first year in the U.S. 44 years ago when I was instructed to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my boss and some of his business acquaintances – I didn’t even know what thanksgiving was. Apparently I did all right, but this is a dish I really despise. Sweet potatoes taste so good completely unadorned, and as for marshmallows, the only thing they are good for are toasting on the end of a twig over a camp fire!

  • Rose Brunkow

    You ask why and I ask why not?

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  • Anna

    Wow, Hillary! It seems you struck a chord with your question! There is so much family history and tradition mixed into Thanksgiving that the taste of the dishes almost (almost) doesn’t matter, just the ritual of the preparation and consumption. I happen to agree with you on the marshmallow issue. I am not a fan of sweet food. Desserts should be sugary sweet, not main courses. Besides, it just seems wrong to douse and perfectly nutritious and naturally sweet vegetable (can I call sweet potatoes a vegetable) with a fake poofy sugar substance.

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  • burningmarshmallows

    Enough with trashing the marshmallows! please!


  • mabs

    I admit that I do love marshmallows on sweet potatoes, but I also love them without. I just caught a Thanskgiving episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and Frank Barone asked Marie if she had put marshmallows on the sweet potatoes and then said “cause without them, it’s just a vegetable!” I love that.

  • Messy Jessy

    I prefer my marshmallow toasted with a thick slice of softened dark chocolate and a graham cracker. Or in a rice crispy treat. I cannot stand them on top of sweet potatoes. Give me Nuts! Give me Brown Sugar! Give me anything but the dreaded evil marshmallow!

    P.S. – My MIL uses excessive amounts of marshmallows and I pass on the sweet potatoes every time!

  • Karen Koziol

    I’m sorry you feel that way about marshmallows.

    I like them that way on Thanksgiving. Tradition.

    At other times of the year they are fine without the festive topping.

  • Yaya

    I don’t know what ethnicity you are, but it is definitely a black southern classic to put marshmallows on sweet potatoes. Yes, sweet potatoes taste great with a little bit of butter, just like a white or red potato, but marshmallows add a little something special. It’s not a side dish you would prepare for an ordinary night, just like we don’t eat cranberry sauce on an ordinary night. I prefer, on regular ocassions, to eat dried cranberries but alas it is a tradition….

  • Miriam

    Marshmallows added to this dish, over time, been assumed to be a “trashy” handling of this dish, which this article clearly feels. However, I agree with Karen and Yaya – this is a) a tradition built out of the history of American food in the south. Just like macaroni and cheese was never a glamor food, neither are candied yams.

    The thing to note is this post is arguing for eating the sweet potatoe by itself. That’s great, but that’s not a candied yam. You can do that for your every day meal, bake it for a treat and sprinkle some cinnamon or god forbid some butter on it and leave it at that. But that’s not a candied yam.

    What you’re really saying is adding extra sugars to yams offends you – so that would cover candied yams, sweet potato pie, and anything else that uses the yam in some other way.

    But if you’re going to make a *CANDIED* yam, then candying is what you’re after. That means you want to *emphasize*, carmelize, and amplify the sweetness of the yams by turning them into a sticky, sweet, gooey concoction.

    Which is exactly what adding marshmallows does. The key point, if you had them and were overpowered, is that some people use the marshmallows in different ways. Some people use a huge amount of sugar within the yams and then also top with marshmallows. This can be overkill. Also, some people let the marshmallows “melt down” and others only lightly brown them.

    So the aversion you’re having could be that someone used marshmallows in combination with too much sugar with the yams themselves, or undercooked the marshmallows so you were basically eating puffed sugar on top of a yam dish.

    It’s about balancing, and those who know how to cook the dish right know how to handle the ingredients to feature the yams and enhance them, rather than overpower and hide them.

    This turkey day I’m cooking these bad boys with marshmallows, and a touch of brown sugar and butter. I let mine get caramelized and broken down, for a dense, chewy, crunchy flavor experience. And everyone I’ve ever cooked it for marvels that I used marshmallows – and loves it.

  • gaga

    Haha, I totally agree. Just say no to marshmallows!

  • Carolina

    I agree…NO marshmallows. I LOVE sweet potatoes, marshmallows are sacrilege!! That being said, wow, you sure started a ‘firestorm’ here. LOL!!

  • Tobi

    Its taste you see and I guess its just OK if you don`t eat it. :)
    If you don`t like Marshmallows on sweet potatoes – thats fine. I`ve never eaten that. I would try it but I try to get away from too much sugar anyway! Don`t be too angry about it anyway. :)
    Happy new year!

  • illanelle

    My family doesn’t do Thanksgiving, but from TV shows the frazzled, maybe first-time cook runs last minute buy the marshmallows. So I thought that was a weird thing that was normal. Its funny reading people defending the marshmallow thing so vehemently. Lately I’ve been reading a very popular butter, cheese and cream filled blog and sometimes I scan through the 900 comments hoping somebody found it excessive. But no

  • angie

    Marshmallows on sweet potatoes is a DISGUSTING blasphemy.

  • Josh James

    So basically, in short, you don’t like marshmallows…?
    The strange thing is, however, you like savoury vegetables covered in sweet sugar and syrup, which is very, very weird. Here, in the UK, we eat our sweet potatoes, mash, roast potatoes and roast dinners with gravy, not ice cream, marshmallows, sugar or syrup. That’s supposed to be just for the dessert. Just because they’re called “sweet” doesn’t mean you’re supposed to mix them with dessert. Whatever’s next, broccoli cake, cauliflower ice cream, cabbage doughnuts?

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