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Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo

Brown butter sweet potato alfredo is a great way to still get the creaminess of the classic alfredo sauce but with a lighter and more flavorful sauce approach. The brown butter gives it a nice, nutty flavor without overpowering the dish.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo is a great alternative to the classic alfredo pasta dish!

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo is a great alternative to the classic alfredo pasta dish!

I finally found a new tv series to get hooked on. Besides my undying love for Friday Night Lights and Scandal (which this whole winter hiatus is not cool right now!), I have fallen in love with Nashville. It’s weird seeing Connie Britton/Tami Taylor as Rayna on Nashville but man, I love that lady (can I please have her hair?). She is always so dazzling.

Nashville. I can’t stop watching it. I wish it were [free] streaming on Amazon Prime or Netflix but it’s not so I’ve been getting the discs in the mail from Netflix which is still great but I’m always left in suspense disc after disc waiting for the next disc to arrive! I’m on disc 2 and there is so much drama! I love it! I also watched the pilot episode of One Tree Hill and I must say, I can see myself getting hooked on that, too.

I need to give Downton Abbey a second shot. I watched the first couple episodes and I just couldn’t get into it. They were so boring and dragged on and on. I know it’s for character and plot development but I couldn’t force myself to sit through it. I really want to, though, because I want to feel the excitement that everyone else is feeling. It is free streaming on Amazon Prime so there’s no reason for me not to watch, right? Oh, and I just added Homeland to my DVD Queue – I hear that show is addicting too.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo is a great alternative to the classic alfredo pasta dish!

This pasta was made ages ago. Like 3 months ago. Oops. I’ve held out on you for too long and I hope you enjoy it nonetheless! I think this is a fairly lightened up dish to the alternative alfredo cream sauce considering that the creaminess of this pasta comes from the sweet potato and roux. I decided to amp up the flavor by adding brown butter – you can’t ever go wrong with that and it’s only 2 tablespoons so it’s not like you’re killing your entire days’ worth of calories over this dish – that is, unless, you eat like 7 bowls of this, but we all know you won’t do that, right?

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo is a great alternative to the classic alfredo pasta dish!

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo is a great alternative to the classic alfredo pasta dish!

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo is a great alternative to the classic alfredo pasta dish!

In case you aren’t sure what brown butter really is, it’s really butter that has been browned in a skillet to create a nutty and unbelievable flavor! Just don’t burn it!

**How to brown butter: place butter in a skillet on medium heat. Immediately begin whisking it. It’ll start to foam and within 2-3 minutes, brown bits will start showing up at the bottom. At this point in time, I usually will take the skillet off the heat and start swirling the butter around in the pan in the air so it doesn’t quickly go from brown to burned. Once you see a nice brown color in the butter (and start smelling the amazingness), you’ve achieved brown butter awesomeness!

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo
Recipe type: Main Entree, Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, browned
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1¾ cup water, divided
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti pasta, cooked according to the directions on the box
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less depending on heat preference)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the cubed sweet potatoes and cook until fork tender. Carefully place sweet potatoes into a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add the brown butter and whisk together with flour for 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium-high and carefully add the milk and continue whisking until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. At this time, add the pureed sweet potatoes and 1½ cup of water. Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes until thickened then add the Parmesan cheese, cayenne, salt, pepper, and turn off the heat. If the mixture seems too thick, you can add the remaining ¼ cup of water to thin it out.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pot and toss until well-coated.
How to brown butter: place butter in a skillet on medium heat. Immediately begin whisking it. It'll start to foam and within 2-3 minutes, brown bits will start showing up at the bottom. At this point in time, I usually will take the skillet off the heat and start swirling the butter around in the pan in the air so it doesn't quickly go from brown to burned. Once you see a nice brown color in the butter (and start smelling the amazingness), you've achieved brown butter awesomeness!


  1. 01/08/2014 at 7:00 am

    Beautiful! Love, love, love this recipe, Julie! I could eat it for breakfast right now. Gorgeous photography, too. Yes…give Downton a second shot. So worth it! You’ll catch on and love it. Promise. Thanks for sharing, girl! Pinned!

  2. 01/08/2014 at 8:15 am

    This sounds so nice and simple and so good!

  3. 01/08/2014 at 8:25 am

    Brown butter AND alfredo?! I love you.

  4. 01/08/2014 at 8:28 am

    Oh my! That looks, sounds…..and I bet tastes DELICIOUS! That would be PERFECT for my training! Perfect night before a race or workout! It has lots of energy filled carbs, and sweet potato with its numerous benefits! With the amount of miles I do, I often run out of interesting pasta dishes, but this is a new one! I cannot wait to try this out! Thank you for creating this wonderful dish!

  5. 01/08/2014 at 8:44 am

    Oh my gosh – this looks so amazing!

  6. 01/08/2014 at 9:04 am

    No promises on the 7 bowls ;-) Seriously Julie, love this lightened up approach and pretty much anything sweet potato. Please please give Downtown Abbey another go–it gets a little ridiculously dramatic at times, but I’m obsessed with their outfits if nothing else!

  7. 01/08/2014 at 9:09 am

    Yah, I could devour the whole thing by myself :) Mmmmm!

  8. 01/08/2014 at 9:10 am

    I just sat and stared at this alredo for like a good thirty seconds before scrolling to read. It’s like staring at a hot guy, when you realize you were staring and nearly drooling it’s just really awkward… I can’t believe I compared pasta to a hot dude.

    Also – Please try Downton Abbey again. Make it to the third episode and things start getting good! It involves a hot dead dude. True story!

  9. 01/08/2014 at 9:21 am

    Love this pasta dish!

  10. 01/08/2014 at 9:22 am

    Oh wow…this looks so delicious…and pretty!

    Just you WAIT until you start on Homeland. Go ahead and get every disc you can get your hands on and block out about 10 hours of watching time on the first day. I’m totally serious. We were SO distraught after the first disc ended and we had to wait for the next one to come!!! ;)

    • 01/10/2014 at 7:51 am

      Thanks Bridget! Haha, I’m going to take your advice on this Homeland thing..I hate waiting for another disc!

  11. 01/08/2014 at 9:53 am

    You are killing me with this dish. It looks so creamy and perfect and delicious! Gotta make it! I watched the first couple of episodes of Nashville and hated it, but now I feel like I need to give it another try since so many love it. Maybe it’s because I live here and the stuff they do that Nashvillians would never do drives me nuts. ;) I love Downton Abbey, but yeah it’s slow in the beginning. You have to push through it though. I’m rewatching Alias right now. Love the old shows!

  12. Jennifer
    01/08/2014 at 10:18 am

    Hi Julie,
    Would you mind explaining how to brown the butter in a bit more detail (how long, what temp)? Thank you so much!!

    • 01/08/2014 at 10:42 am

      Hi Jennifer, I updated the recipe to include directions on how to brown butter. Hope that helps!

      • Jennifer
        01/08/2014 at 12:07 pm

        Thank you so much!

  13. 01/08/2014 at 10:26 am

    oh my! I love Nashville..I finally just got caught up on this current season last weekend and cant wait for it to start up again next week! Oh and One Tree Hill..I loved it..I watched all nine seasons in a month a couple years ago. Though, I will say after Lucas leaves, I got a little less interested, but none the less, still good enough to watch them all!
    This pasta sounds perfect… I love using sweet potatoes in a sauce!

  14. 01/08/2014 at 10:35 am

    Love the changes you made to this pasta dish!

  15. 01/08/2014 at 10:37 am

    The sweet potato makes this alfredo dish look impossibly cheesy. I love brown butter too, so earthy tasting. What a wonderful combination.

  16. 01/08/2014 at 10:42 am

    I love that we both mentioned Nashville in our posts today lol We have issues ;) Now pass me some of this awesomeness

  17. 01/08/2014 at 11:10 am

    Oh, I am drooling over this dish! Brown butter just kicks dishes up a notch.

  18. 01/08/2014 at 11:27 am

    Ok I want to reach through my computer right now and grab that bowl. This pasta looks so delish!

  19. Jen
    01/08/2014 at 11:45 am

    This recipe looks awesome. I have recently developed some food intolerances, including dairy, so I think I’m going to try this with coconut milk (I’m also allergic to both soy and almond…so no soy or almond milk substitutions) and maybe reduce the parmesan a bit. Regular alfredo would be far too rich for me but I think this would be something I could handle. Adding it to my list of “make-soon” recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    • 01/09/2014 at 8:54 am

      I’m glad you’re modifying this to your dietary needs. Enjoy, Jen!

  20. Melissa C
    01/08/2014 at 12:02 pm

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I’d be perfectly happy to sit down to a bowl of this! Though my husband loves some kind of meat in every dish or he doesn’t consider it a complete meal. So any suggestions what would be a good pairing? Chicken breast? Maybe a good pork chop recipe?

    • 01/09/2014 at 8:53 am

      If I added meat to this, I’d likely use chicken :)

      • Merideth
        01/09/2014 at 12:22 pm

        I bet shrimp would be good, too!

  21. 01/08/2014 at 12:13 pm

    How I wish I had a big steaming pasta bowl of this and a fork to swirl around in the noodles to sloop up. This looks so delicious Julie! And healthy too.

  22. 01/08/2014 at 1:27 pm

    Pinned it ;) Have to try this one :D

  23. 01/08/2014 at 1:57 pm

    I have heard great things about Nashville! Definitely need to watch while the hubs is away. Oh, and I will totally be making a big batch of this while I do!

  24. 01/08/2014 at 1:58 pm

    Oh my god! I cannot wait to taste this, it sounds divine!

  25. 01/08/2014 at 5:33 pm

    I am newly obsessed with Friday Night Lights and, by extension. Connie Britton. She is one class act and I want to steal her hair, too.

    Also, this alfredo? HOLD ME.

  26. 01/08/2014 at 11:37 pm

    That is gorgeous!! I cannot believe you mad this 3 month ago. Are you crazy? How did you hold onto this for so long? It looks incredible!

  27. 01/09/2014 at 1:14 am

    You had me at browned butter!

    And Nashville – definitely need to give that a shot. All my favorite shows ended last season so I’m in need of some new shows!

  28. I like Downton Abbey , it’s interesting to watch their lifestyle. I love your pasta :D

  29. 01/09/2014 at 10:18 am

    This looks so incredible. OMG. And I need to watch Homeland and Nashville, but I’m addicted to Downton Abbey, Mad Men and How I met Your Mother, and I just don’t know if I can fit another one in there!

    Can I throw a thats what she said there? Okay great.

  30. 01/09/2014 at 3:12 pm

    Such a unique twist to a pasta meal! Can’t wait to try this!

  31. 01/09/2014 at 4:44 pm

    Don’t worry, I’m not into Downton at all either. Homeland, on the other hand, is a different story! This pasta looks great Julie, so full of flavour but love that it’s lightened up!

  32. 01/10/2014 at 9:51 am

    Omg… totally swooning over this dish, Julie!!! It looks like SUCH mega comfort food.

  33. 01/10/2014 at 12:09 pm

    Hi Julie, just discovered your blog from NoshOnIt. So glad to find you and can’t wait to explore Table for Two. I’m a big sweet potato fan and I LOVE this recipe. Beautiful photography as well!

    • 01/11/2014 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Bill! So glad you found me via NoshOhIt! I can’t wait for you to find some recipes to try :) thanks for the sweet compliment on my photography! It means a lot :)

  34. 01/10/2014 at 1:42 pm

    What a fantastic dish and it looks gorgeous as well.

  35. 01/10/2014 at 3:52 pm

    What a great comforting meal and you are totally right about the brown butter!

  36. I could stuff my face with this. What a beautiful color!

  37. 01/11/2014 at 12:15 pm

    Love the brown butter and sweet potato combo!

  38. Heather Wells
    01/12/2014 at 12:27 pm

    Can skim or 1% milk be used instead of the whole?

    • 01/13/2014 at 8:05 am

      You sure can, Heather!

      • Heather
        01/13/2014 at 8:11 am


  39. 01/12/2014 at 10:40 pm

    Oh this recipe is just too good! I love the brown butter and sweet potato twist! I just had Alfredo last night and ended up googling it to see its origins and found out it;s name after a guy who made it for his wife because she was pregnant and having morning sickness.

    • 01/13/2014 at 8:06 am

      Thanks Layla! That’s an interesting story about alfredo!

  40. 01/13/2014 at 9:15 am

    Ohhhhh. This pasta looks perfect. You really can’t go wrong with brown butter & sweet potato & carbs :)

  41. 01/13/2014 at 3:44 pm

    I love cauliflower alfredo for a healthy alternative and now I can’t wait to try this. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables.

  42. 01/22/2014 at 12:31 pm

    I made this for my family on Monday night and it was a hit! Even with the husband who won’t touch a sweet potato to save his life! I’m pretty sure he thought it was mac and cheese ;) I used rigatoni noodles since that’s what I had in the pantry and it turned out great.

    • 01/23/2014 at 8:21 am

      I’m SO glad your family (especially your husband!) enjoyed this! That makes me so happy to hear! Thank you for coming back to share your feedback.

  43. Deb
    02/25/2014 at 9:03 pm

    Hi, this looks great. I’m just wondering if the sweet potatoes are peeled? And if I use skim milk should I add a little Greek yogurt for added creaminess? Thanks!

    • 02/26/2014 at 8:00 am

      Hi Deb, yes, the sweet potatoes are peeled. I think you’ll be fine using skim milk for this without the Greek yogurt. The sweet potato tightens up and creates a natural creaminess from its starch content so you’ll be ok :)

  44. amanda
    05/30/2014 at 9:35 am

    I will be making this tonight, but I plan on substituting water for chicken stock and adding some sage. Yumm

  45. 07/13/2014 at 4:03 pm

    I’m months and months behind, but this looks fabulous and I can’t wait to try it!

  46. Divina
    09/14/2014 at 5:47 pm

    OMG this was a hit! Full of flavor and both my kids loved, we paired this with a baked salmon

    • Julie
      09/15/2014 at 8:08 am

      So happy to hear this, Divina!

  47. Jessica
    10/15/2014 at 5:59 pm

    Yummmmm! I love this, can’t wait to make it. On an unrelated now, I LOVE those plates/bowls. Where did you get them?

    • Julie
      10/16/2014 at 10:54 am

      I got them at Anthropologie!

  48. sher
    10/17/2014 at 2:57 am

    OMG it looks so appetizing I might add a bit erm lot of cayenne I like spicy … can’t wait to try! When I first saw the picture it looked cheesy :) love the twist with s potato causing it.

    S1 and S6 of One Tree Hill are my favorites. I stayed away from this show forever for some reason maybe my dislike of that OC show. Anyway I tuned in once in a while and really went back and rewatched completely for the Lucas/Peyton and Lucas/Nathan relationships. Some cliffs were bit much but if you like scandal it will seem not too crazy. I haven’t been able to get into Shondas shows for a good while.

  49. Amy
    11/07/2014 at 9:02 am

    This is delish!
    I cut the four in half the second time I made it though. The first patch tasted too much like flour.

  50. Jackie
    12/09/2014 at 10:14 am

    Would I be able to replace the sweet potato with pumpkin puree?

    • Julie
      12/09/2014 at 11:22 am

      It should work, but might be thicker in consistency. You can thin it out with water, stock, or milk, if that’s the case.


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