Brown Butter Sweet Potato Baked Pasta brings together the amazing combination of nutty brown butter and roasted sweet potato made into a delicious sauce. Say hello to your new favorite fall and winter Italian comfort food.

A closeup of crispy breadcrumbs on top of baked pasta

You’ve heard the term butter makes everything taste better? How about ‘brown butter makes everything taste better’? After adding it to this sweet potato sauce. Next time I’m using it in my mash because potatoes and butter are soooo good together.

An oval dish filled with pasta baked in sweet potato sauce

This preparation inspiration for the sauce for this baked pasta is my Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta. When sweet potato season arrives, I love coming up with creative ways to use the seasons favorite root vegetable. Perfect for Sunday suppers or serve with your Thanksgiving feast as a delicious side dish.

To finish this great recipe, and to add an extra layer of texture, I topped the pasta with a crispy blend of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary.

Brown Butter

Brown butter (also known as browned butter) is the simple act of cooking butter on low until it melts and the milk solids start to brown. The flavor becomes slightly nutty and so good. They call it ‘beure noisette’ in French cooking. I always use unsalted butter when making this so I can control the salt level.

Two of my most unique uses for brown butter are Sweet Potato Gnocchi (soft orange pillows served with sage butter) and Sweet Potato Samosas for a little Indian flair.

I also use brown butter to cook Chicken with Tomatoes and add extra nutty flavor to Mushroom Risotto.

Pasta removed from a dish showing the orange sauce

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce

The combination of roasted sweet potatoes (along with roasted onion and garlic), the brown butter and a little sharp cheddar cheese makes for the best flavor sensation that is transformed into a smooth and creamy sauce, without heavy cream. 

Vegetable or chicken stock helps loosen the sauce to achieve a smooth consistency. A high-speed blender also helps, as I  have found a food processor does not achieve the smoothest sauce.

Tube pasta with sauce in a white bowl

Roasting sweet potatoes

The best way to bring out their natural sweetness is spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet with a little drizzle of oil (you can use olive oil for extra flavor). If they overlap, they will steam.

Pairing the right pasta to the sauce

I like to use a large pasta shape like rigatoni, penne or a wide noodle. The best rule of thumb is, if it is a heavy sauce use larger pasta. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try making your own Homemade Pasta or Homemade Gnocchi.

Cooking pasta before baking

I advise to slightly undercook the pasta by 1 minute (a little under al dente). It will continue cooking in the oven and if overcooked, it will fall apart.

Optional additions to the Sweet Potato Sauce

Fresh sage leaves, a little brown sugar (if you like more sweetness) maple syrup, red pepper flakes if you want a little spice kick.

Yield: 6

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Baked Pasta

Rigatoni pasta mixed with sweet potato sauce baked with a breadcrumb topping

A creamy sauce made with roasted sweet potatoes mixed with pasta and baked with a topping of breadcrumbs and rosemary.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 pounds (453 grams) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal size pieces
  • 2 cups yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • 1 pound (453 grams) pasta
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, unsalted * see note
  • 1 cup (28 grams) sharp white cheddar, grated
  • ½ cup (28 grams) panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup (28 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
  2. Add the sweet potato and onion toa large baking pan. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat well and return to an even layer so they roast and not steam. Roast for 20 minutes then add the garlic cloves. Roast for a further 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft when a fork is inserted. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. While they cool add the butter to a light colored pan (so you can see when the butter starts to brown) over low heat until melted and starts to bubble. Stir when you start to see brown bits appear on the bottom and skim any foam off the top. Set aside.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook 1 minute less than directed because it cooks more in the oven and don’t want the pasta over cooked.
  5. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, brown butter, stock and cheddar to a blender. Blend until smooth and a thick sauce consistency, add more stock if needed.
  6. To a large bowl add the pasta and sauce with the cheese and mix well. Transfer to a large casserole/ceramic baking dish (9 x 13 inch/23 x 33 cm/3 quart/3 liter).
  7. To a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and rosemary.
  8. Sprinkle the top with an even layer of panko/Parmesan mix and bake uncovered for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.


Unsalted is my preference so I can control the salt level. If you use salted butter what the salt level and it may foam up more when browning.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 602Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 68mgSodium 696mgCarbohydrates 71gFiber 8gSugar 15gProtein 17g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.