Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Bourbon and Pecans is a rich combination of flavors and textures that is sure to draw rave reviews from everyone. This is a lighter version of the classic recipe for sweet potato casserole with pecans most folks expect to see on Thanksgiving.
And, it has a fun twist, a touch of bourbon, a quintessential southern libation.
Sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving are as traditional as turkey and dressing. And this easy, make-ahead Southern sweet potato casserole is as traditional as they come. You will love how simple it is to make, and your guests and family will love how utterly delicious it is.
There are two groups of sweet potato casserole lovers: those that want a pecan topping on their sweet potatoes, and those that believe marshmallows are mandatory. My husband, who is the supreme sweet potato lover in our house, is firmly on the side of pecan topping. So, that’s how we roll!
More sweet potato recipes:
If you like sweet potatoes as much as we do, be sure to check out these other scrumptious sweet potato recipes on my blog:
You might also want to check out my roundup post: 35 Best and Easiest Sweet Potato Recipes for Thanksgiving.
What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?
Here is where it gets confusing; many American grocery stores use the term sweet potatoes and yams interchangeably. And, in most instances, if you buy canned yams and canned sweet potatoes, they are both sweet potatoes. Real yams are an entirely different vegetable, more like jicama in texture and flavor, and they are not related to sweet potatoes.
What to serve with Southern sweet potato casserole:
Not just for Thanksgiving, sweet potato casserole is a great weeknight or dinner party side-dish. It’s easy to prepare, it’s relatively healthy, and it’s nutritious. It also pairs beautifully with chicken, beef, or pork. Last night, I served it with pecan-crusted chicken breasts and it was a match made in heaven.
Sweet Potatoes’ nutritional value:
Sweet potatoes are listed as one of the world’s healthiest vegetables. According to Medical News Today, sweet potatoes are relatively low in calories coming in at only 103 calories for a medium-size baked potato. They also supply 400 percent of your daily Vitamin A requirement and are full of fiber and potassium.
How to make Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Bourbon:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes for 60 minutes or until they are very soft and you can easily squeeze them.
When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice them in half and scoop out the flesh into a medium-size bowl.
Add the melted butter, orange juice, light brown sugar, bourbon, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and combine all ingredients.
Spray a one and one-half quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and add the potato mixture. Spread out evenly and set aside.
How to make Southern Sweet Potato Casserole Pecan Topping:
Add the brown sugar, flour, pecans, melted butter, cayenne pepper, fresh rosemary, and salt to a small bowl and mix with a fork.
Sprinkle this topping evenly over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake the casserole for 20-30 minutes and serve hot.
Sharon’s Tips for the perfect Southern Sweet Potato Casserole:
Try to use sweet potatoes that are approximately the same size so they will cook in the same amount of time.
If you are in a hurry, you can cook your sweet potatoes in the microwave. To do this, prick the skin of the sweet potato 3-4 times with a fork and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave it for five minutes. If it isn’t soft enough, turn it over and microwave it for additional 30-second intervals until it is done.
To make this sweet potato casserole a little healthier, leave off the topping altogether, or sprinkle plain pecans on the top. It will still be delicious.
To make this casserole ahead, prepare the dish according to the directions, but do not bake it. Cover and store the unbaked casserole in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Then before serving, follow the instructions for baking.
Leftover sweet potato casserole is delicious reheated in the oven or microwave the next day. It keeps well covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.
You can leave the bourbon out if you prefer.
The rosemary is optional but adds a nice touch. You can also substitute fresh sage or leave the herbs out. I wouldn’t substitute dried herbs.
You can substitute canned sweet potatoes for the fresh sweet potatoes. Drain and rinse the potatoes off with water first.
And, finally, if you are a marshmallow family, feel free to leave off the pecan topping and top your casserole with marshmallows. Or top half of it with marshmallows and the other half with the pecan topping.
★ If you make Southern Sweet Potato Casserole, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it! Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!
Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Bourbon Recipe
Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients:
- 4 sweet potatoes medium
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
- 3 Tbsp bourbon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pecan Topping Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2/3 cup pecan halves raw
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
Sweet Potato Casserole Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes for 60 minutes or until they are very soft and you can easily squeeze them.
- When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice them in half and scoop out the flesh into a medium-size bowl.
- Add the melted butter, orange juice, light brown sugar, bourbon, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and combine all ingredients.
- Spray a one and one-half quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and add the potato mixture. Spread out evenly and set aside.
Pecan Topping Directions:
- Add the brown sugar, flour, pecans, melted butter, cayenne pepper, fresh rosemary, and salt to a small bowl and mix with a fork.
- Sprinkle this topping evenly over the sweet potato mixture.
- Bake the casserole for 20-30 minutes and serve hot.