This mouth-watering apple and sweet potato casserole is a twist on a classic side dish made even easier with the use of canned sweet potatoes. With its crunchy pecan and breadcrumb topping, everyone will be scooping up seconds. Unlike some sweet potato casseroles, this one isn’t overly sweet, so it’s great for a holiday side dish or even just for a family dinner.
If you’re looking for a sweet potato casserole without marshmallows but with all the delicious flavors of sweet potatoes and apples, this is the one to try. It’s delicious with turkey but also with chicken or pork recipes
When you take a bite of an apple sweet potato casserole, you’ll taste sweet apples, a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon, and the richness of the sweet potatoes. The deliciously golden brown crust is savory, not sweet, with a buttery blend of pecans and breadcrumbs.
We love sweet potato side dishes in the South, whether it’s a classic sweet potato casserole served with Thanksgiving turkey, or scalloped sweet potatoes served with a holiday ham. We add them to biscuits, cornbread and sticky buns and combine them with pears. It’s hard to think of something that’s not improved by adding sweet potatoes.
How sweet is this casserole?
Unlike some sweet potato casseroles that include marshmallows, plenty of brown sugar, vanilla, and other sweeteners, this one is a little less sweet. Many sweet potato casseroles can be described as ‘dessert-like,’ but this one is much more like a savory side dish similar to a sweet potato and pear souffle or scalloped sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweeter than regular potatoes, but what really brings out the sweetness in them is the cooking process. The longer they cook, the more caramelized the sugars in them become and the sweeter they taste.
This recipe relies on the cooking process and a bit of brown sugar to sweeten the casserole, so it’s the perfect amount of sweetness without being overwhelming.
What can I serve with sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes with apples is thought of as a holiday dish and for good reason! The flavors blend perfectly with ham or turkey. While this dish can be served any time of the year, here are some side dishes that go particularly well with this sweet potato apple bake and can round out your entire holiday dinner.
- Mashed potatoes
- Homemade dinner rolls
- Sausage stuffing
- Cranberry sauce
- Skillet charred corn
- Corn pudding
Why you’ll love a sweet potato apple bake
- It uses just a few ingredients.
- Instead of peeling and boiling sweet potatoes, this recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes.
- It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
- It’s easy to assemble, so your dinner can have a show-stopping side dish without a lot of effort.
What are canned sweet potatoes?
Canned sweet potatoes are exactly as they sound! They are sweet potatoes that are sold in a can. If you can find the ones in their natural juices, those are the best, otherwise try to find them in a light syrup and rinse them before using.
Canned sweet potatoes are fully cooked and peeled, so you can drain them and put them directly into your casserole. This saves a lot of preparation time and makes this recipe even easier to make.
When you’re cooking a holiday meal or family dinner, using canned sweet potatoes is a lifesaver! I also use them in candied yams that you cook on the stove instead of the oven.
Sweet potato apple casserole ingredients
- Canned Sweet Potatoes – These come in natural juice or syrup which you will need to drain before using. If you have ones with syrup, rinse them to remove the extra sweetness.
- Apples – Any type of apple will do, but the best ones are varieties that don’t get mushy when cooked. I use Fuji apples, but you can also try Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Granny Smith apples.
- Brown Sugar – Light brown sugar is perfect for this recipe. Your filling will sweeten as it bakes, but if you like your casserole extra sweet, you can add another ¼-⅓ cup of brown sugar.
- Pecans – Buy fresh pecans for the best results since pecans can dry out over time.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – You can substitute regular unflavored breadcrumbs, but panko is lovely in this recipe for its extra crispy texture.
- Pantry Staples – butter, salt, cinnamon
How to make this easy apple and sweet potato casserole
Step 1: Prepare your apples.
Prepare your apples by peeling, coring, and slicing them into slices about ¼-⅛ inch thick. Place them all in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and some pecans and toss it all together with the apples. Then, place half of the apples on the bottom of your casserole dish.
Step 2: Add the sweet potatoes.
Drain the sweet potatoes and slice them into ¼-½-inch slices and place half of them over the apples. Lay the remaining apples over the top, then finish with a layer of the remaining sweet potatoes.
Step 3: Make your topping.
Combine the panko crumbs, pecans and butter and sprinkle it over the top of the casserole.
Step 4: Bake the casserole.
Bake until the apples are softened but still have texture to them.
Tips for making sweet potato casserole
- Try to cut your apples in uniform shapes and sizes. This will help your casserole cook more evenly.
- Don’t forget to tent your casserole with foil halfway through or your topping can burn.
- To avoid pockets of brown sugar in your casserole, make sure you stir the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon really well, then mix them into the apples until all the fruit is coated evenly.
How to store sweet potato apple casserole
If you have leftover casserole, carefully scoop it into a smaller container and place it in the fridge. Make sure it’s at room temperature before storing it. It should stay good for 4 days.
You can also freeze this casserole. You can freeze before baking or just the leftovers. Cover it with plastic wrap, then foil, reducing as much air in the container as possible. Freeze for up to 2 months.
To reheat, let it come back to room temperature by setting it on the counter for about 30 minutes. Then, place it in an oven-safe dish, cover it with foil, and bake it at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until hot through.
What other toppings can go on this casserole?
You can use marshmallows on top of this casserole if you’d like. You’ll want to cover it while baking, then remove the foil for the remaining 5 minutes. If you want your marshmallows a little browner, turn the broiler on for about 30 seconds. Watch it closely when broiling so it doesn’t burn!
You can also make your pecan topping a bit sweeter by mixing together brown sugar, chopped pecans, cinnamon, and butter.
Sweet potato casserole FAQs
How do you make sweet potato casserole not watery?
The easiest way to make sure your casserole isn’t watery is to drain your sweet potatoes well. You also need to make sure the casserole is in a dish big enough to comfortably hold all the ingredients, or the moisture will get trapped during baking.
Do sweet potatoes get sweeter the longer you cook them?
Yes! Sweet potatoes do get sweeter as you cook them. This happens because the starches in the potatoes break down and become sugar as they cook. The longer they cook, the more starches break down, making the potatoes sweeter.
Can I make sweet potato and apple casserole ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this ahead of time. You can store it in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Before reheating, allow the casserole to come to room temperature, then bake in the oven at 350°F covered until hot through, about 20-30 minutes.
More delicious sweet potato recipes to love
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Apple and Sweet Potato Casserole
- 2 cups apples peeled and sliced, about 2 apples
- 2 17 ounce cans Canned Sweet Potatoes drained
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
- Peel, core and slice apples into thin slices, about ¼ to ⅛ inch thick. Place in a medium bowl.
- Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and ⅓ cup pecans and toss with the apples.
- Place half of the apples on the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Drain sweet potatoes and slice. Place half of the sweet potatoes over the apples. Top with the rest of the apples and finish with the other half of the sweet potatoes.
- Combine panko and one cup of chopped pecans and salt. Pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter over the mixture and combine. Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Half way through tent with aluminum foil to keep the pecans from getting too brown. The apples should be softened but still have some texture to them.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Make sure to drain the sweet potatoes. If they are in syrup, rinse it off.
- You can use boiled sweet potatoes.
- If you want a sweet topping, add brown sugar to the mixture.
- Make sure the apples are softened before removing from the oven.