An easy sweet potato casserole flavored with bourbon and then topped with spicy pecans, brown sugar and bacon will be a show stopper at your holiday meal. A make ahead dish you just needs 30 minutes to bake. Great for potlucks.
With just a few additions, mashed sweet potatoes will become your favorite side dish.
Change up your marshmallow topped sweet potato recipe with this spicy, sweet, bourbon flavored improvement on traditional sweet potato casserole. The bourbon mixed with mashed sweet potatoes is subtle but not overpowering.
You expect the typical brown sugar topping, and then you take a bite and taste a savory, spicy, salty and just slightly sweet mixture that compliments the bourbon flavored potatoes perfectly. Say good-bye to marshmallow topped casseroles.
Whether I make this for Thanksgiving or as a side for dinner with friends and family, this easy sweet potato casserole is always a favorite. Do you need something a little different to take to this years holiday potluck, you can bet that no one else will be able to top this sweet potato casserole topped with pecans.
What you’ll need
- Red Garnet sweet potatoes – red garnet are the ones you see most commonly at the grocery with a bright orange flesh.
- Bourbon – use your favorite brand.
- Bacon – just two slices but it adds a smokey flavor, if you can find pepper bacon, it’s even better.
- Pecans – these add a nice crunch to the mashed sweet potatoes.
- Cayenne pepper – just a pinch gives the topping a little heat.
- Pantry items -brown sugar, flour, butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon.
What tpye of sweet potatoes work best for a sweet potato casserole
I find that a sweet, moist and less starchy sweet potato works best for a casserole. Look for a Red Garnet or Jewel, they’ll have an orange to red skin and are what you see the most in the grocery. The lighter skin Hannah variety are gong to be more starchy and dry. For some nutritional information, Paleo Flourish may be helpful.
Step by step directions for bourbon sweet potato casserole
Step 1: Cook the potatoes. You have two choices, you can either bake them for about 1 hour, which technically is the best way. However, I can barely tell the difference if you microwave the potatoes for about eight minutes. If I have the time I’ll bake them, but if you’re in a hurry, go with the microwave version. Since you’re adding so many things to the sweet potatoes it won’t make that much difference.
Step 2: Once cooked, peel off the skins and mash with a potato masher, I use this one. If you don’t have one, use a fork or the bottom of a mug. Add milk, butter, eggs, bourbon and the rest of the seasonings and combine. Pour into a baking dish.
Step 3: Make the topping by combining all the ingredients and then sprinkle on top of the sweet potatoes.
At this point you can cover and refrigerate overnight or until ready to bake.
It needs to bake for about 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.
We had this easy sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and it really spiced up the traditional side dishes. If you don’t like bourbon, you can substitute vanilla. I personally prefer the bourbon flavor, but these are amazing both ways.
You can make this in advance and add the topping before baking. Once baked, it will only save for a day or two before the topping looses its crunch. Still delicious, but a little mushy.
FAQ’s and Tips
You can assemble this the day before, but wait to bake it until you‘re ready to serve it. If taking this to a pot luck, bake it beforehand and heat it up just before serving.
Sweet potatoes will save for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. However, the topping will begin to get soggy after a day, still delicious.
While it will freeze, the topping will not be as crunchy when reheated.
Substitute an equal amount of pure vanilla extract.
You can either bake the sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour or microwave them for about 8 minutes.
More Thanksgiving side dishes
- Make-ahead mashed potatoes because you need one dish that you don’t have to worry about
- Broccoli casserole because the creamy cheese sauce is amazing
- Corn pudding with cornbread, because I live in the South and you have to have corn pudding
- The best oven baked stuffing because it’s Thanksgiving!
- Don’t forget the fluffiest yeast rolls
- It’s not Thanksgiving without cranberry relish
- For a rich and creamy side, try cheesy scalloped potatoes
Interested in more sweet potato recipes
Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole
- 4 medium sweet potatoes about 4 cups
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups pecans
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
- To cook the potatoes poke them with a fork and bake in the oven at 400º for 1 hour or microwave for about 8 minutes until soft and tender. Cool and peel away skins. Mash in a large bowl. Add in brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, butter, eggs and bourbon until fully combined. Pour into greased casserole dish.
- In a separate bowl, add cooked bacon, brown sugar, flour, pecans, butter, cayenne, rosemary. Mix well. Spread on top of sweet potato mixture.
- Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes or until the pecans are golden.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can substitute vanilla for the bourbon
- You can make this the day before but it’s best baked the same day.
- This will last for 1-2 days and then the topping will get mushy.
- You can either bake the sweet potatoes for an hour or microwave for about 8 minutes.