This bourbon sweet potato casserole with buttery pecans has a little less sugar and butter for a boozy, not-too-sweet holiday side dish!
Sweet potatoes to me are an amazing vegetable. Such deep flavor, such a pretty color and seriously nutritious. ❤️
For regular weeknight dinners, I bake and serve them as is; we sometimes add a sprinkle or salt and pepper, but they really don’t need much.
Or maybe I make my maple cinnamon sweet potatoes or spicy sweet potato rounds, which are both a quick and easy way to prepare them.
And when it comes to Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, I like giving them a little something special, a little flavor boost, a little extra love.
But certainly not marshmallows.
Not to knock that classic combination for a sweet potato casserole, but I just don’t care for the sickly sweet version.
(My classic sweet potato casserole has a pecan streusel topping that's sweet but balanced.)
So I'm gonna skip the marshmallows, but I'm still going to ramp up the flavor and make this a special dish.
I’ve added some bourbon to give it a little depth and topped it with a buttery pecan crust that brings a bit of salty and savory to cut the sweetness, plus a great crunch to add some texture.
You're going to go crazy for that topping!
I’ve also reduced the butter and sugar you’d normally see in a sweet potato casserole, but trust me, this is still plenty rich and plenty sweet.
It feels indulgent and fancied up, which is perfect for holiday fare, but it's much more balanced. 👌
And can we talk about the aroma when the butter and brown sugar and bourbon hit the hot mashed sweet potatoes?
You’ll feel a little light headed as you stir that delicious mixture. 😉
And then you’re gonna top it with the pecan streusel of sorts, creating the perfect little crust for the sweet potatoes.
Holiday happiness in a dish!
Now, we all have heard that most of the alcohol evaporates and cooks off when cooking or baking.
But I did a little digging -- I'm a health and nutrition editor, after all -- and some studies have shown that not ALL of the alcohol evaporates.
Depending on the preparation, cooking method and cooking time, up to HALF of the alcohol content can remain in the final dish.
So if you're concerned, keep this for just the adults at the table.
Make-ahead notes for bourbon sweet potato casserole:
- You can prep this ahead! Make the casserole through step 4 in the recipe instructions below. Then cover and refrigerate.
- When ready to continue, remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator to come to room temp while the oven heats up.
- Make the pecan topping and add it to the top of the casserole just before baking.
- You'll probably need to bake it for a little bit longer, about 35 minutes total.
My mom and I always do as much as we can ahead for our holiday table. Cause everyone should enjoy the holidays, cooks included 👍
Last thing, what to do with any leftovers.
Now, of course, it’s best served when it’s warm from the oven and the topping is crunchy.
However, you can keep leftovers, once cooled, in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheat in individual servings in the microwave to warm it through quickly. The crunchy pecan topping will soften a little and lose some crunch, but it’s still delicious.
And if you need some other ideas for holiday sides, my super quick + easy green beans with mustard butter sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and red onion and 15-minute easy cranberry sauce are all good picks!
Cheers to boozy sides -- enjoy! And happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. Check out my new VIDEO for this recipe! You can also see my Google web story for this bourbon sweet potato casserole recipe.
Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Buttery Pecans
Sweet potato casserole gets remade with a good dose of bourbon and a little less sugar and butter for a boozy, not-too-sweet holiday side dish!
- 6 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a fork
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar, divided
- ¼ cup bourbon (or whiskey)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped pecans (or sub walnuts)
- Preheat oven to 400. Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 for one hour. Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 375.
- Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off and place the potatoes in a large bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, bourbon and salt. Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes and mix them well with the other ingredients.
- Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly in a greased 3 quart casserole dish.
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Stir well to combine then spoon the mixture evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or hot.
Make ahead: You can prep the casserole ahead through step 4. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to continue, remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator to come to room temp while the oven heats up. Make the pecan topping and add it just before baking. Bake for 35 minutes.
Leftovers: Leftovers, once cooled, will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The pecan topping will lose some of its crunch upon reheating, but it's still delicious.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 38mgFiber: 6gSugar: 15gProtein: 4g
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
I'm always immediately hungry after reading your recipes and seeing your (delicious) photos!! Thanks for sharing. Definitely pinning this!
Thanks so much, Pamela!! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I made this for a thanksgiving dinner and it is awesome!!! I used fireball whiskey and it is delectable. Will definitely be making this again
So happy to hear you loved it! Thanks Randiah! Happy Thanksgiving!
Tania | My Kitchen Stories
Judging by all of the recipes that you have for sweet Potatoes you are a bit of an expert. I haven't had sweet potatoes with either bourbon or brown sugar before, but I am sure it is delcious
Haha, thanks Tania! I am a serious potato fanatic! Also a bourbon fanatic 😉 Hope you give it a try!
Yum Kathryn. My mother-n-law would these sweet potato's Makers Mark is her favorite:))
Recipe looks awesome. Thanks for sharing with us at Throwback Thursday. Hope to see you again next week.
I need to get together with that fine lady for a plateful of these and a little cocktail to go with it 😉 Cheers!
I was going to make this for Thanksgiving this year, but was feeling lazy and wanted to use canned yams! Is this something you have ever tried? I bought two giant cans and wasn't sure if I should use one or two cans.
Thanks for your help! Love your site!
Hi Lynz! I have not substituted canned yams in this recipe before, but you could certainly try it as a shortcut. I'm not sure how much is in your cans, but I'm thinking you'll need at least 5 cups worth of mashed yams - enough to make a decent layer in the bottom of your casserole dish. Would love to hear if you try it!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)
This sweet potato casserole looks wonderful!!
Thanks! It's such a great one for Thanksgiving! 😊
Megan @ Megunprocessed
This looks so tasty! Love sweet potato casserole!
Me too - such a classic on Thanksgiving!
This sounds incredible!
Thanks so much Carolyn! I hope you give it a try!
Recipe says cook time 1 hr 25 min but then in the details says 25-30 min. So do you cook 1 hr 25 min first then the 25-30 is if you are re-heating?
Hi Jenny! The total cook time is 1 hours 25 minutes, which includes the time to bake the sweet potatoes. Once you've assembled the casserole, you bake it for 25-30 minutes. Hope you enjoy it!
Makes sense now. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving.
I have made my sweet potato casserole like this, start to finish for 47 years. Everyone loves it! Maybe I put a little more bourbon. This is the first time that I have run across the recipe in print.
Love the potato’s baked, not boiled, they have richer flavor.
I love that this has been a long-time dish of yours Ruth! I just adore the way the bourbon bumps up the flavor of the sweet potato casserole and I completely agree with you that baking the sweet potatoes gives them a much richer flavor. I think it really helps caramelize those natural sugars. I hope you have such a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Thank you for coming up with a recipe that isn't so sweet. I dislike marshmallows on any vegetables. Husband is diabetic. I made it tonight with Makers Mark. I used a guava instead of brown sugar. It's fantastic.
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed this Mary! I'm with you - I don't need marshmallows with my veggies so I'm glad this was a good option for you, too. And I love the idea of using guava!
Can the alcohol be simmered in a small saucepan before adding to the recipe to lower the alcohol content even more than the approx. 40%. What's your opinion of bourbon whiskry extract to replace the real deal? I've never used such a product.
Hi Rosemary, if you are concerned about the alcohol content and don't have any bourbon or whiskey on hand to use, I'd suggest just leaving it out altogether.
We had this with our Easter ham, and my husband raved about it. I think this will be our go-to sweet potato recipe for the future. Cooking at this temperature gave the pecans a chance to toast and added to their flavor. I do always bake sweet potatoes in the microwave so the total cooking time is significantly less. Great recipe--glad I found it!
Oh yay, I'm so happy you all loved it! Thanks so much for taking the time to come and leave a comment! 😊
We came across this recipe and made it to enjoy during this years' Thanksgiving. It was a total hit! The only adjustments we made to your original, was that we doubled the items used for the topping. When we first tried it as directed, the amount of topping did not fully cover the dish (fully disclose that we used a larger pan than what was recommended). So to self-correct, we doubled the items for the topping which gave us full coverage and a pretty thick layer of yumminess! Great recipe - thanks for sharing!!
Yay, I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it! And double topping sounds like a great idea! 😉 Thanks so much for sharing!
This is absolutely delicious!
Can this be prepared and frozen?
Hi Michele! I've not tried freezing this casserole, but I don't think the texture of the potatoes would stand up very well to being frozen and thawed.
Thank you Kathryn!
I was not sure if it was possible. I have only made it fresh. Happy Thanksgiving 🦃
Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! 😊❤️
This is a lovely recipe. Am going to try this maybe this evening. Sample before I put it out to people.
The only change I am going to make will be to steam the sweet potatoes. I feel cooking in water, drains some or a lot of flavor and nutrients from the item.
Thank you for the recipe.
You are so welcome Gayle! I hope you enjoy it! And the sweet potatoes for this recipe are roasted, not cooked in any water, but you are welcome to try steaming them instead. Enjoy! 😊
I wish the recipe said how much potato to use - like "6 cups" or "5 lbs" or however much it it. I used an entire bag of Aldi sweet potatoes and it was only enough for a 1.5 qt casserole, which meant the boozy part was doubled. It was ... flavorful! This recipe was a nice change from the traditional with the marshmallows, but not good enough to replace it in the future. The topping was great too. I'm glad I tried this recipe.
Hi Meredith! True, I did not weigh my sweet potatoes, just used about 6 medium sized ones. (You can see in the video their size.) My guess is the Aldi ones were probably pretty small, which might have made the difference. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I just published a classic sweet potato casserole (still no marshmallows though) if you're interested in checking that out: https://www.familyfoodonthetable.com/sweet-potato-casserole/ Happy holidays!
How many servings does the recipe yield.
Hi Pete! This recipe yields 6-8 servings. You could maybe stretch it to 8-10 if you have lots of other sides. Hope that helps!
Have you ever tried to cook this in an crockpot instead? I’m fine with baking the yams but I need to travel 40 minutes and there won’t be any room in the oven. I’m wondering if I bake the yams and then put the casserole together in the crockpot and cook in it, and then place on warm once I get to where I’m going, just not sure what settings/time. Low for 4 hours; high for 2 hours; etc. Thoughts?
Hi Ashley! I have not made this in the slow cooker, but I did a little research and I think you could... since the sweet potatoes will be already cooked and mashed, you can add them and make the casserole in your slow cooker insert. Add the topping and everything and then cook on HIGH for 2 hours. (Apparently, it doesn't work well cooking on low.) After that you should be fine to keep it on warm. Hope that helps!