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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.
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.
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 on this 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 👍
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!
- 6 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a fork
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup bourbon (or whiskey)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 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.
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.
- Portmeirion Sophie Conran White Large Handled Rectangular Roasting Dish
- Cuisinart AMB-17BS 17-Inch Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware Baking Sheet
- New Star Foodservice 42917 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups Combo, Set of 8
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 38mg Fiber: 6g Sugar: 15g Protein: 4g