Ithink we all deserve a little indulgence this year. With so much that’s happened this year, I find myself finding comfort in the familiar. As the holiday season approaches, I wanted to take classics that remind me of good times and give them a little zhuzh. This reimagined sweet potato casserole is the most flavorful, delicious version I’ve tasted thanks to the trifecta that makes this recipe stand out – bacon + bourbon + cayenne. Yummm.
Whether you top your sweet potato casseroles with marshmallows or coconut, you can still make this recipe with bacon, bourbon & cayenne to add insanely delicious depth. Like most sweet potato casseroles, this one’s pretty simple to put together. The longest part is roasting the sweet potatoes. You can roast them anytime during the week before you’re ready to assemble the casserole. The best part about this recipe is that you can assemble the entire dish, topping and all, before the big day and just warm it in the oven before serving.
As always, I’m setting you up with a quick photo series on how to put this casserole together! Don’t be too concerned if you can’t mash the sweet potatoes into a completely smooth consistency. You won’t really taste it in the end product.
A classic reimagined. Bacon, bourbon and cayenne take your regular sweet potato casserole to a new level.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 4 tbsp salted butter (melted)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp bourbon (optional)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Sweet & Spicy Pecan Topping
- 1 1/2 cup raw pecans (roughly chopped)
- 4 slices thick cut bacon (chopped)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 6 tbsp salted butter (melted)
- 1/2–1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 2 sprigs fresh chopped sage, plus extra for garnish
- kosher salt (to taste)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut in half, leaving the skin on. Use a fork to poke holes in the potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour until fork tender. Cool for 15 minutes before handling.
- Meanwhile, make the pecan bacon topping. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. In a bowl, add brown sugar, all purpose flour, pinch of salt, cayenne, melted butter, and sage. Mix until evenly combined, then fold in the pecans and bacon. If the mixture is too dry, add more butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Set aside.
- Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork (it's okay if it's a little clumpy). Mix in brown sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, bourbon, cinnamon, egg and salt.
- Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a casserole dish (9"x9" pan works well) and level the top with a spoon. Layer the pecans evenly over the top and garnish with fresh sage (optional). Bake for 30-40 minutes until pecans are golden. Serve warm.
If you’re making this casserole before the big day, bake it for the full length of time (there’s an egg in the sweet potatoes) and let it cool. Refrigerate up to 3 days. To serve, warm the casserole dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes until warm.
Keywords: holidays, side dishes, thanksgiving, thanksgiving sides
For more holiday recipe ideas, check out the holidays category on my site for reimagined classics like a rich Homemade Hot Chocolate, Cinnamon Rolls with browned butter icing or Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole!