Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Spicy Brown Sugar Pecans

sweet potatoes layered with pecans in a casserole dish

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.

How-To Photos

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.

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sweet potatoes layered with pecans in a casserole dish

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Spicy Brown Sugar Pecans

  • Author: Maria Do
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American


A classic reimagined. Bacon, bourbon and cayenne take your regular sweet potato casserole to a new level!


Units Scale

Sweet Potatoes

  • 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 toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 1/21 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • kosher salt (to taste)


  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pecan topping. In a bowl, add 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, 2 tsp cayenne, 6 tbsp melted salted butter, and 2 sprigs of chopped sage. Mix until evenly combined, fold in the toasted pecans and cooked bacon. If the mixture is too dry, add more melted butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Set aside.
  3. Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher (it’s okay if it’s a little clumpy). Mix in 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 4 tbsp melted salted butter, 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 2 tbsp bourbon, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Mix until combined. 
  4. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a casserole dish (9″x9″ pan works well) and level the top with a spoon. Layer the pecan mixture evenly over the top, and garnish with fresh sage leaves (optional). Bake for 30-40 minutes until pecans are golden. Serve warm.


Make-Ahead Instructions: If you’re making this casserole before the big day, bake it for the full length of time (because there’s an egg in the sweet potatoes), and let it cool. Refrigerate the casserole for up to 3 days. To serve, warm the casserole dish in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until warm. 

Keywords: holidays, side dishes, thanksgiving, thanksgiving sides

Sweet potatoes with a layer of pecans in a casserole dish

For more holiday recipe ideas, check out the holidays category on my site for reimagined classics like a rich Homemade Hot ChocolateCinnamon Rolls with browned butter icing or Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole!

  1. Devonté Lewis says:

    Prepared this for the family for Thanksgiving 2020 – it was a big hit! The interesting mix of flavors kept people coming back for more. Thanks for the recipe!

    I plan on trying out the roast chicken recipe next month!

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