This bourbon spiced sweet potato casserole is the ultimate Thanksgiving side! With warming spices, a hint of bourbon, and a toasted pecan crumble on top, this dish is sure to impress.
Sweet potato casserole is great as a Thanksgiving side or any time of year dessert. It's filled with warmth from fall spices and... bourbon! Bourbon adds extra depth and warmth to the casserole by complimenting the sweet potato flavor.
- Topped with a pecan crumble
- Filled with brown sugar, warming spices and a hint of Bourbon flavor
- Perfect as a Thanksgiving side
- Marshmallow-free! (but they can be added if you like)
Move aside mashed sweet potatoes, there's a new sweet potato side in town!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Sweet potatoes: Choose orange flesh sweet potatoes like Jewel or Garnet. Roasting the sweet potatoes concentrates their flavor.
- Bourbon: Choose a bourbon that you would enjoy drinking. If it doesn't taste good on it's own, it won't taste any better in a casserole! I use Maker's Mark because it is not as high proof as other Bourbons and it goes well in baked goods.
- Light brown sugar: This is the main sweetener in the casserole and topping. Dark brown sugar will work in a pinch.
- Cinnamon, cloves and vanilla add warmth.
- Evaporated milk is really creamy because it is just milk with 60% of the water removed. It is similar to sweetened condensed milk but does not have any sugar added, so you can't swap the two!
- Eggs are added to prevent the casserole from cracking. They also make it more scoopable.
- The crumble is made of up raw pecans, brown sugar, melted butter, more cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
How to roast sweet potatoes
This sweet potato casserole is made with roasted sweet potatoes. Roasting sweet potatoes concentrates their flavor and yields a much more flavorful result than boiled sweet potato.
To roast the sweet potatoes: Rinse the sweet potato and remove any dirt. Poke several times with a fork or knife to make air holes. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour.
Test for doneness by poking a knife into the center of the potato. It should yield easily and be completely soft. You can also tell the potato is ready because it will be leaking syrup.
Step by step instructions
- Add all sweet potato casserole ingredients, except for the topping ingredients, to a food processor. Make sure to remove the skin from the sweet potato! I use this food processor.
- Process on medium speed until smooth and pureed.
- Make the crumb topping by mixing together the flour, butter, cinnamon, sugar and salt. Stir in the pecans until well-coated with the crumb.
- Smoothly layer the sweet potato mixture in a two quart baking dish.
- Top with the crumb topping and the raw pecans.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pecans are toasted and the crumb topping is golden. The casserole should be pulling away from the edges.
- Don't have a food processor? You can use a hand-mixer or stand mixer to whip the ingredients together instead.
- Roasting sweet potatoes in advance: To cut down on prep time, you can roast sweet potatoes 2-3 days in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Baking dishes: I used an 11x11 baking dish in the photo, which holds roughly 2 quarts. Any similar size, like 8x11 or 10x10 will work.
- Bourbon amount: You can definitely taste the bourbon in this recipe but it's not overwhelming. If you love a strong bourbon flavor you might want to increase it a smidge. You can cut the bourbon amount in half if you want the lightest hint of bourbon.
Yes! The bourbon adds warmth and spice but you can definitely make the casserole without it.
Keep leftovers refrigerated for 3-4 days. I usually reheat in the microwave but you can also reheat in the oven at 325 until warmed through.
Sure! I don't add them because I'm not a fan of sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, but you can add them. Add the marshmallows then top with the streusel and pecans. Bake until the marshmallows and pecans are golden.
Yes, you can prepare the casserole up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge. Spread the sweet potato casserole filling into the baking dish or store it in an airtight container. I recommend making the crumb topping the day of cooking for best quality.
Yes, you can use an equal amount of canned sweet potatoes, but the flavor won't be as good. Canned sweet potatoes will have extra moisture from the canning liquid, so pat them with a paper towel/clean dish towel before adding to the food processor.
You can freeze the base sweet potatoes without the topping, but freezing the topping will alter the texture/quality. I recommend making the dish in advance and storing it in the fridge instead of freezing it if you will be short on time.
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Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3 pounds orange flesh sweet potatoes
- 4 ounces bourbon note #1
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- ⅓ cup + ½ cup light brown sugar divided
- ½ cup melted butter divided in half
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup whole pecans
- To roast sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Poke a few holes in the potatoes. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour. The sweet potatoes are ready when soft and oozing syrup.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 2 quart or 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a food processor with the blade attachment, add sweet potatoes, bourbon, evaporated milk, ⅓ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup melted butter, vanilla extract, 1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon, cloves and eggs. Process on low until completely smooth and pureed. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, make the crumb topping by adding all-purpose flour, ½ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup melted butter, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt. Stir with a spoon until combined. It will be thick and crumbly. Add ½ cup pecans and coat with the mixture.
- Pour in the sweet potato puree into the lightly oiled casserole dish. Smooth with a spatula as needed. Sprinkle the pecan crumble evenly over the sweet potato. Add remaining ½ cup pecans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The casserole is ready when it starts to pull away at the sides and the crumb is golden. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Bourbon: Use a bourbon that you would enjoy drinking. I use Maker's Mark because I like the taste of it and it is not as high-proof as other bourbons.
- Don't have a food processor? Use a hand-mixer on low and whip the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.
- Make in advance: To cut down on prep time, you can roast sweet potatoes 2-3 days in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sweet potato filling can be made up to 2 days in advance. I recommend making the crumb topping the day of.
- Leftovers and reheating: Keep leftovers refrigerate for 3-4 days. I usually reheat in the microwave but you can also reheat in the oven at 325 until warmed through.
- Prefer videos? I also have a step-by-step YouTube video that shows how to make this sweet potato casserole.