Knock the socks off your guests with this slightly sweet Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole, covered with a crunchy streusel topping. The bourbon sings, the sweet potatoes are light and creamy, and the pecan streusel adds texture to this twist on a Thanksgiving classic. Makes 8 servings.
This Sweet Potato Casserole recipe was originally published on November 13, 2015. The post and images have been updated and republished in October 2020.
I’ve been making renditions of Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole for years around the holidays. It might be my favorite Thanksgiving side dish, thanks in part to my love of bourbon, sweet potatoes and casseroles that veer toward sweet. (But not too sweet.)
This recipe was developed because I wanted to make a traditional sweet potato casserole using less sugar since sweet potatoes are naturally pretty sweet.
So you’ll see this recipe calls for maple syrup mixing with the sweet potatoes and just a scant ¼ cup of brown sugar for the crunchy pecan topping.
Gone are the days of excessively sweetened sweet potato casserole! And this recipe has been a crowdpleaser ever since.
Why I love this recipe:
Creamy sweet potatoes, sweetened with maple syrup, and covered with a crunchy pecan-oat topping? Yeah, it’s pretty darn dreamy, and it’s a family favorite recipe because we all love this combination.
This homemade sweet potato casserole tastes decadent without being so sugary that you feel funny afterward.
More Thanksgiving dishes you need to see to believe: Thanksgiving Cheese Board | Garlicky Spagetti Squash | Bourbon Butter Sweet Potatoes | Fresh Green Bean Casserole from Scratch | Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
Need holiday food inspiration? Check out my Thanksgiving Recipe Index to see what we love to serve!
What you need to make Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole
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- Sheet pan to bake the sweet potatoes on
- Baking dish—at least 1.9 qt.
- Nonstick baking spray
- Glass bowls
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Dough blender or a fork
In addition to these tools, you’re also going to need the following ingredients:
- Sweet potatoes! 4.5 lbs. of ’em.
- Pure maple syrup—not the stuff in a bottle that’s an imitation. They add such a lovely natural sweetness that compliments the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
- Ground cinnamon—because this adds such lovely warmth.
- All-purpose flour—I prefer unbleached, but you can use the regular kind if that’s what you’ve got on hand
- Rolled oats—not the instant variety because their texture won’t hold up
- Light brown sugar
- Pecans—these add such a lovely crunch and nuttiness to the topping!
- Unsalted butter
How do you make Sweet Potato Casserole?
First and foremost, cook your sweet potatoes!
How to cook sweet potatoes
I’m partial to baking them in the oven at 400°F for about an hour if I’ve got the time earlier in the day that I’m making the casserole. Use a fork to poke through the skin a few times before baking so they don’t explode in the oven. When they’re done, you want them to be nice and tender, then let ’em cool completely.
You can also boil them or cook them in the microwave them, too.
Make the Sweet Potato Casserole
Preheat the oven. Spray a 1.9 qt. (or larger) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set it aside.
Scoop the sweet potato flesh into a large bowl. Measure in the maple syrup, bourbon, egg, salt and cinnamon
Use a hand mixer to blend the ingredients until smooth. This might take a few moments because the sweet potatoes can sometimes be a little chunky.
Blend the ingredients together using a hand mixer, mixing until smooth.
Scoop the sweet potato casserole filling into your prepared baking dish. Set it aside.
Make the Oat Pecan Streusel Topping
Make sure your pecans are actually chopped. If they aren’t, it will be a little more challenging to get a consistent crumb to this topping.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, measure out the flour, oats, brown sugar and pecans. Use a fork to mix them until combined.
Slice the chilled butter into small pieces, then cut it into the streusel topping with a pastry cutter or a fork. You basically want the topping to resemble the texture of wet sand.
Sprinkle the streusel topping onto the sweet potato filling already in the pan.
If you are making your casserole in advance, this is the part where you’ll stop. Wrap the casserole in plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days before doing the final bake before you serve guests.
Bake the Casserole
Transfer the casserole dish into the preheated oven.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until the streusel topping is browned and crispy. Keep an eye on it as it bakes because I’ve had mine burn because I haven’t been paying close attention.
When the topping is ready, remove the dish from the oven, and serve warm.
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas or any other holiday meal, I implore you to make this bourbon sweet potato casserole!
Not only is it delicious and a crowd pleaser, but you can make it in advance to ensure you’re not frantically cooking as guests are about to arrive.
Here are some of my easy entertaining tips that you can use whole making this homemade sweet potato casserole:
- Put together the casserole early. That means, bake the sweet potatoes and let ’em cool. Make the sweet potato casserole filling. Make the streusel topping, and sprinkle that on top of the filling. Store it all in the fridge until you want to bake it for guests.
- Similarly, you can put this together in pieces! I’ve made this casserole where one day, I baked the sweet potatoes, then stored those in the fridge. The next day, I put together the casserole, then stored it in the fridge again. And then the following day, I baked and served it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are yams and sweet potatoes the same thing?
Technically, no, they are not the same type of vegetable. Yams have a more textured skin and their flesh has a similar texture to that of yucca instead of a white potato.
However, in American supermarkets, they are traditionally marketed as the same, thanks to Louisiana sweet potato growers in the ’30s calling theirs “yams” so they’d be different.
Is sweet potato casserole healthy?
I don’t know if I’d call this casserole a health food, but it certainly could be less healthy.
This particular Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole recipe calls for maple syrup instead of granulated sugar, and it also has some oats and pecans.
Is it better to boil or bake sweet potatoes?
I don’t think there’s a better way to make sweet potatoes, and in this recipe, I’ve discussed cooking yours in the oven, boiling and microwaving them.
How do you thicken up sweet potato casserole?
The sweet potatoes are already pretty luxurious and creamy, and the egg helps fortify them in this recipe, too.
How long can sweet potato casserole sit out?
Up to 2 hours, though I really recommend getting it off the table and back into the fridge by that point.
What type of bourbon should I use in this casserole?
We don’t have a typical specific brand that we use in this recipe, but I do recommend staying away from bourbons that are blends (and bottom shelf bottles.) You’ll get hints of the taste of bourbon throughout this casserole, so you want it to be GOOD. But, like, not Pappy Van Winkle good. 😉
Can my kids eat this bourbon sweet potato casserole?
Short answer: Yes, they can.
Long answer: While the bourbon cooks out of the sweet potatoes as this casserole bakes, it won’t be completely gone. (So yes, there is lingering alcohol… but not a ton.) There are 2 oz. in this entire casserole dish, which feeds 8-10 people.
If you’re concerned about your children eating this dish, just omit the bourbon. The casserole will still taste delicious, even if it doesn’t have the lingering bourbon flavors.
Quick tips and tricks for the best Sweet Potato Casserole
- Put it together early. I’ve found when I rush this dish, the sweet potatoes take particularly long to cook, and I get antsy and then burn my fingers trying to mash them. If you make this a day or two before you plan to consume it, you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers in order to get it onto the table in time.
- Bake it an hour before you’re going to serve it. This means pulling it out of the fridge and popping it into the hot oven and serving shortly afterward.
- Swap out the nuts! Walnuts would be lovely in this dish, too, if you have those on hand.
Just interested in this bourbon-y, sweet potato dish? Scroll on down to learn how simple it is to make at home!
Knock the socks off your guests with this slightly sweet Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole, covered with a crunchy streusel topping. The bourbon sings, the sweet potatoes are light and creamy, and the streusel topping adds texture to this take on a Thanksgiving classic.
Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole
- 5 sweet potatoes, regular-sized (4.5 lbs), baked, peeled and spooned into a bowl (at room temperature)
- 7 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.
- In the bowl with the cooked sweet potatoes, add the maple syrup, bourbon, egg, salt and cinnamon (if you're using cinnamon!)
- Blend the ingredients together using a hand mixer, mixing until smooth.
- Pour and spread the sweet potato casserole into the prepared baking dish, and set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and pecans, mixing with a fork until combined.
- Cut the chilled butter into the streusel topping using a pastry cutter (or a fork if you're old school), cutting the ingredients until they resemble wet sand.
- Sprinkle the streusel topping onto the sweet potato filling.
- Transfer the casserole into the preheated oven, and bake for 40 minutes, or until the streusel topping is browned and crispy.
- Remove from the oven, and serve warm.
Please note that the total time does NOT include baking the sweet potatoes (and the subsequent time it take to let them cool, then peel and place in a bowl.)
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Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 190mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 11gSugar: 40gProtein: 7g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.