Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

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.

Love make-ahead Thanksgiving casseroles? Be sure to check out Creamed Cornbread CasseroleSpinach Madeline and Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potato Casserole!

A plate of Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole sits next to the purple casserole dish holding the Thanksgiving side dish

2023 Update: This recipe was originally shared in November 2015. The post has been updated to include new photos, as well as more tips and tricks. I hope you love this!

I’ve been making renditions of Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole for years around the holidays. 

It might be my favorite side dish on the Thanksgiving table, 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 twist on a traditional sweet potato casserole with pecans using less sugar since sweet potatoes are naturally pretty sweet.

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    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. This is not your classic sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows, and I’m OK with that. (But if that’s what you are looking for, this is not it.)

    Gone are the days of excessively sweetened sweet potato casserole! And this recipe is a total crowdpleaser.

    Why I love this recipe:

    Buttery sweet potatoes with a splash of bourbon, 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 of flavors.

    Plus, this homemade sweet potato casserole tastes decadent without feeling like a dessert.

    It’s an easy recipe to make in advance AND to bring on the road with you. Whether you’re attending something like a traditional Thanksgiving gathering, a potluck, Friensgiving or a #blogsgivingdinner, like my friends Meg and Susannah put together years ago!

    More Thanksgiving dishes you need to see to believe: Thanksgiving Cheese BoardGarlicky Spagetti SquashBourbon Butter Sweet PotatoesFresh 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!

    Sweet potatoes and other ingredients to make the casserole in dishes

    What you need to make Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

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    • Sheet pan (or rimmed baking sheet) to bake the sweet potatoes on
    • Baking dish — at least 1.9 qt.
    • Nonstick baking spray
    • Glass bowls — you need a large bowl and a medium bowl
    • Hand mixer, potato masher or food processor
    • Dough blender or a fork

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Sweet potatoes — we need 4.5 lbs. of ’em. I recommend using fresh sweet potatoes, not the canned variety. I like to purchase ones that are uniform in size, but any sweet potatoes will work.
    • Pure maple syrup — not imitation maple. This adds such a lovely natural sweetness that compliments the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
    • Bourbon — or your favorite whiskey. It should be flavorful and drinkable, but you do not need to use your fancy sipping bourbon. Maker’s Mark is a favorite brand for this.
    • Egg — this serves as a binder for the sweet potatoes.
    • Salt — I like to use a medium grain kosher salt for recipes like these. You could use a medium grain sea salt, too.
    • 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—or dark brown sugar, if that’s what you’ve got on hand. The molasses undertones pair beautifully with the sweet potatoes.
    • Chopped pecans — these add such a lovely crunch and nuttiness to the topping!
    • Unsalted butter — for the streusel topping. I do not recommend using oil in place of it.


    • Add additional fall spices, like pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. 
    • Leave out the bourbon ​to make this a more kid-friendly recipe.
    • Use gluten free oats and flour blend​ in place of the AP flour to make this gluten free.
    Baked sweet potatoes in a glass bowl on marble

    How do you make Sweet Potato Casserole?

    First and foremost, cook the 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 fork tender. Then let ’em cool completely.

    You can also boil them or cook them in the microwave them if that is more convenient for you.

    This can be done days in advance. Keep the sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator after cooling.

    Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole ingredients in a glass bowl on top of a striped grey towel

    Make the Casserole 

    Preheat the oven. Spray a 1.9 qt. (or larger) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set it aside.

    Scoop the flesh of the sweet potato into a large mixing bowl. Measure in the maple syrup, bourbon, egg, salt and cinnamon.

    The blended sweet potato mixture on a striped grey towel with a red hand mixer behind it

    Use a hand mixer to blend the ingredients together until smooth. You could also use a potato masher. This might take a few minutes because the sweet potatoes can sometimes be a little chunky.

    Once blended, scoop the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish. Set aside.

    Sugar, butter, flour and pecans in a bowl before blending on a grey towel

    Make the Sweet Potato Casserole Streusel Topping

    Make sure your pecans are chopped. If they aren’t, it will be a little more challenging to get a consistent crumb to this topping.

    Measure out the flour, oats, brown sugar and pecans into a medium mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix until combined.

    The blended streusel topping in a bowl

    Slice the chilled butter into small pieces, then cut it into the streusel topping using a pastry cutter or a fork. You want the topping to resemble the texture of wet sand.

    Sprinkle the streusel topping onto the creamy sweet potatoes already in the pan.

    Pro tip!

    If you are making your casserole in advance, stop here. Wrap the casserole in plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking and serving.

    The streusel topping is sprinkled on top of the sweet potato filling

    Bake the Casserole

    Transfer the casserole dish into the preheated oven. 

    Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the streusel topping is browned and crispy. 

    Keep an eye on it as it bakes because mine has burned before when I wasn’t been paying close attention.

    Once baked through, remove, and serve warm.

    Close up of the Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole in a blue dish on a grey striped towel before baking

    How to store:

    If you have a huge amount of leftover sweet potato casserole, keep it in the baking dish and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4-5 days.

    If you have a smaller amount of casserole, transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate for 4-5 days.

    How to reheat sweet potato casserole

    If the casserole is still in its baking dish, reheat in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or warmed through.

    Reheat smaller portions of the casserole on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until warmed through.

    A metal spoon scoops a serving of sweet potato casserole onto a small white plate

    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 while making this:

    • Put together the casserole early. Bake the potatoes. Make the filling. Make the streusel, and sprinkle that on top. Store it in the fridge until before your meal, when it will be ready to bake.
    • Similarly, you can put this together in pieces! I’ve made this where one day, I bake the potatoes, then store 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.
    A purple casserole dish holds a Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole, displayed with an orange towel for serving

    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. Do whatever is easiest for you.

    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.

    Can you leave sweet potato casserole out overnight?

    No. It is not safe to leave this casserole out at room temperature overnight.

    Can you use walnuts in sweet potato casserole?

    Yes. If you prefer walnuts to pecans, you can swap them out here.

    Can you freeze sweet potato casserole?

    Yes… part of it. You can make the sweet potato base mixture and freeze it for a few months before defrosting it in the fridge and then making the topping and baking it.

    Can sweet potato casserole be made ahead?

    YES. Make this casserole up to 3-4 days in advance, and keep it covered in the fridge before baking it.

    What type of bourbon should I use in this casserole?

    We don’t have a 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 and make it a classic streusel topped sweet potato casserole. The casserole will still taste delicious, even if it doesn’t have the lingering bourbon flavors.

    sweet potato casserole pinterest pin

    Quick tips and tricks for the best Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel topping

    • 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 for Thanksgiving dinner?

    Scroll on down to learn how simple it is to make at home!

    A purple casserole dish holds a Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole, displayed with an orange towel for serving

    Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    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.
    4.54 from 43 votes
    Servings 8 servings
    Calories 475 kcal
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 55 minutes


    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

    Streusel Topping

    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
    • ¼ cup light brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons pecans chopped
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cubed

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    • 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.)


    Serving: 1servingCalories: 475kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 190mgFiber: 11gSugar: 40g
    Keyword baking recipe, casserole, Christmas recipe, side dish, sweet potatoes, Thanksgiving recipe
    Course Side Dishes
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    1. Hello!

      I was wondering if you could make this ahead of time and bake the day of? I have to work the morning before it and would be best if I was able to do this in parts, any suggestions?


      1. Hey there, Susanna. I think you could absolutely make the sweet potato portion of this casserole beforehand! (So, bake the sweet potatoes, scoop them out and mix them with the filling ingredients. When they’re done, put them in your casserole dish, and cover with plastic wrap before popping in the fridge overnight.) Unfortunately, the streusel topping doesn’t last well in the fridge, so hold off on that until the morning (or afternoon) of, and then pop the casserole in the oven after the streusel is made!

    2. I would have eaten this off the page if it were only possible. It looks mouthwateringly delicious. Is it crunchy on the top? It looks it.

    3. I love sweet potatoes so much it’s just sad. We eat ours with all the brown sugar and butter—and it’s plenty sweet too. This looks like a great way to enjoy what we love without the coma afterward. 🙂

    4. I am always looking for ways to jazz up the classic holiday side dishes! This bourbon sweet potato casserole sounds incredible!

    5. I agree with you. This type of casserole is always my fave thing at the table! Yours looks GREAT!

    6. What a delicious way to elevate the flavors with bourbon. Love the texture from the topping. Creamy on the bottom and crunchy on top. Bookmarking this one!

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