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Switching things up this Thanksgiving with this Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet ‘n’ Savory Bacon Pecans. The classic sweet potato casserole we know and love, but topped with sweet and savory bacon pecans. These sweet potatoes are buttery, hinted with cinnamon, and lightly sweetened. The pecan topping is just a touch spicy, perfectly sweet, herby, and a little salty too. When baked together the potatoes and topping create the perfect balance and make for the BEST sweet potato casserole. Make these ahead of time for an easy holiday side that everyone will love.

overhead photo of Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet n Savory Bacon Pecans

It’s the second week of November and I very much have Thanksgiving on my mind. Anyone else?

It’s been a little tricky to get my menu fully planned, photographed, and written up in between traveling for HBH Super Simple. But I’m excited to finally say that I will be sharing my full menu this week! Are you guys in planning mode? Hoping so, because I have some good recipes coming, and it all starts with this casserole.

I’m sure I have said this before, but when it comes to Thanksgiving I really love a traditional menu. Herby roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, popovers, vegetable sides, and of course, sweet potato casserole. Some of you may be surprised to hear this, since I love to share all kinds of different recipes, but when it comes to both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m all about tradition. And the older and more traditional the better.

The classics keep things simple and perfect every time. It’s why we look forward to the holidays so much. All the traditions!

That said, every year I try to create a few new dishes that are spins on the classics. They still feel like the classics, just updated a bit. My brothers only care about the turkey, mashed potatoes, and rolls, so I keep those basic (but good). But when it comes to the vegetables? I have some room to play with, and have a little fun.

Enter this sweet potato casserole. It’s just like my grandma’s sweet potatoes, but with a sweet, savory, and salty topping…that everyone loves.

raw sweet potato with steam

Let’s talk about the sweet potatoes…

Like most sweet potato casseroles, this bourbon sweet potato casserole is so simple and easy to make. The longest part of the process is roasting the potatoes. But nothing is hard and you might even have all the ingredients on hand right now.

So…start with the sweet potatoes. Yes, you can buy canned sweet potatoes, but I highly recommend roasting fresh potatoes for best flavor and color. If you have an instant pot, you can cook the potatoes quickly in there. If not, go the oven route. It’s my preferred method.

Once the potatoes are soft, peel away the skins (then use them to make these sweet potato skin chips) and then mash. Then add in a touch of brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, butter, and a splash of bourbon, and that’s it. This is my grandma’s base recipe and it never fails. Simple, but so delicious, and not overly sweet, which I think is really nice.

Question: are you a sweet or savory, sweet potato casserole person? I prefer a savory casserole…with just a touch of sweetness!

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole before adding the pecans

Now about those bacon pecans…

While the potatoes are roasting, start working on the bacon pecans.

Oh, these bacon pecans. Basically, this is a topping of candied bacon with pecans, and it’s incredibly delicious. Sweet and savory with a little crunch from the pecans, and saltiness from the bacon. I added sage and a little rosemary to bring in some savory flavors and balance out the sweetness. These herbs may sound like an odd addition but go with me on this because it’s so GOOD.

Also, if rosemary isn’t your thing, or you’re worried it may overpower the other flavors, then simply leave it out. My dad’s not the biggest rosemary fan. He sometimes complains that it’s overpowering. Use your best judgment here and go with your own personal taste.

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet n Savory Bacon Pecans before baking

Put it all together…

Last up, layer the topping over the sweet potatoes and bake. It’s simple, nothing too fancy, and so EASY. While this bakes, your house will smell incredible, just like Thanksgiving should. You’ll soon find out that every bite is just as delicious as it smells.

These potatoes are sweet and buttery and the topping is crunchy. It’s the sweet potato casserole your Thanksgiving table needs. Promise.

And finally, you can easily prepare this ahead of time, and yes, it travels well too. If you’re on sidedish duty this Thanksgiving, this is your dish!

overhead photo of Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet n Savory Bacon Pecans with spoonful removed from casserole

If you make this bourbon sweet potato casserole with sweet ‘n’ savory bacon pecans, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet ‘n’ Savory Bacon Pecans.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 426 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Ingredients

Sweet ‘n’ Savory Bacon Pecans

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Poke a few holes in the sweet potatoes and bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice them in half and allow to cool.
    2. Meanwhile, make the bacon pecans. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain onto a paper towel. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, pecans, butter, cayenne, sage, and rosemary (if using). Stir in the bacon.
    3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Peel the skins away from the flesh of the sweet potato. Add the sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl. Mash well. Mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, butter, eggs, and bourbon until combined. Season with salt.
    4. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the pecans evenly over top.
    5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the pecans are golden. Serve warm topped with flaky sea salt.

Notes

To Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole through step 4. Cover and store the assembled casserole in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove the casserole from the fridge while the oven preheats, then bake as directed. 
To Make Gluten Free: Use an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour. I recommend Cup4Cup gluten free flour
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Comments

  1. The most requested side dish at our family feast! I double the recipe so that there a few left-overs! This is a really delicious and yummy sweet potato dish!!!

    1. Hi Lindsey,
      You are going to peel the sweet potatoes in step 3:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Thanksgiving! xx

    1. Hi Maria,
      I would just use 3 of the sweet potatoes. I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Thanksgiving! xx

    1. Hey Taylor,
      Totally fine to skip the bacon:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! Happy Thanksgiving! xT

  2. I just prepped this dish for my Thanksgiving dinner. I used 4 very normal sized sweet potatoes and there is no way they would have filled a 9×13. If you are making this for your family get together, I suggest baking more sweet potatoes than you think you need… maybe 8-10. I’m excited to try the dish, it smells fabulous!

    1. Thank you! I’m trying to find more conventional quantities because I got my sweet potatoes from a farmer and they are all pretty small. I’m trying to convert how many pounds of raw potatoes, or cups of cooked potatoes I need. I’ll roast them all!

    2. Hi Peg,
      Thanks for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback! Sorry to hear this recipe did not fill a 9×13 pan for you, was there anything you adjusted? I hope it tastes great! xT

    3. 4 stars
      I had the same problem. I ended up going back to the store and got three more sweet potatoes and added probably 1 1/2 more. The size of sweet potatoes at one store was very different than the other. I think a weight measurement would be more helpful. I also found that 1/4c of brown sugar was all I needed. Others might feel differently but it was sweet enough for me.

  3. Hi,
    This looks delicious! Any ideas for a good substitute for the pecans? I’m working around a nut allergy but looking for that crunch.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Marisa,
      Pepitas would be an option for you! Please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Thanksgiving! xT

  4. This recipe disappointed me. I thought 3/4 cup brown sugar to add to the potatoes was an awful lot, so I cut it to 1/2 cup. It was still way too sweet, especially with the topping which also has 3/4 cup of sugar. And there was a lot of leftover topping for that amount of sweet potatoes, although I have to add that the topping is delicious, especially with the addition of the rosemary and the sage. I am saving it to use with something else.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback. So sorry to hear it was not enjoyed. Have a happy Thanksgiving! xx

    2. Thanks for the feedback – I only added 1/4 brown sugar, and 1/2 c of sugar for the topping – it turned out yummy!

  5. Every grocery store I go to only has white sweet potatoes. Can you use Yams in this recipe for the color or should I still to white sweet potatoes?

    1. Hi Courtney,
      I would use yams for this recipe:) Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT

  6. Hi Tieghan!
    I’ll be making this for Thanksgiving this year! How far in advance do you recommend making it (or not!)? 1-2 days? Can’t wait to taste all of the flavors on this! I’ll also be making one of my favorites, your Maple Apple Tarte Tatin. A favorite amongst our family!
    Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Hey Wendy,
      You could totally make this 1-2 days in advance:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope this turns out well for you! xT

  7. Hello! This looks delicous and I’m making it for Thanksgiving… I bought a 3 lb bag of sweet potatoes at Aldi and they’re quite small… Do you know about how many pounds worth of sweet potatoes you used and/or are equivalent to the 4 medium sweet potatoes the recipe calls for? Thank you!!!

    1. Hey Kellie,
      I would use 6-8 of the small ones:) I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions! xT

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and it’s always a hit! I was wondering if steaming the potatoes to save time and subbing heavy cream for whole milk would make a difference in the texture?

    1. Hey Kaitie,
      I have never tried this with this recipe, so I am not sure what the results would be:) I would stick with the heavy cream if you can! I hope this turns out well for you! xT

    1. Hi Megan,
      I would try almond milk! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  9. This looks better than the sweet marshmallow type. I will be making this gluten free and without some spices. What kind if bourbon works best?

      1. How is the bacon used in this recipe?
        All i can find is cook it till crispy. Then the flour, butter, cayenne etc. when do I add it ?

        1. Hi Bonnie,
          You are stirring in the bacon at the end of step 2 and then spooning over the sweet potatoes in step 4:)