Savory Sweet Potato Casserole — If you thought sweet potato casserole couldn’t get any better, wait until you taste it topped with candied bacon and pecans! The sweet potatoes are smooth and creamy and the candied bacon topping is the perfect texture and flavor contrast! A WONDERFUL family-favorite side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday parties and events that’s easy to prepare with make-ahead directions!
Table of Contents
- Savory Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon and Pecans
- Ingredients in Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
- How to Make Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
- Make-Ahead Instructions
- Recipe FAQs
- Tips for the Best Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole
- What Goes with Savory Sweet Potato Casserole?
- More Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Side Dishes:
Savory Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon and Pecans
I’m a huge sweet potato fan and am game for just about any sweet potato recipe. My family loves bacon so I figured this sweet potato casserole with bacon would be a hit.
And not just any bacon, this bacon is candied with maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and more! The sweet potato base of the casserole is creamy, sweet, and the perfect compliment to the saltier candied bacon and pecan topping.
Texture fans will appreciate the texture contrast between the smooth sweet potatoes and the more chewy and crunchy topping.
If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or holiday party side dish, this sweet potato casserole will be a favorite for both friends and family alike.
You can even make part of it ahead of time to save time and energy if you’re cooking it for the holidays or a party. More on that below!
Ingredients in Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
For this salty-sweet sweet potato casserole, you’ll need to following common fridge and pantry ingredients:
Sweet Potato Filling
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- Heavy Cream or half-and-half
- Salted butter
Candied Bacon Topping
- Thick cut bacon
- Pecan halves
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Smoked paprika or regular paprika
- Lemon Zest
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
This sweet potato casserole recipe is by no means hard, difficult, nor does it use exotic or difficult-to-find ingredients. On the contrary, it’s very easy with commonly found ingredients.
However, it’s a multi-step recipe so just make sure you’ve read over the recipe well before beginning.
Step 1: The first step is to boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until they’re cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Step 2: Then, to a large mixing bowl, add the boiled sweet potatoes, along with the brown sugar, maple, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, cream, butter, and eggs.
Step 3: Beat everything together with a hand mixer.
Step 4: Transfer it into a large baking or casserole dish.
If you’re making this ahead of time, stop here, cover tightly, and refrigerate. More make-ahead details below as well.
Step 5: Carry on by adding diced bacon and the pecans to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. That is key unless you love doing stubborn dishes with a baked-on sugary glaze.
Step 6: Mix together the brown sugar, maple, cinnamon, paprika, salt, lemon zest, and drizzle it over the bacons and pecans.
Step 7: Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 8: Then, top the sweet potatoes in your casserole dish with the toasted bacon and pecans.
Step 9: Bake it again for about 35 to 40 minutes. If the top appears to be browning too quickly, cover it with foil after about 15 or 20 minutes.
Step 10: Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking.
Step 11: Allow it to cool momentarily before serving it to your eager friends and family, who no doubt, will be raving about how amazing your house smells!
You can boil your sweet potatoes the day before and mash them together with the brown sugar, maple, cream, butter, eggs, and so forth, and get that plated in your baking or casserole dish.
Cover it very tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate overnight.
On the day of — and I am thinking Thanksgiving or Christmas Day if this is for a holiday celebration — you can bake the bacon and pecans, then add it on top of the sweet potatoes in the casserole dish.
Sure! For those of you who want a more traditional sweet potato casserole, my Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping is the gold standard by which I measure all other sweet potato casseroles.
Or, you can make my Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping. Both are fantastic!
Yes, you can. Add mini marshmallows to the top right over the bacon and pecans, 10 minutes before you’re finished baking. So basically about 25 to 30 minutes into baking, you’ll want to add them. Allow marshmallows to get lightly browned.
Always keep an eye on marshmallows in the oven because they are prone to burning and after the multiple steps and process involved with this holiday side dish, you definitely don’t want to burn them!
No, not as this recipe is written. It’s intended to be baked in the oven, as directed.
Although doing an internet search will turn up plenty of options for slow cooker sweet potato casseroles.
If you’re doing it this way, make sure to let the casserole dish sit out at room temp for at least the whole time you’re baking the bacon so that’s is not going straight from the fridge to oven.
I suggest letting it sit out at room temp for 1 hour, just to be safe. It would be too chilled if it sat in the fridge overnight and the potatoes may not fully warm through before the bacon and pecans were fully candied and browned.
I have never made any type of sweet potato casserole without eggs. Therefore, I am unsure about what will happen if you don’t use them. My guess is that it will be drier and not bind or hold together well. However, if you try or know how to make it without eggs, leave your tips in the comments section below.
As for the heavy cream or half-and-half, I have made sweet potato casserole before with Silk brand Unsweetened Cashew Milk and had perfectly fine results.
Tips for the Best Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole
Read through the recipe first: I always urge people to read through the entire recipe from start to finish, at least once, before beginning.
It’s amazing how often people write to me and say, oh I goofed because I didn’t read ahead and I didn’t know I was going to have to do this or that.
Specifically, this tends to happen around the holidays since people are often making a recipe they’ve never made before, or it’s a more involved recipe that yes, does require some advance skimming and reading.
Because of the various stages of this recipe, make sure you know what you’re doing and where you’re going next so read up, beforehand!
Use pure maple syrup: When you’re mixing together the boiled sweet potatoes with the rest of the ingredients, make sure to use 100% real maple syrup, the real deal. Don’t use pancake syrup.
Same goes for when you’re mixing together the bacon and pecans, make sure to use 100% real maple syrup.
Either type of brown sugar is fine: You can use either light or dark brown sugar. Dark gives a more robust and more caramelized flavor than light due to its higher molasses content, but if you tend to keep light on hand, that’s fine.
Salted or unsalted butter works: As for the salted butter, if you don’t keep it on hand, use unsalted butter and then add about 1/2 teaspoon salt.
You can substitute the smoked paprika: For the bacon portion, I always have smoked paprika on hand and think it works really well with the bacon and pecans to give a slightly more smoky flavor than using regular paprika, but regular paprika is fine if that’s what you have.
Don’t skip the lemon zest: Lemon zest may seem like a bit of a non-sequitur here, however it serves the purpose of brightening up the flavor of the overall dish without imparting a discernible lemon flavor.
It’s like adding coffee to chocolate cake batter, you’ll just have to trust me.
If you’re making this for Thanksgiving, you probably have lemons on hand for turkey prep, so you can put the peel to one of them to use in this homemade sweet potato casserole with all that glorious candied bacon.
What Goes with Savory Sweet Potato Casserole?
Serve your favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas recipes with this casserole! Pair the savory sweet potato bake with one or more of the following:
- Entrees: Orange Pineapple Glazed Ham, Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin, Honey Baked Ham, Roasted Turkey.
- Vegetable sides: Bacon Green Beans, Sweet and Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash Slices, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.
- Rolls and breads: Parker House Rolls, Pumpkin Dinner Rolls, No-Knead Dinner Rolls.
- Desserts: Pumpkin Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie.
Pin This Recipe
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed* (See Notes)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup (real maple syrup not pancake syrup)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
- 3 tablespoon heavy cream or half-and-half
- ¼ cup salted butter, melted** (See Notes)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into ⅛-inch pieces
- 1 cup pecan halves
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed* (See Notes)
- 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup( real maple syrup not pancake syrup)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional but strongly recommended
- Because of the various stages of this recipe (boiling, baking, baking), make sure you know what you’re doing and where you’re going next so read the recipe in full, before beginning!
- To a large stockpot, add the sweet potato chunks, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat until sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
- If you're making this straight through (and not making ahead), preheat your oven now to 350F.
- To the large bowl with the sweet potatoes brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, cream, butter, eggs, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy.
- Spray a 2-quart casserole dish or similar-sized baking dish with cooking spray, and transfer the sweet potato mixture into the dish. If you're making ahead, stop now, cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate.*** (See Notes)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, add the bacon, pecans, toss to combine; set aside. Tip - Parchment paper is not optional here unless you love doing stubborn dishes with a baked-on sugary glaze.
- To a small bowl, ad the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, smoked paprika, salt, lemon zest, and mix to combine.
- Slowly and evenly drizzle the liquid mixture over the bacon and pecans and stir lightly to coat evenly.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until well toasted.
- Sprinkle the candied bacon and pecans over the top of the sweet potatoes.
- Bake on the middle rack fora bout 35 to 40 minutes, or until set. Tip - If the top appears to be browning too quickly, cover it with foil after baking for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking.
- Allow to cool momentarily before serving. Recipe is best warm and fresh but extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
*You can use either light or dark brown sugar. Dark gives a more robust and more caramelized flavor than light due to its higher molasses content, but if you tend to keep light on hand, that’s fine.
**For the salted butter, if you don’t keep it on hand, use unsalted butter and then add about 1/2 teaspoon salt.
***If you're doing the make-ahead sweet potato prep, make sure to let the casserole dish sit out at room temp for at least the whole time you’re baking the bacon so that’s is not going straight from the fridge to oven. I suggest letting it sit out at room temp for 1 hour, just to be safe. It would be too chilled if it sat in the fridge overnight and the potatoes may not fully warm through before the bacon and pecans were fully candied and browned.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 4gSugar: 35gProtein: 6g
More Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Side Dishes:
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping — This is the BEST sweet potato casserole ever!! The sweet potatoes are tender and creamy, while the streusel topping adds a delightful buttery crunch thanks to the pecans!
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows — Sweet, creamy, decadent, and reminiscent of sweet potato casserole but individually portioned! FAST and EASY enough for family dinners or make them for more formal holiday celebrations! Either way, these are always the PERFECT comfort food side dish that everyone devours!
Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole — A HEALTHIER and DELICIOUS twist on sweet potato casserole!! The potatoes and apples retain some texture with the perfect amount of crumble topping! Put it on your holiday menu!!
Sweet and Savory Sweet Potato Casserole — A fun and EASY twist on classic sweet potato casserole that uses potato chips in the topping for a SALTY-SWEET flavor the whole family will love!! Great for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations!!
Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey-Cinnamon Dip – The honey glaze and the creamy cinnamon dip make these potatoes irresistible!!
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad — Goodbye mayo-loaded, mushy, boring potato salad. Hello to a Mexican-inspired potato salad full of flavor and texture with corn, black beans, peppers, and cilantro!
Honey Butter Smashed Sweet Potatoes — Soft, tender potatoes with crispy skin and the most HEAVENLY melted honey butter on top!! EASY comfort food that’s a perfect side dish anytime!!
Classic Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole — An EASY recipe for the BEST sweet potato casserole with pecans! Tender and creamy sweet potatoes, the subtle crunch of a buttery pecan crumble, and gooey marshmallows make this comfort food side dish an automatic family FAVORITE!
Sweet Potato Bites with Marshmallows and Pecans — Sliced sweet potato rounds are brushed with a maple cinnamon-and-sugar mixture, baked, and then topped with marshmallows and pecans!