This Candied Sweet Potato Casserole is a southern holiday classic that’s effortlessly whipped up with canned yams. Imagine buttery, warm-spiced sweet potato mash, crowned with a brown sugar and pecan streusel that’s all kinds of snatched. It’s a cozy holiday hug for your taste buds, wrapped in a brown sugar crumble that’s hitting all the right notes.
Need Holiday Meal Plan Ideas?
Alright, if you’re trying to serve up a holiday feast look no further. I’ve got a menu that pairs so well with this Candied Sweet Potato Casserole. Let’s dig in, shall we?
- Entree: Roast Chicken with Giblet Gravy – Listen, this chicken didn’t come to play; it came to slay. Juicy and tender, with a giblet gravy that’s a cozy hug for your taste buds.
- Side: Green Bean Casserole – Forget what you knew about green bean casseroles. This one’s got crispy onions and homemade mushroom sauce that’ll make you rethink your whole life.
- Side: Mac and Cheese Casserole – This is the mac and cheese that your other sides wish they could be. Creamy, cheesy, and easy to make – no flour, no roux.
- Drink: Smoked Mulled Wine – If this drink was a person, it’d be the life of the party. It’s warm, spiced, and smoked—like a holiday carol in a glass.
Holy Yams! This Sweet Potato Casserole Stole The Holiday
Picture this: Thanksgiving at my mom’s place in San Diego, and the fam is doing the usual “rotation of the plates,” right? Turkey? Check. Mac & cheese? On point. Greens? Ok, I did that. But when they got to my Candied Sweet Potato Casserole? You should have seen the faces of confusion.
But once they tried it, chiiiiiiild, it was like the day of Pentecost up in there! I’m talking Holy Ghost falling and folks practically speaking in tongues as those yams hit their taste buds.
Now, I was sitting there, low-key popping my collar in my mind because, let’s be real, I knew I brought the heat. This casserole is giving you buttery, warm-spiced sweet potato mash that’s smoother than a Drake love song, all crowned with a brown sugar and pecan on top that’s as crisp as autumn leaves under your boots. Trust, it’s got a special ingredient that separates it from all those other basic casseroles.
The Ginger Plot Twist
Let’s talk about the ginger game-changer in this casserole, shall we?
So, the other day, I hit up the store with my bestie to snag some fresh ginger. Her reaction? “What even is that thing?” I was shook. It’s like everyone’s heard of ginger, but how many actually know what this rooty MVP looks like in the wild?
Listen, this knobbly little root is the unsung hero of this casserole. It elevates all the other flavors. And let’s not sleep on that brown sugar crumble—it’s like a buttery sweet encore. Best part? You’re just 25 minutes away from a flavor explosion. Trust, you want this dish on your holiday spread. 🌟
Sweet Potato Mixture
- Canned Sweet Potatoes or Canned Yams: Serve as the base of the casserole, providing a soft, sweet texture. Fresh sweet potatoes can also be used but will require longer cooking time. See notes below for how to substitute them in.
- Oranges: The zest and juice add a citrusy brightness that enhances the yams’ natural sweetness.
- Lemon Juice: Adds a tangy note that complements the sweetness of the yams and oranges.
- Brown Sugar: Contributes a molasses-like sweetness that deepens the flavor profile of the dish.
- Vanilla: Adds a subtle aromatic layer that complements the spices and citrus.
- Fresh Ginger: Provides a zesty kick that elevates the overall flavor.
- Ground Cinnamon & Nutmeg: These spices add warmth and depth, making the dish more complex and inviting.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances and balances the flavors of the yams and spices.
- Pinch of Black Pepper: Adds a slight spiciness that complements the sweetness and warmth of the other ingredients.
Brown Sugar Streusel
- Chopped Pecans: Add a crunchy texture that contrasts with the soft yam mixture. You can use whatever chopped nut that you like.
- Flour: Serves as the binding agent for the streusel, helping it hold its shape.
- Light Brown Sugar: Adds a rich, caramelized sweetness that balances the nutty and buttery flavors.
- Kosher Salt: A small amount balances the sweetness of the sugar and enhances the nutty flavor of the pecans.
- Unsalted Butter: Helps bind the streusel ingredients together and adds a rich, buttery flavor.
How To Make Canned Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Preheated Oven: Set to 450°F and butter a 9×9-inch dish.
Sweet Potato Mixture
- Mash Yams: In a large bowl, mash drained yams.
- Mix In: Add all remaining ingredients to the mashed sweet potatoes and stir.
Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
- Combine: In another bowl, mix all streusel ingredients until clumpy.
Assemble & Bake
- Fill Dish: Spread yam mixture in the prepared baking dish.
- Add Streusel: Sprinkle on top.
- Initial Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Final Bake: Remove foil and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes until golden brown.
Storage, Reheating, & Make Ahead Recommendations
Pop that leftover casserole in a sealed container and it’ll be good for 2-3 days.
Leftovers: Bag it up and toss it in the freezer. It’ll stay fresh for months.
Microwave: If you’re in a hurry, one minute in the microwave will do. But heads up, the pecans won’t stay crunchy.
Oven: For that fresh-baked feel, reheat at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. Keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out.
Making Ahead of Time
Assemble the casserole as instructed. Cover with aluminim foil and refrigerate until ready to serve. Let the casserole get to room temperature before baking. When you’re ready, add it to a preheated 450°F oven and bake as instructed.
What is Sweet Potato Casserole?
Sweet potato casserole is iconic, versatile, and always a crowd-pleaser. Originating from North America, this dish is a holiday staple that’s got it all. Imagine a base of chunky mashed sweet potatoes, jazzed up with brown sugar, giving you that sweet, caramelized goodness. But hold up, we’re not done. On top, you’ve got this crunchy streusel that’s hitting all the right notes, sometimes even featuring a cameo by marshmallows.
Flavor-wise, it’s giving you dessert vibes while still holding its own among the savory big hitters like your oven-roasted turkey or whatever meaty masterpiece you’ve got going on. Trust, it’s the side dish that’ll have everyone going back for seconds, thirds, and maybe even fourths. 🌟
Difference Between Yams And Sweet Potatoes?
The yam vs. sweet potato saga is like a soap opera in the produce aisle. 🍠🎭 We’ve all been there, staring at cans labeled “yams” and wondering if they’re actually sweet potatoes in disguise. Let’s be real, Thanksgiving planning is stressful enough without this veggie identity crisis!
So, what’s the deal? Well, NEWSFLASH, they’re not the same. Yams and sweet potatoes are like distant relatives at a family reunion—similar but oh-so-different. The confusion started way back in the 1930s, all thanks to marketing. A new, orange-fleshed sweet potato variety hit the scene, and to make it stand out, they called it a “yam,” borrowing from West African lingo. Fast forward to today, and the USDA requires that true yams be labeled with “sweet potatoes” to clear up the mix-up.
Quick facts to keep you woke:
- Yam: It’s a tuber, usually more cylindrical, with bark-like skin.
- Sweet Potato: It’s a root, more tapered, with thinner skin.
- Taste: Sweet potatoes are generally sweeter.
Most of the so-called “yams” you’re side-eyeing in American grocery stores are actually just orange-fleshed sweet potatoes doing a little identity swap. For real, you’re way more likely to bump into sweet potatoes on your regular grocery run than you are to find a true yam. So next time you’re grocery shopping and you see something labeled “yam,” you’ll know what’s up. 🌟
How to Sub in Fresh Sweet Potatoes
If you’re feeling all fancy and wanna use fresh sweet potatoes, I gotchu. You’ll need about 2 pounds, or roughly 4 big ol’ sweet potatoes. Now, there are a few ways to get these babies cooked and mashed, so let’s break it down:
Method 1: Boil ‘Em Up – Peel those sweet potatoes and chop ’em into chunks. Toss ’em in a pot, cover with water, and crank that heat up. Boil for about 15 minutes or until they’re so tender, they practically beg to be mashed. Drain and get to mashin’.
Method 2: Roast ‘n Toast – Wrap those sweet potatoes in some foil and slide ’em into an oven preheated to 400°F. Let them roast for an hour, then peel and mash. You’ll get a richer, deeper flavor this way.
Method 3: The Quickie Microwave Method – Short on time? No worries. Poke some holes in those taters with a fork, wrap them in wet paper towels, and zap ’em in the microwave for 15-20 minutes. They should be soft enough to mash without breaking a sweat.
Add Some Flair: Recipe Variations & Customization Ideas
There are a number of ways to remix this Candied Sweet Potato Casserole. 🎶 You’ve got options, so let’s get into it:
- Individual Flair: Want to make everyone feel extra special? Serve up this casserole in mini ramekins or muffin tins for individual portions. It’s like giving each of your guests their own little slice of heaven!
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole: If you’re all about that dairy-free life, you can still get in on this casserole goodness. Swap out the regular butter for vegan butter and use a plant-based milk like almond or oat. I’ve got a great recipe for you to follow.
- Milk Switch-Up: If cow’s milk ain’t your jam, go ahead and sub in coconut or almond milk.
- Syrup Swoon: Swap out the sugar for maple syrup if you’re feeling a richer, more autumnal vibe.
- Fresh Sweet Potatoes: Fresh sweet potatoes are a fab option. Just roast or boil ’em until they’re fork-tender, then mash away. You might need to adjust the moisture level, so keep an eye on it.
- Nut-Free Zone: If nuts aren’t your thing or you’re serving folks with allergies, remove the nuts and just make a brown sugar streusel.
- Marshmallow Mania: Marshmallow fan? You can totally sub in marshmallows for that streusel. Whether you’ve got mini marshmallows or the regular-sized ones, just cut ’em in half and layer them on top of your sweet potato mixture. They’ll melt right in.
We Love Sweet Potatoes – Try These Recipes & You Will Too!
- Soul Food Sweet Potato Pie
- Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Southern Sweet Potato Pound Cake
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
Frequently Asked Recipe Questions
Can I Use Fresh Sweet Potatoes Instead of Canned Ones? Absolutely, darling! Fresh ones have a more earthy texture. Just bake ’em instead of boiling to avoid extra moisture.
Why Do We Need Eggs in This Casserole? Eggs are like the BFF that holds everything together. They keep the casserole fluffy and easy to scoop. No eggs, no fluff!
Can This Casserole Be Made Gluten-Free? For sure! Just use a gluten-free flour like almond or coconut for the topping.
Can I Assemble the Casserole Ahead and Bake It Later? Yes, and it’s a lifesaver for busy holidays! Assemble, chill, and bake when you’re ready.
Any Alternatives for Pecans in the Topping? You can switch it up with walnuts, hazelnuts, or even oats for a different crunch.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Y’all, this Candied Sweet Potato Casserole is the real MVP of holiday feasts—it’s creamy, crunchy, and packed with flavors that’ll make your taste buds do the Cupid Shuffle. So go ahead, give it a whirl and let your kitchen turn into the soul food sanctuary you never knew you needed. And hey, if you’re lovin’ what you’re tastin’, do your girl a solid—rate this recipe and drop a comment below. Tried it at home? Don’t forget to tag @meikoandthedish on social, ’cause I live for seeing your kitchen masterpieces!
Sweet Potato Mixture
- 1 40 oz. can + (1) 29 oz. can yams, drained
- 2 medium oranges – zested & juiced 2 tbsp zest, ½ cup juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tbsp zest, 2 tbsp juice
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger grated
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pinch of black pepper
Brown Sugar & Pecan Streusel
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick 8 tbsp unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 450°F degrees. Butter or spray with baking spray a 9×9-inch casserole or baking dish. Set aside.
Sweet Potato Mixture
- In a large bowl, add yams (drained) and mash until smooth with light chunks. Stir in orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, brown sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt.
Brown Sugar & Pecan Streusel
- In a separate bowl or food processor, add pecans, flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter; mix until combined into moist clumps.
Assemble Candied Sweet Potato Casserole
- Pour sweet potato mixture and spread evenly into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar crumble over the top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then carefully remove aluminum foil.
- Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
- You can make the streusel by mixing with your hands or you can
also pulse in a food processor.
- You can substitute in any nuts that you prefer in the streusel.
- Method 1: Boil ‘Em Up – Peel those sweet potatoes and chop ’em into chunks. Toss ’em in a pot, cover with water, and crank that heat up. Boil for about 15 minutes or until they’re so tender, they practically beg to be mashed. Drain and get to mashin’.
- Method 2: Roast ‘n Toast – Wrap those sweet potatoes in some foil and slide ’em into an oven preheated to 400°F. Let them roast for an hour, then peel and mash. You’ll get a richer, deeper flavor this way.
- Method 3: The Quickie Microwave Method – Short on time? No worries. Poke some holes in those taters with a fork, wrap them in wet paper towels, and zap ’em in the microwave for 15-20 minutes. They should be soft enough to mash without breaking a sweat
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
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