Bright and creamy with plenty of honeyed richness, sweet potato casserole may be that ultimate-favorite Thanksgiving dish everyone looks forward to the most each year. They’re equally delicious as a dinnertime staple — where their indulgent sweetness is the perfect foil to savory turkey, gravy and stuffing — or a standalone dessert with their toasted blanket of gooey marshmallows. Classic candied sweet potatoes are proof positive that you really don’t need to mess with a good thing. But, because they’re so good in their traditional form, you can actually elevate them to even higher levels of deliciousness with a few key additions and adjustments.
We've got some faster, easier and even healthier sweet potato recipes that taste just as good as (or better than!) the standard Thanksgiving version. If ingredients like marshmallows, pecans, brown sugar, orange zest, cranberries and even pineapples whet your holiday appetite, you’ll definitely want to try these recipes — you might just find a deeper appreciation for how wonderful this root vegetable can taste.
Choosing Your Sweet Potatoes
As the foundation of the dish, sweet potatoes obviously have a starring role in any good casserole recipe that features them. But before you begin whipping one up, it helps to know a bit about what to look for when choosing sweet potatoes if you’re not using canned. You'll first want to select what kind of sweet potato to work with — not all of them come in that autumnal, deep-orange hue. Cooking magazine Saveur cataloged 16 color shades of sweet potatoes ranging from white to purple to rich orange, each with its own slight variance in texture and flavor.
Best Classic Version of Candied Sweet Potatoes
This might just be the simplest sweet potato dish out there, and it comes straight out of the classic Betty Crocker Cookbook, so you know it’s withstood the test of time — it might even be what your parents or grandparents served at the table each year. And if you need that nostalgic flavor fast, the great thing about this recipe is that you can make it in under an hour with just a few ingredients from your pantry.
Best Candied Sweet Potatoes With a Marshmallow Topping
When you imagine a sweet potato casserole on your Thanksgiving table, you probably picture it with nicely browned marshmallows. When it's done just right, the marshmallows are crisp but soft and gooey to enhance the flavors of the sweet potatoes resting below. If you prefer this oh-so-toasty casserole to traditional slices, this recipe from The Spruce Eats shows you how it's done.
Best “Healthy” Spin on Candied Sweet Potatoes
Best Gluten-Free Version of Candied Sweet Potatoes
You might be thinking to yourself, "Aren’t sweet potatoes already gluten-free?" While the vegetables themselves are, the other recipe ingredients aren’t always free from this grain protein. In fact, it’s even present sometimes in marshmallows, so it’s essential to use a recipe like this one from Clean Eating Kitchen if one of your dinner guests has a gluten allergy or celiac disease or is avoiding gluten for other reasons. Fortunately, gluten-free candied sweet potatoes are super-easy to prepare.
Best Fancy Twist on Candied Sweet Potatoes
When sweet potatoes get fancy, they also get fun. Made with bourbon and served in a cast iron skillet, this version will make a delicious impression on your guests. To start this preparation from beloved chef Anthony Bourdain, peel and rough-cut three pounds of sweet potatoes, then blanch them in water for about 10 minutes until they're barely tender. Drain them in a colander.