Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are already sweet—it's right there in the name!—so the best recipes will complement and contrast that sweetness, rather than pushing it up to cloying levels. Instead of packing your sweet potatoes with gobs of sugar, try roasting them with savory miso butter or smoky chipotle powder, mashing them with carrots for extra bright flavor, or tossing them with tart cranberries and mango chutney. Sure, we've got a traditional-looking casserole, too—marshmallow topping and all—though it may be a hair less sweet than what you're used to, and we think that's a good thing.

Sweet potatoes are already sweet—it's right there in the name!—so the best recipes will complement and contrast that sweetness, rather than pushing it up to cloying levels. Instead of packing your sweet potatoes with gobs of sugar, try roasting them with savory miso butter or smoky chipotle powder, mashing them with carrots for extra bright flavor, or tossing them with tart cranberries and mango chutney. Sure, we've got a traditional-looking casserole, too—marshmallow topping and all—though it may be a hair less sweet than what you're used to, and we think that's a good thing.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Marshmallow Central
Traditions are what Thanksgiving is all about, so if your family is the type that will riot if you leave the marshmallows off the sweet potato casserole, don't worry—this recipe has your back. But to keep the sweetness in check, it helps to get rid of the extra sugar in the base and instead mix in more savory and spicy ingredients. Our recipe whips up the sweet potatoes until they're light and fluffy, then seasons them with ginger, browned butter, and thyme or sage to create contrast with the topping.
Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This simple mash incorporates many of the same ingredients as our casserole—sweet potatoes, brown butter, and thyme—though without the marshmallows. Maple syrup is a pleasant addition, but slowly roasting the potatoes before mashing should bring out enough sweetness that you'll need only a little.
Get the recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
If you're not yet convinced that sweet potatoes don't need extra sugar, roasting them may be the method that sways you. Par-cooking the potatoes in hot water converts their starch into maltose; follow that up with a roast in a 400°F (200°C) oven, and they'll take on an amazing sweetness, plus lots of satisfyingly crispy edges.
Get the recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Candied Yams
Candied yams are a Southern Thanksgiving classic, but, like sweet potato casserole, they often run the risk of ending up far too sweet. On top of that, most recipes produce a sauce that breaks into sugar and grease in the oven. We make a few simple adjustments to fix those issues—using a higher proportion of water in the sugar syrup to keep it from breaking, and adding cider vinegar and ground ginger for balance—resulting in yams that are silky, tender, glazed in a syrupy lacquer, and not overly sweet.
Get the recipe for Candied Yams

More Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet Potato FAQs

What's the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?
The terms "sweet potato" and "yam" are often used interchangeably, but the two tubers are actually quite different. Real yams, native to Africa and Asia, have tough skin, super-starchy flesh, and are much less sweet than sweet potatoes. The orange "yams" you'll likely find in grocery stores are really just Beauregard or jewel sweet potatoes, perfect for turning into mash, pies, or casseroles.
What type of sweet potato should I buy?
There are countless sweet potato varieties, and which one you should buy all depends on what you're planning to cook. Read through our guide to sweet potato varieties, and choose the best variety for your cooking and baking needs.
Can I make sweet potato casserole ahead of time?
Yes, you can make most of your sweet potato casserole ahead of time. Mashed sweet potatoes can be kept in a zipper-lock bag for up to 5 days. To reheat them, simply submerge the bag of mashed sweet potatoes in hot water or a sous vide-style circulator set to 150°F (66°C). As soon as they're warmed all the way through, you'll be ready to build the casserole and put it in the oven.
What's the best way to roast sweet potatoes?
The best way to roast sweet potatoes is in two stages. First, par-cook them in a temperature-controlled water bath to increase the sweetness of their starches and then finish them in the oven where they'll crisp up, brown, and become tender.