So many of us look forward to that classic sweet potato casserole each fall, especially on Thanksgiving.
As much as my husband loves marshmallows, he hates when this delicious and naturally sweet root vegetable is served with them. That’s why he’s always preferred more savory approaches. He gobbles up in seconds the hash I make with herbs, peppers, and onions.
Growing up really does change your taste buds, and even I am not a fan of the overly sweetened casserole-style dish anymore. Instead, I am always on the lookout for new ways to serve yams or sweet potatoes as a side dish.
I tried the glazed method first, but he really wasn’t a fan of that either. Let me tell you, it was a rough couple of years at the Thanksgiving dinner table before I would finally nail the recipe just the way he wanted it…
With a handful of years of experimenting with new recipes under my belt, I can confidently say that nothing brings out the flavor of these vegetables like roasting them.
I absolutely love the fresh taste of sweet potato in this dish. You can actually taste their sweet earthiness, instead of it being covered up with all that sugar. Crazy, right?
After you roast the tubers for a bit, you add the flavorful, crunchy topping. There’s still a little brown sugar in there, combined with butter and pecans. This makes for a killer mix of nutty, rich, and just a bit sweet, with minimal kitchen prep required.
My husband went crazy over this dish when I made it. Being able to actually taste the delicate flavor of the tubers was what won him over, but the nutty topping served as a textural surprise that had him finishing his serving off before he touched anything else on his dinner plate.
This is an easy dish to make because it all cooks up in the oven, perfect for when you’re preparing a big holiday meal with a little room in the already-hot oven to spare. Halve it for a weeknight meal, or double it if you have a ton of people coming over for a festive gathering.
You can even get this dish started a day ahead if you need to. I’ll describe more about that at the end of this article – keep reading for my tips!.
Regardless of whether it’s served as part of your holiday spread, or as a simple side dish to pair with a fall weeknight main, this easy recipe is all you need to bring your haul of sweet potatoes to life in a way everyone will enjoy.Print
Make the most of your favorite fall vegetable with butter pecan sweet potatoes. You get a lot of flavor with a nutty crunch and a velvety finish.
- 8 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs total weight)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (or more to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Slice each half crosswise into ½-inch pieces (half-rounds).
- Place on a baking sheet in a single layer. You may need two baking sheets, depending on their size. Toss with olive oil and salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until soft, stirring and rearranging in a single layer halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, and pecans.
- Return to oven and bake for 8-10 more minutes, until sugar is caramelized and crunchy. Serve warm.
Adapted from Martha Stewart.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Baking, Roasting
- Cuisine: Vegetables
Keywords: sweet potato, butter pecan, pecan
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Melt, Chop, and Measure
Melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, for about 30 seconds.
Chop enough pecans until you have 1/4 cup total.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Preheat your oven to 400˚F.
Step 2 – Peel and Cut
Get out your vegetable peeler, a chef’s knife, and a sturdy cutting board. Peel all of the sweet potatoes. Cut each in half lengthwise. Then slice each half crosswise into half rounds that are about ½ inch thick.
Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet, and spread the pieces out into a single layer. You may need more than one baking sheet, depending on the size you have.
Add the olive oil and salt, dividing them equally between the two baking sheets if necessary. Toss to coat evenly before spreading them back out into an even layer.
Step 3 – Roast
Place the trays in the oven and roast for 25 minutes. To encourage even cooking, give them a stir and rearrange them in a single layer halfway through cooking.
The sweet potatoes should be soft at this point. Remove the pans from the oven.
Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, and pecans, again dividing between the baking sheets if necessary.
Place the pans back in the oven, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. The sugar should be caramelized and crunchy.
Can I Prep This Recipe Ahead of Time?
You can do most of the work for this recipe ahead of time, which is especially helpful for when you are juggling ALL the things that you’ll need to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
Simply peel and cut the tasty tubers, then store them in an airtight container or bowl covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roast. You can also chop the pecans ahead of time. Then your prep will be reduced to mere minutes the day you cook it up.
For more sweet potato recipes that make delicious holiday sides, try these Foodal favorites:
What main dish will you serve with this simple side? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to come back to rate the recipe as soon as you try it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by November 17, 2010. Last updated: October 18, 2021 at 15:19 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.