Super Easy Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecan Brulee Topping

Posted on Dec 4, 2013

cooked sweet potato casserole


I love sweet potatoes- well, more accurately yams *.  Love. Love Love.  So when I had this sweet potato casserole at a fancy-shmancy restaurant in Las Vegas I took notes.  It was the most incredible sweet potato dish I’d ever eaten, miles better than traditional candied yams. Reluctantly, I shared my new found Food Network Recipe worthy nom nom with The Mister and we agreed we had to- HAD TO  get the recipe. Served as a side dish in an oval ramekin, the sweet potatoes were whipped into creaminess, topped with roasted pecan pieces and sprinkled with a bit of brown sugar.  Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!

Wait. It gets better.

The topping is almost caramelized – you guessed it- creme brulee style and served warm.  H.E.A.V.E.N.  The top is a bit crunchy while the sweet potato is soft and creamy- a perfect blend of sweet and salty, crunchy and smooth.  {I hear angels singing}   Not too sweet, not too savory, just perfect!


I was and so I grilled the poor waiter to find out how it was made.  He was so kind and went back to ask the chef three different questions for me because I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to take that recipe home.

 “I have an enormous fondness for delicious food. It’s very comforting.”

Terry Garr

Needless to say a lot of butter was involved (with most unbelievably delicious things it is), but I’ve found how to make it taste just as good with a lot less butter, certainly a crowd pleaser, that family and friends ask for every single year around the holidays. Plus, you can make the hole thing ahead in about 10 minutes and pop it in the oven on the day of.  Easy, fast and yummmmmmm!


sweet potato casserole mash with nutmeg


Here’s the secret: to make any recipe taste better use great ingredients. For sweet potato casserole that means start with really good yams*, dark skinned with orange centers.  Click here for more information about selecting  good sweet potatoes and how to store them.  Never put uncooked sweet potatoes of any kind in the refrigerator.  The centers will get hard and no amount of cooking will change that!

The second best part (well, the flavor is first!), is that it’s easy! There are only a few ingredients, most of which are probably in your cupboard and it can be modified for your own health concerns. It can also be made in individual ramekins or in a casserole dish to serve the masses. Anyway you make it, this will be an all-time favorite sweet potato casserole recipe in your family, too.


Uncooked sweet potato casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients

Serves 6-8

6 large yams (see note below)

1/4 cup soft butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg (if at all possible)

1 tsp salt, (optional)

4-6 oz. pecan pieces or diced pecans


  • Toast the pecans on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. For roasting tips click here.

How to cook sweet potatoes:

  • Microwave the sweet potatoes on high about 4-6 minutes per potato in batches of three. Make sure each potato is soft when done. Make a slit in one end of the potato and squeeze or scrape the mash out into a bowl.
  • Once all of the skinless sweet potatoes are in the bowl, mash or mix well until smooth. Stir in the soft butter, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp nutmeg and mix well.
  • Place the potato mixture in a large glass baking dish so the mash is only about 1 ‘ deep.
  • Top with pecans and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar. (More pats of butter can be added here, for the less healthy version)

At this point you can cover and store the casserole for 2-3 days until ready to use.

  • Before serving, warm the sweet potato casserole covered in foil at 350 degrees for 10-15  minutes, until hot.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!


*Side note: Sooo…. sweet potato casserole isn’t exactly accurate. If you’re expecting the casserole to be a warm orange-ish color with a natural sweetness you’re really talking about yam casserole, but nobody calls it that. Yams, a type of sweet potato, are often called sweet potatoes in recipes and restaurants, sometimes even grocery stores. Just be aware, if you’re buying sweet potatoes for a recipe that really calls for yams, ask the produce person for the real thing. How to tell? Sweet potatoes are lighter skinned, yellowish when peeled and less sweet. Yams are darker skinned, orange when peeled and are naturally sweet. Now you know: those sweet potato fries you’ve been ordering- it’s a lie, they’re yam fries. Yeah, sweet potato fries sounds better to me, to :0).


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One Comment

  1. I love sweet potato {yams} too! I can’t wait to give your recipe a try.

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