Ultimate Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

Side Dish

Recipe courtesy of Best American Side Dishes by Cooks Illustrated

Serves 10 to 12



  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 5 lbs sweet potatoes (about 8 medium) peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 1 egg white lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 2 cups pecans, halved

Ultimate Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

Click image to enlarge

Sweet Potatoes

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, salt, pepper and water; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook stirring often until the sweet potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into center without resistance), about 45 to 60 minutes.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, remove the lid and bring the sauce to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a glaze, 7 to 10 minutes.


Mix all the ingredients for the topping in a medium bowl and set aside.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 450˚F. Pour the potato mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Spread the topping over the potatoes. Bake until the pecans are toasted and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Note: We use a Dutch oven and a little water to reduce the leeching of flavor and a resulting watery sauce when other methods e.g. boiling potatoes are used. Using this method we were able to develop a rich complex sauce and cook off the extra water once the lid to Dutch oven was removed.



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