Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

This recipe for bourbon sweet potatoes drowns the potatoes in butter, brown sugar, bourbon, and maple syrup. A great Thanksgiving side. Best of all? It’s only 279 calories!

A white baking dish filled with slices of cooked sweet potato

Bourbon sweet potatoes? Believe it. The boozy side dish everyone at your table is going to be clamoring for is pretty much diametrically opposed to that sweet and innocent marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole of your childhood. And we love both for very different reasons even though they share the common trait of copious amounts of butter and sugar. In the words of author Virginia Willis, “Only a Southerner, inheritor of the infamous Southern sweet tooth, would add massive quantities of butter and sugar to a sweet potatoes and still regard it as a vegetable.” All we can say is these are our kind of vegetables. Originally published November 14, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
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  • 4 to 6 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch (12-mm) thick rounds
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (2 oz), plus more for the baking dish
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons sorghum or maple syrup


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter an ovenproof gratin or casserole dish.
  • 2. Arrange the sweet potato slices in the prepared baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • 3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, bourbon, and syrup and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the sauce begins to boil, pour it over the sweet potatoes.
  • 4. Bake the casserole, turning the sweet potatoes and spooning the liquid over the top occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Bourbon! Sweet potatoes! Need I say more? I’ve been pleased with all of Virginia Willis’s recipes from this great cookbook, but this one really turned heads…and noses. The smell of sweet potatoes baking in the bourbon mixture was delightful. This was a great side dish for a curry-spiced chicken and okra dish we made for some friends this weekend. This comment should tell you a lot: one of our friends who came over for dinner doesn’t even usually like sweet potatoes, but he practically rushed back over to the oven for seconds of these! In terms of the recipe itself, I made this dish in a casserole dish to try and keep the potatoes in one layer. That made it easier to baste and rotate the potatoes throughout the cooking time.My potatoes were cooked at the 45-minute mark instead of the 60-minute mark. I loved this easy recipe and would love to try it again with some pecans or walnuts sprinkled on top!

Sweet potato yummy heaven! Make this for Thanksgiving, Superbowl Sunday, and every other fall/winter special occasion!

Anyone that makes this will tell you it was a treat just to open up the oven and smell this baking. Its wonderful goodness reaches you even before you take that first bite. The flavor that takes this to the top is the bourbon. It brings this dish together. All I can say that any extras you may want to add will be an added bonus. I was tempted to add pecans. These are pretty sweet, so they will be perfect for Thanksgiving, This is the second recipe I tested by Virginia Willis from her cookbook Bon Appetit Y’All. A favorite saying down here in Louisiana. I will use her cookbook a lot more and am happy to own it.

If you like to justify what you eat, this could be called a vegetable side dish. However, this could just as easily be called dessert. The sweet potatoes come out tender, while the sauce becomes a rich, buttery glaze. It is so simple to make, it really doesn’t matter whether you eat it for dinner, dessert, or even breakfast (my husband said it reminded him of French toast). I will be making it again.


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    1. Hi Juliena, we did not test the recipe in a crockpot so I’m reluctant to say yes. I reached out to Virginia, the author of the recipe and she has also not tried a crock pot version. That being said, it might work beautifully but I would definitely give it a trial run before serving it a special dinner.

  1. I followed this exact recipe and the results were outstanding. I didn’t have enough time to cut the sweet potatoes as indicated so, I cut them smaller, cooked them for 30 minutes and the results were outstanding! Definitely a keeper.

    1. Hi Kristi, we only tested this recipe in the oven so I can’t say for sure how it would work in a slow cooker. I worry that the potatoes might get a little too mushy and lack that lovely caramelization that would occur in the oven.

  2. Did you use Sweet Potatoes or Yams? I used Sweet Potatoes and it doesn’t look anything like yours. What did I do wrong?

    1. Janice, I’m going out on a limb here because I haven’t personally done that with this recipe. But considering I’m doing it with so many other dishes this year, I’d say yes. But, please, report back so we’ll know for sure next year.

      1. Janice, I have made this recipe many times, and based on past experiences, this is what I’m doing again tonight:

        1. Arrange the sweet potato slices in the prepared baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper.
        2. In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, butter, bourbon, and syrup to a boil over medium-high heat.
        3. Place everything in the fridge, separately, overnight.
        4. Tomorrow, rewarm the mixture in the saucepan. As soon as it begins to boil, pour it over the sweet potatoes.
        5. Bake the casserole, turning the sweet potatoes and spooning the liquid over the top occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

        Hope this helps,


  3. I like the recipe, but need to watch my sugar. I think I could make a few changes and still have it come out great.

    1. Grampa Jeff. Last time I made it I used coconut palm sugar instead of the brown sugar (which is a tad better for diabetes due to low GI) and agave instead of maple syrup and it came out just as good. So this my be a good alternative for you.

  4. Decided to try this recipe yesterday for our Thanksgiving dinner. Most of us here at home are not big sweet potatoes fans, yet all I have to say is that this recipe may have big the hit of dinner. Everyone absolutely loved them and it was the first dish that fully disappeared.

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