Side by Side: Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday the white potatoes, today the lovely beta-carotene-filled orange ones…

This is one of those “Thanksgiving is not complete without” recipes for me–which is why I have, the night before Thanksgiving, sent my husband out to buy me a bottle of bourbon when I discovered he’d drank the rest of our one small bottle sometime in the past 12 months.  (Remind me to post his hot toddy recipe sometime…)

Almost as easy as the garlic smashed potatoes, it just requires a little extra bake.


Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients: sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices, bourbon, orange juice, chopped pecans (optional but awesome), currants (optional)

Cook as many sweet potatoes as desired. (Sunday I posted a crockpot-appropriate method, or you can just cut them into inch-thick chunks and boil them 15-20 minutes till soft.) You can leave the skin on if you wish, but I generally peel these–after they are cooked and cooled, the skin slips off very easily, so it’s a painless process. Unless you try it when they are still too hot–that is a pain-ful process. Which I’ve had reason to learn.

Line a baking dish (9×9 or 9×13, whatever fits your ‘taters best) with a single layer of cooked sweet potatoes.

Sprinkle with dark brown sugar (which, by the way, it’s really easy to make yourself out of white sugar and molasses)–I never measure, just take a small handful and sprinkle till it “looks right.” maybe 1/4 cup not-packed?

Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and a little clove–the cinnamon is pretty necessary; everything else can be left out if you want, or done in some combination.

Drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 cup bourbon (hic!) over potatoes, sugar, and spices.

Drizzle 1/4 cup orange juice over potatoes, sugar, and spices

Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans (or other nut of choice) that you kept back when you made the pecan pie. You could also (or instead) sprinkle a handful of dried currants on at this point.

Cover with foil and bake about 45 minutes at 325-ish–basically, put it in the oven about an hour before the turkey comes out.  Take the foil off for the last 10 minutes or so to crisp the pecans.


A variation I discovered unintentionally one year (the year I was drinking too much wine with the Australians) when I overcooked the potatoes till they were too squishy to slice properly–smash/mash them with the bourbon, orange juice, and spices, sprinkle the brown sugar and nuts on top, and bake it that way. Easily as good.

I’m told you can do this same recipe with some other spirit–rum or brandy, or Jack, for example–and it’s still delicious.  But the bourbon adds a really great complementary flavor to the sweet potatoes…


Posted on November 9, 2010, in cooking, recipe and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ooh, this looks decadent. Sweet potatoes are my favorite Thanksgiving side, but I’ve never liked the traditional marshmallow way. The way I’ve been doing it for years is almost just like this (aka “praline yams”) with some coconut added and marmalade instead of orange juice, but I think now it’s time to start adding some bourbon to the portion for the “adult’s table.” Thanks!

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