Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin

By • June 22, 2010 41 Comments

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Author Notes: Making these in muffins tins allows you to easily multiply the recipe for your guests! - cnevertzcnevertz

Food52 Review: Far from a "sweet" sweet potato dish, these individual gratins get a big punch of flavor from the many layers of diced pancetta and Gruyere. Using a muffin tin allows for easy portioning, and if you choose your sweet potatoes carefully, the slices will fit perfectly into each compartment, which yields more polished personal gratins (if you care about that sort of thing; take note, Type A's!). Since this dish relies only on a few ingredients, the quality of each matters greatly. The more intense the Gruyere, the deeper the dish goes into savory territory. We say: bring it on! - A&MThe Editors

Serves 12

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound)
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced small (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and slice into 1/8-inch thick rounds.
  3. Generously coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Put one slice of the sweet potato into each cup.
  5. Top each with about a teaspoon of the shredded gruyere and diced pancetta; sprinkle with a little salt and white pepper.
  6. Repeat twice, overlapping small sweet potato slices if necessary to make a layer and use all slices.
  7. Add any leftover cheese and pancetta on top.
  8. Spoon a tablespoon of heavy cream on top of each cup.
  9. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover pan loosely with the foil, sprayed side down.
  10. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  11. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin and serve as a side dish to your favorite main course.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

More Great Recipes: Sweet Potatoes|Hors d'oeuvres|Snacks|Potatoes|Appetizers

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Comments (41) Questions (4)


about 1 month ago Donna W

I have been making these as appetizers using mini muffin tins for several years. Quality ingredients make the difference. I found New Seasons pancetta to be the best and has wonderful flavor. I do render the pancetta before assembling. Use fine shredder for cheese. The only ingredient I added to the recipe above is sauteed shallots and did omit adding the salt. Although white sweet potatoes work best, I sometimes add a layer or two of yams for color. Since I slice potato thin, I usually get four layers in mini tins. These are smaller than original recipe so cooking time will be less and I drop cooking temp a little. As a note: I found my Calphalon mini tins do not stick like others.
I assemble these early in the day (or night before) and keep covered in refrigerator...just before baking I add the heavy cream. This is my most requested appetizer. You may need to experiment a little to get the amount of each ingredient to match desired flavor. Great recipe!


9 months ago ashley's brain

Yum! Took these to a neighborhood gathering and they barely survived getting from the door to the table! Made some with chorizo, some with a smoky pepper bacon/pancetta combo.
Made some in a muffin tin, others in a mini-loaf tin. (8 mini loafs to the pan.) I liked the ones in the mini-loaf tin: were easy to flip out with a spatula, then I cut them in half to make the more bite sized for appetizers.
I (also) don't do the "non-stick spray thing", so put a piece of parchment paper on top of each pan, then foil over that. Worked fine.
I browned the meats a bit first. Mostly I wanted to render some of the fat from the bacon and ensure it got cooked. Also didn't add salt since my meats were salty and strongly seasoned. Was fine.
My pans are non-stick and heavy. I didn't spray or oil them and didn't have any trouble with sticking, but there was a lot of grease from the cheese & cream. (dabbed it off with a paper towel/ poured it off).
Folks asked for the recipe, so I've forwarded this link on. I'll definitely make these again & will play with the proportions, depending on what I want at the time. (more/less sweet potato or cheese or meat).
I'll probably try this in a small gratin pan, then cut them into bite- or single-serving sizes. (I think keeping the pan size smallish will help ensure there's 'enough' crispiness.)
This definitely goes into my rotation of standards!!


10 months ago Ann Flanigan

Do you think these would work with shredded sweet potatoes? Maybe in mini-muffin tins?


11 months ago robi zocher

I made these without pancetta, using one yam and one sweet potato. Amazing! (No problem getting them out of the tins. They did cook down as the cream was absorbed, so I will stack a bit higher next time and see how that goes.)


over 1 year ago Kathy

I'm making these for the second time! I use the white sweet potato instead of the orange and I found that after the first 20 minutes they were already tender and ready to enjoy. Thank goodness because I had misread the directions and my chicken was already done! Even reheated the next day the last couple were yummy. Would love to try with smokey bacon some time.


over 1 year ago Katie Kirby

I made these for a shower. The flavor was DELICIOUS but they got super oily while they cooked and ended up charring the sides of the tins. Any thoughts on why this happened? The flavor combination was delicious (and frankly people still ate them, albeit with a spoon out of the charred pan.) Should I have cooked the pancetta first? Too much cream??


over 1 year ago Meagen

My husband and I made several variations of this for Christmas dinner. We have lactose intolerant and vegetarian family members and we easily adapted this dish for them. The original dish is amazing and we had so many compliments. The best part is that this dish is so easy to throw together. We all loved it and will be making it again.


over 1 year ago LizCo77

I made these with sharp white cheddar, bacon, and half & half because it's what was in the house. Plus I buttered the pan because I don't do the cooking spray thing. They were amazing! My fiancé ate almost the entire pan by himself....


over 1 year ago JeanBee

I have made these 3 times for different potlucks and they have always been huge hits! Without fail, someone asks me for the recipe. (One friend even said she wouldn't be giving away the recipe if she had "discovered" it first!) Major thanks to cnevertz for posting this and giving us all automatic wins at our parties and special occasions.


almost 2 years ago Jason

I just made these for a hip fall potluck and they were a success. Scared by stories of the potato sticking to the muffin tin, i overloaded on oil, so they got a little crispier than i wanted, but they didn't stick! I didn't have much of an issue with shrinkage either. It seemed to me the muffin pan only came into play when adding the heavy cream, not sure how essential that was though. I also had to sub the pancetta for Guanciale, smoked bacon-esque meat from the cheek of the pig. Sounds gross, totally delicious though. Would recommend this one.


about 2 years ago Ghost House Kitchen

I chose several items from food52 site for my mother-in-law's wedding reception menu. This was the biggest hit by far! We made it in a big pan instead of in muffin tin for individual size. We still served it as starter by cutting into small bite size squares and placed them on a nice slate board. It saved baking time and worked really well.


9 months ago robin lewis

I love this idea--a large pan, then you cut them into bite-sized squares? I wish I could see a picture of this.


over 2 years ago gustus

My experience was much like housepanther's. The little pucks that could be chiseled out of the muffin tin were more trouble than they were worth. I like the combination of ingredients, but will combine them as a casserole in the future.


over 2 years ago PaulaE

My guests raved over this dish tonight. I used diced prosciutto instead of pancetta and it was savory, rich, even a bit mysterious. I dipped paper towel in olive oil and wiped the non-stick muffin tin cups. Removing the "cupcakes" was easy. Next time I plan to slice the yams lengthwise and do the layers in a small oval baking dish.


over 2 years ago deedee1200

Just a thought, since I haven't made this yet, but I would think those parchment paper cupcake liners would work nicely here, especially for those folks who are having sticking problems and/or who don't like to use cooking spray (me!).


over 1 year ago JeanBee

deedee1200- That's a brilliant idea! I used butter for my pan and it worked well enough but I think the individual parchment cupcake liners would be way less fuss and muss. Thanks!


over 1 year ago robin lewis

these were delicious. made them for the first time last nite and they were a new years eve dinner party hit. i used parchment paper lined muffin cups--i should have followed the directions exactly (no liners, just well-greased tins) because the gratins turned out a bit soggy. i don't know if it's because the cream made the parchment soggy (probably?) or if gratins are kind of supposed to be a bit soggy, steaming the gratins instead of baking them?. they were delicate and tender and delicious, though... will definitely make again.


almost 3 years ago housepanther

Meh. I wasn't impressed. Even though I used a nonstick muffin pan *and* used cooking spray, these stuck so badly that they came out in chunks. They also shrunk so much they were like little tiny pucks on the plate. There are much more tasty ways to use pancetta and sweet potatoes. It's a cute idea, but I won't be making this again.


about 3 years ago SJR

I made these again last night using the large muffin pan (6 muffins). I used swiss cheese, as well as skim milk (instead of butter or cream). In addition, I used reconstituted porcini mushrooms, cut up into small pieces. These were absolutely superb!


about 3 years ago SJR

This is really good & such a clever idea! I made this tonight, but with a few changes. First, sautéed 5 shallots & 1 large clove of garlic (all minced); I omitted the pancetta. Second, I used a parmesan/asiago blend of cheese instead of the gruyere. Third, I put a handful of sliced almonds in with the shallots & garlic mixture. Fourth, since I forgot to buy cream or milk to drizzle over the top, I used melted butter.

The result: We really liked these but I would do a few things differently next time. Next time, I would use the suggested gruyere or swiss cheese instead of the parmesan/asiago blend because the saltiness of this cheese overpowered the natural taste of the sweet potato. I also would be sure to have milk or cream on hand, as drizzling butter over the top made them really greasy. I also may consider making these in a large muffin tin (6 muffins) since I would be able to add lots of layers to make they thicker. When using the small muffin tin (12 muffins), these little things shrunk to half their size, so there wasn't a lot of substance to them. Overall, delicious - awesome idea. We will make these a lot!


over 1 year ago robin lewis

are these supposed to be made in mini muffin tins? (i didn't interpret the recipe that way, used regular muffin tins...)


over 3 years ago bethk1126

I used the shallot suggestion instead of pancetta. Instead of using muffin tins, I simply sliced the sweet potatoes into rounds, cooked for 25 minutes, added the sauteed shallots and gruyere and cooked another 5 minutes. They're wonderful!


over 3 years ago Pixelmadchen

I just made this with blue cheese instead of gruyere. A muffin pan wasn't handy so I made it in a small shallow pan. Really delicious and will make it again.


over 3 years ago DeArmasA

SOOO delicious!! Made it tonight and it was a huge hit with the family - thanks for sharing!!


over 3 years ago Sigita

I made these for Christmas dinner. They were AMAZING. Be sure and spray the muffin tins very thoroughly . A bit labor intensive - but well worth it and a very nice "potion " serving size- looks nice on a platter. will for sure make again. Yum.


almost 4 years ago niki5959

I also made these for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them! What a nice change of pace for sweet potatoes. My husband usually takes our Thanksgiving leftovers to hunting camp but I asked him to leave the leftover sweet potatoes for me. :-) Yum!


almost 4 years ago singing_baker

Made these for thanksgiving and everyone went nuts for them! Great recipe!


almost 4 years ago KitchenLittle

Anyone try making this in a larger casserole dish instead of single servings? I'm trying it for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but wanted to see if anyone else had given this a shot.


almost 4 years ago KitchenLittle

Anyone try making this in a larger casserole dish instead of single servings? I'm trying it for Thanksgiving tomorrow, but wanted to see if anyone else had given this a shot.


almost 4 years ago vbeale

This is soooo delicious and easy! Great for entertaining. I substitute shallots for the pancetta to make it vegetarian. Thanks for sharing!


over 4 years ago Phred61

Great recipe! Made these for a Super Bowl Snack and they were great!


over 4 years ago Ms. T

Wonderful recipe. I made for Christmas dinner as a side to roasted game hens, and it was a big hit. Do you typically saute the pancetta to crisp it up before you assemble the gratin? I wasn't sure, so I did, but if it's not necessary, I'll save the step next time.


over 4 years ago aislenine

Can these be made ahead and reheated?


over 4 years ago lapadia

Agree, great Wildcard pick...Congratulations!


over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats on the wildcard win! Sounds yummy! Wow, you really really like sweet potatoes, don't you? ;-)


over 4 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats. Such a clever and delicious recipe!


over 4 years ago gingerroot

Congrats on the Wildcard win! These look delicious.


over 4 years ago mariaraynal

Great Wildcard pick! Congrats!


over 4 years ago Lizthechef

Great recipe, one I will definitely try. Love using the muffin tins!


over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

What a wonderful idea! Congratulations on the Wildcard win!


over 4 years ago Jennifer Ann

Brilliant idea! and just in time to solve my sidedish dilemna for Christmas.