5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sweet Potato Bake

October 21, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

My mom makes this every Thanksgiving—and stocks my freezer with it (unbaked) when she visits. Thanks, Ma.

The measurements are rough and amenable to your propensity for sweetness, spice, and citrus. Size up or down as needed, too: One sweet potato per person. —Ali Slagle

What You'll Need
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes, plus more for greasing and top
  • 6 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 oranges
  1. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with butter. Wash but do not peel the sweet potatoes.
  2. Plunk the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water and cook them until fork tender (but not total mush)—about 45 minutes.
  3. Let the potatoes cool until you can touch them. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F and, in a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and brown sugar. Peel and slice one of the oranges, then cut the fruit in quarters (or do what I really do and rip the orange slices into bite-size pieces).
  4. Once you can pick up the potatoes, peel and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
  5. Create one layer of potatoes in your prepared pan. Top with butter cubes, a sprinkling of the sugar mixture, and a few pieces of orange. You want the potatoes evenly covered with butter, orange pieces, and sugar—but no need to get precise with it. It's only sweet potatoes.
  6. Continue layering potatoes, butter, sugar, and orange pieces until you've just about reached the top of the pan or you've run out of sweet potatoes. On the last layer, instead of orange pieces, squeeze the two remaining oranges over the top. Add some more butter, too. Because.
  7. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
  • Dean Orlosky
    Dean Orlosky
  • Susan Riley
    Susan Riley
  • Regine
  • Ali Slagle
    Ali Slagle

20 Reviews

brenna November 21, 2017
hi! I doubled this recipe and put into two baking dishes. I was left with a ton of brown sugar/cinnamon. Did I not use enough?? I had an even dusted coating on each layer!

Thank you!
William M. November 19, 2017
Candace -
boil the sweet potatoes whole and unpeeled
Candace H. November 19, 2017
thank you!
Candace H. November 19, 2017
this may be a silly question, but do I boil the sweet potatoes whole and unpeeled?
William M. October 21, 2017
I do something similar for Thanksgiving. I thinly slice one orange instead of three. I melt one stick of butter,3/4 cup of brown sugar and add a cinnamon stick and about 3/4 a cup of good quality orange marmalade. I pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on top for about 40 minutes.
crc532 November 27, 2016
This is a 5* recipe in my book. I have been experimenting for years on the perfect sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving. I made exactly as written and the only thing I would do differently is cook the potatoes a little less and oh, make more of it. It was just a perfect recipe, organized well and the flavor of the oranges brought it to a whole different level. So happy I ignored the requests for sweet potatoes with marshmallows. We all loved it and it will now be in my Thanksgiving folder forever.
Ginny E. November 23, 2016
sounds delicious and I'm planning to make it for Thanksgiving, using a few varieties of sweet potatoes for some depth. I'm thinking of adding a bit of dry harissa...I think a tiny bit of heat would only improve this winning flavor profile!
Ali S. November 23, 2016
What a good idea!! Hope you love it.
Glendi November 21, 2016
So glad to see someone else knows about orange and Yam/sweet potatoes. Perfect combo. I use compound orange butter between the Yams. Red garnet Yams are the most flavorful as long as you don't refrigerate them first before cooking them. After they are cooked it is OK. Don't know why the chemistry of this is so, just is. I used to just bake them but since everyone started roasting everything I tried that. What an improvement. I peel and quarter lengthwise. Toss them on the pan with oil and salt and roast until they carmelise a bit. and are cooked (you could eat them now but wait, next step makes them fabulous) then layer them in a deep casserole 2-3 layers deep with lots of compound orange butter. Now you can refrigerate until just before you need to serve them up to 3 days. They just need cooked through until hot. You can even microwave them. The red garnet yams are so sweet that they don't need any sugar at all the roasting seems to bring out their natural sugars. I always make extra for leftovers...for me.
Tiffany November 1, 2016
I'm guessing steps 4 and 5 are reversed? :)
Also, would like to know how long to bake if from frozen. Thanks!
Ali S. November 2, 2016
Hi Tiffany: I've only ever defrosted and then baked (for the time listed above), so I can't say what the bake time would be directly from the freezer. And I've fixed the step order, thanks for pointing that out!
Sarah J. October 15, 2016
If you bake this from frozen, how much longer does it take?
Dean O. December 26, 2015
So I made this recipe yesterday and it was nice. Not "blow my socks off", but respectable in taste and they weren't too sweet, so felt like a healthy alternative to what is often represented in the way of sweet potato casseroles.

I have a couple of comments for others who are going to make this. As follows:
(1) the beautiful picture shows YAMS not SWEET POTATOES, so please note the difference, knowing that SPs are actually much paler and less fibrous...so use whichever you want, but please identify them correctly.
(2) I am fairly sure that the measurement should be 1 tsp (not Tablespoon) of cinnamon...I could be wrong, but 1T is A LOT of cinnamon, particularly in relation to the amount of brown sugar...unless you enjoy a bitter taste.
(3) don't boil your potatoes for 45 minutes or they WILL be mush. I boiled mine for 35 minutes and they completely fell apart...so probably about 25-30 minutes is right.
(4) Use 2 of the oranges as part of the layering and only 1 for the juice or your casserole will be soupy. I used 1 for the juice on top and even that was a bit too much for the potatoes to absorb.

Natalie R. November 2, 2016
For clarity, they're technically sweet potatoes, but are a variety that often gets labelled as yams at the store. A true yam is white or purple and can be kind of hairy while sweet potatoes are smooth-skinned and can be a variety of colors. They wouldn't be very good in this recipe (or would they ???). If your store sells red-skinned "yams", then you should listen to Dean. If the yams are with more exotic produce (or match the earlier description), then skedaddle and get you some sweet potatoes.

Thanks for the cooking notes, Dean! These are really useful! I'm considering this recipe for Thanksgiving and hate overcooked veggies in my casseroles.
crc532 November 27, 2016
Not sure if the recipe was changed, but it says in the recipe to only juice one of the oranges.
Smaug November 25, 2018
Your odds of coming across true yams are negligible unless you're in a southeast Asian market -they are huge chunks of root, no mistaking them for sweet potato "yams". Given the immense difference in thickness of sweet potatoes you can't really give a general cooking time- they may be anything from 3/4" to 2" and more thick.
Ann A. November 29, 2015
I made these for Thanksgiving and they were hands down the best sweet potatoes I've ever had. Not too sweet but so flavorful with the cinnamon and hints of orange flavor. This will be my new family sweet potato recipe!
Susan R. November 19, 2015
Sounds wonderful! I've found my recipe for this Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for sharing.
Regine November 4, 2015
Just the kind of sweet potato casserole I would like. Not mashed; I prefer them sliced like in your recipe. And with the minimum number but maximum "flavor effect" of ingredients, that is butter, brown sugar, and oranges. Oranges complement sweet potatoes so well. This is the recipe I will make for Thanksgiving. I may just add a bit more sugar or adjust the ingredients if I make it for more than 6 people. Thanks!
Ali S. November 4, 2015
This makes me and my mom very happy. Hope you enjoy it!