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An overhead shot of a baking dish filled with assembled and baked Savory Sweet Potato Casserole topped with bacon breadcrumb topping. The baking dish sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A gray and white striped linen napkin is tucked underneath the baking dish and a few loose fresh herb and a parmesan rind surround the baking dish.

Savory Sweet Potato Casserole with Roasted Garlic & Crispy Herbed Bacon-Panko Topping

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: serves 12-14 1x
  • Category: Side Dish Recipes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Perfect for anyone who wants to ditch the marshmallows this Thanksgiving, this Savory Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is not your grandma’s sweet potato casserole! Sweet potatoes are whipped velvety-smooth with roasted garlic, & finished with a crispy panko topping infused with bacon & fresh herbs for the perfect balance of savory & sweet.

Meal prep & make-ahead friendly!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-inch dice
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (or milk of choice)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

for the crispy herbed bacon-panko topping:

  • 6 ounces center-cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season Savory Sweet Potato Casserole ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: sweet potatoes, garlic, unsalted butter, whole milk, grated parmesan, eggs, kosher salt, ground black pepper, bacon, fresh herbs - rosemary, sage, thyme, panko breadcrumbs.

Instructions

Roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice just the top off of the heads of garlic, to reveal their cloves. Lightly rub the garlic to loosen and remove any excess papery garlic skin. Wrap the garlic in foil, drizzling it with the olive oil before you seal the foil, then place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Two heads of roasted garlic with their tops cut off are seasoned with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper rest atop sheets of crumpled aluminum foil. Each bundle of roasted garlic sits atop a creamy white textured surface.

  1. Boil the sweet potatoes: Meanwhile, as the garlic roasts, cook the sweet potatoes. Place the diced sweet potatoes in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and cover with 6 cups cold water, or enough to completely submerge the sweet potatoes. Season with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Carefully strain and set aside.Boiled sweet potatoes strained in a stainless steel colander. The colander rests atop a creamy white textured surface.
  2. Cook the bacon: Meanwhile, as the garlic roasts & the potatoes boil, prep the breadcrumb topping. Add the bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook 5-6 minutes per side, until crisp & rendered. Leaving as much of the rendered bacon fat in the skillet as possible, transfer the crispy bacon to a plate or cutting board & set aside. Five slices of crispy cooked bacon rest atop a white ceramic plate that sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  3. Prepare the bacon breadcrumb topping: Reduce the heat under the skillet used to cook the bacon to medium-low. Add the fresh herbs to the skillet, blooming them in the bacon renderings. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add the garlic to the skillet & cook 30 seconds longer, stirring constantly, just until fragrant. Add the panko breadcrumbs to the skillet, cooking 4-5 minutes, while stirring constantly, until toasty & golden brown. Remove from the heat & transfer to a small mixing bowl. Finely chop or crumble the bacon, adding it to the breadcrumb mixture along with the grated parmesan. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Taste & season with additional salt & ground black pepper as needed. Set aside. A small white ceramic bowl filled with bacon breadcrumb topping and a gold spoon rests atop a creamy white textured surface.
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes: For extra creamy mashed sweet potatoes, transfer the boiled sweet potatoes to a food processor & puree until smooth & creamy, working in batches, as needed, to avoid overcrowding the food processor. As you puree the sweet potatoes, mix in the roasted garlic – the cloves should squeeze out of the garlic bulb very easily. With the food processor running, slowly add in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, and the milk. Alternate as you go – a little butter, then a little milk. Taste and season with additional kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired – I add ½ teaspoon of salt, taste, & go from there. Once the sweet potatoes have reached your desired consistency, transfer to a bowl. Fold in the grated parmesan & whisked eggs. Set aside. An overhead shot of a food processor bowl filled with pureed sweet potatoes. The food processor bowl sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  5. Assemble the savory sweet potato casserole: Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the roasted garlic sweet potatoes to the baking dish. Top with the prepared bacon breadcrumb mixture. Cover with foil. An overhead shot of a baking dish filled with assembled and baked Savory Sweet Potato Casserole topped with bacon breadcrumb topping. The baking dish sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  6. Bake the savory sweet potato casserole: Transfer the savory sweet potato casserole to the oven. Bake 35-40 minutes, until slightly browned & warmed through. In the last 15 minutes of baking, remove the foil so the breadcrumb topping gets beautifully browned & crisp.  An overhead shot of a baking dish filled with assembled and baked Savory Sweet Potato Casserole topped with bacon breadcrumb topping. The baking dish sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A gray and white striped linen napkin is tucked underneath the baking dish and a few loose fresh herb and a parmesan rind surround the baking dish.
  7. Serve immediately. Enjoy!An overhead shot of two white plates with servings of Savory Sweet Potato Casserole topped with bacon breadcrumb topping atop of them. A fork rests on the side of the plate at center. The plates sit atop a creamy white textured surface. A gray and white striped linen napkin rests alongside the plate at center and a few loose fresh herbs and a block of parmesan cheese also rest on the surface.


Notes

  • Storage & Freezing:
    • Storage & Reheating: Leftover savory sweet potato casserole will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through.
    • Freezer Instructions: You can also freeze leftover savory sweet potato casserole. Transfer leftover stuffing to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through.
  • Savory Sweet Potato Casserole Meal Prep & Make-Ahead Instructions: 
    • Meal Prep: A little meal prep goes a long way in pulling this savory sweet potato casserole together on Thanksgiving day! Between prepping the sweet potatoes, breadcrumb topping, & roasting the garlic, there are many components of this savory sweet potato casserole that can be prepared 3-5 days in advance. Pick & choose from the below list, or do it all ahead of time & all you have to do on Thanksgiving is toss it all together – easy! 
      • Sweet potato prep: Peel & dice 3 pounds sweet potatoes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (10 minutes active)
      • Roast the garlic: Roast the garlic according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions above. Store the roasted garlic in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (5 minutes active)
      • Bacon breadcrumb topping prep: Prepare the bacon breadcrumb topping according to Steps 3-4 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (25 minutes active)
    • Make-Ahead Savory Sweet Potato Casserole: This savory sweet potato casserole can also be prepped & assembled, Steps 1-6 of Recipe Directions, up to 3 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator. Bake as directed in Step 7 of Recipe Directions, above, adding 15 minutes to the bake time.
  • Portions: As written, this savory sweet potato casserole recipe yields a large batch, serving 12-14 generously as a side dish. To serve a smaller crowd of up to 6, simply reduce the recipe by 1/2. Assemble in an 8×8 baking dish or 9-inch pie plate & bake as directed in Step 6, for 25-35 minutes or until slightly browned & warmed through.