Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping (Lighter Version of the #Thanksgiving Classic) + #Giveaway News from Cleo Coyle

Buttery mashed sweet potatoes baked with a crunchy-sweet pecan topping is a beloved American side dish for Thanksgiving. With the countdown coming for the big feast, I'm happy to re-share the way I make this family favorite. 

My homemade version is just as decadent in flavor, but uses less butter, sugar, and flour than more traditional recipes (believe me, you won't miss it). I'm also sharing my easy way to prepare this dish from scratch, which is light years better than using canned potatoes, so don't even think about reaching for that can opener! :)

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.
A Note from Cleo...

One of the earlier places I saw a basic version of this recipe published was a 40-year-old cookbook celebrating heritage recipes from Georgia, and that recipe likely had its roots in the "sweet potato pudding" published in the first American cookbook, circa 1796. 

For my lighter, easier (and more nutritious) version of this classic, I started with the more traditional version herecut an entire stick of butter, some of the sugar, and a small amount of flour. The results? I did not miss them in the least, and neither did my husband, who is never coy about his opinion on good eats!

This recipe is versatile, as well. You can make the casserole with brown sugar alone or with maple syrup. You can make it with dairy products or non-dairy.

Finally, I have a tip for making the process a snap on Thanksgiving day: Instead of following the traditional recipe of peeling, dicing, boiling, and mashing the sweet potatoes, try simply baking them alongside your turkey. 

If you follow my method for baking the sweet potatoes, they'll be just as moist as the boiled version, but with less fuss and cleanup. And (the best reason to do this...) baking the potatoes will help them retain more nutrition and flavor. 

Now let's start (some early Thanksgiving) cooking!

~ Cleo 

To download this recipe
in a free PDF document
that you can print,
share, or save,
click here.

Click for Cleo's Free Recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's (Lighter)
Sweet Potato Casserole with
Brown Sugar and Pecans 


For the casserole:

3 - 4 medium to large sweet potatoes (You will use these to
        make 3-1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup light brown sugar*
1/4 cup pure maple syrup*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup milk (cow’s low-fat milk or dairy-free almond)
4 tablespoons butter melted (or dairy-free margarine, melted)

*To make this recipe without maple syrup, increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and reduce the amount of cooked, mashed sweet potatoes by 1/4 cup.

For the topping:

4 Tablespoons butter, melted (or dairy-free margarine, melted)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Generous pinch of table salt
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Step 1 – Easy-bake sweet potatoes (you can either bake these with your turkey or the night before your Thanksgiving meal): Wash the sweet potatoes and leave skins wet. Tap your inner serial killer and stab the taters a few times with a knife to prevent them from exploding in the oven.

Wrap the sweet potatoes tightly in aluminum foil and bake them in a well-preheated 350 degree F. oven for 90 minutes. Remove them from the oven, but do not unwrap! Allow them to cool in their foil cocoons for 30 minutes. This will keep them nice and moist. Now open and slice each potato in half.

As shown above, scoop out the still-warm flesh, 
which is now very close to pre-mashed for you.

A fork will make quick work of the mashing. 
See the photos above and below.
You want a nice, even consistency. 

Step 2 – Assemble the casserole: Measure out 3-1/2 cups of the cooked and mashed sweet potatoes and combine them with the rest of the casserole ingredients. Stir well. Pour into a well-buttered casserole dish (1-1/2 to 2 quarts in size). The dish you see below is 1-1/2 quarts.

Step 3 – Make the casserole topping: Melt the butter (or margarine) in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from heat, add the topping ingredients to the pan, stir well. The mixture should be damp and crumbly. Distribute it evenly over the casserole top. 

Bake at 350° F. for about 40 minutes. Casserole will be bubbling when finished and some liquid will appear to be pooling in the topping. Don’t worry. As the dish cools, the liquid will settle back into the casserole and the top will become crusty, crunchy, and delicious. So you'll be all set to...eat with Thanksgiving joy!


To download this recipe
in a free PDF document
that you can print,
share, or save, 
click here.

Click for Cleo's Free Recipe PDF.

Eat with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries &
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle

Friend us on Facebook here.
Follow us on Twitter here.
Visit our online coffeehouse here

And for our readers, 
a special TREAT...

Coming December 3rd,
our NEW Coffeehouse 

Learn more or pre-order at:

 Amazon * B&N

Indie * 


culinary mystery with a delicious
menu of delightful recipes!



New Updated Version!

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark 
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
18 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.

Click for Cleo's Free Checklist of
Coffeehouse Books in Order, and...


Don't miss Cleo's 
guest post and giveaway at
"Escape with Dollycas" blog!

You'll learn more about Cleo's
Coffeehouse Mystery, 
Brewed Awakening.

And you'll have a chance
to win this prize package:

Click the prize package image
to jump to Cleo's giveaway and enter!


Only 2 days left on the contest.

Good luck! ~ Cleo 


  1. Your Sweet Potato Casserole looks amazing, and I really appreciate your showing us all of the steps and including a pdf of the recipe. My Mom is allergic to nuts, so I was thinking of substituting crumbled oatmeal cookies for the pecans ~

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, Celia, and I think your idea is a good one. (You're a wonderful daughter to consider solutions for your mom's issue.) The crumbled oatmeal cookies, used in place of the pecans in the recipe, or a nut-free streusel topping should work fine for you. Mini marshmallows would work as a topping alternative for nut-allergy households, as well.

      Give your mom a hug from me and have a very happy holiday season!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  2. I was looking for a new way to prepare sweet potatoes and this is perfect. Pecans are a hit in our house, too. Thanks for the step by step. Very helpful. Happy Thanksgiving, Cleo.

    1. Hi, Jacki - Thank you, we love this version of the classic casserole. It's easy to make, yet the flavor and texture combinations make it an impressive, crowd-pleasing dish. I even love it re-warmed the next morning with my Black Friday coffee. :) Thanks again for dropping in. May your holiday season be delicious!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  3. My daughter is hosting her first Thanksgiving this year so I am sharing this with her! And I'm keeping a copy for myself too! Love the idea of baking the sweet potatoes--so much easier than the peeling, cutting and boiling!

    1. Hi, Peg - How wonderful for your family. Congrats to her (and you) for the milestone of her hosing her first Thanksgiving. May you and your family have a holiday season filled with joy, peace, love...and good eats!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

  4. The new book is amazing!
    What an extraordinary idea--amnesia in a main character. It works well as a tantalizing plot element, not as a"clever" plot ploy that leaves the reader uncomfortable.

    This recipe looks pretty darn yummy, too.

    1. Thank you, Libby, this entry is a unique one for the series, and we can't wait to get it into readers' hands. We're so glad you enjoyed it!

      Cheers for stopping by today. May you and your loved ones have a joyful (and delicious) holiday season. <3

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook