I have a Thanksgiving leftover confession. My favorite time of day to eat them is not the turkey sandwich for lunch or even the double slice of pie for an afternoon snack (though I fully endorse and participate in both of these traditions). It’s the Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans for breakfast.
Arrive at our house early enough the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ll catch me in flannel PJs, standing in front of the open refrigerator door. I’ll be wearing glasses, my hair will be a mess, and I’ll be eating these Glazed Sweet Potatoes straight out of their plastic container. Hopefully I’m using a fork.
Amongst the fabulous sprawl of sides my family serves at Thanksgiving, Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Honey Whiskey Pecans is the dish I anticipate most. If Ben and I travel home for Thanksgiving, I call my mom in advance to make sure she still plans to serve it. If we go to his family’s instead, this is the dish I bring. The leftovers? I hide them in the back of the refrigerator, then sneak into the kitchen early the next morning to eat them before anyone else has a chance.
Call it sneaky or selfish if you must, but I guaranteed that, once you’ve tasted these Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Honey Whiskey Pecans, you’ll be racing to your own refrigerator to do the same!
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Honey Whiskey Pecans are the complete package. First, we have the sweet potatoes themselves, which are classic and lovely and must be at your holiday table.
Next, we have (say this with me out loud) whiskey and honey glazed pecans. Oh heavens, yes.
Finally, bright chunks of Granny Smith apples arrive on scene. Apples might sound like an odd addition, but their tartness balances the sweetness of the honey and sweet potatoes. Add a hit of cinnamon and cayenne, and the entire ordeal turns into one nutty, caramely, spicy-sweet pan of Thanksgiving glory.
Because I’ve loved this Glazed Sweet Potato recipe for so long, this isn’t actually the first time I’m posting it here. Read on below for the recipe and to check out the original photo that I published on my blog three years ago. My photography has improved, but these Glazed Sweet Potatoes are just as magnificent as I remembered.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Whiskey Pecans
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes about 4 large
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2/3 cup honey
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper a bit more if you like a good kick
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup whiskey see notes section for brand recommendations
- 2 cups peeled, cored, and ¾-inch-diced tart, firm baking apples such as Granny Smith or Cortland (about 2 medium or 3 small)
- Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes (leave the peels on), then place whole on a sheet of aluminum foil. Place the foil directly on the baking rack. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until slightly soft when squeezed (they do not need to be cooked all the way through). Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins. Cut into ¾-inch chunks and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the pecans and lightly toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes (watch them carefully so that they do not burn). Add butter and coconut oil, let melt, then add the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cayenne. Allow the mixture to simmer and bubble for 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the whiskey—stand back a bit from the pan, as the honey mixture will begin to bubble violently. Let simmer for 5 additional minutes, until slightly reduced. The glaze will still seem a bit liquidy
- Lightly grease an 9×9-inch baking dish or similar 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Scatter the sweet potatoes and apples in the baking dish, alternating between the two so you have a mix throughout. Pour the whiskey-pecan glaze over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until the apples are softened (they do not need to be completely mushy—just fork tender) and the dish is fully warmed throughout.
- Whiskey: My mom uses Maker’s Mark, which is a fantastic choice for this recipe. I’ve also made it with both Irish whiskey and Bulleit bourbon, all with great results.
- Make it ahead: You can slice the potatoes and apples and arrange them in the dish up to 1 day in advance, then cover them tightly with plastic and refrigerate (they will brown somewhat but will taste fine). Wait to prepare and pour on the whiskey sauce until just before baking. You can also bake the dish a few hours ahead, then rewarm it in the oven prior to serving.
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And for posterity, here’s the original photo from 2013!