Many people associate sweet potatoes with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. However, Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole makes a wonderful side dish throughout the year. We roast the sweet potatoes to bring out their natural flavors – the aroma is a gift to the senses! This casserole has a beautiful presentation with a layer of sweet potatoes and a layer of sliced apples. Then we finish the sweet potatoes with a wonderful butter pecan topping! Each forkful brings together those delicious flavors. And as a time savings, I assemble this casserole a couple days prior to baking. When making dinner, this casserole goes into the oven and no one knows any different. It will be our little secret! It makes a wonderful make ahead meal! Read on for step by step instructions.
Making the Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole
We start with roasting the sweet potatoes in their jackets for easier peeling and slicing through a dense sweet potato. Plus roasting them brings out their natural flavors. You can roast the sweet potatoes earlier in the day or even the prior day. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off their jackets. It should only takes minutes as they pull off in large sections.
Ok, let’s get ready to roast our sweet potatoes! Begin with washing, drying, and then piercing the sweet potatoes. Line a baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil for easier cleanup. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven baking for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The size and thickness of the sweet potatoes determines how long to bake them. Test them by piercing with a fork to determine if they are tender. Yes, it does take some time so plan ahead. But it is worth the time – trust me the roasted flavor is wonderful.
Making the Spice Butter Topping
Just before assembling the casserole, prepare the Spice Butter Mixture and chop the pecans. We make our casserole ahead of time and shake the apples with lemon juice. As such we use both Maple Syrup and brown sugar to offset the sour flavor of lemon juice. However, you may want to reduce or eliminate the brown sugar depending upon how sweet you want the casserole. For us this ratio was the perfect balance of sweetness to the sour lemon juice. Also remember that if you use yams they are sweeter than sweet potatoes! Our love of spices is part of this recipe. Consider adjusting if you want a more subtle spice mixture. (For us it was perfect.) Lastly an optional ingredient is bourbon! Because it is always fun to add bourbon to a recipe!
Assembling the Casserole
When we are ready to assemble the casserole, we wash, peel and slice the apples to desired thickness. Slice thin if you want them to bake tender or a little thicker for more natural apple crunch. Mine were about ¼ inch thick maintaining a little crunch but still fork tender. Spray baking casserole pan with non-stick spray.
Now it is time to start assembling our casserole! Start with slicing the sweet potatoes adding an initial layer to the casserole pan. Top with a layer of apples and then add some of the Spice Butter Mixture. Repeat with another layer of sweet potatoes and sliced apples. Pour the remaining Spice Butter Mixture over the top and add the chopped pecans. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. When plating add some of the Spice Butter MIxture and sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over them. Doesn’t this look beautiful!!
Making the Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole Ahead of Time
It is easy to assemble the casserole ahead of time with shaking the apples in lemon juice to reduce the browning effect of being sliced. I gave them a generous shake with lemon juice and had no browning of the apples. Two days after assembling the casserole it had a fresh appearance. Just tightly wrap the casserole before placing in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, remove from the casserole from refrigerator while preheating the oven. Remove saran wrap or any non oven safe material used to store the casserole. Cover with a heat proof lid or aluminum foil. If placing into the oven straight from the refrigerator, increase your baking time or oven temperature. Regardless it may take longer than 30 minutes to bake through since the ingredients are still chilled from the refrigerator. Remove from the oven and enjoy!
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Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole
- Baking pan
- One large or two small casserole dishes
- Non-stick aluminum foil
- Non-stick spray
- Small bowl
- Chopping board and knife
- 4 pounds Sweet Potatoes
- 3 Apples sliced
- Lemon Juice optional
Spice Butter Ingredients
- ⅓ cup Maple Syrup
- 4 tbsp Butter melted
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 tbsp Bourbon optional
- 1 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ginger
- ½ tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Pecans chopped
Sweet Potatoes Oven Preparation
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees for baking the sweet potatoes
- Line a baking pan with non-stick foil
Casserole Oven Preparation
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees for baking the casserole
- Spray two small or one large casserole dish with non-stick spray
Sweet Potatoes Preparation
- Wash, dry, and pierce the sweet potatoes
- Line a baking pan with foil (non-stick foil if you can)
- Place sweet potatoes on baking pan and place in oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes or until bake through. Turn half way through baking.
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Once cooled, remove the jackets and slice thin
- Wash, peel and slice apples thin
- Splash in lemon juice if preparing ahead of time
Spice Butter Mixture Preparation
- Melt the butter and mix with the Maple Syrup in a small bowl
- Stir in vanilla and Bourbon
- Stir in brown sugar, salt and spices
- Layer sweet potatoes and apples
- Drizzle some of the Spice Butter Mixture between the first layer of sweet potatoes and apples. Add the remainder to the top of the casserole
- Add chopped pecans
- Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through