Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple, Bourbon and Marshmallows

Sweet potatoes are a holiday classic and iconic at America’s Thanksgiving tables across the country. Whether they come precooked and canned or freshly prepared and simply served with a bit of butter or even festooned with spices, bourbon and marshmallows they are delicious to be sure, but are sweet potatoes, yams?

sweet potato casserole with marshmallows image

Well, no, there’s actually a difference. It turns out that sweet potatoes and yams are not even related, they are two completely different species of root vegetable. True yams are native to Africa and Asia. For all practical culinary purposes there are two types of sweet potatoes, one with white flesh and another variety with orange, the USDA labels the orange-fleshed ones “yams” to distinguish them from the paler white fleshed sweet potato variety.
Yams, like sweet potatoes are starchy tubers but they have an almost black bark-like skin with white, purple or reddish flesh and come in many varieties. True yams can be as small as a regular potato or grow upwards of five feet long. It seems that the African slaves, recognizing the local sweet potato as the closest thing they had encountered here to the yams of their homeland began calling them yams and prepared them in the same ways they had in the past. As time passed Americas’ South became ground zero for sweet potato consumption and the name fluctuated between sweet potato and yam from cooks, to growers and eventually shippers.

sweet potato casserole with marshmallows picture

Today’s recipe is based on the classic sweet potato casseroles of the South right down to the shot of bourbon along with the caramelized marshmallow crown. This dish historically is quite sweet from the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes, to the addition of the maple syrup and marshmallows. If your concerned about too much of a good thing, feel free to cut back on the maple syrup and even the marshmallows. I for one, who isn’t really a fan of sweets with my savory foods likes this dish and it’s a delicious player on my holiday table every year!

• 6 large sweet potatoes

• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, or as needed

• 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt, or to taste

• 3 large eggs, fresh

• 1/2 to 1 cup maple syrup grade "b", or to taste

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

• 1/2 teaspoon allspice, ground

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, pure

• 1/4 cup bourbon, high quality

• 8 ounces’ marshmallows, mini, or as needed 

sweet potato casserole ingredients

Sweet potatoes

sous vide sweet potatoes


1. Heat the VacMaster SV1 to 85°C/185°F

2. Peel the sweet potatoes and laying them on their side cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices.

3. Stack the slices and cut them again lengthwise into sticks then cut across the sticks resulting in a medium to large dice.

4. Using the VacMaster Bag Filler and appropriately sized VacMaster bag(s) add the sweet potatoes, the whipping cream and salt.

5. Place the bag in a VacMaster chamber sealer and gently massage the potatoes into one even layer and vacuum seal the potatoes.

6. Keep a careful eye on the mixture level as cream expands during the vacuum process.

7. If the cream level rises too close to the seal bar, immediately press seal or stop to end the process.

8. Gently place into the SV1 water bath and cook for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour or as necessary until the sweet potatoes are extremely tender and easily crushed by your finger.

9. Preheat the oven to 350°F

10. Carefully remove the hot potatoes along with any cream from the bag and immediately push through potato ricer or food mill directly into the bowl of a stand mixer

11. Add the eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and bourbon.

12. Using the paddle attachment beat the mixture well, until light and fluffy, if needed add a little more cream.

13. Spoon the sweet potato mixture evenly into a prepared casserole dish and bake at 350° until set, about 20 to 30 minutes.

14. Cover the surface with the marshmallows and bake until marshmallows start to melt and just begin to brown about 5-10 minutes

15. Serve immediately.

sous vide sweet potatoes image