Stuffed Bacon and Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

Eventually (when I get more sleep and a pay raise), I’m going to do some real scientific research on holiday foods and why we get stuck on such particular details about how soggy we like our stuffing (for one), but for now, I’ll just keep pushing recipes down your throat that I love, whether or not they may be the most classic holiday recipes around. This sweet potato casserole is perfect evidence of how I like my sweet potatoes – loaded with bacon and cheese and other savory influences.

I know I’m like the lone woman on the planet who just can’t do the whole super sweet, basically dessert, marshmallow-topped sweet potato thing at Thanksgiving. I’ve tried to like it. I really have. I’ve tried different recipes (many of you have sent me versions over the years after I lament my distaste) but I’ve never been fully converted. That’s ok, though. So many of you love them that I think the marshmallow industry is perfectly safe.

Stuffed Bacon and Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

I’m here to represent those that might want to change up the ol’ sweet potato casserole. A couple months ago when I was inhaling stuffed sweet potatoes for dinner, I had the thought that all of the flavors were screaming to  be made into a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving this year. And so I went for it. Living life on the edge and all that. And wow, this dish is so incredibly yummy (and easy). Tender sweet potatoes are mixed with thick bacon pieces, sweet-tart apples and savory leeks (+ a few subtle but necessary spices). Oh, and cheese! There’s cheese (go for the Fontina, it’s amazing) and the whole combination is the sweet potato casserole of my dreams.

If you just can’t take the plunge for Thanksgiving. Don’t worry. Me and my sweet potato casserole aren’t going anywhere. We’ll be here any other night of the week for ever and ever because just like any fabulous recipe, this shouldn’t be made only once a year.

One Year Ago: Buttermilk Potato Rolls {Fluffiest Most Delicious Rolls I’ve Ever Met}
Two Years Ago: My Thanksgiving Menu Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing in Advance
Three Years Ago: Thanksgiving Dinner At-A-Glance!

Stuffed Apple and Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole

Yield: Serves 6-8

Stuffed Apple and Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole


  • 4-6 medium sweet potatoes (for about 6 cups of mashed sweet potatoes)
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, washed well, trimmed of tough edges and sliced thinly (about 1/2 - 1 cup)
  • 1 large honey crisp apple, cored, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or Fontina cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Prick each potato four or five times and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch any syrupy drips in the oven). Bake for an hour or so until tender. Let the potatoes cool until they can be handled easily without burning your little fingers.
  2. In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving a teaspoon or so of drippings in the skillet and removing any excess grease.
  3. Over medium heat, add the leeks, apples, brown sugar, sage and rosemary to the skillet. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring often, until the leeks and apples have softened and caramelized slightly, 7-10 minutes.
  5. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl (you'll want about 6 cups or so). Add the 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mash the sweet potato filling with a fork or potato masher until it's as smooth as you like it. Add about 3/4 of the cheese, bacon and leek/apple mixture, reserving a bit of everything to sprinkle on top. Stir lightly to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  6. Lightly grease a 3-quart (or so) baking dish and spread the sweet potato mixture evenly in the pan.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon, leek mixture and cheese over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by this recipe

36 Responses to Stuffed Apple and Bacon Sweet Potato Casserole

  1. Laurel says:

    I dread the “sweet potato dessert” side dish every thanksgiving – it ruins such a delicious vegetable!! My mom’s recipe is yams, apples, and parsnips baked in a savory orange sauce and topped with pecans. TO DIE FOR.

  2. Holly W says:

    How did I miss this last year when you posted it? So glad you linked to it in your Russian Potato and Mushroom Leek Soup recipe. We love all things sweet potato at our house (but NOT with marshmallows, not ever!). I plan to make this as a main dish and serve a salad and roasted asparagus as sides. My mouth is already watering! Thank you Mel – you and your website and your recipes are my absolute favorite!

  3. Erin says:

    Hi Mel, do you think I could bake the sweet potatoes the day before, if I scoop out the insides and mash it up, would they keep in the fridge overnight?

  4. Betty Flanagan says:

    I would like to know what the calorie count is on this recipe.

    • Mel says:

      I don’t provide the calorie information for my recipes, but there are a lot of online calorie calculators you can use. Good luck!

  5. Anissa says:

    Hi- You are definitely not the lone woman who does not like the loads of typicsl sweet stuff added to sweet potatoes. Mine is likely due to the fact that I tend to get hypoglycemic quickly and cannot have too much sugar in foods, so the idea of heaping extra sugar onto an already sweet vegetable seems counter productive. 😉 Thanks for the variant in recipe. It is sensational!

  6. Nita says:

    I was really hesitant to try these as written because of the apple chunks. But all the other wonderful ingredients won me over and I decided to leave the apples in. These turned out great! They were savory ,delicious, and looked so beautiful on the plate.

  7. Shannon says:

    This looks really delicious, but I was wondering if you thought it would work as well if the sweet potatoes were left in chunks and not mashed at all? I kind of like a chunky sweet potato myself.

  8. britney says:

    Wow! This recipe just changed my thanksgiving! YUM x10! My husband and I just ate the whole thing in one sitting

  9. Kelly says:

    Mel, you win, AGAIN. 7.5 months pregnant, craving cheesy-bacony something, I hit your site and see this on the front page. And thrown together with savory sweet potatoes? It was fate. I winged it with some ingredients- onions instead of leeks, different kind of apple, no fresh spices, colby jack and mild cheddar- but stuck to the directions, and it was FANTASTIC! I could’ve eaten a giant plate of just casserole for dinner. This was also approved by husband and 2-year-old, so it’ll be made again. I’d double if making for a crowd, because it would go fast!

  10. Kelly says:

    Mel, you win. Again. My pregnant self was craving something cheesy-bacony. So I hit your page and this is right up front. I’m a fan of savory sweet potatoes, too, so this was destiny. I winged it with a few parts- onion instead of leeks, different kind of apple, colby jack instead of monterrey, no fresh spices… and it was AMAZING. I could’ve eaten an entire plateful by myself! This also got approval from husband and 2-year-old, so it WILL be made again. I would double this to make for a big dinner, it would go fast!

  11. Samantha says:

    I bet this same recipe would be FANTASTIC with butternut squash as well… I will definitely be making this 🙂

  12. Tara says:

    This looks so yummy! Add me to the list of people that hate the sweet potato/marshmallow concoction that is so traditional for Thanksgiving. I’ve been trying out different savory recipes for the past few years but haven’t found “the one” yet. I think we will have to try this one this year!

  13. Amanda says:

    How do you think this would taste without the cheese? I’m joining a family for Thanksgiving that doesn’t eat dairy.

  14. Loni says:

    Agree with the marshmellows… However I do LOVE the sweet potato soufle recipe that has become tradition at our family feast with butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla and a strussel topping that includes coconut, walnuts, Brown sugar and of course more butter…yum!
    Anyway, I’d like to incorporate this recipe to our traditional lunch time hors d’ouevers (yes I had to look up spelling). Do you think I could make it in mini muffin tins for a finger size serving?

  15. Holly says:

    I’m with you on savory sweet potato dishes instead of super sweet ones! I like to slice peeled sweet potatoes into about two- bite sized coins, toss with olive oil, then sprinkle on orange peel, paprika, and thyme. I bake them on a greased sheet at 350 for an hour, covered with foil for the first 30 minutes.

  16. Ellen Renee says:

    We don’t do marshmallows but we do like the pecan praline type of topping but a few years back I happened to catch Paula Deen cook with her son and they made a sweet potato gratin with caramelized onions (made with some brown sugar and cayenne pepper but the dish does not come off sweet) which intrigued me. I am a glutton for punishment …now I make both to keep the traditionalists happy and myself because I prefer the savory.

  17. Laura says:

    This looks so good! I can’t do sweetly dressed sweet potatoes either! Can’t wait to try it.

  18. Angela says:

    Alright, Mel. How does one go about picking an exemplary leek?

    • Mel says:

      Haha, well, if you are me, you look for ones that aren’t wilted or brown and cracking on the green ends. And I like more medium-sized ones (there are some I’ve seen that are enormous – they scare me and I stay away from them).

  19. Paige says:

    This casserole looks and sounds amazing! My husband (and myself) love all things sweet potato, so this is definitely going on our menu plan once we get back from our trip to Idaho on the 22nd 🙂


  20. Nette says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU. . . I’m with you, I’ve tried. . . seriously tried. . . to simply like the sticky sweet marshmallows with a touch of sweet potato dishes that seem to emerge from most kitchens each fall. Definitely going to surprise the family with this version this year 🙂 . . . I’ll give you a report on how it went

    Mel, thank you for all you do to keep our kitchens full of delicious meals! You are on celebrity status at our house, and I personally, will mourn the day you decide you can’t keep your blog going for whatever reason.

  21. Gail says:

    I’m with you regarding the marshmallow/sweet potato concoction. I’m fortunate though because nobody in my family will eat them either. This looks delicious and we will be trying it!

  22. Alisha says:

    Yum! We’ve been doing twice baked sweet potatoes with cheddar cheese, butter, and bacon the last couple years (, but maybe we’ll try this one this year! Looks delicious! I’m going to trust that the sweetness from the apples and sugar does not take away from the savory goodness of the cheese and bacon (plus, I love baked apples).

  23. Acacia says:

    You’re not alone when it comes to not liking the “whole super sweet, basically dessert, marshmallow-topped sweet potato thing.” I despise it.

    I’ll make this recipe for Thanksgiving – regardless of the “traditional” menu. I think it’s just about time to change the 40 year old tradition. If they don’t like it, well, that just leaves more for me. 😉

  24. Don’t feel alone, no marshmallows on my yams…..ever.
    This looks great. I would be dead if I changed stuff around for Thanksgiving so I’ll just have to make this as a side dish for a normal dinner.

  25. Nancy H. says:

    This is right up my alley. I love sweet and savory dishes.

  26. erin says:

    Mel, how would you suggest making this ahead? Just make it and refrigerate for a day or so?

  27. Cyndi B says:

    I am totally with you on the marshmallow sweet potato casserole. Yuck! This though looks amazing! Unfortunately, the family won’t go for ANY deviation from the standard Thanksgiving menu. They are total traditionalists. So, I may have to try this next week with a regular dinner.Looks great!

  28. Becki says:

    This sounds wonderful I’m not a huge fan of the marshmallow casserole although I do love the casserole with the pecan/praline topping. This sounds like a great variation with all of the savories and the apples – yum!

  29. SVF says:

    The only way I ever had sweet potato was with marshmallows on Thanksgiving. I thought that I hated them. Anything that required that much “help” must be yucky, right? Then, I reluctantly tried them naked. Just mashed with a little butter and salt. I was converted. So I roasted them with olive oil. I was not only converted, I was a missionary! So far I haven’t converted anyone else. But bacon might be the thing that wins their hearts.

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