Sweet potatoes and cranberries are classic side dishes that grace many holiday dinner tables. Their sweet flavors perfectly complement dishes like turkey, stuffing, and homemade yeast bread.
While some families prefer to bake sweet potatoes or yams, others create delicious casseroles that combine these vegetables with other ingredients like cranberries. In this article, we’ll share an easy Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole recipe that is sure to become a holiday favorite in your household.
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Sweet Potato vs. Yam: What’s the Difference?
It’s worth noting that the terms “sweet potato” and “yam” are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two very different vegetables. In the United States, sweet potatoes are typically used in recipes and are usually bright orange or yellow. Yams, on the other hand, are purple or white with a bark-like skin and can grow up to seven feet long.
Although yams are not grown in the US, they can be found in some specialty food stores. Despite their differences, sweet potatoes and yams cook in a similar manner and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Quick and Easy Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole Recipe
This casserole recipe uses canned yams or sweet potatoes to save time, but you can also use home-baked or boiled sweet potatoes if you prefer. Keep in mind that using fresh sweet potatoes will increase the preparation time.
- 1 can cooked yams or sweet potatoes in chunks and not mashed (40-ounce size can or equal)
- 3 cups fresh whole cranberries
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 small orange (peeled and sliced thin)
- ½ cup pecans (chopped or whole)
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¾ tsp cinnamon (sprinkle type – not the sticks)
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp mace (optional)
- Preheat your oven and prepare the casserole dish: Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine the ingredients: In a mixing bowl, add cranberries, sugar, orange slices, pecans, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. Stir well to combine, and then pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
- Bake the casserole: Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Add the sweet potatoes: Remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the canned sweet potatoes, drained of any extra liquid from the can.
- Finish baking: Return the casserole to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are heated through.
Note: Mace is a seasoning with a taste similar to nutmeg but stronger, as it comes from the outer part of the nutmeg plant. If you don’t have mace in your pantry and want more flavor, simply use a bit more nutmeg in the recipe.
With its delightful combination of sweet potatoes and cranberries, this Easy Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole is sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering. Give it a try, and enjoy the delicious flavors and textures that make this dish a holiday classic.
Serving Suggestions for Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole
Now that you’ve mastered the recipe for Easy Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole, let’s explore some serving suggestions to make your holiday meal truly special.
Complementing the Main Dish
The sweet and slightly tangy flavors of this casserole perfectly complement a variety of main dishes, particularly roasted or grilled meats. This casserole pairs beautifully with:
- Roast turkey or chicken
- Baked ham
- Roast beef or pot roast
- Pork loin or tenderloin
- Grilled fish or seafood
Side Dishes to Accompany the Casserole
To create a well-rounded and visually appealing holiday table, consider serving the Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole alongside other colorful and flavorful side dishes, such as:
- Green beans almondine or roasted Brussels sprouts
- Garlic mashed potatoes or creamy scalloped potatoes
- Roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and beets
- A fresh, crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing
- Homemade yeast rolls or a crusty loaf of bread
Leftovers? No Problem!
If you happen to have any leftovers of this delightful casserole, don’t worry! You can easily repurpose it into other dishes or enjoy it reheated the next day. Try using the leftovers to:
- Stuff into a turkey or chicken sandwich for added sweetness and texture
- Combine with cooked grains like quinoa or rice for a hearty salad or grain bowl
- Top with a fried or poached egg for a delicious breakfast or brunch dish
In conclusion, the Easy Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole is not only a delicious and festive side dish for your holiday table but also a versatile recipe that can be enjoyed in various ways. Its sweet and tangy flavors pair well with a wide range of main dishes and other sides, making it a delightful addition to any holiday meal. So go ahead and give this recipe a try – you and your guests are sure to love it!