Sweet potatoes and cranberries are classic side dishes at holiday dinners. Both add a sweet note to foods like turkey, stuffing, and homemade yeast bread.

While some southern families bake sweet potatoes or yams, others create special casseroles that include other vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes and cranberries.

It should be noted that the terms sweet potato and yam may be used interchangeably; however, in the United States, sweet potatoes are used. They are usually brilliant orange in color, but they can also be yellow.

On the other hand, yams are usually purple or white with a barky covering and can grow seven feet long.

Yams are not grown in the United States but are available in some specialized food stores. Sweet potatoes and yams have nothing in common. In other words, they are two very different types of veggies.

On the other hand, sweet potatoes and yams cook similarly, with yams being somewhat sweeter and tasting slightly different depending on the dish.

Sweet potatoes (and yams) are hard root vegetables that take a long time to cook. This quick casserole dish uses canned yams or sweet potatoes to save time. Home-baked or boiled sweet potatoes can be used for canned sweet potatoes. However, the recipe will take longer due to the extra step.

Easy Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole Recipe


  • 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)


  1. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Add cranberries, sugar, orange slices, pecans, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace and stir in a mixing bowl. Then, pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
  3. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and stir in canned sweet potatoes drained of the extra liquid in the can.
  5. Return the casserole to the oven and heat until yams or sweet potatoes are heated. This takes around 15 minutes since the canned sweet potatoes are pre-cooked.

Note – Mace is a seasoning with a taste similar to nutmeg but stronger (made outside of the nutmeg plant). For families who do not have mace in the pantry but want more flavor, go a bit heavier on the nutmeg.