There are some foods that just go hand-in-hand with particular events or places, like baseball and hot dogs, movie theaters and popcorn — and the holidays and sweet potatoes. Yes, you can find and cook sweet potatoes year-round thanks to modern farming and food transport innovations, but fall and winter is when the good old sweet potato really shines, and it doesn’t shine any brighter than it does at Christmas dinner.

Let me share with you one of my favorite sweet potato recipes that you can try at a holiday meal. If you wanted to work one into a weekday meal, even better.


  • Yield: 2 9-inch loaves
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  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (if nuts are salted, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Butter and flour two 9-inch loaf pans and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars
  4. Add eggs, flour, and salt, and mix well
  5. In a small bowl, stir the baking soda into the buttermilk; add that mixture to the batter
  6. Mix in the sweet potatoes, vanilla, and all the spices
  7. Blend well, and then add the nuts, folding them in until they are evenly distributed in the batter
  8. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans, and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  9. Let the loaves cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve