Little Old Lady Recipes: Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

I am the rare person who really, really wants to host Thanksgiving. I've done it twice before, with the requisite newbie disasters (at the first Thanksgiving I hosted, a bubbling pie in the oven filled the kitchen with smoke, and when working on a chair, my father hurt his hand so badly that we thought it was broken). But hosting Thanksgiving combines two of my favorite things — cooking, and bringing together people I love to enjoy good food and conversation.

That's also one of the goals of my book, "Little Old Lady Recipes" — to provide recipes for classic comfort food that brings people together. One of the (many) great things about writing the book was getting to meet with mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers — lifelong cooks who had served food to several generations of family — and get their time-tested recipes. Some of the items in the book are the stuff of day-to-day dinners, but there are also great special occasion foods — like that Thanksgiving classic, sweet potatoes with marshmallows. (See also: Little Old Lady Recipes: Classic Frugal Cooking)

What I love about this recipe is that it isn't just sweet, it's also buttery (a requirement for me!), with a bit of citrus tang thanks to the addition of orange juice. I'm not hosting turkey day this year, unfortunately — I'll be attending a potluck, and it looks like I'm bringing a dessert. But if I was hosting, these sweet potatoes featured in "Little Old Lady Recipes," topped with just-crispy marshmallows, would be on the menu.

Sweet Potatoes With Marshmallows

  • 5 or 6 sweet potatoes or yams
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Show me a Thanksgiving without marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, and I'll show you one annoyed lady. Though you'll normally see these orange-and-white sweets around November, try 'em in the cold depths of February, when you need a little non-holiday pick-me-up.

Peel, cube, and then boil the sweet potatoes until tender — or use canned sweet potatoes. Mash. Then add sugar, butter, salt, orange juice, and cinnamon. Scoop into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the marhsmallows on top and bake in a 350°F oven until the marshmallows look toasty. Serve hot. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

What's your favorite classic Thanksgiving dish? Share in the comments!

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Marla Walters's picture

Meg, my 87-year-old Auntie makes these every year. I love them!

Guest's picture

Yummy and February sounds a perfect time of year to have the dish again & shoo away the blues. My favorite way to cook & eat "sweet taters." Letting them bake until juice is running outside the skins is heavenly eating, too.