This is my new favorite sweet potato side dish. It's got incredible texture and amazing flavor with an irresistible bread crumb topping. You can serve it hot, but I think it might be better warm or at room temperature, which makes it a nice choice for Thanksgiving when it's hard to have everything ready at the same time. Great for a special holiday dinner or a random weeknight supper.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary test

35 mins
1 hr 35 mins
2 hrs 10 mins
8 servings

Calling a Crumble a Crisp for Fun and Profit 

Unlike some of my peers, when I decide on a name for a recipe, I always try to go for the most accurate title, and not what would make for the best click-bait. This time however, I willingly and knowingly called something a "crisp" that's really more of a "crumble." In fairness, it was very crispy, and with a few tweaks to the method, it could become a legit "crisp." But bottom line, if it crumbles, it's a crumble.  

Having said that, I assume no one is overly concerned, but still, I felt like I had to come clean, since one of my biggest online pet peeves, especially when it comes to food, is blatant false advertising. You know, like "crispy baked sweet potato fries," which we all know is a lie, and yet we still naïvely click on the link, hopeful that some kind of magical breakthrough has been discovered, only to find out we've been had. Again.  

Anyway, to turn this absolutely delicious casserole into an actual crisp, I'd simply break up, or chop up, the crispy, cheesy crumbs into much smaller pieces and push them down much more aggressively into the soft, sweet potatoes below. Texture aside, I thought the flavors in this were truly incredible. And while cheese is not generally considered a typical Thanksgiving ingredient, it really works here, which is why I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy! 


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Topping:
For the Base:


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner (such as Silpat®).

  • Place bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and pour melted butter over top. Add salt, cayenne, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and mix until evenly coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle 1 cup Cheddar cheese over top.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on.

  • Place sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, and melted butter; toss until evenly coated. Immediately transfer sweet potatoes into a buttered baking dish.

  • Bake in the center of the oven until potatoes are very tender, about 1 hour.

  • Break up the crispy, cheesy bread crumbs into very small pieces and scatter evenly over the potatoes. Gently press them into the potatoes and sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Cheddar over top.

  • Return to the oven and bake until browned, 15 to 20 more minutes.

  • Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Chef's Notes:

When making your bread crumbs, make sure you remove all the crust first. Cut large, coarse bread crumbs or smaller cubes, 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch in size.

You can use a lime instead of a lemon, if preferred, and feel free to try different cheeses, such as Pecorino or Gruyere.

Nutrition Facts

321 calories; fat 13.8g; cholesterol 34.9mg; sodium 637.7mg; carbohydrates 44.5g; protein 6.4g. Full Nutrition


Rating: 5 stars
Incredible flavors. Great way to elevate sweet potatoes to a real side dish instead of the one-note marshmallow thing that’s more of a desert. As chef John points out, the crumbs don’t adhere too well unless you chop them up finer and really press them in, which I did not. Flavors were amazing though, lemon zest and juice is really nice with the sweet potatoes and I need to experiment with roasting them that way for other applications. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was the best dish at our Thanksgiving feast this year. Well, this and your chocolate pecan pie. Chef John does it again! Read More