Recipe By Chef John
Published Nov 19th
Prep 35m Cook 1h 35m Additional - Ready In 2h 10m
Servings 8 servings Calories 320.7

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.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 ¼ cups grated sharp white Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives, or to taste
  • 2 ¾ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner (such as Silpat®).
  2. 2 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.
  3. 3 Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on.
  4. 4 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.
  5. 5 Bake in the center of the oven until potatoes are very tender, about 1 hour.
  6. 6 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.
  7. 7 Return to the oven and bake until browned, 15 to 20 more minutes.
  8. 8 Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 320.7
  • Carbohydrate 44.5 g
  • Cholesterol 34.9 mg
  • Fat 13.8 g
  • Fiber 5.9 g
  • Protein 6.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 8.4 g
  • Sodium 637.7 mg

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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.


  1. Topping is amazing! Definitely a change from marshmallow sweet potatoes. I will add a bigger "pinch" of cayenne next time. Was even better when rewarmed the next day as the flavors seeped in more!
  2. This was the best dish at our Thanksgiving feast this year. Well, this and your chocolate pecan pie. Chef John does it again!
  3. 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 - Read more ...