Give your Thanksgiving table an extra delicious touch with your new favorite sweet potato dish. Topped with a crumbly, perfectly spiced coconut-hazelnut streusel, this delicate and airy sweet potato souffle features fresh, bright orange zest and real maple syrup for the ultimate holiday side dish.
What Is Sweet Potato Souffle?
Have you ever had sweet potato souffle? If not, you’re in for a treat.
Sweet potato souffle is a lighter, fluffier version of your traditional sweet potato casserole, which is a welcome change from your other Thanksgiving side dishes. With the mashed potatoes, cream-based casseroles, dressing, and mac and cheese gracing many Thanksgiving tables, we already have plenty of heavy side dishes.
I especially love the sweet potato souffle from Ruth Chris, so with the holidays coming up, I figured it was time to put my own spin on that delicious dish. In fact, my mom actually challenged me at the beginning of fall to come up with my own take on this Ruth Chris favorite. She tried some copycat recipes but felt they were heavier than the Ruth Chris version —- more like a mashed sweet potato casserole. Not that a mashed sweet potato casserole isn’t tasty; it just isn’t what she wanted.
So I took the challenge and came up with this recipe. And you know what? I'm beyond pleased with the results, and here's my little secret: whipped egg whites. Incorporating whipped egg whites gives this souffle that lighter texture we love.
To be clear, this sweet potato souffle isn't as airy as, say, an egg souffle. Sweet potatoes are simply heavier than eggs. But this dish is definitely more delicate than your traditional mashed sweet potato casserole.
Now, I also won’t say this is an exact copycat of the Ruth Chris sweet potato souffle. I use fresh orange zest in my recipe, which gives it a distinct flavor, but the texture is light and fluffy, just like Ruth Chris.
We can't start cooking without first gathering our ingredients, right? Here's everything we need to make this gourmet sweet potato souffle.
- Sweet potatoes
- Egg whites
- Egg yolks
- Heavy cream
- Maple syrup
- Orange zest
- Vanilla extract
- Dark brown sugar
- Cayenne pepper
And now to make our Thanksgiving souffle dish. We start by boiling some sweet potatoes until soft. As the potatoes boil, I like to go ahead and beat my egg whites until stiff peaks form and then set aside. When the potatoes are ready, we move them to a mixing bowl and beat them until they're nice and whipped. We're making a big batch of potatoes here, so make sure to use a big bowl.
Hey, the best part of Thanksgiving is leftovers, right? Only big batches will do for Thanksgiving.
At this point, we're ready to add the butter, heavy cream, egg yolks, maple syrup, orange zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. We then gently fold in the whipped egg whites, and just like that, our souffle base is ready.
In a small bowl, we mix together flour, dark brown sugar, coconut, hazelnuts, cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of cayenne. If the cayenne makes you nervous, don't worry. The cayenne doesn't make the streusel overly spicy. We add just enough to give a little kick to the cinnamon and ginger.
Once our mixture is well-combined, we add softened butter to the bowl and cut it into the dry ingredients to make a crumb-like texture. We can use a fork, pastry blender or even our fingers to work the butter into our dry mixture. After it's perfectly crumbly, we spread it all over our souffle.
While you're spreading the crumb topping, it might feel like a lot --- more than you need even. But trust me, you'll want to add every bit of the streusel. Once you taste that baked spiced streusel topping, you'll be glad you didn't skimp.
How Long to Bake
Now that we smoothed our sweet potato filling into the pan and topped it with that coconut-hazelnut streusel, we're ready to bake. We pop our souffle into a 350-degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. After that 30 minutes, our streusel topping will turn perfectly brown, and we're ready to dig in.
Can You Make Ahead of Time?
Go ahead and make the souffle up until you whip the egg whites and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The whipped egg whites are so delicate that I don't recommend adding them ahead of time. I worry that they won't hold up well.
Of course, you're always welcome to try adding the whipped egg whites ahead of time, but I can't guarantee results. My gut says adding the whipped egg whites right before baking is the better bet. Then, you'd just top with the streusel, which you can definitely make ahead of time, and bake.
Can You Serve as a Dessert?
Sure! Traditionally, this sweet potato recipe is more commonly served as a side dish, but with that streusel topping, rich maple syrup and warm spice, this souffle can easy moonlight as dessert. I still love my pumpkin pie and pecan pie as Thanksgiving desserts, so I prefer to serve this sweet potato souffle as a side dish. But you do you.
Perfect Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner
For my Thanksgiving recipes, I like to give overall pairings for Thanksgiving dinner rather than the individual dish. I assume most of you aren't making this sweet potato souffle all by its lonesome, so I hope that's helpful.
A biere de garde is perfect for the beer lovers out there. This beer complements a variety of different dishes, particularly those herby Thanksgiving recipes. At the same time, biere de garde has enough malt to balance the sweet potatoes.
Feeling wine? Grab a pinot noir for red wine lovers, and a dry riesling or sauvignon blanc for white wine lovers. I'm also a huge proponent of a little bubbly with Thanksgiving dinner. Besides being the ultimate special occasion sipper, it truly goes with everything.
For your upcoming Thanksgiving gathering, I hope you try this sweet potato souffle with coconut-hazelnut streusel.
Need More Thanksgiving Recipes?
- Pumpkin-chipotle hummus
- Baked Brie with fig and Kahlua sauce
- Maple-braised turkey legs and thighs
- The best brown butter mashed potatoes
- Brown butter pumpkin cupcakes with bourbon caramel and frosting
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Sweet Potato Souffle With Coconut-Hazelnut Streusel
- Large pot
- Mixing bowl
- Hand or stand mixer
- Microplane grater or citrus zester
- 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish
Sweet Potato Souffle
- 5 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
- Salted water
- 4 egg whites
- ½ cup butter softened and sliced
- 1 cup heavy cream warmed in microwave for one minute right before using
- 3 egg yolks
- Zest from 1 orange
- ½ cup maple syrup see note
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Coconut-Hazelnut Streusel Topping
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup butter softened
Sweet Potato Souffle
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot, place sweet potato cubes in cold salted water and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until softened, about 20 minutes. The potatoes are ready when a fork can easily pierce them.
- As the potatoes boil, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside. At this point, you can also prepare your streusel topping. In a bowl, mix together dark brown sugar, flour, shredded coconut, hazelnuts, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne until well combined. Using a fork, pastry blender or clean fingers, work in the butter until it's well distributed and crumbly throughout. Set aside.
- When the potatoes finish cooking, drain well and lightly pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Whip the potatoes using a stand or hand mixer until they smooth out and are just about the consistency of mashed potatoes. As needed, stop to scrape the side of the bowl to ensure everything is whipped.
Coconut-Hazelnut Streusel Topping
- Stir in the softened butter. Once the potatoes are coated with butter, stir in the warm heavy cream, and then the yolks, orange zest, maple syrup, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites until combined. The mixture will be thinner than mashed potatoes at this point.
- Pour into a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the streusel all over the top of the souffle. It should completely cover the sweet potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
- Make sure you use real maple syrup, not the kind you see for pancakes.
- To make ahead, boil the sweet potatoes and combine with all the ingredients except the whipped egg whites. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three days. Make sure you pull the sweet potatoes out of the refrigerator an hour or two early to allow the mixture to come down to room temperature. When you're ready to bake, whip the egg whites fresh until stiff peaks form, fold them into the sweet potato mixture, pour into the baking dish, cover with streusel topping and bake for 30 minutes. The casserole may need additional time because it won't be as warm going into the oven as it is when you make it right off the stove. If that's the case, tent with tinfoil to prevent the topping from overbrowning and bake for another 10 minutes or so.
- You can make the streusel topping ahead of time as well and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Butter is safe at room temperature, and we don't want it getting all hard in the refrigerator.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.