Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats

Change has never tasted so good. Take a break from the age-old sweet potato casserole and give these incredible Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats a try. They are perfect for serving in a group setting and so simple to make! Fresh and delicious ingredients combine to offer a new sweet and savory holiday tradition.

The Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats on a black baking sheet ready to be served.

It’s hard to pass up a yummy sweet potato dish when the holiday rolls around. But sometimes I get tired of the same old stuff. This recipe offers a spin on a holiday-table staple. In a weird-Covid-era fall, these also offer a great alternative to the buffet-style eating. Each boat is individually created to offer all the yummy tastes and flavors in one small little nicely-packed side dish. You can always cater to those with nut allergies by putting the roasted pecans on the side and allowing those who want them to heap ‘em on top as they go!

What’s the best way to cook a potato?

I have found that the best ways to cook a potato are either in the oven, the traditional way, or in an instant pot – the quick way! To bake in the oven, wash and puncture the potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. In a preheated oven, bake at 400 F for 50-60 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. In the Instant pot, place 1 cup of water in the base and place the trivet on top. Put all the sweet potatoes in and place the lid on, pushing the vent to ‘Seal’. Press ‘Manual’ and put the time at 13 minutes (this is for small/medium potatoes) For large potatoes, set the time at 19 minutes. Once the cook time elapses, allow a natural release of the pressure for 10 minutes. Then, with a long utensil, release the remaining pressure and carefully remove. Allow them to cool before moving forward with the recipe below.

What’s the difference between a regular potato and sweet potato?

There are plenty of similarities between a sweet potato and a white potato. They both have comparable amounts of starch, protein and calories. Most notably, however, are the characteristics that set them apart. Sweet potatoes are much higher in sugar and Vitamin A. Baked sweet potatoes have a higher amount of carbohydrates and fat than white potatoes. Sweet potato beat the white potato when it came to vitamin C and vitamin A, but the white potato is higher in vitamins B1, B3 and folic acid. As you can tell, they both have their benefits, and it really comes down to how a person prepares and cooks the root vegetable. They both have a ton of health benefits which propels me to keep these babies on the menu time and again!

Ingredients for the Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats laid out flat on a table.

Ingredients for our Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Butter
  • Pecans

How to make our Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats:

The first step is to cook the sweet potatoes based on your preferred method. Suggested cooking methods:


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wash and punch the sweet potato with a fork all over. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 50-60 minutes. After about an hour, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Instant Pot:

  • Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Next, place the small trivet and top it with the sweet potatoes. Place the lid on top and make sure the valve is set to ‘seal’. Set the time to ‘manual’ and set the time for 13 minutes. Once time has elapsed, allow the the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes has passed, release the remain pressure carefully and open lid. Remove the potatoes and allow to cool before moving on.

Once sweet potatoes are cooked, cut in half length wise and carefully scoop out the inside with a spoon. Leave a very thin layer so that the skin can hold some shape. Put all of the inside in a large mixing bowl.

A clear mixing bowl with sweet potato, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar before being mixed.

Combine the sweet potato, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until thoroughly mixed.

The sweet potato mixture are incorporated in a clear mixiing bowl on a table.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Carefully scoop the mixture back into the boat. You should be able to fill all skins nicely!

The sweet potato mixture placed in the sweet potato shells on a baking sheet with a cup of pecans and brown sugar next to it.

While the oven is preheating, combine the ingredients for the topping in a skillet: cinnamon, water, and brown sugar. Stir together. Cook on medium-high heat.

A sauce pan with water and brown sugar in it and someone holding up a bottle of cinnamon in front.

Once the mixture is bubbly and boiling, add in 1 cup of pecans. You can leave them whole or dice them – totally up to you. Completely stir and combine and allow to heat for an additional 2 minutes. Turn heat off and mix again. Spoon the pecans evenly in top of each sweet potato boat and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

The brown sugar mixture bubbling on the stove top.
The pecans in the brown sugar mixture, roasting and getting crispy.

Once 20 minutes is up, pull out of the oven and serve!

the final of the Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats, ready to be served after baking.

There is nothing like eating holiday food as the cooler weather rolls in and creating festive menus for when the family gets together. You won’t regret adding this one to the lineup. As everyone seems to keep saying, make this dish the ‘new normal’. (I rolled my eye’s with that too.) And to prepare for that mother in law that also makes you roll your eyes?? Try these amazing fall cocktails I created just for that!

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Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats
Yield: 8

Roasted Pecan Sweet Potato Boats

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • Topping:
  • 1 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Cook sweet potatoes according to method in post.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Once sweet potatoes are cooked and cool, cut in half length-wise.
  4. Scoop contents of sweet potato out and place in a large mixing bowl with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 cup room temperature salted butter. Mix completely.
  5. Spoon mixture back into sweet potato skins and place on a baking sheet.
  6. Make the topping: add the brown sugar, water, and cinnamon to a skillet on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and add in 1 cup of pecans. Mix and heat for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, spoon the pecans on top of the sweet potato boats.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove and serve!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 118mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 26gProtein: 3g

(Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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