It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Actually, for me, it’s this weekend! I’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving, so we’re celebrating early this year. The pressure’s on; it’s officially crunch time!

Luckily, you all have a little longer to prepare. If you’re still looking for menu ideas, here’s a hint: you can’t go wrong with my secret-ingredient sweet potatoes. The secret is fresh orange and pineapple but shhhh! Don’t tell. Everyone will fall in love with these adorable sweet potato orange cups, and no one will be able to figure out what that sweet-and-citrusy flavor is.  Plus — major cute points for serving them in orange cups with marshmallows.

You may remember that this is one of my mother’s famous recipes. I make it every year. This year, she’s not with us at the table, but her potatoes will be there to remind us of  her sweetness. I’m sure she’ll be looking down at us Sunday, happy to see her tradition living on!

I hope you’ll make this recipe a part of your family’s tradition this year — if you do, comment and let me know what you think!

secret ingredient sweet potatoes


My Mother's Famous Sweet Potatoes
My Mother's Famous Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe My Mother's Famous Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 5 pounds (4 or 5 large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 oranges, sliced in half and flesh scooped out
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Marshmallows or toasted chopped nuts, optional


  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until very tender, about 1 ½ hours.
  • Remove from the oven and cool.
  • Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  • While potatoes are baking, add pineapple, orange zest, and the flesh of two oranges to a food processor.
  • Pulse until smooth.
  • Peel the baked potatoes, then mash well in a bowl.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Add mixture to food processor with pineapple mixture and pulse until smooth and combined.
  • Divide mixture evenly amongst orange halves, top with marshmallows if using, and set on a baking sheet.
  • Bake until steaming, 20-30 minutes.