16 Creative Toppings For Sweet Potatoes

The name sweet potato doesn't merely describe the root vegetable's superb flavor — it also hints at the versatility of this orange-colored veggie. While there's a lot to like about sweet potatoes, perhaps nothing is greater than their ability to seamlessly mesh with an abundance of different ingredients.

Glance through any list of sweet potato recipes and you'll notice a bevy of stackable topping options from across the culinary spectrum. Sweet potatoes can fill virtually any hole on the menu, in fact, from side dishes and appetizers to hearty main courses and succulent desserts (even juice cocktails or frozen smoothies are an option).

Whether you've got an umami craving or hoping to sate your sweet tooth, there are plenty of ways to add more flavor to sweet potatoes with various fantastic toppings. Through a combination of personal experience and research, we assembled a list of ingredients to help transform your sweet spuds into mealtime studs. If you're searching for new ways to use canned sweet potatoes or you've got a fresh bag of produce you're eager to utilize, here are 16 creative toppings for sweet potatoes.


Our first entry comes courtesy of Mr. Stay Puft himself: the humble marshmallow. Now, considering the sticky history of marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes extends back to 1917, some may not consider this classic holiday casserole topper to be an especially creative choice for the orange-hued vegetable. But what can we say? The flavor profile of marshmallows is stunningly compatible with sweet potatoes, and we can't ignore the soft, creamy confection when discussing sweet potato toppings.

If you're looking to increase your creativity level, consider pairing your marshmallows with roasted bananas. This unexpected ingredient can elevate any sweet potato casserole by boosting the dish's taste and texture, as the roasted bananas bring a caramelized flavor and fluffiness that helps counter the denseness of the sweet potatoes.

You can also revive a leftover sweet potato casserole by using Sunny Anderson's marshmallow trick. Simply char some extra marshmallows to add on top (or mix into the cold casserole) before reheating the dish. These flame-kissed marshmallows will infuse your sweet potatoes with additional layers of sugary sweetness.

Brown sugar

It goes without saying that sweet potatoes are naturally sweet (it's in the name, after all). But that doesn't mean their sweetness can't be enhanced with simple additives — like brown sugar. A go-to standard when prepping a sweet potato pie, brown sugar (whether light or dark) can be used in several creative ways to enhance the root vegetable's overall flavor profile. And since making brown sugar at home couldn't be easier, you can even prepare your own from scratch to top your potato.

For lighter brown sugar, mix 1 tablespoon of molasses with 1 cup of white sugar to achieve the signature brown hue; for a darker product, simply double the molasses. You can add a further twist to your homemade brown sugar by placing a citrus peel in the container while it sits in storage. Not only will this give the sugar more zing, but it may help prevent clumps from forming over time, as well (since citrus peels offer an easy way to soften hard brown sugar).

You can also mix brown sugar with cinnamon to give your sweet potatoes a splendid, pie-like quality, particularly when it's added to twice-baked sweet potatoes. No matter how or where you incorporate it, though, a spoonful of brown sugar helps the sweet potato go down.

Corn flakes

Sweet potatoes go great with marshmallows, of course, but sometimes? The topping can be a bit much in terms of texture (or lack thereof). It's not so much that marshmallows sweeten the already, well, sweet potatoes — it's that they amplify the mashed vegetable's over-the-top mushiness. If you're tired of marshmallows on sweet potatoes, then, you may want to try the textural contrast offered by cornflakes.

Cornflakes are like the yin to sweet potatoes' yang. The crunchy cereal acts as a perfect foil for the sweet potatoes' softness; and while some cornflake cereals have sugar added, they tend to taste much more mild than the comparatively saccharine sweet potatoes.

One thing to keep in mind is that cornflakes can become soggy quite quickly if you add them too soon. In other words, when you're baking sweet potatoes with cornflakes, it's best to wait to add the cereal until the timer's close to buzzing. This ensures the cornflakes acquire a golden hue to match the sweet potato's color without absorbing too many juices or liquids — thus retaining the desired crispness.

Apple pie filling

Not all potato recipes call for the taters to be mashed or roasted. One variation is the Jewish culinary classic known as latkes. Generally made with regular potatoes, latkes are somewhat akin to fried potato pancakes (with a similar taste and appearance to hashbrown patties). Now, you can always make a simple swap and cook sweet potato latkes, but why stop there when you can raise the bar even further with a dollop of apple pie filling?

The gooey glory of apple pie filling provides an exceptional companion for sweet potatoes. There's plenty of common ground to combine the two in a side dish or dessert, after all, since apple pie filling has the perfect consistency for warm and hearty pies – just like cooked sweet potatoes.

Whether on a latke or over a casserole, apple pie filling can supplement the potatoes' natural sweetness with tarty flavor and cinnamon spices. Don't hesitate to use store-bought apple pie filling, either. Not only is it convenient, but you can always further elevate a canned apple pie filling with fresh fruit if you so desire.

Dried fruits

Like dried fruit, sweet potato snacks have a proud history among healthy offerings. In fact, in some parts of the world? Sweet potatoes are a mainstay of the munchies department. From sweet potato tea cakes popular in China to Korea's goguma mallaengi chewies, sweet spuds have long been a healthier alternative to the typically sugar-saturated candies and cookies. Since dried fruit and sweet potatoes have this in common, it only makes sense to use dried or candied fruit to top your sweet potatoes, too.

While this concept isn't new, it may not be the first topping option that springs to mind. But candied fruit is perfect for layering within a sweet potato casserole (like the glazed cherries and pineapples in a fruit cake), and can be used to decorate roasted sweet potatoes cooked in the oven or air fryer.

Keep in mind when cooking with dried fruit: Some advance prep time may be necessary. Just as it's best to soak dried fruit before using it in fruitcake, you may want to rehydrate the fruit before using it in any sweet potato recipes.


Since marshmallows and sweet potatoes are a perfect pair, it's no wonder many folks choose to turn their sweet potato pie into a s'mores-like dessert by incorporating chocolate and graham crackers, as well. Of course, while few can say no to the world's favorite gooey campfire treat when it's combined with the root vegetable, you may prefer to keep it simple — and stick solely with chocolate as a sweet potato topping.

A drizzle of melted chocolate on top of cooked sweet potatoes is fantastically delicious. The thickness of the chocolate provides a strong contrast to the softened, pulpy taters (and may even help sway any finicky little eaters to eat their veggies). Sweet potatoes mesh well with chocolate in other culinary contexts, as well, like how roasted sweet potatoes are the secret to perfectly rich brownies.

Milk chocolate is a favorite, but some may find this creates an overdose of saccharine with the already-sweetened spud. The more bitter, cocoa flavor of dark chocolate can help dilute some of that sweetness, while white chocolate lends a buttery texture that's also creamier than milk chocolate.

Honey glaze

When life gets too hard (as it sometimes does), you may prefer to relax and enjoy a favorite comfort food as a pick-me-up. Sweet potatoes can be used in countless comforting ways, of course, so you may want to turn to them when you're stressed. And if you're the type who becomes a couch potato to decompress, a sweet treat may be just what the doctor ordered — like a plate of honey-glazed sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes tossed in a honey glaze make for a perfect snack or side dish — one that's far less nutritionally detrimental than chocolate candies or snack cakes. A honey-roasted sweet potato recipe is fairly easy to assemble and hits that sweet spot with the full force of sweet potato goodness.

Chop your sweet potatoes into cubes or slices (depending on your preference) then coat them with a bit of honey and olive oil. Add cinnamon and other seasonings to taste, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or so. These sweet potatoes also make a great appetizer when paired with crackers, or as a sweet-and-savory salad ingredient.

Chopped nuts

Millions of people may be nuts about sweet potatoes, but few have likely thought to put two and two together ... and top their sweet potatoes with actual chopped nuts. Yet some recipes call for nuts in the ingredient pool — like topping a slow-cooked sweet potato batch with cashews to temper the sweetness of the potatoes with a crunchy and (what else?) nutty flavor.

Other nuts complement sweet potatoes quite well, also, including walnuts, pecans, almonds, and Brazil nuts. Many people prefer their nuts blanched so the skin doesn't get in the way of the cooking process, and you may want to choose a lightly salted variety to help balance the sweetness (and keep the sodium level low).

Nut lovers can also experiment with hazelnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts, all of which add an earthy flavor. If you're prepping a casserole, leave the nuts halved or in pieces, and layer them on top for maximum crunch. If serving whole sweet potatoes, crush the nuts and coat them over — and after one taste, your guests will go nuts for more.


There's a multitude of ways to cook sweet potatoes, and some folks are even willing to combine preparation techniques to develop the greatest depth of flavor. On that note, you can roast sweet potatoes before mashing them to incorporate notes of caramelization. But you can also drizzle caramel directly on top of cooked sweet potatoes to create an excellent dessert on its own.

Now, while the option to purchase a ready-made container of caramel from the grocery store exists, making your own allows a greater degree of customization. For instance, rather than using condensed or evaporated milk, you could swap in almond milk for a nuttier flavor. If you're prepping your sweet potatoes in the fall, maybe try pumpkin spice or nutmeg to give your dish an autumn touch.

Additionally, caramel can be used as the base to create a sweet-and-salty snack with other toppings (like pretzels or crushed crackers). But the best part about imparting caramel flavor in this manner is that no additional oven-roasting of your sweet potatoes is required.


When bringing home the bacon, there's no reason to avoid spreading it around the dinner table. Since bacon makes everything better, it's no surprise the salty pork product can enhance your standard sweet potato, too. Bacon brings a crunchiness to mashed sweet potatoes, for instance, and is a scrumptious addition to sweet potato casserole. Quite frankly, the greasy, savory taste of bacon works nicely with the potatoes' sweetness in just about any context.

There are a variety of bacon styles to choose from, but we recommend going with traditional bacon strips rather than bacon bits (the type you'd find on salads). Make sure the bacon is fully cooked and crispy beforehand, too, whether you're using whole strips or planning to chop it up.

Whatever method you go with to incorporate bacon, we can guarantee any diners will exclaim in delight. Bacon is the secret ingredient that can save sweet potatoes — and make your dish the talk of the town.


When it comes to toppings for sweet potatoes, the unsung Big Cheese might be, well, cheese itself. Cheese is a key ingredient in many sweet potato recipes, after all, such as parmesan sweet potato pancakes and a cream cheese-infused pie. Of course, you can always skip the extra prep entirely and just layer cheese directly on top of sweet potatoes — and here's where you get to kick your creativity into high gear.

There are dozens of cheese varieties throughout the world. Since every type of cheese isn't necessarily available at every single location, start with simple favorites like mozzarella. If you're a fan of garlic bread, try sprinkling a liberal amount of mozzarella and parmesan over sweet potatoes. You can also pile sharp cheddar on top of sweet potato skins (along with bacon, sour cream, and chives) for a twist on the classic Super Bowl snack.

Feel free to experiment with other cheeses, too. Whether you go with Monterey Jack, Gouda, goat cheese, or something else, you'll be shouting "Cheese, that's good!" in no time.

Sweet corn

You don't have to be a Kansas resident in August to appreciate the versatility of corn. Just like sweet potatoes, corn is often found in recipes ranging from sweet to savory — and the two pair well together, too, with sweet corn making a great topping choice on its own.

You can layer corn kernels on top of a sweet potato casserole or add them to mashed sweet potatoes to bring a slightly crunchy touch to the smooth creaminess. If you're preparing raw sweet potato wedges or diced taters, try mixing in the corn kernels and baking the two together.

Corn is also one of the easiest toppings to prepare. You can use drained, canned, or frozen corn kernels rather than cutting fresh corn straight from the cob, after all, and simply need to add whatever salt and seasonings you enjoy to taste. And if someone makes a "corny" comment about your dish? Just go with the flow in the spirit of bad food puns.

Sautéed mushrooms

Sweet potatoes and mushrooms may seem like a surprising combo, but one you'll wish you discovered sooner. For one thing, the two foods can be combined as a vegan-friendly replacement for beef to create a fall-forward mushroom Wellington (using baby bella and porcini mushrooms). But even if your fungi selection is limited to a tried-and-true option like button mushrooms, you should feel free to experiment with them as a sweet potato topping.

When prepping your mushrooms, we recommend sautéing them first to bring out the flavor. Sautéing the mushrooms with your favorite cooking oil and seasoning ensures they'll provide a tasty textural complement to sweet potatoes — whether added to a casserole or mixed in as bite-sized chunks. If you're counting calories and wish to skip the butter and oils, though, we've found roasting the combo in an air fryer (or baking them in a traditional oven) with a minimal amount of oil works well, too.

Crumbled or sliced sausage

Sausages may get a bad rep at times for their mystery meat-style composition. But any sausage lover will tell you those infamous links boast a variety of flavors and textures inside the casing. When exploring the dozens of sausage varieties available on the market, be ready for an overload of shapes, spices, and meaty mouthfuls of textures. But that's the beauty of sausages. Whether you're looking for a traditional bratwurst or a fatty, fishy Laulau, there's a sausage for every beck and call — and the best thing? Your favorite sausage will taste great resting on a pile of sweet potatoes, too.

Sausage brings a salty, spicy, and meaty counterpoint to the sweet, smooth makeup of sweet potatoes. You can combine both items as a topping on a homemade Italian sausage and sweet potato pizza or simply add slices or chunks of sausage directly on top of your cooked sweet taters. Either way, when the sausage crumbles, make sure there's a hefty sweet potato foundation to catch the toppings.


Since sweet potatoes are a staple in international cuisine, some recipes may call for utilizing ingredients that seem odd to the U.S. palate. Along those lines, while adding yogurt to sweet potatoes might inspire a double-take from some Americans, it's not that unusual. The Indian dish chaat, for instance, is often made with sweet potatoes and counts yogurt among the many ingredients. Or consider a sweet potato waffle, where yogurt and fruit provide a healthy alternative to sugary syrups.

For a plain roasted potato, Greek yogurt can offer a fantastic zing to contrast the sweet potato's sugar-heavy flavor. The Greek yogurt requires little preparation, too, as you can just drop a gloppy scoop directly on top of your sweet potatoes for a creamy finish. You can mix in some lime juice and seasoning for zest, or crumble some dried fish, like anchovies, to complete a sweet-and-salty appetizer.

If you're prepping sweet potato wedges, fries, or chips, Greek yogurt makes for a fantastic dip, as well. It works as a great base if you want to add capers, chives, or other seasonings to your sweet potato snack.

Butter and seasonings

Toppings can be great flavor enhancers, but let's not forget that sweet potatoes are just fine by themselves. While we tend to get carried away at times when discussing the many different toppings for sweet potatoes, it's always good to remind ourselves of some of the simpler options provided by Mother Nature. Since less can often be more with sweet potato toppings, a simple addition of butter, salt, and pepper will make your taste buds sing. 

One advantage of using simple toppings like these is that your sweet spuds remain amenable to further variation when it's time to serve leftovers. Rather than just reheating them as is, you can instead use leftover sweet potatoes in any number of delicious muffins, casseroles, soups, or smoothies. Plus, whether you're planning to make sweet po-tay-toes or po-tah-toes, you won't have to worry about any leftover toppings limiting your creative juices.