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Baked Sweet Potato Balls with a Pecan Crust

Baked Sweet Potato Balls with a Pecan Crust are seasoned, mashed sweet potatoes formed into balls, rolled in a spicy egg white mixture, then coated with pecans. Make these a tradition on your Thanksgiving menu.

Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls-ready to serve

Recipe Inspiration

It doesn’t matter if nobody is coming to my house for dinner. Who can resist sweet potatoes for 33 or even 59 cents a pound?

Consequently, I find myself with an overabundance of sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving.  It’s a great problem.

Several years ago, my friend Debbie came to the rescue with her recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Balls.  After making it her way for a few years, I completely revised the recipe. You may have noticed how I like to do that.

What makes these Sweet Potato Balls special?

The technique for cooking the sweet potatoes comes from the Nov-Dec 2018 issue of Cooks Country. It’s a simple task on top of the stove but results in a rich and concentrated sweet potato flavor.

Marshmallows seem to find their way into many sweet potato casseroles served around the holidays, but I finally decided to say “no” to vegetable desserts.

Instead, I use a little bit of Swerve (but you can use sugar or your favorite sweetener) to get the slightly “sweet” flavor in the sweet and spicy pecan coating. The “spicy” notes come from Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and cayenne.

Spicy Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Balls

Can this sweet potato recipe be made ahead?

Admittedly, these sweet potato balls are a little trouble. Luckily, you can do most of the work ahead of time.

Prepare balls and bake at your convenience. When cool, wrap sweet potato balls well and freeze. Allow to thaw and reheat in the oven before serving.

How to make “Baked Sweet Potato Balls”

Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
Slice peeled sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Add 6 tablespoons water and sweet potatoes to medium pot and cover. Cook on medium-low for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes are soft.
Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
While sweet potatoes cook, make egg white dipping mixture. Start by whisking egg whites, salt and water in a small bowl until frothy. Add spices and whisk again.
Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
Form balls between 1/4-1/2 cup size. I like to use a spring-loaded ice cream dipper and wear surgical gloves.
Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
Use a slotted spoon to dip each sweet potato ball in egg white mixture.
Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
Cover with chopped pecans.
Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls
Place balls on a prepared baking sheet. Brush with butter. Bake at 400 degrees F 15-20 minutes.

More Sweet Potato Recipes

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Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Balls-in a serving dish

Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at

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Pecan Crusted Sweet Potato Balls

Spicy Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Balls

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

These mashed sweet potatoes are formed into balls, rolled in a spicy egg white mixture, and then rolled in chopped pecans. They are a delicious make-ahead alternative to marshmallow, butter, and sugar-laden sweet potato casseroles.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or my fave sweetener, Swerve)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes in 1/2-inch slices. Place in covered pot with 6 tablespoons water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until potatoes are soft. Usually takes 20-25 minutes.
  2. Mash with a fork or potato masher. (Do not use a mixer, food processor or immersion blender as they will cause sweet potatoes to be too soft.)
  3. Season with salt and cayenne.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper, a silicone mat or greasing it well.
  5. Mix egg whites, water, and salt with a fork until frothy. Add Worcestershire sauce, paprika and cayenne. Mix well.
  6. Spread chopped pecans on a piece of wax paper or a plate.
  7. Make sweet potato balls using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop. I like balls between 1/8 to 1/4 cup size. (Surgical gloves are really helpful here.) Drop balls one at a time into egg white mixture with a slotted spoon making sure the whole ball gets coated. Then cover ball with finely-chopped pecans.
  8. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nuts become toasty and balls are heated through.


  • If you have any of the egg white mixture left over, here's an idea. Add a tablespoon of melted butter to the mixture and stir. Add more pecans--maybe 1/2 cup. Pour onto a greased or silicone mat-covered baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until toasty. These are so good crumbled over a salad. Or.... you could just eat them straight up like I do.
  • The nutritional estimates on this recipe may be a little high because you will probably have a little bit of the egg mixture and butter left over after making the balls.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 490mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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Updated May 2020

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Mai Solutions

Friday 14th of December 2018

These look amazing!


Tuesday 20th of November 2018

I have never heard of Swerve. Where do you buy it? Cannot wait to make this for my family. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.


Tuesday 20th of November 2018

You can get it at places like Whole Foods and Sprouts in our area. It's also available on Amazon (usually cheaper) here. It is a little pricey so I save it for special occasions.


Thursday 14th of October 2010

Oh my gosh, this looks amazing! I tell you your site always makes me so hungry when I'm done visiting it. Anyway, I'm making these ASAP.

Linda K. Gill

Saturday 26th of December 2009

Our son-in-law is the only one in our family who likes sweet potatoes as much I do. Actually, he likes them better since he orders sweet potato fries instead of french fries (are they only in Louisiana?) Anyway, he will be surprised when I make these!


Tuesday 22nd of December 2009

Those look SO good. I love all things sweet potato! Will have to try this one for sure!