Thanksgiving Recipe: Ryan O’Donnell’s Comforting Sweet Potato Casserole

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Thanksgiving is here, and many families and friends will be gathering around the table for delicious food. WATE 6 On Your Side anchor Ryan O’Donnell is quite the cook. Here is one of his favorite Thanksgiving recipes.


  • 3 lbs yams
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)


  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour

Oven at 425. Take butter out and let it get to room temperature. Poke some holes in the yams and put on baking sheet with foil or baking sheet liner to collect oozing juices (it’ll help with cleanup). Bake for 75 minutes. Remove yams and turn oven down to 350. Spoon meat out of yams and put into mixer or large bowl. Add 1 stick of butter, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Mix it slowly and bring together. Taste to see if you need more sugar or cinnamon. Add beaten eggs and continue to mix until you get a nice and smooth consistency. If the mixture is too dry, add more OJ. Remove mixture and pour into casserole dish.

Topping: Start with brown sugar and softened butter using your hands. Coat the pecans with flower before adding to brown sugar/butter mixture. Combine these ingredients until you get a crumbly texture and then sprinkle over the mixture in the casserole dish.

Related: Thanksgiving Recipe: Lori Tucker’s fried turkey tradition

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