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A Laughlin Family Favorite: Sweet Potato and Chipotle Gratin

Written by: Shawn Laughlin


A perfect, easy-to-make, sweet potato gratin with a smoky, spicy twist.

Who doesn't love a potato gratin, right? But this sweet potato version of a gratin is so much more than a creamy neutral! Sweet, meets smokey, meets spicy- it's truly swoonworthy.

In our house there's no doubt that holidays are all about the side dishes and this one is the most in-demand when thoughts turn to feasting. My in-laws were by-the-book New Englanders, and when I was finally allowed to host Thanksgiving at my house the unspoken rule was that all their family dishes needed to be represented. My mother-in-law was not known for her inventiveness in the kitchen, but I was eager to make everyone feel at home, so I dutifully "made" the canned cranberry sauce, carefully slid onto the plate to preserve the shape of the can. But true to my nature, I did resolve to slide a few new additions into the mix as well.

A cranberry chutney was my first sneaky move (another recipe that's a keeper, but more on that elsewhere), and this sweet potato gratin was the next one. My father-in-law saw the color of the dish, recognized them as sweet potatoes, wondered aloud about the missing marshmallows, but served himself a decent sized portion and headed back to the table.

We sat down to eat and I stole a glance at him, taking a big bite of the sweet potatoes. He looked surprised- he'd been expecting a brown sugared version, or perhaps one flavored with maple syrup. What he got was his first taste of chipotle. "What's this?" he asked. "It's chipotle peppers." I replied. "Damn good!" he said as he tucked into another bite. These sweet potatoes have been on the table ever since. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Beyond the holidays though, this sweet potato dish is actually a great side to partner with a good barbecue, or some simple grilled steak or roast chicken. Make it formal for those special occasions by slicing the sweet potatoes very thinly on a mandoline, then stack them with precision in a pretty baking dish like a traditional potato gratin, or make it a bit more rustic as we've done here, with thicker slices and more of a toss and tumble approach. Vary the spice level by using powdered chipotle for a lighter touch, but you may miss the richness of the adobo sauce that the canned chipotles are packed in.

Either way, you'll end up with smoky, creamy goodness that will give you another great excuse to eat more of these healthy, delicious tubers.

Creamy sweet potatoes with a smoky, spicy twist are one dish everyone loves.

Dress them up for holidays, or make them easy for everyday.

Potluck perfect- these sweet potatoes taste great warm from the oven or at room temp.

Sweet Potatoes with a Rebel Spirit

Sweet Potato and Chipotle Gratin

serves 8


4 cups heavy cream

2 canned chipotle peppers

6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree the cream and chipotle until smooth (careful not to over blend, or you could make chipotle whipped cream!).
  3. In a 10 X 10 in baking dish, arrange a fourth of the sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper and pour a fourth of the cream over them. You can layer them meticulously for a more formal look, or more casually for a more rustic look. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and cream, creating 4 layers. Cover loosely with tented foil.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, or until cream in absorbed and sweet potatoes have browned, removing the foil after the first 15 minutes in the oven. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
A close up shot of the first layer of sliced sweet potatoes added to the baking dish.

These creamy, crispy, sweet potatoes offer a smoky, spicy surprise of flavor. They're also a great choice for potluck dinners. Easy to make ahead and bring while still warm, they're equally delicious at room temperature.

Smoky, Spicy, Sweet Potatoes Everyone Loves

An arbor Green salad plate with a serving of the sweet potato gratin and a roasted chicken thigh.

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Caskata founder Shawn Laughlin

Shawn Laughlin

I'm a foodie turned entrepreneur. In love with delicious food and the moments spent gathered around a big, beautiful table. When I'm not behind my desk at Caskata you can find me in the kitchen, or my garden behind our newly-renovated mid-century ranch house.

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