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This old-fashioned sweet potato bread is a Southern classic! Best of all, the easy loaf comes together with just one bowl and a whisk — no electric mixer required. It’s moist, warmly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and studded with chopped nuts. Enjoy a slice spread with cinnamon butter for breakfast or snack, or offer the loaf for a side dish with supper alongside chiliroast chickenpulled pork, a Dutch oven pot roast, or even your Thanksgiving turkey!

Close up shot of slices of sweet potato bread

Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Bread

Once the temperature drops and you wake up to a crisp autumn morning, you’ll be craving a slice of this warmly-spiced, old fashioned sweet potato bread with your hot cup of coffee. It’s a simple and delicious treat that has been enjoyed for generations, with roots here in the American South.

Sweet potato bread actually tastes a lot like pumpkin bread. The mashed sweet potato adds flavor, moisture, and sweetness to the batter. The key to a nicely-balanced, moist loaf of sweet potato bread with a light, tender crumb is just the right amount of mashed potatoes paired with just the right amount of oil. Too much oil, butter, or potatoes and the bread turns out dense, heavy, gummy, and wet. Too little oil, butter, or potatoes and the bread turns out dry, crumbly, and flavorless. It’s a delicate balance!

Slices of southern sweet potato bread stacked on a platter

Roasted Sweet Potato Bread

I prefer using roasted, mashed sweet potatoes for this old-fashioned recipe. The texture of the sweet potatoes is ideal and they’re not too wet. That said, if you don’t have time for the added step of roasting your own potatoes, you can substitute with canned yams (drained, patted dry, and mashed) or with canned sweet potato puree.

To roast your own potatoes at home, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Poke holes all over the outside of two medium sweet potatoes. Place on the foil-lined baking sheet and roast until fork-tender, about 45-60 minutes. Cut a slit in the top of each potato to release steam. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash until smooth. Measure out 1 cup for this recipe, and use as instructed.

Stirring batter for sweet potato bread in a large bowl

Ingredients for an Easy Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for this easy sweet potato bread recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Sugar: for a loaf that’s perfectly sweet.
  • Oil: I use vegetable oil, but another neutral oil, such as canola oil, will work.
  • Eggs: give the bread structure.
  • Mashed sweet potatoes: give the bread flavor, moisture, and sweetness. See my note above for instructions on how to roast your sweet potatoes at home, or use canned sweet potato puree (similar to pumpkin puree) for a shortcut.
  • Pure vanilla extract: for extra flavor.
  • Baking soda: the leavening agent that helps the bread rise.
  • Salt: to enhance the other flavors in the recipe. I use regular table salt here, not kosher salt.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the bread.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves: warm spices that give the bread its classic, cozy fall flavors!
  • Chopped nuts: these are optional, but recommended! We love either chopped walnuts or chopped pecans (shown here), but almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios would also work.
Process shot showing how to make sweet potato bread

How to Make Sweet Potato Bread

Since this is a “quick bread,” there’s no yeast necessary, no rising or proofing time, no kneading, and no mixer to haul out onto the countertop. Once your ingredients are assembled, the entire loaf comes together in about 10 minutes with just one bowl to wash at the end — making this a very easy sweet potato bread recipe. Minimal effort and maximum reward…that’s my kind of baking!

  1. In a large bowl, whisk or stir together the sugar, oil, and eggs.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
  3. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the wet ingredients, then stir until well-blended.
  4. Add the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). Fold in the nuts, if using.
  5. Transfer the batter to a greased loaf pan.
  6. Bake the bread in a 350°F oven for about 65 minutes.
  7. Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Close overhead image of sliced sweet potato bread on a wooden cutting board

Serving Suggestions

Offer the bread for a quick grab-and-go breakfast on busy mornings; pile the slices in a basket as a part of a special brunch buffet; set out a plate of bread with a glass of milk for an afternoon snack; or even enjoy the bread as a side dish with dinner.

Sweet potato bread is delicious at room temperature, or even better when served warm. It’s best with a smear of soft butter or cream cheese, a dollop of jamapple butterhomemade honey butter, spiced sorghum butter, or even spread with almond butter or peanut butter. Don’t forget a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk!

Square image of stacked slices of sweet potato bread

Storage

Always wrap your loaf in plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out. The sweet potato bread will stay fresh at room temperature on the counter for 1-2 days, and it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Side shot of a loaf of sliced old fashioned sweet potato bread

How to Freeze

Allow the bread to cool completely, and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a Ziploc freezer bag or wrap again with aluminum foil. The sweet potato bread will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thaw the bread on the countertop or warm individual slices in the microwave for a few seconds. It will taste just as fresh as the day you baked it!

Front shot of hands holding a platter of sweet potato bread

Recipe Variations

  • Nuts: the nuts are optional, but recommended! We like chopped pecans or walnuts best, but just about any of your favorites will work.
  • Fruit: add raisins, chopped dates, dried cranberries (such as Craisins), or fresh cranberries for a tart pop of flavor.
  • Chocolate chips: 1 cup of chocolate chips added to the batter takes this simple loaf over the top!
  • Orange zest: orange pairs really nicely with sweet potatoes, so feel free to add some fresh orange zest to the batter for a bright citrus flavor.
  • Spices: include additional spices, such as ginger, cardamom, or allspice.
  • Whole wheat: to add wholegrains to your loaf, swap out about half of the all-purpose flour and replace it with whole wheat flour.
  • Any neutral flavored oil works well (such as vegetable oil or canola oil). You can also use melted coconut oil, but it might change the taste of the bread slightly.
Side shot of a slice of sweet potato bread on a white plate

Tips for the Best Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

  • Use roasted, mashed sweet potatoes for the best flavor and texture. The roasted potatoes aren’t too wet, so they don’t make the bread too dense or gummy.
  • For a shortcut, use canned sweet potato puree (no peeling, roasting, or mashing necessary).
  • To roast your own potatoes at home, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Poke holes all over the outside of two medium sweet potatoes. Place on the foil-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45-60 minutes. Cut a slit in the top of each potato to release steam. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash until smooth. Measure out 1 cup for this recipe, and use as instructed.
  • Do not over-mix the batter. It should come together so that everything is combined, but then stop stirring! Mixing too much will result in a dry, dense loaf.
  • The total baking time will vary depending on the type of loaf pan that you use. A dark metal, nonstick pan cooks the bread faster, so it will likely be done within 45-55 minutes. By contrast, a lighter metal pan, a glass pan, or a ceramic pan can easily require up to 70 minutes of baking in a 350°F oven. You can tell that your loaf is cooked through when you insert a toothpick or long stick deep into the center of the loaf and it comes out clean.
Overhead image of a loaf of sliced easy sweet potato bread recipe

More Quick Bread Recipes to Try

Square image of stacked slices of sweet potato bread

Southern Sweet Potato Bread

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 5 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 1 loaf (about 10-12 slices)
Calories 197 kcal
This old-fashioned sweet potato bread is a Southern classic! Best of all, the easy loaf comes together with just one bowl and a whisk!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Optional: ½ cup chopped nuts (such as walnuts or pecans)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8 x 4-inch or 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, and eggs. Add mashed sweet potatoes and vanilla extract; whisk to combine. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over top; stir until well blended.
  • Stir in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; be careful not to over-mix.
  • Fold in the nuts, if using.
  • Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes for dark or nonstick pans or up to 60-70 minutes for glass, ceramic, or light pans. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tent the loaf with foil during the final 15-20 minutes of baking if the top starts to get too dark.
  • Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • Use roasted, mashed sweet potatoes for the best flavor and texture. The roasted potatoes aren’t too wet, so they don’t make the bread too dense or gummy.
  • For a shortcut, use canned sweet potato puree (no peeling, roasting, or mashing necessary).
  • To roast your own potatoes at home, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Poke holes all over the outside of two medium sweet potatoes. Place on the foil-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45-60 minutes. Cut a slit in the top of each potato to release steam. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash until smooth. Measure out 1 cup for this recipe, and use as instructed.
  • Do not over-mix the batter. It should come together so that everything is combined, but then stop stirring! Mixing too much will result in a dry, dense loaf.
  • The total baking time will vary depending on the type of loaf pan that you use. A dark metal, nonstick pan cooks the bread faster, so it will likely be done within 45-55 minutes. By contrast, a lighter metal pan, a glass pan, or a ceramic pan can easily require up to 70 minutes of baking in a 350°F oven. You can tell that your loaf is cooked through when you insert a toothpick or long stick deep into the center of the loaf and it comes out clean.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (1/12 of the loaf)Calories: 197kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 258mgPotassium: 144mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 4530IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: easy sweet potato bread recipe, old fashioned sweet potato bread, southern sweet potato bread, sweet potato bread
Course: bread, Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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