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Sweet Potato Bread is a classic Southern quick bread with a moist, tender crumb and lightly crisp edges. My first few attempts at making it didn't go well. With white flour and sugar, it was cloyingly sweet and lacking depth of flavor and texture. But over the years I've embellished the recipe and, dare I say?, perfected it.
Now I make sweet potato bread with whole grain flour, for it's heartier texture and nuttiness, along with ample mashed sweet potato and shredded carrot. It's delicately spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, honey sweetened, and studded with tender dates and buttery pecans.
Ingredients You Need to Make Sweet Potato Bread
- Sweet Potato: cooked sweet potato flesh, like mashed sweet potatoes or flesh from baked sweet potatoes (great way to enjoy leftovers!)
- Pecans: or walnuts
- Dates: pitted dates
- Carrot: with or without the peel, your choice
- Flour: white whole wheat flour (whole grain, mild tasting flour made from white wheat) or regular whole wheat flour
- Butter: If using unsalted butter, add an additional ¼ teaspoon fine salt or ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Honey: or maple syrup
- Eggs: extra large or large eggs
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Salt: fine sea salt or about double the amount of kosher salt
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground Nutmeg
But before we get to the recipe, let's commiserate for a moment about the trouble with quick breads. They tantalize your senses, filling your home with a sweet, spicy aroma only to make you wait - ideally overnight! - before slicing. I know that I should wait before slicing, but I can rarely resist slathering a hot, shaggy slice with butter.
Somewhere along the way, I started adding shredded carrot to this sweet potato bread. Now I consider it essential. It's the key ingredient that makes this version stand apart from the others, boosting the moisture and tipping the flavor toward carrot cake.
The other elements of the bread are interchangeable. Feel free to:
- Swap in walnuts, hazelnuts, or pumpkin seeds for the pecans, and black or golden raisins for the dates.
- And don't be afraid to experiment with other additions too: a little handful of coconut, chocolate chips, or even candied ginger. (Lately, I've been thinking of crowning it with a lime glaze.)
- Add ground ginger in addition to or in place of the other spices.
If you end up with leftover mashed sweet potatoes or baked sweet potatoes, this is a great way to enjoy them. If not, they're simple to make. Peel and dice a large sweet potato and steam for 15 to 20 minutes until very tender, then mash with a potato masher, ricer, or the back of a fork.
More Delicious Quick Bread Recipes
More of my Favorite Southern Recipes
How to Make Sweet Potato Bread
Cream butter and honey in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add eggs and water; mix to combine.
Add dry ingredients (white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon) and mashed sweet potato; mix until combined. Add pecans, dates, and shredded carrot; mix until combined.
Scrape batter into a buttered, medium loaf pan with a rubber spatula and smooth the top. Bake at 350˚F for 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out moist but clean.
Cool loaf in the pan 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove loaf from pan and allow to cool completely on cooling rack before slicing. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Sweet Potato Bread Recipe Video
Sweet Potato Bread
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour 180g
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup butter at room temperature
- ¾ cup honey 255g
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato 284g
- 4 ounces pecans chopped
- 3 ounces pitted dates chopped
- 1 medium carrot peeled and shredded, about ½ cup
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat honey and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and water; mix just until combined. Add dry ingredients and mashed sweet potato; mix just until combined. Add pecans, dates, and carrots; mix just until combined, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as necessary.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out moist but clean.
- Remove bread from oven and let cool in the pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and place back on cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve or, for best results, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Then slice, toast and serve warm with butter.
- Feel free to swap in your favorite nuts and / or dried fruits for those I've suggested.
- Store wrapped tightly in the refrigerator for up to a week.
David @ Spiced says
Ah, this is a fun (and classic) recipe! I've never made sweet potato bread at home, but I think it's about time to make a batch. I could see this being a side dish at dinner or even a nice treat mid-morning with a cup of tea. I can't wait to try this!
Marissa Stevens says
I hope you'll love it, David! Thank you.
Marissa, this sounds so delicious. I love making quick breads and the flavors in this sound so warming and perfect for this time of year. Love the addition of the dates, too. 🙂 ~Valentina
Marissa Stevens says
Thank you, Valentina. I agree!
The way my house smells after making this bread is intoxicating. 🥰 Thank you for the lovely recipe.
I did have one tiny issue. My bread will not stay together. When I sliced it, it wanted to crumble. I froze a loaf to toast in the morning, and it falls apart in the toaster. Any suggestions? I have to make this again because my husband is in love - even if he did have to eat it with a fork. 😁
Marissa Stevens says
So glad you and your husband are enjoying this, Amanda! About the bread being crumbly - I imagine that after it cooled, you wrapped it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight before slicing? The only other thing I can think of is that your flour may have been a bit off (too much) - did you weigh or scoop it? Getting quick breads out of the toaster can be a challenge for sure, haha... You can also broil it for a couple of minutes per side - keeping a close eye on it, of course. Or slow toast on a baking sheet at 350˚F.
Thank you for the suggestions! I scooped the flour, so I might try weighing it next time. Definitely trying the plastic wrap and refrigerator overnight. 👍
Sally Humeniuk says
We're just finishing off the last half of this delicious bread! I didn't realize I was out of carrots so I added zucchini instead and it was fabulous. Super moist and I love the recommendation to refrigerate it, toast and butter the next day. In other words, this morning's breakfast. Another great recipe, Marissa!
Marissa Stevens says
I'm so glad that you and your family enjoyed this bread, Sally! Zucchini was a smart swap for the carrots!
All That I'm Eating says
This bread sounds so good, and a lovely colour too. I like all the ingredients you've added for sweetness without adding any sugar.
Thanks so much!
Kelly | Foodtasia says
Marissa, this sweet potato bread is perfection! So happy you've shared your tried and true recipe. Great idea to use whole wheat flour. Everything about this loaf is wonderful!
Thanks so much, Kelly!
Yummy! I adore sweet potato in sweet and savory dishes, and your bread looks fantastic with perfect texture, wonderful flavors and additions.
Thank you, Balvinder! It always disappears quick! 😉
Liz Berg says
Though I adore pumpkin bread, sweet potato bread is also a fabulous fall quick bread. I've made a plain version in the past, but adding nuts and dates make your version even more enticing!
Thank you, Liz! I'm excited for you to give this one a try!
Honestly, I would have never thought of making sweet potato bread (Even though I've made sweet potato pancakes and donuts), and this idea sounds amazing! So looks the bread. Love the addition of spices, nuts, and dates. With some butter over a toasted slice (of probably five), that's divine!
Thanks, Ben! I think you'll love this!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
That shot with the melting butter on top? Swoon! Sounds divine, my friend! Wish I had a slice in front of me right now and not just on my screen 😉
aww...thank you, Dawn!
David @ Spiced says
Oh my gosh, I haven't heard of Sweet Potato Bread in years. My grandma used to make a version growing up, but I had totally forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder! This will totally bring back good memories when I bake a loaf...and excellent call with those shredded carrots, too!
Don't you love foods that bring back great memories!? Thanks, David!
I love this! I even love looking at those warm, delicious ingredients fall into the mixer. Such a tasty combination of fall flavors. And toasted with butter -- oh my! 🙂 Valentina
So good toasted with butter! Thank you, Valentina!
That looks phenomenal! I haven't baked anything with sweet potatoes this year yet...it's about TIME to change that.
Yes! Thanks, Angie!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
Gimme ALL the fall quick breads!! Especially ones that look this delicious!! This bread looks like perfection, Marissa!! All I need is a vat of honey butter and a loaf of this bread and I'd be in heaven!!
Thanks so much, Cheyanne! xo
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I want a big slice of this fresh out of the oven!!! With a giant pat of butter. I could actually just eat this whole thing for dinner. It's healthier you said..... 😉
haha...love it! Thanks, Katherine!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
I want to grab a slice right through my screen Marissa! It looks so delicious. I would most definitely have an issue with portion control with this loaf!
I hear ya, Mary Ann! Thanks so much!
I love it when we finally get recipes to how we want them! I can be a real "dog with a bone" when a recipe I'm trying to make doesn't go to plan. I usually drive my poor wife (Lynne) insane with tasting until I get it right. Ha ha! I'm glad you persevered with this Sweet Potato Bread. It looks amazing Marissa.
Kindred spirits, Neil! It's got to be right! 🙂 Thank you!
Why do you do this to me?!!! 😉 You know I need a slice right now, and waiting is the hardest part! That buttery slice is calling my name, my friend! Delicious offering!!
haha...thank you, Annie! xo
Looks like you definitely have perfected this bread! Perfect for autumn and cooler weather, bet you can't just have one slice either!
So true! Thanks, Kevin!