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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.

Sweet Potato Bread loaf and three slices on a cutting board with a knife.

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 1/4 teaspoon fine salt or 1/2 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

For Easier Slicing

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.

Key Ingredient (It’s not what you think.)

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.

Toasted Slices of Sweet Potato Bread with butter on a black plate.

Recipe Options

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.

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How to Make Sweet Potato Bread

Cream butter and honey in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

creamed butter and honey

Add eggs and water; mix to combine.

adding eggs and water to batter

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.

mixing dry ingredients and mashed sweet potato to batter

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.

sweet potato bread batter in a loaf pan ready to bake

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.

baked sweet potato bread

Sweet Potato Bread Recipe Video

Sweet Potato Bread

4.94 from 16 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Breads and Quick Breads, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American, Southern
Calories: 257
Servings: 12 slices
The classic Southern quick bread honey sweetened and made with warm spices, whole grain flour, mashed sweet potato, shredded carrot, dates, and pecans.

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour 180g
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 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 1/2 cup

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  • Butter a 9×5-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.

Notes

  1. Feel free to swap in your favorite nuts and / or dried fruits for those I’ve suggested.
  2. Store wrapped tightly in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 226mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2710IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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45 Comments

  1. Terrie Atkins says:

    4 stars
    I made this a few days ago. I’m really enjoying it. It’s similar to other sweet breads but not as sweet which is nice. I just nuke it for a few seconds with a pat of butter on top. Yum. We have a boatload of sweet potatoes from the garden this year to use. My husband found the recipe and we are thinking of baking up some as Christmas gifts to neighbors. I did experience the crumbly factor another reviewer did. I was thinking of using maybe half whole wheat (don’t see white whole wheat in store) and half white flour to see if it helped. And I did not wrap it like you said, just put it in a ziploc. And I may have left in a bit over the 70 minutes? I am going to try again – maybe tomorrow.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Terrie! Thank you for your cooking notes – so glad you and your husband enjoyed this.