Old-fashioned Sweet Potato Pone

casserole dish containing sweet potato pone

Sweet potatoes are part of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions, but frankly I’m tired of candied sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, so I dug through hundred-year-old recipe books looking for something “new.”

I found Sweet Potato Pone, and just had to give it a try.

The pone looked plainer than many sweet potato dishes;  but it was lovely, with a sweet, ginger flavor and citrus undertones. It had an almost pudding-like quality.

Sweet Potato Pone

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 orange

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 cups hot mashed sweet potato (6-7 medium sweet potatoes)

1 cup milk, heated until hot

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wash the orange. Using a grater, grate the orange rind. Set the grated rind aside. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice; set the juice aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until creamy, and then add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. Put into a casserole dish, and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour.

Adapted from Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Sweet poato pone 2

I’m not sure why this recipe is called a pone. According to the dictionary pone is a type of cornbread, but this recipe doesn’t call for any cornmeal.

Here’s a picture of the original recipe. Would you have interpreted the recipe the same way I did?

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)


54 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Sweet Potato Pone

  1. I personally hate those overly sweet sweet potatoes mashed with brown sugar and marahwallows on top! I prefer to roast mine after tossing with veggie oil, salt and pepper.

  2. This is almost exactly how I’ve done sweet potatoes since I gave up on the marshmallow routine. I bake the potatoes, then mix them well with butter, brown sugar and spices. Then, when it’s time, I put them in a buttered dish, sprinkle chopped pecans and a little brown sugar on top, and bake. The good thing is that it makes sweet potatoes easy to make ahead — always a consideration.

    1. Your recipe sounds wonderful, too. I like the idea of adding a few pecans. And, you’re absolutely right–when preparing a big holiday meal, the more dishes that can be prepared ahead of time the better.

  3. This recipe sounds like sweet potato pie filling minus the flour and eggs.. I thought ‘Pone” was like corn bread?

    1. I’ve never made sweet potato pie, but it’s probably similar. I’m still confused by the name of this dish. The name suggests that it is a cornbread–yet the recipe does not call for cornmeal.

    1. It’s out of an old Lowney’s cookbook. Lowney’s was a chocolate company that made cocoa and baking chocolates. The cookbook is a hard cover book and contains over 200 pages with a wide range of recipes. It’s sort of like the Betty Crocker cookbook of its day. This recipe was in a chapter called Creole Recipes.

  4. Sounds wonderful and different in a good way! I especially like the orange in there, though I would probably cut the amount of butter in half. 🙂

    If interested, Check my just posted recipe for potato puree/cheese rolls, that is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.

    1. The orange adds a refreshing touch of citrus to the recipe. It would be interesting to experiment with the amount of butter (and sugar). I checked out your post, and your recipe for potato puree/cheese rolls looks wonderful.

    1. This dish definitely has a ginger flavor; the orange is more subtle. When I made it, I worried that 2 tablespoons of ginger would be too much, even though the recipe called for that amount. But it turned out perfectly, and I thought that the ginger flavor was just right.

  5. I don’t do sweet potatoes with marshmallows… Baked , or fries, and mashed like white potatoes then served with dry beef gravy ( creamy based). The rest of the family will eat a baked sweet potato with ranch dressing on it… I just prefer not to ruin my potato. 🙂

    1. I’ve never thought about serving sweet potatoes either of the ways which you and your family enjoy them. I’ll have to try them with gravy. . . and with ranch dressing.

  6. I had to do a bit of research on this one–apparently, sweet potato pone is classic southern, and was served as street food in New Orleans as pain patate (potato bread is my best guess at the interpretation). Pone is frequently thought of as corn pone as that is the kind most of us are familiar with, but the pone part is from an Algonquin word meaning to roast or bake. It is an unleavened bread, made with milk and eggs, although sometimes, corn pone was made with water–my mother had a recipe for “hot water cornbread.”

  7. I like just plain baked and mashed sweet potatoes but my daughter makes the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and she makes one pan with marshmallows and one without since she knows I prefer them plain. The pone you made does sound sort of sweet potato pie filling.

    1. It’s sweet of your daughter to make one without the marshmallows especially for you. I’ve never had sweet potato pie, but I think that the pone mixture would work well as a pie filling.

  8. We often mash sweet potatoes with orange juice. The addition of ginger is a great idea. There are several varieties of sweet potato here; some work better with orange juice than others.

    1. There are are several varieties of sweet potatoes here, too. Most are orange, but they range in color from cream to almost red. I don’t have much of a sense of how the taste and cooking characteristics vary from one variety to the next.

  9. I made this on Wednesday & reheated it yesterday for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it. The addition of the citrus really sets it apart. I agree with you that it would be interesting to try it with less butter, and sugar (considering how sweet sweet potatoes are!).

  10. When growing up my mom added self rising flour to make it a sweet potato bread it was moist and had crunchy edges

  11. My Grandmother made one that had orange zest and lemon zest not sure what else but do remember bacon grease on top to make it brown. I sure would like to know what else she put in it. It was great and the next morning she would fry it and serve it with grits.

  12. There are many variations, but my grandmother always had molasses, brown sugar and heavy cream. It came out more like a bread! It was great and everyone looked forward to her making it.

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