Sweet Potato Casserole (2024)

· Modified: by John Kanell

Creamy, buttery sweet potatoes topped with gooey marshmallows and crunchy toasted pecans — this is the best sweet potato casserole recipe you’ll try! Perfect for preparing ahead, this crowd-pleasing side dish has its place on a Thanksgiving table, Christmas dinner, or any special gathering.

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This classic sweet potato casserole with marshmallows is a holiday staple and family favorite for a reason! A cross between a rich side dish and decadent dessert, cinnamon- and vanilla-scented sweet potatoes nestle beneath fluffy marshmallows and a crunchy pecan topping. It’s a dish guaranteed to disappear at every gathering!

Depending on your preference and how much time you have, you can boil or roast the sweet potatoes. I prefer boiling cubed sweet potatoes as it is a much quicker option. But if you want a more intense caramel flavor and have time to spare, you can roast the sweet potatoes whole (instructions further down!) And for more sweet potato recipes, try my easy roasted sweet potatoes, recipe for sweet potato pie, and mashed sweet potatoes recipe.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole (1)

Sweet potatoes — peel and cube the sweet potatoes before you boil them. They cook much faster when cut into small pieces versus boiled whole. Be aware that, if you’re based in the US, sweet potatoes may be called yams at your local grocery store.

Brown sugar — I use light brown sugar, but you can also use dark brown sugar for a deeper, more caramel-like flavor in your casserole.

Butter — melted butter adds richness to the mashed sweet potatoes.

Eggs — eggs give the sweet potatoes a lighter, fluffy texture. They also help the sweet potatoes hold together better.

Vanilla and cinnamon — ground cinnamon and vanilla extract complement the flavor of the yams, lending the casserole an almost dessert-like quality.

Pecans — toasted pecans add crunch and texture to the casserole.

Mini marshmallows — marshmallows form the trademark gooey, pillowy topping for this classic Thanksgiving side.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

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1. Add the peeled, cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot and cover with water (the water should cover the sweet potatoes by about an inch). Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until very tender. This will take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potato cubes. Drain well. Transfer the boiled sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher or a fork.

2. Add the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and ground cinnamon to the bowl with the mashed sweet potatoes.

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3. Beat everything together with an electric mixer, food processor, or stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Using a hand mixer or food processor will result in a smoother filling while mixing with a spoon will leave some texture in the sweet potato mixture.

4. Gently fold in ½ cup of the toasted pecans.

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5. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with either nonstick spray or butter. Spread the sweet potato mixture into the prepared casserole dish and smooth it into an even layer with a spatula.

6. Sprinkle the top with mini marshmallows and the rest of the toasted chopped pecans. Bake the casserole at 375°F for 25 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden brown and a bit melty.

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Pro Tips for Making this Recipe

  • Opt for small to medium-sized sweet potatoes. They are sweeter and less watery than the very large ones. When mashed, they will be creamy instead of runny.
  • Use walnuts. You can use walnuts instead of pecans, or combine them! Both nuts pair very well with sweet potatoes.
  • Add candied pecans. If you want the casserole to be more on the dessert end of the spectrum, use my recipe for candied pecans.
  • Add more pecans. For added crunch, feel free to add more toasted pecans to the sweet potato mixture!
  • Add bourbon. It seems like an unlikely pairing, but smoky bourbon adds depth to the mashed sweet potatoes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of bourbon to the sweet potatoes along with the eggs.
  • Skip the marshmallows. If you aren’t a marshmallow fan, just leave them out!
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use canned sweet potatoes?

You can use canned instead of fresh sweet potatoes in this sweet potato recipe. You’ll need just under three 29-ounce cans. The label may call them canned yams, but the ingredients will call them sweet potatoes. You may not need the full ¾ cup of sugar because sweet potatoes are canned in syrup, so they’re much sweeter than fresh sweet potatoes. Be sure to drain them well before mashing and taste as you go to determine if you need the full amount of sugar.

Are canned yams and sweet potatoes the same?

While in the US, the terms “sweet potato” and “yam” are used interchangeably, they are actually two completely different things! Yams have brown skin and starchy white flesh. You’re unlikely to find them at your local grocery store. Sweet potatoes have red-orange skins and bright orange flesh, and that’s what you need for this recipe.

How to cook sweet potatoes for casserole

You can either boil the sweet potatoes as I do, or, for a more caramelized sweet potato flavor, roast them! Clean 2½ pounds of sweet potatoes very well. Pierce the skin all over and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast at 375°F until extremely soft, the skin is wrinkled, and there are pools of bubbly sugar around the bottom of the potatoes. This will take about 1 hour. Carefully peel and discard the skin, mash the sweet potatoes with a potato mashed, and then follow the recipe as written from that point.

How to toast pecans

To toast the chopped pecans, spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake them at 375°F for about 6 to 8 minutes. Halfway through the bake time, carefully stir them around so they toast evenly. The nuts are toasted when slightly darkened in color and fragrant. For more cooking methods, check out my full recipe for toasted pecans.

Can you make it ahead of time?

This easy sweet potato casserole is an excellent option for making ahead! You can prepare the filling up to 2 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove the sweet potato mixture from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start baking the casserole, then transfer it to a prepared baking dish and top with marshmallows and toasted pecans. Bake as directed. You may need to add a few minutes to the bake time to account for the colder sweet potatoes.

What to serve with it

Since sweet potato casserole is on the sweeter side, I like to pair it with more savory side dishes on my Thanksgiving dinner table. Green bean casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts, southern cornbread dressing, and creamed spinach are popular options.

How do you store leftovers?

Allow the sweet potato casserole to cool to room temperature before wrapping the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, swap the plastic wrap for aluminum foil and pop the casserole dish into an oven heated to 350°F for about 20 minutes.

Can you freeze it?

You can also freeze this dish, before baking, for up to 3 months. Make the sweet potato mixture (including the eggs, vanilla, sugar, etc.) and store it in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to assemble the casserole, thaw the mashed sweet potatoes overnight, transfer to a greased casserole dish, and follow the recipe as written. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time as the sweet potatoes will be cold.

If you love this recipe try these out!

  • Sweet Potato Biscuits
  • Turkey Casserole
  • Pumpkin Pie Recipe
  • Potatoes au Gratin
  • Apple Pie Cookies

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If you’ve tried this sweet potato casserole recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

Sweet Potato Casserole (13)

5 from 79 votes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Try this classic sweet potato casserole if you’re looking for a rich side dish guaranteed to please any crowd!

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Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

Prep Time 20 minutes minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes minutes

Total Time 1 hour hour 5 minutes minutes

Servings 8 to 10 servings

Calories 396kcal

Author John Kanell

Video

Equipment

  • Baking dish (approximately 9×13 inches)

Ingredients

  • pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cubed (1.12kg)
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar (165g)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted (56g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans toasted divided (120g)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows (115g)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or butter.

  • Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill it with enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.

  • Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or large fork. Add the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to the mashed sweet potatoes, then beat with an electric mixer or stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. (A hand mixer will result in a smoother filling.) Fold in ½ cup of the toasted pecans.

  • Spread the sweet potato mixture into the greased baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Top with the mini marshmallows and remaining chopped pecans.

  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden.

Notes

  • Opt for small to medium-sized sweet potatoes. They are sweeter and less watery than the very large ones. When mashed, they will be creamy instead of runny.
  • Use walnuts. You can use walnuts instead of pecans, or combine them! Both nuts pair very well with sweet potatoes.
  • Add candied pecans. If you want the casserole to be more on the dessert end of the spectrum, use candied pecans.
  • Add more pecans. For added crunch, feel free to add more toasted pecans to the sweet potato mixture!
  • Add bourbon. It seems like an unlikely pairing, but smoky bourbon adds depth to the mashed sweet potatoes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of bourbon to the sweet potatoes along with the eggs.
  • Skip the marshmallows. If you aren’t a marshmallow fan, just leave them out!

Nutrition

Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 548mg | Potassium: 577mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 20362IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

*Nutrition Disclaimer

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Sweet Potato Casserole (2024)
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