Traditional sweet potato casserole with a brown sugar and pecan topping is my all-time-favorite Thanksgiving side dish! It’s easy to make the day of or can be prepared in advance.
I love learning what everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving foods are. What do you look forward to the most? Is it the big beautiful turkey? (leftover turkey sandwiches are the best!) Is it the mashed potatoes and gravy? (Oh yea!) Or, the cranberry sauce? (I can’t have turkey without it!)
For me, it’s a no brainer…it’s the post dinner PIE!!
But, if we’re talking Thanksgiving dinner, specifically, then this sweet potato casserole is my absolute number ONE! (Stuffing comes in close second.) This dish probably belongs over at the dessert table, but I’m completely thrilled with the fact that it’s viewed as a perfectly acceptable side dish.
The smooth and creamy sweet potato filling, combined with the sweet and crunchy topping, is almost like eating the best dessert of your life.
How to make sweet potato casserole:
Do you have to peel sweet potatoes before you cook them?
No, you don’t have to peel them before baking them! I like to leave the peel on the potatoes whether I am baking or boiling them. The skin will peel off easily either way! However, if you want to peel them, you can!
How to boil sweet potatoes:
Although some people bake their sweet potatoes, I definitely recommend boiling the sweet potatoes for this recipe. They seem to stay a little more moist this way!
Place your whole sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover them a little more than half way. You will need at least 3-4 inches of water but the water will not completely cover the potatoes! Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat to a medium simmer. Simmer them until they are fork tender.
It may take 20-40 minutes to cook your sweet potatoes depending on the size of the potatoes, but you don’t want them to be mushy! Fork tender means that the potatoes are tender and cooked all the way through. To test this, poke the potato with a fork and if the fork slides easily to the center, you know your potatoes are done.
Once your finished cooking your potatoes, it’s a good idea to let them cool on a cutting board or plate. Then peel the skin off. Add eggs, evaporated milk (or you can substitute cream, or half and half), a little bit of melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt to the mixing bowl. We are making a super creamy, luscious, but not overly-sweet, sweet potato mash here.
Use a potato masher to smash everything together until smooth, and then add it to your casserole dish.
Finally, make the pecan crumble topping. It’s a simple mixture of butter, pecans, flour and brown sugar. Sprinkle it all over the top of your sweet potato mash and bake the casserole for about 35-40 minutes.
To Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead of Time:
You can prepare sweet potato casserole 1-2 days in advance. First make the filling and smooth into your baking dish. Then make the topping but instead of putting it on the casserole, place it in a ziplock bag. When you’re ready to bake your sweet potato casserole, take it out of the fridge and sprinkle the topping on top! Then bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
This is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish to make a day or two ahead of time, to save time and stress the day of. Here are some other great make-ahead Thanksgiving side dishes).
We have a huge extended family that gets together every year for Thanksgiving. My mom has made this recipe every year since I can remember and it’s one of our family’s most beloved recipes! I shared it here many years ago, but I fear it’s been lost in my archives since I called it “sweet potato souffle”.
It’s really a sweet potato casserole–but it’s soo much better than any I’ve ever tried. Most sweet potato casserole recipes are overly sweet and have tons of added butter. This recipe has half the sugar and butter that most do, but it’s still perfectly sweet and completely delicious.
This is the dish I look forward to most, year after year!
Don’t miss these Thanksgiving staples:
- Best Homemade Rolls
- Easy, No-Fuss Thanksgiving Turkey
- Broccoli Casserole
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Sausage Cranberry Pecan Stuffing
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Cranberry Fluff Salad
- Apple Cranberry Fruit Salad
- Triple Berry Pie
- Other pie recipes
- 4-5 large sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk , or substitute cream or half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter , melted
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to the pot to cover the potatoes half way (a little more than half way). You will need at least 3-4 inches of water but the water will not completely cover the potatoes!
Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat to a medium simmer. Simmer them until they are fork tender. It may take 20-40 minutes to cook your sweet potatoes depending on the size of the potatoes, but you don't want them to be mushy!
Drain water and place sweet potatoes on a plate or cutting board to cool down. Once they are warm enough to hold, peel the skin from the potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, sugar, salt and butter and mash everything together until smooth. I start with a potato masher, and then use an electric mixer on low speed, for about 45 seconds, to get the mixture really smooth.
- Pour mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Anything around the size of an 8x11'' , 9x13'' or even a deep dish 10'' pie pan would all work great!
Add flour, brown sugar and pecans to a mixing bowl.
Add butter and cut in with a fork or pastry blender until well combined.
Sprinkle topping over sweet potato mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
Tips for making this recipe ahead of time are listed above in the post!
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.