This is without a doubt my all time FAVORITE Sweet Potato Casserole recipe, and usually the star of our Thanksgiving table! It’s topped with a brown sugar and pecan topping, it’s easy to make the day of or can be prepared in advance for an easy make-ahead holiday side dish.

The front corner of a casserole dish willed with sweet potato casserole with brown sugar pecan topping and a bite missing.

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.) The smooth and creamy sweet potato filling, combined with the sweet and crunchy topping, is almost like eating the best dessert of your life!

One large scoop missing from the front corner of a sweet potato casserole dish.

How to make sweet potato casserole:

1. Cook and peel sweet potatoes. Place them in a large pot and add enough water to the pot to cover the potatoes a little more than half way. Bring to a boil and simmer until fork tender. Drain water and place sweet potatoes on 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.

2. Make filling. 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.

A bowl with whole cooked, peeled sweet potatoes, next to the bowl with mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, sugar for sweet potato casserole.

3. Smooth into casserole dish.

4. Add pecan topping and bake. Combine the topping ingredients; butter, chopped pecans, flour and brown sugar. Sprinkle all over the top of your mashed sweet potato mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes.Baking dish with mashed sweet potato casserole, and then topped with brown sugar pecan crumble topping.

Sweet potatoes: To Peel or Not to Peel?

Peeled sweet potatoes are best for sweet potato casserole but you don’t have to peel them before cooking them.  In fact, I prefer peeling them afterward.  I like to leave the peel on the potatoes whether I am baking or boiling them, and then the skin peels off really easily after they’re cooked.

How do I know if the potatoes are finished cooking?

The sweet potatoes are done cooking when they are fork tender, meaning when they are poked with a fork, the fork slides easily to the center. Once you’re finished cooking your potatoes, it’s a good idea to let them cool on a cutting board or plate, and then peel the skin off.

A fully baked Sweet Potato Casserole with crumbly brown sugar, butter, pecan topping.

Pecan or Marshmallow Topping?

Obviously I’m partial to pecan crumble topping on my sweet potato casserole but I know marshmallows are another really popular topping.

To add a Marshmallow topping simply top the casserole with a layer of miniature marshmallows and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffy and browned.  You could also prepare this dish half and half with half crumble mixture and half marshmallows.  For this method, cook with half of the crumble for about 15 minutes first, then remove from the oven, cover the other half of the casserole with marshmallows and continue baking.

Make ahead, storing and freezing Instructions:

To make-ahead: 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 recipes.

To store: Store sweet potato casserole covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

To freeze: Prepare the sweet potato casserole completely, but don’t bake it. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil  and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes on the counter before baking.

Don’t miss these Thanksgiving staples:

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Recipe

Traditional sweet potato casserole with brown sugar pecan topping is my all-time-favorite Thanksgiving side dish! | tastesbetterfromscratch.com
Prep 20 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 55 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 4-5 large sweet potatoes
  • 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

For the topping:*

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • Boil potatoes: 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!

For the topping:

  • 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.

Notes

*Topping: To add a marshmallow topping instead, simply top the casserole with a layer of miniature marshmallows and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffy and browned. 
To Make-ahead: 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 recipes.
Storing: Store sweet potato casserole covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Freezing: Prepare the sweet potato casserole completely, but don't bake it. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil  and freeze for up to 3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes on the counter before baking. 

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 169mgPotassium: 207mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 5155IUVitamin C: 1.1mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 0.8mg

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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

I originally shared this recipe October 2017. Updated November 2019 with improved instructions. 

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. If there’s a lot of leftovers put them in a processor and mix in a little sweetened condensed milk. Put it in a pie shell and bake till firm. It’s nearly pie filling already.

  2. Yes I made it a while back and going to make another one today ! Best sweet potato casserole I ever made or tasted ! My family loved it ‼️

  3. 5 stars
    I made this today with our homegrown sweet potatoes for our Christmas dinner. I only made one change and that was to substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar. It was so delicious and everyone loved it! The topping was so good! I will be making this one again!
    Thank you for an amazing recipe.

  4. I made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out perfect. I’m making it again for Christmas, so easy. My grandson just loves it!

  5. Hi Lauren – I have been making sweet potato casserole for years, and I love adding the following to my casserole: 1 tsp rum or maple extract, zest from 2 oranges, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, change white to brown sugar. For the topping, I simply put a layer of mini white marshmallows then crunch up some Mothers Iced Oatmeal cookies and put this over the marshmallows. Topping goes on the last 20 minutes of baking the casserole. I hope you try the additions – buon appetite 😊

  6. hey I just made it one day in advanced but I cooked the topping with it? I need to store it in the fridge… what can I do to save the topping? I’m in China with limited availability of pecans and ingredients…

  7. 5 stars
    I made this sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and it was positively delicious and so easy to make ahead of time. Everyone at the dinner table remarked how it was the best they ever had. This is my go to recipe from now on.

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I put the sweet potatoes and other ingredients in the blender as the potatoes were not smooth after mashing them. It made them light and smooth! This recipe is just right–not too sweet. Will make again!

  9. I learned a great trick for keeping butter hard when you make these crumb toppings,and its especially good for biscuits. freeze the sticks of butter then grate onto wax paper or in a bowl and stick it back in freezer for a few, then cut it into your dry mixture. makes it quick and easy!

  10. I’m going to try this for thanksgiving! Very excited! Is it possible to do both the crumb topping ANd the marshmallows on top of
    Each other? If so, what do
    You suggest?

    1. I often do one half of the pan with the crumble topping one half with marshmallows. For this method, cook with half of the crumble for about 15 minutes first, then remove from the oven, cover the other half of the casserole with marshmallows and continue baking.

  11. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, turns out fantastic every time and always a hit! The only thing I do differently is bake the potatoes instead of boiling them. It seems to keep the flavor of the sweet potatoes better.

    1. I’m planning on making this cuz I can’t find my old recipe but my big question is do you cover it or not… I made one of these casseroles one time and didn’t cover it and it was runny so I wanted to ask before I made it thank you I can’t wait

  12. 5 stars
    This Sweet Potato Casserole is the best tasting, undisputed #1 SPC recipe in the world and I will fight anyone who claims otherwise.
    Easy to make – makes a bunch – my daughter has to make two so everyone can take some home. Got 3 calls already to make sure it’s on the menu –
    Well done Allen!

  13. I love this sweet potato casserole so much but my new dIL can’t eat nuts. Will it be ok to eat without the nuts or don’t bother making it.
    Help!!

      1. Some of my family doesn’t like nuts. I make my casserole with corn flakes for that reason. Butter, brown sugar and crushed cornflakes. I add corn flakes AND nuts (all mixed together and sprinkled on half…. And the other half with just the corn flakes brown sugar and butter. Amazing either way!

  14. Hi Laura,
    I’m looking for your Sweet Potato Pie recipe, but the “SEARCH” area keeps bringing me back to your yummy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. Can you guide me?
    thanks,
    Sue

  15. 5 stars
    DELICIOUS! I made this for Thanksgiving and I was a hit. Sweet like a desert. I made it in a 2 quart pan which was too deep. Not all the topping cooked through. Next time I will put it in a 7 x 11 which is what the recipe called for. This will be a staple in my Thanksgiving menu. I will consider trying it with marshmallows but the brown sugar and pecan mix was fabulous!

  16. 5 stars
    I think this recipe is delicious, but it is very different than other sweet potato casseroles I’ve made. The egg and evaporated milk makes a little more custardy. I subbed the white sugar for brown sugar and my hubs does not like pecans, so I left the topping off but added marshmallows! 🙂 It was a welcome change the same old casserole.

    1. Do you have an approximate weight for the sweet potatoes? Since they vary in size so much, I’d rather buy them based on weight.

  17. 5 stars
    This recipe was SO good. thank you for sharing it. Made it for Thanksgiving, everyone raved about it! Subbed regular milk for evaporated, it was delicious!

    1. So glad you asked this, I was wondering the same thing and thought the answer was yes, but checked comments to be sure 😊. Thanks!

  18. hi! making this now and wondering, do you know how many cups of sweet potato I’d need? I bought my sweet potatoes but they’re fairly small.

  19. If I want to double this recipe, would I double everything? I made this last year and im starting to prepare for this year!

  20. I made this dish for THANKSGIVING. It was a huge hit with everyone. My grandson asked me to make him a casserole to take home! Of course I did!

  21. 5 stars
    Lauren,
    I decided to make this dish because I didn’t want to use the canned and the marshmallows like before. Plus, you have “Make ahead” directions which was a game changer and less stress Thanksgiving. My mom who does not care for sweet potatos tried this and liked it. She even took some home.

  22. 5 stars
    I made this for my family Thanksgiving and got glowing reviews. My brother in law said he doesn’t even like sweet potatoes, but this casserole was delicious!

  23. 5 stars
    First time making this and soooo easy! My entire family wanted the recipe! It was a hit! And I made it a day in advance.

  24. 5 stars
    Thank you for teaching me how much easier it to peel a potato after it’s boiled! Game changer. This recipe was delicious and a huge hit at Thanksgiving.

  25. 4 stars
    4-5 large sweet potatoes only filled the bottom of an 8X8. I did half the pecan topping and half marshmallows to keep both young and old happy! Thanks!

  26. This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes and my family requests it every year. I like to add cinnamon and nutmeg and a smidge of cloves to the sweet potatoes. Sometimes I sprinkle some more cinnamon on top before I bake it. Just how Ive come to do these over the years but it’s perfect as is. Thanks for sharing….your website has given me a long list of new things to try!!

  27. 5 stars
    WOW! super yummy – simply HEAVENLY. I usually make the traditional yams sliced thinly with butter, brown sugar and mini marshmallows. I wanted something different. The recipe was super easy and I used heavy whipping cream WOW!!!! I will continue to make this for all our holiday meals. Thank you so much! Sending my friends to your site, you’re the best!

  28. 5 stars
    I was assigned to make the sweet potatoes this year. Made these and everyone loved them! How could you not with that delicious topping?

  29. 5 stars
    I made your sweet potato casserole. I do always make close to the same every year, but this year followed your recipe instead as yours has less sugar and less butter. Still delicious and no one noticed anything missing?

  30. I have 2 questions:
    I’ve finished making the casserole and will be baking it tomorrow:
    1. noticed the color is more yellowish- gold than orange- ( I’ve never encountered this before) is this due to the butter and color of the sweet potato?
    2. I have small lumps of potatoes after mashing and using my blender, will the lumps disappear when baking the casserole,
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Cindy,
      1. The color is definitely due to the color of the sweet potato.
      2. Next time be sure you cook your sweet potatoes until they are very soft. Likely the sweet potato cooked more in the oven and it turned out great!

  31. 5 stars
    Made this receipe for Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes/candied yams have never been part of our Thanksgiving dinner as not many fans, well let me just say this receipe was easy and Delicious! This dish will be part of Thanksgiving for years to come! Big hit!

  32. 5 stars
    Amazing, I’ve made many sweet potato casseroles and this one by far is the best! No need to try any other recipes! Kids love it as well!

  33. Is there a specific sweet potato you use for this receipt? The ones in the video look more orange than regular sweet potatoe? Just want to make sure I get the right ones 🙂

  34. 5 stars
    My husband NEVER would eat anything with the world Sweet Potato in it. Until I cooked your Sweet Potato Casserole. I finally got him to taste it and OMG…He LOVES it!!!! Although that is the only thing he will eat that has sweet potatoes in it. This is by far the best in the world!! So glad I found your recipe!

    1. Hahahaha, thank you so much for sharing! I’m so happy this recipe won him over 🙂 Thanks for commenting and sharing!

  35. Tried it & it was delicious. It tasted like a desert. I had it next day cold & it was just as good .will make it for family on Christmas day I’m sure they’ll love it to