Sweet potato casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish with creamy mashed sweet potatoes sprinkled with a buttery pecan crumb topping. This rich dessert-like dish is the perfect accompaniment to your turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or green bean casserole this holiday season.
Today we’re making a delicious sweet potato casserole which is a wonderful side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. The filling is a combination of mashed sweet potatoes with some salt, sugar and vanilla to give it a deep salted caramel flavor. The crunchy streusel topping is made from brown sugar, butter and pecans.
Sweet potato casserole is a traditional side dish at our family Thanksgiving table and I feel the sweetness of the dish really compliments the other flavors of a holiday spread well. There are many variations – some use mini marshmallows as a topping while other recipes add fall spices. Customize this recipe to your tastes and enjoy!
For other holiday sides, try the reader favorite mashed potato puffs, garlic Parmesan sweet potato stacks, or some creamed corn. If you want to save some stovetop or oven space, these slow cooker mashed potatoes are a great alternative to traditional boiled mashed potatoes. For an easy make-ahead breakfast for the whole family, try this cheesy sausage hash brown breakfast casserole.
Ingredients in Sweet Potato Casserole
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE RECIPE TIPS
- Sweet potatoes – Rather than boiling and mashing sweet potatoes, a shortcut my mother-in-law taught me was to buy cans of cut sweet potatoes in syrup. The brand we use is Bruce’s Yams Cut Sweet Potatoes in Syrup. If you prefer to boil and mash your own sweet potatoes though, 4 large sweet potatoes should give you the same amount. The holidays are a hectic time and there’s very little stovetop space so I try to take shortcuts whenever possible.
If you want to use fresh sweet potatoes to make the filling, cook 4 large sweet potatoes your preferred way until fork tender. Peel and boil them for about 30 minutes. Bake them in the oven at 400F°F for 50-60 minutes or pierce them with a fork and microwave them for 15 minutes.
- Mixing – Drain the canned sweet potatoes fully so the filling won’t be soupy. Whisk all the filling ingredients until smooth and the softened butter has fully incorporated. While my family usually just gets an arm workout during Thanksgiving when making this casserole, you can also use a hand mixer if it makes things easier for you.
- Eggs – These give the mashed sweet potato filling a custard-like texture.
- Butter – I like using Land O Lakes butter sticks which measure out the tablespoons for you. We’ll be using salted butter in this recipe.
- Brown sugar – You can use both light or dark brown sugar. I usually keep dark brown sugar in my pantry and prefer using it because it has more flavor with its higher molasses content.
- Pecans – I use bagged pre-chopped pecans to save time. The brand I use is Fisher.
- Streusel – Before the pecans are added in, the streusel will have a texture like pea gravel or coarse sand. Mix gently until the flour has fully absorbed.
What is Streusel?
Streusel is the crumbly topping in muffins, bread, pies and cakes that is made by combining a mixture of flour, butter and sugar. Some streusels also include chopped nuts and spices.
- Baking – The casserole will take a while to firm up and set once out of the oven. The trick to checking if it’s done is to shake it a little and see if it jiggles in the center. Mine is usually done baking at the 45-minute mark but all ovens are different. The casserole should finish setting and stiffen up once out of the heat, ready to be served!
- Make ahead – Combine the filling ingredients and add them to a baking dish. Cover and refrigerate. Combine the streusel topping and keep it separate. When you’re ready to bake the casserole, take it out of the fridge, sprinkle it with the streusel topping and bake according to the recipe instructions.
- Leftovers and reheating – Sweet potato casserole will keep well covered in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, cover with aluminum and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.
- Marshmallows topping – Switch the pecan streusel with mini marshmallows or do a half streusel and half marshmallows topping.
- Add spices – Add spices like cinnamon or pumpkin spice to the streusel topping.
- Add some coconut – Sprinkle some coconut flakes in the filling for more flavor and texture.
And that’s about it. I hope you enjoy this wonderful side dish during the holidays. Let me know how you liked it, what substitutions you made and what you paired it with in the comments below!
This post was originally published on November 19, 2014 and updated on November 13, 2022.
MORE HOLIDAY RECIPES TO TRY
- Mashed Potato Puffs
- Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Stacks
- Cheesy Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
- Creamed Corn