Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe – Sally’s Baking Addiction

Full of flavor and perfect to make ahead, this homemade sweet potato casserole will steal the show at your next holiday meal. Crunchy sweet brown sugar and pecan crumble coats every bite of this buttery sweet potato puree. After your first forkful you’ll be thinking about going for seconds!

sweet potato casserole with brown sugar, pecans and fresh thyme topping in casserole dish.

Side dishes are hands down the best part of a classic Thanksgiving meal. We got it creamy from the start Casserole with green beans, flaky soft buns and flavorful cornbread filling.

Today’s recipe for homemade sweet potato casserole is a family favorite. Enjoy a smooth and creamy puree of sweet potatoes topped with a crunchy, toasted, praline-like pecan nut topping. Since it is a bit sweet, I like to serve this casserole with a pinch of sea salt and some savory fresh thyme or rosemary. A nice balance between texture and taste!

Why you’ll love this sweet potato casserole recipe

  • Creamy + crunchy = beautiful contrasting textures in every bite
  • Buttery mashed sweet potato with a hint of vanilla
  • Cinnamon spiced topping of brown sugar and pecans
  • Sweet + salty – a decadent way to get your vitamin A!
  • You can easily prepare it a few days in advance

A reader noted: “Finally I tried this amazing recipe of yours for Thanksgiving and I loved it! I love sweet potato casseroles, but I’d never tried it myself – it’s ridiculously easy to bake and so incredibly sweet. I also love the crunchy pecan topping, which definitely takes the casserole to the next level. This recipe is a keeper!★★★★★

dish of sweet potato casserole with a serving spoon.

10 ingredients in this Thanksgiving side dish

  1. Sweet potatoes: You need 908 g for this casserole, which is 3 extra large potatoes or 5 small/medium potatoes. Don’t overdo it with the potatoes, as the mash will end up tasting heavy and dense.
  2. Butter: For an unparalleled buttery taste.
  3. Brown sugar: I prefer dark brown sugar in this casserole, but light works too. You use some in both the sweet potato mash and the pecan crumble topping.
  4. Eggs: Structure they make it into a casserole instead of a pile of mashed sweet potatoes.
  5. Fifty fifty: Half and half keeps this dish extra creamy. If you have whipped cream on hand for your other cooking and baking needs (such as whipped cream and pumpkin pie), you can use that instead.
  6. Vanilla extract: For just a touch of delicate, aromatic flavour.
  7. Salty: Brings out all the flavors and balances the sweetness.
  8. Flour: Gives structure to the crumbly topping.
  9. Cinnamon: Complements both sweet potato and pecan flavors.
  10. pecans: Buttery, nutty pecans are the jewels in the crown of the sweet potato casserole!

Plus, finishing touches like thyme or rosemary and a pinch of sea salt round out the whole dish. A reader noted: “The fresh rosemary and sea salt made it…*chef’s kiss*. ★★★★★”

ingredients on a wooden background including pecans, sweet potatoes, eggs, butter, brown sugar and more.

Boil and mash the sweet potatoes

Start by peeling the sweet potatoes with a vegetable peeler. Cook them in a large pot of water until they are tender. Let them cool for about 15 minutes and then mash them. You can use a potato masher and some arm muscles for this, but I usually just use my mixer. Once they are as smooth as you like (feel free to leave some chunks if you prefer!), beat in the eggs, brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. These are all the ingredients you need for the sweet potato layer.

peeled sweet potatoes in a saucepan under water and boil again after they are cooked.
two photos of mashed sweet potatoes in a glass bowl.

FAQ: Can I use yams instead of sweet potatoes in this casserole?

For the best flavor and texture, I recommend using sweet potatoes instead of yams.

The names of these two starchy root vegetables are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different and come from different continents. Native to Central and South America, sweet potatoes usually have orange flesh and pinkish-brown skin, and are sweeter and creamier in texture when cooked. Native to Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, true yams have white flesh and a bark-like skin, with a drier, starchier texture – more like a regular baking potato.

You can also use purple sweet potatoes if you can find them!

Easy Crunchy Pecan Topping

We finish this sweet potato dish with a delicious crumbly, praline-like pecan topping. The crunchy texture contrasts so beautifully with the creamy, buttery sweet potato puree. It comes together quickly and easily and uses some of the same ingredients as the sweet potato layer.

If you love the cinnamon and brown sugar topping here, you’ll enjoy something similar on this pumpkin French toast casserole and this cranberry pecan cake.

brown sugar pecan crumble in glass bowl.

Can I use marshmallows on this sweet potato dish?

Yes. If you love marshmallows on your sweet potato casserole, you can definitely add them. I wouldn’t leave out the pecan topping, though. (You’ll really miss that texture!) Add the marshmallows towards the end of the baking time. See recipe note below for details.

How to make sweet potato casserole ahead of time

This easy side dish can be prepared ahead of time, which we all know is a total lifesaver leading up to Thanksgiving dinner! Here’s how to get started:

  • 1-2 days before serving: Boil and mash the sweet potatoes, add the remaining ingredients to the sweet potatoes and smooth them out in a baking dish. Prepare the topping in a separate bowl. Cover each separately and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • Day of serving: Spoon the topping over the sweet potato layer and bake.
  • Freezing Instructions: When assembled, the unbaked casserole can be frozen for up to 2 months. Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Bring the casserole to room temperature and bake.
dish of sweet potato casserole with a serving spoon.

More Thanksgiving side dish recipes


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Creamy, comforting and easy sweet potato casserole topped with a crunchy pecan crumble. Texture and flavors are perfect!

  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover completely with water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain the water and let the sweet potatoes cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 177°C (350°F). Grease a 9×13 baking pan (or similar sized roasting pan, or 12-inch deep ovenproof skillet). Put aside.
  3. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Beat the potatoes with a hand or stand mixer until relatively smooth – I like to leave some chunks for texture. For reference you have approx 4 cups sweet potato puree. Add the butter, brown sugar, beaten, eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, and salt. Spoon/pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  4. For the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted butter and pecans until the mixture is completely combined. Divide evenly over the potatoes.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with a little fresh thyme or rosemary and a pinch of sea salt. Serve hot.


  1. Instructions for making ahead and freezing: This is a great recipe to make ahead of time! Here’s how to get started 1-2 days in advance: Prepare potatoes to step 3, then prepare the topping. Cover each separately and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Then assemble and bake. Assembled, unbaked casserole can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and proceed to step 5. Baked casserole can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature and bake at 177°C until warmed through.
  2. Add marshmallows: If you love marshmallows on top of your sweet potato casserole, you can definitely add them. Bake as directed above, but add 1 cup marshmallows 5 minutes before done, then finish baking.

Keywords: casserole of sweet potatoes

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