Last updated on November 18th, 2022 at 04:46 pm
Sweet Potato Casserole is the perfect holiday casserole seasoned with warm spices, and brown sugar, and topped with toasted pecans and mini marshmallows. This is a classic and traditional side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Casserole recipes are popular during the holiday season because they are filling and easy to make. For something a little sweeter, our Sweet Potato Souffle is more of a dessert than a side dish made with a delicious cinnamon sugar topping. If you want to make sweet potatoes in a hurry, try this Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes recipe. It only has one ingredient!
A dessert-like side dish
The first recipe for sweet potato casserole was published in 1917 by a marshmallow manufacturer. It was a clever marketing ploy to get people to use their marshmallows in more recipes. So, we have the Angelus Marshmallow Company a big thank you for introducing us to such a sensational Thanksgiving side dish.
There are many variations of this casserole floating out there, however, once you try this one, you won’t need any other recipe ever. This casserole is loaded, in a good way. The potatoes are boiled and mashed, blended with some brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon to elevate the fall flavors.
The best part of this dish is the brown sugar cinnamon filling. Also, it is a delicious, mid-layer of cinnamon goodness. The crunchy topping paired with sweet marshmallows is another highlight of this casserole. It’s very comforting, and it tastes even better with a cinnamon filling and buttery cinnamon pecan topping!
This sweet potato casserole topped with pecan streusel and marshmallows is so good, many people serve it as a dessert instead of a side dish. Actually, it could be used for a meal too. You can alter this recipe if you like but try it as written the first time and you will be glad you did.
The beauty of this casserole is that you can make it a few days in advance and refrigerate it. You can choose to just assemble it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and bake it when ready. However, if you do refrigerate it before baking, we would suggest removing it from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to baking.
Also, you can bake it first, and let it fully cool. Then, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Cover with foil and warm it up in the oven before serving. A true holiday staple, that is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter!
- Fresh Sweet Potatoes: Pick the ones which have no roots growing off of them.
- Brown sugar: It adds a nice touch of sweetness to it.
- Pecans: They add a nice crunchy texture to the whole dish.
- Egg: It helps the casserole fluff up.
- Unsalted butter and milk
- Vanilla extract: This is optional and can be omitted. However, I tend to use it because I love the aroma and extra flavors it adds to it.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg: For a true holiday spirit 🙂
- All-purpose flour
How to make Sweet Potato Casserole?
Watch the short video tutorial attached as it will guide you better through the cooking process. The general steps are as follows:
- Preheat oven: First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and oil a casserole dish or baking dish with butter or non-stick baking spray.
- Roast the pecans: Meanwhile, pour pecans on a cookie sheet and roast for a few minutes. Watch them closely so they do not burn. Remove and let them cool before chopping.
Cook the sweet potatoes:
- Prep: While you wait for the oven to preheat, peel, cube, and clean the sweet potatoes. Pour them into a large pot, saucepan, or dutch oven with just enough water to cover them.
- Simmer: Bring the potatoes to a boil and let them simmer for 15 minutes until they are fork-tender.
- Drain and cool: After, drain the cooked sweet potatoes and add them to a large bowl. Then, mash them with a potato masher or fork, and set them aside to cool.
Cinnamon pecan streusel filling:
- Mix the filling: Meanwhile, as your sweet potatoes are cooking, mix the cinnamon, sugar, flour, and softened butter in a small bowl. Use a fork to combine them until it is soft and crumbly.
- Set aside: After, set aside the filling until it is needed.
- Combine the topping: In a separate bowl, add butter, pecans, brown sugar, and flour from the pecan topping ingredients. Do not add the marshmallows yet.
- Set aside: Then, set the bowl aside for later.
Sweet potato layer:
- Mix the sweet potato layer together: Now, add the spices, salt, milk, egg, vanilla, pecans, melted butter, and brown sugar to the sweet potato mixture and stir until combined.
Assembling the casserole:
- Assemble first: To assemble, first, pour half of the sweet potato mix into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly with a spatula.
- Then add the streusel: Next, sprinkle half of the cinnamon pecan streusel filling on top.
- Spoon in the rest: Then add the rest of the mashed sweet potato filling and smooth it out evenly.
- Top it all: Lastly, top that with the pecan topping and then sprinkle the marshmallows on top before adding the rest of the cinnamon pecan streusel filling.
- Bake the casserole: Now, bake your loaded sweet potato casserole for 30 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the filling is hot.
- Cover the marshmallows: If the marshmallows get too brown, cover them with aluminum foil greased with non-stick baking spray.
- Serve: Finally, serve this delicious loaded sweet potato casserole dish warm.
How to serve:
This is the perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner table or whenever you want some sweet and rich potato casserole. You can serve this casserole any time of day, including for breakfast. Try one of these great serving ideas or share one of your own suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
- For a more savory taste, add some different toppings like cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream.
- For a sweeter dish, add more brown sugar and some honey or maple syrup to the top.
- Another way to use leftovers is to mix them into this sweet potato salad recipe.
- This sweet potato casserole goes great with any meat from chicken to turkey. Try our tasty recipe for the perfect oven-roasted turkey.
- Add a handful of parmesan or romano cheese on top for a rich and savory flavor.
- This creamy turkey casserole would be yummy with some loaded sweet potato casserole mixed in.
- Serve this delicious casserole with a slice of pumpkin pie.
Frequently asked questions
What is Sweet Potato Casserole?
This is a traditional, North-American side dish that is usually served during Thanksgiving dinner. The casserole consists of mashed sweet potatoes, usually blended with brown sugar, topped with a streusel topping, pecans, and marshmallows.
The dish tastes sweet, almost like a dessert. It is a classic recipe during the holiday season, and it blends perfectly with oven-roasted turkey or other meats.
What is the best way to cook sweet potatoes?
There are a few ways you can cook potatoes quickly and easily.
- The traditional way is to quickly peel and cube them into smaller pieces. Then, boil the potatoes in a large pot for about 20-25 minutes, until fork tender.
- Alternatively, you can microwave sweet potatoes. In only 7 minutes they are ready to go. So, if you are short on time, this is a great alternative.
- In addition, feel free to cook sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot, or you can oven-bake them at 400 degrees f for about 30 minutes.
Feel free to pick your preferred method of cooking them. Once cooked, use a potato masher to mash them. Also, if you prefer them even smoother, then use a food processor or hand mixer to make them fluffy.
How do I choose the best sweet potatoes?
Although they come in many varieties, you should be looking for those with orange or red skin. It should be small to medium-sized and firm. The skin should not have any cracks or bruises or feel soft in any spots. Do not buy ones that have black spots or any kind of blemishes or those that smell strange.
What is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?
Sweet potato has bright orange flesh and rosy-brown skin. They are usually smooth and clean on the outside. On the other hand, a yam has white flesh and dark brown skin. Yams are a lot drier and taste more like regular potatoes when cooked. Sweet potato is creamier and has a sweeter flavor.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: You can store your leftover sweet potato casserole in the fridge for several days in a sealed container.
- Freeze: If you cannot eat all your leftovers in a few days, pack them in a freezer bag. They will last several months in the freezer.
- Thaw: For best results, be sure to put your frozen leftovers in the fridge to thaw overnight before serving.
- Reheat: You can reheat leftovers in the microwave for one minute or put it in the oven at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, covered.
How to freeze uncooked Sweet Potato Casserole:
- Assemble the casserole and make sure it’s not warm.
- Skip the marshmallows, they should be added right before baking for best results.
- Lay a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil directly on top of the casserole and wrap it tightly in a few layers.
- Then, freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Thaw overnight before baking.
To freeze it cooked:
- First, cool the casserole to room temperature.
- Then, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw overnight before heating up in the oven or the microwave.
More Sweet Potato favorites:
Loaded Sweet Potato Casserole
For the Potatoes:
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup pecans (chopped and toasted)
- 2 large eggs (lighly beaten)
- 1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter or spray with baking spray a 9x13-inch casserole or baking dish. Set aside.
- Add 2 cups of pecans to a baking sheet and roast for a few minutes. Watch closely to not burn them. Remove from oven, cool, and roughly chop.
Cook the Potatoes:
- Peel, cube, and wash sweet potatoes. Add the cubed potatoes to a dutch oven or large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes, when pierced with a fork, the potatoes should be tender.
- Drain cooked sweet potatoes, mash, and set aside to cool off a bit.
- While the potatoes are cooking, in a small bowl, using a fork mix together the softened butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon until soft crumbs form. Set aside.
- Combine all the ingredients from the "Pecan Topping" section except marshmallows. Stir and set aside.
Sweet Potato Layer:
- Combined the slightly cooled mashed potatoes with the ingredients from the "For the Potatoes" section: brown sugar, melted butter, 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly beaten eggs, milk, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine until smooth.
Assembling the Casserole:
- Add half of the mashed sweet potato mix to the prepared pan, distribute evenly and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Sprinkle half of the Cinnamon Filling mixture on top of the mashed potatoes.
- Add the remaining sweet mashed potato filling, distribute evenly and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the Pecan Filling mixture on top of the mashed potatoes.
- Sprinkle the mini marshmallows if using them.
- Sprinkle the remaining Cinnamon Filling mixture on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is hot and the topping has browned.
- If the marshmallow starts to brown too quickly, spray some foil with baking spray and cover the casserole, greased side down, careful to not touch the toppings.
- Serve warm.