Easy Sweet Potato Casserole
Topped with a brown sugar pecan crumble, this easy sweet potato casserole is brimming with flavor and is the perfect casserole for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner — or any meal!
Here it is everyone, the easiest and best sweet potato casserole. Trust me when I say this is way better than the sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping (however, my husband loves the marshmallow topping version… to each their own). The crunchy pecan topping gives a texture and flavor contrast that can’t be beat!
This is a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner staple at my house. In fact, I’ll be honest and tell you that we make two different yams/sweet potato recipes for Thanksgiving dinner: this one and my candied yams. We love them both so much that we need both!
And this recipe is so easy that it’s fine that we make both. In fact, you can even make this sweet potato casserole recipe ahead of time and freeze it. This is a great option for cutting back on kitchen time during the holidays.
Before I forget, let me tell you that this recipe is a smashing hit with the kids! All my nieces and nephews always request a big helping of this on their plate. The crunch of the pecans and the sweetness of the brown sugar is the perfect disguise for kids to eat lots and lots of sweet potatoes! (Which are really healthy for you, so that’s a huge win in my book, friends.)
- Large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (2.5 lbs) — In case your grocery store also sells the golden sweet potatoes, we want to make sure we use the orange-colored ones for this recipe.
- Brown sugar — Including some brown sugar in the mashed sweet potatoes themselves is genius. It’s a great addition so the brown sugar isn’t just on the top, but evenly flavored throughout.
- Butter — Adding butter (and brown sugar) to the filling creates a complex flavor that is near caramel-like. Yum!
- Eggs — The eggs are a binding agent for the casserole!
- Vanilla — Pretty positive everything in life could use a splash of vanilla. 😍
- Milk — The milk added to the mashed sweet potato mixture helps give a creamier texture to the potatoes. If you want ultra creamy sweet potato casserole, you can use half and half or heavy cream. But I always use milk.
- Brown sugar
- Melted butter
- Chopped pecans — you can swap out for walnuts if you are allergic to pecans, but if you aren’t, then I highly recommend pecans as the nut of choice!
How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole
- Prep sweet potatoes.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes.
- Boil potatoes until tender.
Bring to boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are very fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and cool.
- Make the topping.
In a medium sized bowl mix the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and flour. Mix until moist. Stir in the pecans. Let the mixture sit. (This will allow the butter to set and slightly firm up again.)
- After 15 minutes, break the topping into clumps. Set aside.
- Mash the potatoes.
- Prep oven and baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350°F, butter a 9×9 baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix (or use hand beaters) the mashed potatoes, butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Transfer to the baking dish.
- Add topping and bake.
Spread the pecan crumb topping over the mashed potato mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top.
Tools Used for This Recipe
Hand beaters – also own these, they are perfect for mixing on low speed or whipping on high.
Large pot – love this pot (the one I own)! Here’s a good one too.
9×9 baking dish – same one I use in the photos.
You may be curious as to whether you can use an 8×8-inch pan. Honestly, this recipe fills the 9×9-inch pan close to the brim, so an 8×8 would be too small.
Be sure to boil the sweet potatoes until very soft (fork tender). The fork should slide into the potato with ease. If you undercook the potatoes you’ll have a really hard time mashing them thoroughly.
Speaking of mashing sweet potatoes, growing up my parents would use a hand mixer to “mash” the potatoes. I use a combination of a potato masher and a hand mixer.
Make sure to turn the light on in your oven and check the casserole at the 25-minute mark. Depending on how your oven cooks, you’ll want to make sure your pecan crumble topping doesn’t burn. If you notice the topping is getting too dark you can cover the pan with aluminum foil and that will solve the problem!
Honestly, without the pecan topping, the mashed sweet potato mixture is great for if you are needing some mashed food for your baby!
- Can sweet potato casserole be made ahead? — Definitely! No need to spend so much time in the kitchen. Make the sweet potato casserole ahead of time and even freeze it if you’d like 👇🏻
- Can you freeze sweet potato casserole? — Yes, you can! My mom would make the casserole ahead of time and freeze it, covered. Then, she would pull it out of the freezer to thaw and bake it the day of. You can’t tell a difference at all!
- Does sweet potato casserole need to be refrigerated? — Yes! It needs to be stored in the fridge since there is milk in the mixture.
- Why do you put eggs in sweet potato casserole? — This is a great question! The eggs serve as a binding agent for the sweet potato casserole.
- Is sweet potato casserole vegan? — No, since we add butter and milk to the mixture.
- Is sweet potato casserole gluten free? — It is if you don’t add the pecan crumble. You add flour to the pecan crumble. So, if you need to adapt the recipe for a gluten-free option, just remove the flour from the crumble topping or use a gluten-free flour. Voila!
- How to reheat sweet potato casserole — Simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the casserole in for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through.
More Delicious Recipes
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 4 large sweet potatoes - peeled and cubed (about 2.5 pounds)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar - packed
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter - melted
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups pecans - chopped
- Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer and cook until potatoes are very fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain.
- While the potatoes are cooking make the topping: In a medium sized bowl mix the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and flour. Mix until moist. Stir in the pecans. Let the mixture sit. This will allow the butter to set and slightly firm up again. Once butter has set, break the topping into clumps. Set aside.
- Mash the potatoes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F, butter a 9×9 baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix (or use hand beaters) to mix the mashed potatoes, butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and milk. Transfer to the baking dish.
- Spread the pecan crumb topping over the mashed potato mixture.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top.