Easy Sweet Potato Casserole
This Easy Sweet Potato Casserole is the perfect, classic side dish at any dinner or holiday meal! It’s made with a deliciously creamy mashed sweet potato filling and is topped with a buttery brown sugar pecan crumble!
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 sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel and my Candied Yams. We love them both so much that we need both! Complete your Thanksgiving table with some Bacon Green Bean Casserole and some Roasted Baby Carrots and you have holiday dinner in the bag!
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy sweet potato casserole. This candied sweet potatoes with pecans comes together quickly! While the potatoes are boiling on the stove, you can make the topping and cut the prep time down!
- Sweet potato casserole NO marshmallows. Now, I know there are lots of people who like the sweet potatoes casserole with marshmallow topping (my husband is one of them!), but not everyone does. Which is why this sweet potato casserole with brown sugar topping is a total crowd-pleaser! Everyone loves this recipe!
- Topped with brown sugar pecan crumble. If you love praline, then you will love this recipe! It’s essentially praline sweet potatoes! The brown sugar pecan topping is the perfect pairing with the mashed sweet potatoes!
- Easy to make ahead of time and freeze. My mom would always make a double dish of this easy sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and freeze one to serve for our Christmas dinner. It was a great way to reduce prep for Christmas dinner!
- Large Sweet Potatoes: 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. I recommend using fresh sweet potatoes and not canned sweet potatoes!
- 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.
- 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! Feel free to omit nuts for allergies if needed.
- Cook the sweet potatoes. Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot. Fill with water to cover all the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are very fork tender (about 20-25 minutes). Drain the water.
- Make the brown sugar pecan topping. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and flour to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir until combined. Stir in the chopped pecans. Let sit to allow the butter to harden. Then use your fingers to break the topping into clumps. Set aside.
- Mash the cooked sweet potatoes. I use a combination of a hand masher and a hand beater. Mash until completely smooth.
- Make the sweet potato casserole mixture. Add the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk to a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Place in baking dish. Butter a 9×9-inch casserole dish. Spread the sweet potato casserole mixture into an even layer in the baking dish.
- Top with pecan crumble. Spread the brown sugar pecan crumble on top of the casserole.
- Bake. Place in an oven preheated to 350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and warmed through. Enjoy!
For a nut free sweet potato casserole, simply omit the pecans from the brown sugar topping.
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!
You can use leftover mashed sweet potatoes for baby food! I wouldn’t recommend using the full recipe since it includes eggs, sugar, and milk (of which eggs and milk are common allergens). If doing this, be sure to have already introduced eggs and dairy to your baby and omit brown sugar or reduce to your liking.
Before I forget, let me tell you another reason why this is the best sweet potato casserole recipe — it 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.)
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
You can make this easy sweet potato casserole recipe ahead of time! It’s the perfect dish to make in advance because it freezes so well.
To freeze, follow the recipe to the part where you add the streusel topping on top. Instead of baking it, tightly wrap the whole casserole in plastic wrap then aluminum foil. Place in the freezer. The casserole will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Then remove and let thaw completely at room temperature. Then follow the instructions for baking.
Store any leftovers covered or in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-6 days.
Sweet potato casserole is most commonly associated with a dish of mashed sweet potatoes complete with a sweet topping.
Yes. You need to store the brown sugar pecan sweet potato casserole in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days.
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 👇🏻
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!
Yes! It needs to be stored in the fridge since there is milk in the mixture.
This is a great question! The eggs serve as a binding agent for the sweet potato casserole.
No, since we add butter, eggs, and milk to the mixture.
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!
Simply preheat the oven to 350ºF and put the casserole in for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
- Biscoff Pumpkin Pie
- Sheet Pan Roasted Root Vegetables
- No-Bake Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe
- Praline Pumpkin Pie
Easy 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.