Sweet Potato Casserole {with Cinnamon Pecan Topping}

November 4, 2018

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The Best Sweet Potato Casserole recipe! It has just the right amount of sweetness, an irresistible buttery flavor, and a crisp cinnamon pecan crumble on top. It’s the perfect autumn side dish and a Thanksgiving staple. Everyone will want the recipe!

Sweet Potato Casserole with a cinnamon pecan crumble on top, served in a white casserole dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Is it a dessert or is it a side dish? I think we like to label it as a side dish so we still can have a second dessert later :).

This is my new favorite sweet potato casserole! It’s not overly sweet and I’m addicted to that crisp, cinnamon crumble topping.

The those marshmallow toppings are good but this pecan variation is even better! I just love every last thing about it. Trust me, it’s going to disappear in no time!

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Light brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Pecans

Sweet Potato Casserole ingredients shown sitting on a marble surface. Includes sweet potatoes, pecans, salt and pepper, milk, butter, eggs, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and vanilla.

Difference Between Yam and Sweet Potato?

It’s can be so confusing. I sometimes get comments on my sweet potato recipes with people claiming I’m labeling them all wrong. So just wanted to clear things up.

  • Sweet potatoes generally have tapered ends, thin, smooth skin and flesh that can range from light yellow to dark orange (and even to purplish). They are wetter.
  • Yams have a cylindrical shape with brown, rough, bark-like skin and usually has a white or purple flesh. They are starchier and dry.

Usually here in the U.S. I think you’ll now most commonly find them labeled as “sweet potatoes” but you still might find a “yam” labeling here and there. Just look for the ones like so…

Four baked sweet potatoes shown here, one sliced open. Before adding to sweet potato casserole.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  • Pierce each of the sweet potatoes twice on two side. Place on baking sheet and bake until cooked through and soft, about 60 – 75 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Sweet potatoes in a large glass mixing bowl to make sweet potato casserole.

  • Peel potatoes (the peel should pull right off) and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Mash potatoes with a potato masher (or press through a potato ricer) until well mashed. Let cool about 5 – 10 minutes so the eggs don’t cook and in the mixture.

Mashed sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, brown sugar, spices in mixing bowl to make sweet potato casserole.

  • Add in brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, and season with 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste) and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Mixing sweet potato mixture in glass mixing bowl with electric hand mixer, for sweet potato casserole.

  • Using an electric hand mixer blend mixture to combined well (don’t worry about lumps).

Sweet potato layer spread into white ceramic baking dish for sweet potato casserole.

  • Pour into a greased casserole dish (mine was about 12 by 8-inches) and spread into an even layer. Set aside.

Mixing pecans, flour, brown sugar in small glass mixing bowl for sweet potato casserole topping.

  • For the topping, in a separate medium mixing bowl using a fork stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans (break up brown sugar clumps with fingertips as needed).

Adding butter to topping mixture in glass bowl, for sweet potato casserole.

  • Pour butter into mixture and stir until mixture is evenly moistened (it will seem dry at first, keep tossing).

Sweet potato casserole pecan topping in mixing bowl.

  • Sprinkle mixture evenly over sweet potato mixture in baking dish.
  • Bake in preheated until heated through, about 40 minutes, while tenting with foil during the last 10 to prevent excessive browning on topping if needed.

Sweet Potato Casserole after baking.

Can I Make This in Advance?

Both the sweet potato portion and topping can be made a day in advance then chilled separately in the fridge. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes, add the topping and bake.

Close up image of a scoop of sweet potato casserole showing creamy orange sweet potato layer and a crisp, sugary pecan crumble.

A Classic Thanksgiving Staple

Sweet potato casserole is a staple holiday recipe at my house. Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be the same without it. Along with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, mac and cheese, veggie side dishes, pies pies and more pies. I can’t wait!

I hope this sweet potato casserole becomes a new yearly tradition in your home! It’s definitely one of the best uses for sweet potatoes.

Overhead image of sweet potato casserole.

More Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love

Sweet Potato Casserole shown in three individual servings and small white scalloped plates set over a marble surface.

Sweet Potato Casserole

5 from 8 votes

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole recipe! This version has just the right amount of sweetness, an irresistible buttery flavor, and a crisp cinnamon pecan crumble on top. It's the perfect autumn side dish and a Thanksgiving staple. Everyone will want the recipe!

Servings: 12
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cooling 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs sweet potatoes*
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk (anything but skim)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping

  • 1/2 cup (70g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped or broken pecans
  • 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  2. Pierce each of the sweet potatoes twice on two side. Place on baking sheet and bake until cooked through and soft, about 60 - 75 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

  3. Peel potatoes (the peel should pull right off) and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  4. Mash potatoes with a potato masher (or press through a potato ricer) until well mashed. Let cool about 5 - 10 minutes so the eggs don't cook and in the mixture.

  5. Add in brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, and season with 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste) and 1/4 tsp pepper.

  6. Using an electric hand mixer blend mixture to combined well. 

  7. Pour into a greased casserole dish (mine was about 12 by 8-inches) and spread into an even layer. Set aside.

  8. For the topping, in a separate medium mixing bowl using a fork stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans (break up brown sugar clumps with fingertips as needed).

  9. Pour butter into mixture and stir until mixture is evenly moistened (it will seem dry at first, keep tossing).

  10. Sprinkle mixture evenly over sweet potato mixture in baking dish.

  11. Bake in preheated until heated through, about 40 minutes, while tenting with foil during the last 10 to prevent excessive browning on topping if needed.

  12. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

*This amount should yield about 5 cups mashed.

Nutrition Facts
Sweet Potato Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 105mg5%
Potassium 597mg17%
Carbohydrates 54g18%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 21860IU437%
Vitamin C 3.7mg4%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 1.7mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: Jaclyn

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39 Comments

  • Sara

    Had this once at my mom’s friends house and never knew what it was called but then I made this and it’s exactly what they made if not better! I loved it.
    Thx
    😘💛

  • Jenna

    I love all of your recipes. You are the only reason I even enjoy baking. Thank you so much! I was wondering if I could make this but put marshmallows on top instead of the candies pecans. Will it come out okay?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying my recipes :).
      For this recipe you could definitely replace the pecan topping with marshmallows, just keep in mind you won’t need to add them until closer to the end.

  • Suzy

    Was a big hit for Christmas Eve potluck. I reduced the brown sugar somewhat and kinda made up my own glazed pecan topping by lightly toasting some roughly chopped pecans in a frypan and then adding butter and maple syrup, which simmered for bit until the liquid reduced. I prepared the casserole in advance (without topping) and baked at my destination. I did however, us a slightly smaller dish (2 1/2 quart oval corning ware) and the casserole took longer to bake than forty minutes It was closer to an hour after I increased the oven temperature. It could have also been the oven that was used, but nevertheless this casserole was a winner!

  • Diane

    I am trying to make the recipe Now. The recipe does not give the quantities for the ingredients so I’m going to have to find another recipe.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      If you keep scrolling down there is a recipe box there with a print option, sorry for the confusion!

  • Erin

    Made this for Friendsgiving and everyone LOVED it! Most folks went back for seconds. Definitely adding this to my Thanksgiving menu in the future.

  • Ellen

    Big hit at Thanksgiving! I prepared the sweet potato mixture and the topping (w/out butter) the day before and kept them refrigerated. The next day, I drove 3 hours to my son’s house (w/cooler), tossed the topping with melted butter, sprinkled it on top of the sweet potato mixture, and baked it when the turkey came out. Delicious!

    • Sonnia

      I made this recipe and was a great hit, so I easy to prepare. Made one adjustment in place of cinnamon, I used pumpkin pie spice approximately 3/4 tsp., also cut down on the sugar. We enjoy as a dessert with either cool whip or ice cream

  • Amanda

    This was the best sweet potato side dish I’ve ever had! Pretty easy to make too, just allow for enough time for the sweet potatoes to cool. I had to wait about an hour