Recipes From the South
Sweet Potato Casserole

Years ago, I invited a friend to share my kitchen. It was the holidays and we were both busy preparing for family that would be arriving for dinner the next day. Since I had the larger kitchen and two nice sized ovens, I thought it would be appropriate (and a lot of fun) to have her over to cook together. She had her menu; I had mine. We had all our ingredients. We were ready and set to cook.

I’m a Southern girl, she was born and grew up in California. She has a certain way of cooking, whereas I tend to follow a Southern tradition.

So that evening, though we were sharing the same kitchen, we were preparing two very different menus. With that said, it did not surprise me when I suggested she try my sweet potato casserole that she not only liked it, but wanted to make it for her family dinner as well.

When I think of Thanksgiving, I imagine a dim lit room, a crackling fire in the fireplace, hot apple cider, the family gathered. Countertops and side tables decorated with gold, red, and brown arrangements. Scented candles glow in every room. Pumpkins in various sizes, shapes, and colors are scattered inside and out. There’s a smell of apple and cinnamon in the air. The house is filled with laughter and busy chatter. The dining room table and maybe another table or two, are elaborately set. 

In the center of the table there is a perfectly roasted turkey, stuffing, and cranberry relish. There is sweet potato casserole in Grandmother’s antique baking dish. 

Sweet potato Casserole with Marshallows

Sweet potato casserole, found on many Southern holiday tables, it’s a popular recipe that goes back for many generations. This wonderful whipped sweet potato delight with its butter-crunchy pecan crust is said to be more like a dessert than the any other dish that makes up the Thanksgiving spread. So no, it was no surprise to me that my friend not only wanted to make it for her special meal that year, but also the next year and the next and the next.

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Preparation Time: 45-1hr to roast potatoes. 15-20 minutes to prepare casserole. 1-1.5 hrs total.
  • Bake Time: 25-45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium
  • Serving Size: About 10 helpings

Filling Ingredients

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cooked* and mashed (3-4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Miniature marshmallows (optional)

* Roasting Potatoes

  • NOTE: I like to roast my potatoes the night before and allow them to cool to room temperature before working with them. This is helpful, but you can definitely roast them just prior to preparing the casserole.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Wash and dry potatoes thoroughly, and transfer to baking sheet.
  • Poke vent holes in each potato (about 6-7 stabs with a fork along the length of the potato)
  • Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Rotate baking sheet and roast for another 15-30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Preparing and Baking Casserole

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat filling ingredients together just until well blended. Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish.
  • Mix topping ingredients until crumbly, and sprinkle over the top over the filling in the casserole dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees. Time is about 45 minutes if potatoes were cold when placed into casserole dish. Only bake for 25 minutes if potatoes were hot when placed into dish.
  • NOTE: Some folks prefer a marshmallow topping instead. Do as follows if you are 'some folks.'
  • Prepare and bake recipe as outlined above. However, pull the casserole out of oven five minutes before done. Cover completely with miniature marshmallows and bake another five minutes.
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Last year at my kid’s suggestion, I made our sweet potato casserole with two toppings. One half, I made with a crusty pecan topping, the other half I made with marshmallow topping. We had a small gathering, so there was plenty from both sides for everyone. How about you? How do you like your sweet potato casserole best? 

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I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has! Throughout the holiday season, we’re going to be highlighting various recipes that have a special place in our hearts and memories, and are associated  with Thanksgiving and Christmas in the South. Also, this month we’ll be interviewing Leanna Sain. She’ll be telling us about her upcoming book, Hush. Be sure to check back, as it’s an interview you won’t want to miss!

Last week, we interviewed Ryan Paige Howard, and discussed her new book, Hearts of FaithIf you’d like to be entered for a chance to win either Hearts of Faith or Hush, be sure to sign up for our mailing list below! We’ll be holding our drawing for Hearts of Faith on November 13th. 

As always, I’d love to hear from you, so comment below! Also feel free to share this post via the share buttons below. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have an amazing week!

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