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Sweet Potato Casserole is a delicious southern favorite! With a rich, buttery taste and crunchy pecan streusel topping, this makes the BEST sweet potato casserole recipe as a side dish or a dessert! Recipe video is included.
Sweet Potato Casserole graces my family table for many special meals and holidays – especially in the fall. It’s definitely a Thanksgiving favorite! Those luscious and creamy sweet potatoes paired with the crunchy, nutty streusel crumb topping makes for a perfect side dish, but is sweet enough to serve as a dessert. And it’s ready in 30 minutes, or can be made ahead, making it an easy dish for all those special family meals. This is the best I’ve ever tasted and it’s been a favorite for generations in my family.
Sweet potato casserole. Do you consider it a side dish or dessert? Or both? Because you know, sometimes when you find something that works for both, you just have to go with it. Right?
My Grandmother Verdie always served it during the holidays and I have to admit that it was always one of my favorite parts of the meal! Served alongside roast turkey, her famous cornbread dressing, and cranberry sauce, my plate was complete! While it makes the perfect dish to serve for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, Grandmother would also serve it for Sunday suppers and other special occasions.
Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
Let’s talk about the basics of this delicious dish.
What is Sweet Potato Casserole?
A southern-style casserole that is a dessert-like side dish. It is made of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes combined with sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and eggs. In this recipe, the sweet potato mixture is then topped with a buttery pecan streusel topping and baked until golden brown. It’s a traditional southern favorite for Thanksgiving and other family meals and holidays.
How to Prepare the Sweet Potatoes
You will need about 5 to 6 medium sweet potatoes for a 9×13 casserole. When selecting them, look for potatoes that are free of any blemishes or bruises.
You can prepare your sweet potatoes for using in the casserole by baking or boiling them. The method is really based on personal preference. I will say that I love the deep flavor from baked sweet potatoes, but have used boiled sweet potatoes from time to time. Both are delicious!
Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Scrub the sweet potatoes until clean and place onto a baking sheet.
- Prick the potatoes 4 to 5 times all over and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and peel.
Boiled Sweet Potatoes
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 2-inch cubes. The potatoes cook much faster this way when boiling than boiling unpeeled.
- Add the sweet potatoes to a Dutch oven or large pot. Rinse the potatoes and then add enough water to cover them.
- Bring to a boil and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and drain well.
You can also follow the method described in my Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes as well.
How to Make the Best Sweet Potato Casserole
To make this favorite recipe, you’ll need a few delicious ingredients. The full recipe, including amounts is included in the recipe card at the end of the post.
Southern Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients
Sweet Potato Mixture:
- sweet potatoes – You’ll use cooked and mashed sweet potatoes as described earlier.
- sugar – I use granulated sugar for this recipe.
- butter – softened to room temperature
- vanilla extract – I use my homemade vanilla, but you can use store-bought pure vanilla extract
- milk – I prefer to use whole milk
- eggs – you’ll need large eggs for this recipe
- brown sugar – packed
- all-purpose flour – For gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour substitute.
- pecans – chopped
- butter – softened
- mini marshmallows – optional
Step by Step Instructions
Sweet Potato Mixture
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- In a large bowl, mash the cooked, cooled and peeled sweet potatoes.
- Stir in sugar, butter, vanilla extract, milk, and eggs and mix well. If your sweet potatoes are very fibrous, you may prefer to use your hand mixer to make your sweet potato mixture light and fluffy.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish.
Buttery Pecan Streusel Topping
- Mix the brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter together and spread evenly over sweet potato mixture.
- Cook for 30 minutes until the streusel topping has browned.
- Remove your baking dish of sweet potato casserole from oven and serve!
Optional – Marshmallow Topping
If you desire the optional marshmallow topping, sprinkle with mini marshmallows the final 10 minutes of baking.
How to Store
We all know that preparing for special holiday meals can be a bit stressful during such a busy time. I like to make it easier by doing some of the meal prep and cooking ahead of time, such as my Make Ahead Thanksgiving and Make Ahead Holiday Appetizers plans.
This casserole makes a great make ahead side dish for those special meals since you can easily prep it ahead and either freeze or refrigerate. Then it can easily be baked fresh for serving or bake ahead of time to simply serve at room temperature.
Make Ahead Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
Prepare sweet potato mixture and spread into casserole dish. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Prepare streusel topping and store in a zip top bag in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, remove all from the refrigerator. Spread streusel on top of casserole and bake as directed.
Can You Freeze Sweet Potato Casserole?
This dish freezes wonderfully. Prepare sweet potato mixture and spread into casserole dish. Make sure the sweet potato mixture is cooled completely. Wrap tightly with freezer safe wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Make streusel topping mixture and place on top of casserole. Bake as directed and serve.
How Long Do Leftovers Last in the Refrigerator?
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, simply cover well with wrap or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve cold, room temperature, or reheat and serve.
What to Serve With Sweet Potato Casserole
This rich and delicious dish pairs well with so many other favorite foods and is perfect served as a side or as a dessert. It’s a must on our Thanksgiving table, along with roast turkey, cranberry sauce, southern cornbread dressing, vegetables and pecan pie.
It’s so simple to make and easy to make ahead too, that it pairs perfectly with so many meals my family enjoys throughout the year.
More Sweet Potato Favorites
Sweet potatoes make some of the most delicious dishes. They are oh so good simply baked and served with butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon! And these beauties are loaded with nutrition. They are full of fiber and contain antioxidants, vitamins, such as vitamin c, and many minerals. They are readily available in most areas and are usually inexpensive as well. It’s no surprise that they are used in so many favorite dishes! Here are a few more sweet potato favorites I hope you try soon.
Here’s my recipe for how I make my Grandmother’s Southern Sweet Potato Casserole. I hope you love it as much as my family does!
Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
- 5 cups cooked sweet potatoes mashed (about 5-6 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
For the Streusel Topping:
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 1/2 cup mini marshmallows optional
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Scrub sweet potatoes and boil or bake in the oven until tender.
- Cool, peel and mash the sweet potatoes. Stir in granulated sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and eggs, mix well. Pour mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish or individual dishes for serving.
For the topping:
- Mix brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter together and spread evenly over sweet potato mixture.
- Cook for 30 minutes until topping has browned. If using mini marshmallows, add them the final 10 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and serve.
Prepare sweet potato mixture and spread into casserole dish. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Prepare streusel topping and store in a zip top bag in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove all from the refrigerator. Spread streusel on top of casserole and bake as directed. Freezer Friendly Tips:
Prepare sweet potato mixture and spread into casserole dish. Cool completely, wrap tightly and store in the freezer up to 3 months.
When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Make streusel topping mixture and place on top of casserole and bake as directed.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally published 2010.