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Sweet Potato Casserole

January 11, 2023  Chef Austin Avatar
Sweet Potato Casserole

If there was ever a dish greater than the sum of its parts, it’s this buttery sweet potato casserole. It’s a total breeze to put together and will be the star of your dinner table! If you’re unfamiliar with sweet potato casserole, it’s traditionally a southern dish served for holidays or special occasions.

Overhead shot of sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish with a silver serving spoon scooping out a bit of it.

How To Pick Sweet Potatoes

When selecting sweet potatoes, go for small to medium-sized ones, which tend to be less starchy, have tender skin, and have more pronounced flavors. Also, make sure they are firm and have smooth skin without any cracks or soft spots, all signs that they aren’t old. (Ugh. That reads like a sentence you’d find in some sexist 50’s handbook for How To Pick A Wife.)

How To Store Sweet Potatoes

To keep your sweet potatoes from sprouting and keep them fresh longer, store them in a cool, dry, dark cabinet. Don’t store them next to onions, which tend to release moisture into the air. Also, keep them out of cabinets that are close to your stove, which creates a hot environment in surrounding spaces while in use.

Overhead shot of a sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish with a silver serving spoon above it holding a spoonful of casserole.

What’s The Best Topping For Sweet Potato Casserole?

Beth and I are split on the best topping for sweet potato casserole. She is camp pecan streusel (it has superior flavor and texture). I am camp marshmallow (it’s easier and costs less). This recipe is for a marshmallow topping, but I’m not leaving you stranded if you prefer pecans. You can use the following recipe to create a pecan streusel:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of flour. 
  2. Cut in 4 tablespoons of diced butter with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the mixture transforms into crumbles the size of peas. 
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
  4. Sprinkle topping over sweet potato mixture and bake until golden.

Should I Boil Or Roast Potatoes FOR Sweet Potato Casserole?

I peel, dice, and boil sweet potatoes for my sweet potato casserole. For the Thanksgiving holiday, most ovens will be working overtime, so the more you can do on the stovetop, the better. But if you REALLY want to go all out, wrap the sweet potatoes in aluminum and roast them whole at low heat (about 250°F) until they are fork tender, which caramelizes the sugars for ridiculously deep flavors.

Overhead shot of a sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish with a few scoops taken out of it.

Can I Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead Of Time?

You can absolutely make sweet potato casserole ahead of time. Just leave the toppings for when you are ready to bake, as freezing or refrigerating them for extended periods will change their texture. You can refrigerate the casserole with a sheet of plastic directly on the surface of the sweet potato mash for up to five days. The plastic helps prevent a skin from forming and stops condensation from seeping into the dish.

You can freeze a sweet potato casserole for up to 3 months. Line your casserole dish with enough aluminum foil to extend six inches on each side of the dish. Add the sweet potato filling and cover with the aluminum overhang. Freeze the casserole in the dish. Once it has solidified, unfold the aluminum and use it to lift the frozen casserole out of the dish. Wrap it in the aluminum again and then in a second layer of plastic. Then store in a freezer-safe container. Thaw it in your refrigerator overnight before topping it with marshmallows or pecan streusel and baking it.

How To Store Leftover Casserole

First things first- according to the FDA if the casserole has been out at room temperature for more than two hours, you should throw it out. I’m just the messenger, so please direct all complaints to the FDA. Leftovers are best frozen in single servings in freezer-safe containers. Thaw them out in your fridge overnight. You should only thaw them once.

Overhead shot of sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows in a white casserole dish.
Overhead shot of sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows in a white casserole dish.

Print

Sweet Potato Casserole

Greater than the sum of its parts, this buttery sweet potato casserole is a breeze to put together and will be the star of your dinner table!
Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($5.94 recipe / $0.74 serving)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 372kcal

Equipment

  • 8×8" Casserole Dish

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs sweet potatoes $3.96
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar $0.23
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter $0.38
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream $0.55
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.29
  • 1 pinch nutmeg $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.01
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows $0.50

Instructions

  • Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 350ºF. Grease a three-quart casserole dish with butter. Set a large pot of water over high heat. Peel and dice sweet potatoes. Add them to the water once it begins to boil.
  • When the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, drain them, and add them to a large bowl. Mash them until they are smooth.
  • To a medium-sized heavy bottom pan set over medium heat add brown sugar and salted butter. Whisk until a caramel forms.
  • Add the cream and whisk to incorporate.
  • Add the salt, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon to the caramel and whisk to incorporate.
  • Add the mash to the greased casserole dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Top the casserole with 2 cups mini marshmallows, more or less to your liking.*
  • Bake the casserole at 350ºF until the marshmallows are golden, about 20 minutes.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*If you are opting for pecan streusel, top it with that instead. If you want to use both, start with the pecans and finish with the marshmallows.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 332mg | Fiber: 7g
Overhead shot of sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish with a silver serving spoon scooping out a bit of it.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of a pot with boiled sweet potatoes in it with a serving spoon holding a few cubes of sweet potato above it.

Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 350ºF. Grease a three-quart casserole dish with butter. Set a large pot of water over high heat. Peel and dice four pounds of sweet potatoes. Add them to the water once it begins to boil.

Overhead shot of sweet potatoes being mashed in a white bowl.

When the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, drain them, and add them to a large bowl. Mash them until they are smooth.

Overhead shot of brown sugar and butter in a silver pan.

To a medium-sized heavy bottom pan set over medium heat add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of salted butter. Whisk until a caramel forms.

Overhead shot of cream v=being poured into a silver pan with caramel and a whisk in it.
When the brown sugar has completely dissolved into the butter and a caramel has formed, add the 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Whisk to incorporate.
Overhead shot of a spoonful of cinnamon being added to caramel in a silver pan with a whisk in it.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the caramel and whisk to incorporate.

Overhead shot of caramel being poured out of a pot into sweet potato mash.

Add the caramel to the sweet potato mash and mix thoroughly.

Overhead shot of a rubber spatula smoothing sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish.

Add the mash to the greased casserole dish and smooth the top with a spatula.

Overhead shot of a silver cup measure pouring a cup of marshmallows into a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows already on top of it.

Top the casserole with 2 cups mini marshmallows, more or less to your liking. If you are opting for pecan streusel, top it with it instead. If you want to use both, start with the pecans and finish with the marshmallows.

Overhead shot of sweet potato casserole in a white casserole dish with a silver serving spoon scooping out a bit of it.

Bake the casserole at 350ºF until the marshmallows are golden, about 20 minutes. Allow the casserole to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Overhead shot of sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows in a white casserole dish.

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