This classic sweet potato casserole recipe is the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish! The marshmallow-pecan topping is crunchy and satisfying.
I stuck to pretty traditional methods and ingredients in this easy sweet potato casserole recipe. This is one of those dishes that you don’t want to mess with too much because it’s classic for a reason!
My recipe has a couple of additions that you don’t always see in sweet potato casseroles. A touch of cinnamon and nutmeg give the sweet potatoes more delicious fall flavor.
Also, I use 1/4 cup of heavy cream in this casserole instead of milk. It ensures the sweet potatoes aren’t too watery, and the fat content improves the texture and flavor of this Thanksgiving side dish.
I find sweet potatoes to be very sweet on their own, so I didn’t add as much brown sugar as some sweet potato casserole recipes call for. This recipe is definitely still sweet, but it’s more of a side dish vs. a dessert.
Curious about the history of this side dish? Here’s an article on its origins from Delish.
How to make sweet potato casserole with pecans and marshmallows
- Cook the sweet potatoes. The results are better when you cook them in their skins, so that’s my suggested method. You can either do this by boiling them or roasting them.
- Mash the sweet potatoes with the brown sugar, butter, cream, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Add sweet potatoes in an even layer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans and marshmallows on top.
- Bake at 375F for 25 minutes.
Pro tip: Sometimes you’ll see the orange sweet potatoes incorrectly labeled as “yams”. You’ll want to buy those vs. the pale sweet potatoes that are probably labeled as “sweet potatoes”. Confusing, I know. 😛
Sweet potato casserole make-ahead tips
- You can make this sweet potato casserole ahead of time. Make the mashed sweet potato mixture, add it to your baking dish, let it cool, make sure it’s covered tightly, and refrigerate it for up to a few days. Let it come to room temperature and then add the toppings and bake as directed.
- You can also freeze the recipe the same way. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then let it come to room temperature, top it with the pecans and marshmallows, and bake it as directed.
More Thanksgiving side dishes you may like:
- Cheesy Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin
- Bacon Ranch Mashed Potatoes
- Simple Roasted Radishes Recipe
- Easy and Healthier Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Easy Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Recipe
Or check out my roundup of The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes for more ideas!
I hope you’ll find this to be the best sweet potato casserole recipe ever.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried it or if you have any questions! 🙂
Classic Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes mashed
- 1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup mini marshmallows (or more, to taste)
If you haven't already prepared your mashed sweet potatoes, start by scrubbing them and then 1) Add them to a large pot of water. Boil until very tender, drain them, and let them cool for a few minutes. Or, 2) Bake them in the oven if you prefer (prick them all over and roast them at 425F until tender).
Preheat the oven to 375F and move the rack to the middle position. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
Let the sweet potatoes cool slightly, then peel them and mash them with the brown sugar, butter, cream, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Ensure that they're well mashed and that the other ingredients are distributed evenly (e.g. no clumps of cinnamon).
Pour the sweet potato mixture into the greased baking dish. Spread it in an even layer.
Top the sweet potatoes with the chopped pecans and the mini marshmallows.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the marshmallows are nice and golden. Watch it carefully towards the end so they don't burn (some ovens are hotter than others).
- The results are better when you boil or bake the sweet potatoes in their skins, so look for smaller sweet potatoes to make this process easier and faster.
- Cooking time does not include the time it takes to cook the mashed sweet potatoes (this will vary depending on the method you choose and how big your sweet potatoes are).
- Serves 6-8 depending on how much people eat.
- See the blog post for tips on how to make this recipe ahead.