This sweet potato casserole is easy to make and topped with a crunchy pecan streusel. This simple side dish is a family favorite and perfect for Thanksgiving!

A baking pan filed with a finished sweet potato casserole topped with a pecan streusel.

Do you have a favorite side dish at Thanksgiving? If I had to choose one, I would definitely go with sweet potato casserole. I mean, any side dish that you can eat with your meal and tastes like dessert is a winner in my book.

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away I figured it was the perfect time to update my sweet potato casserole recipe and share it with you! This simple side dish is incredibly easy to throw together and it’s topped with a delicious brown sugar pecan streusel topping.

And if you’re into marshmallows on top of your sweet potato casserole, you could leave off the streusel topping and use them instead. I’ve included notes for how to add marshmallows as well as how you can prepare this ahead of time!

The ingredients needed to make a sweet potato casserole on top of a gray surface.

Ingredients For This Recipe

This easy sweet potato casserole uses fairly simple ingredients. Let’s discuss a few of them in case you need to make some adjustments to your dish:

  • Sweet Potatoes: You will be using 4 pounds of sweet potatoes in this casserole. It may seem like quite a bit, but keep in mind that they will be cooked down and mashed. Be sure to peel your sweet potatoes too before cubing them into 1-inch pieces. 
  • Brown Sugar: This is used in both the filling and the topping. I use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar is fine too!
  • Unsalted Butter: Again, the butter is used in the filling and topping in this recipe. If you only have salted butter on hand, just reduce the salt in the filling to 1/8 teaspoon.
  • Milk: I prefer whole milk because the extra fat provides a creamier texture. However, 2%, 1%, skim, or even almond milk would be okay to use too.
  • Eggs: This is what gives the casserole some structure. If you need an egg free option, you can actually leave them out, but keep in mind that it won’t be quite as sturdy and thick.
  • Pecans: These are added to the topping to give it a little crunch. Feel free to swap them out for another nut or omit them from the topping for a nut-free version.

A glass mixing bowl holding mashed sweet potatoes.

How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole

To make this casserole, you will start by cooking the sweet potatoes. You can cook them however you like, but when it comes to this dish I prefer to peel and boil them. Feel free to cook your potatoes in the microwave or oven, just make sure to pierce them with a fork first.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, let them cool slightly and preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Next, mash the sweet potatoes and mix them together with the brown sugar, milk, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, a little salt, and a couple of eggs. I prefer my casserole a little on the sweeter side, so I use 3/4 cup of brown sugar. I don’t find it to be too sweet, but if you prefer things less sweet I’ve made a note in the recipe for how you can reduce it.

I also like to use an electric mixer to mix up the sweet potato mixture so that it’s nice and creamy. If you don’t have a mixer, don’t worry, you can do this step completely by hand. Once you’ve mixed everything up just spread it around in a 9×13 baking pan that’s been sprayed well with nonstick cooking spray.

Next, it’s time to mix up the topping! To make the topping, simply whisk together some flour, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon until well combined. Add some softened butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter until it’s nice and crumbly, then stir in your chopped pecans.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potato mixture, then pop it into the oven and let it bake for 40 to 45 minutes. You will know it’s done when the topping is lightly browned and the center of your casserole is set and firm.

A sweet potato casserole in a baking dish with one corner scooped out to show the sweet potato base.

How To Prepare It Ahead Of Time

Since it’s not always possible to fully prepare and bake sides dishes the same day that you need them, you can also prepare this dish ahead of time. To prepare it ahead of time you can mix up the sweet potato layer, cover it tightly, and store it in the refrigerator up to one day in advance. The streusel topping may also be prepared, covered tightly, and refrigerated for two to three days.

The day that you plan to serve the dish, preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×13 baking pan well with nonstick cooking spray, scoop the sweet potato mixture into the pan and spread it out, add the topping, then bake as directed.

An individual serving of sweet potato casserole in a white speckled bowl.

Baking Tips

  • You will need to let the cooked sweet potatoes cool slightly before you mix everything together. I prefer to prepare the topping and gather all of the other ingredients while they are cooling to save a little time.
  • If you prefer your casserole less sweet, you can reduce the brown sugar in the sweet potato mixture from 3/4 cup (150 grams) to 1/2 cup (100 grams).
  • Want to use marshmallows instead of the streusel topping? Omit the topping and bake the casserole as directed. Once it’s done, remove it from the oven, sprinkle the marshmallows on top, then broil them for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

More Thanksgiving Recipes To Try!

Video Tutorial

A sweet potato casserole in a baking dish with one corner scooped out to show the sweet potato base.

Sweet Potato Casserole

5 from 3 ratings
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
This sweet potato casserole is easy to make and topped with a crunchy pecan streusel. This simple side dish is a family favorite and perfect for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients

Servings: 12 servings
  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter softened and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter softened and cubed
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot/saucepan, cover the sweet potatoes with water, and place over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and allow the potatoes to cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash well. You may also use an electric mixer to help make them smoother. Add the brown sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and eggs and mix until fully combined. I prefer to use an electric mixer for this step, but you may also do this by hand. 
  • Scoop the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it around into one even layer. Set aside.

To prepare the topping:

  • Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. Add the cubed butter and use a fork or pastry cutter to cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture starts to come together and is crumbly. Stir in the chopped pecans.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of the sweet potato mixture. Place in the oven and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 40 to 45 minutes or until the topping is lightly golden brown and the center is set.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Store leftover sweet potato casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave in 20 to 30 second increments until warmed through.
To make ahead of time: Mix up the sweet potato layer, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator up to one day in advance. The streusel topping may also be prepared, covered tightly, and refrigerated for two to three days. The day that you plan to serve it, spray a 9x13 baking pan well with nonstick cooking spray, scoop the sweet potato mixture into the pan and spread it out, add the topping, and bake as directed.
Brown Sugar: If you prefer your sweet potato casserole less sweet you may reduce the brown sugar in the sweet potato mixture to 1/2 cup (100 grams). 
Milk: I prefer whole milk, but 2%, 1%, skim, or even almond milk would be fine to use too.
Want to use marshmallows instead? Omit the pecan streusel topping and bake the casserole. Once it's finished baking, carefully remove it from the oven, add the marshmallows, set the oven to broil, and return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes or until the marshmallows are lightly golden brown. 
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
Author: Danielle
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