Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole
This Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole is the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish made of creamy, buttery mashed sweet potatoes layered with a crunchy pecan streusel topping. It is an easy make-ahead dish that should never be missing from your holiday table!
While I am all for trying innovative and creative dishes, a holiday like Thanksgiving will not be complete without the classics we grew up with. Roast Turkey, Green Bean Casserole, Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry Sauce, Cornbread Stuffing, and Sweet Potato Casserole are among the most awaited dishes of the season! The festivities are just not the same without some of these present on the table, would you agree?
This recipe is the sweeter sister of my Savory Sweet Potato Casserole. While I love the play of savory and sweet in that recipe, I also enjoy the creamy sweetness that this recipe brings to the table. It is like having dessert in the middle of the meal- so what is not to love about it, right? I topped it with a brown sugar pecan streusel — sans the marshmallows to keep it from becoming too sugary. However, if your sweet tooth demands more, it is very easy to incorporate them into this dish.
Gather these ingredients a few days before the festivities to make your Sweet Potato Casserole ahead of time and keep your cooking schedule less hectic on the big day! Here’s what you’ll be needing, together with possible substitutions.
- For the sweet potatoes
- Sweet potatoes- peeled and cut into cubes. I like using the short stubby ones because they are less fibrous, resulting in smoother mashed sweet potatoes!
- Unsalted butter- use at room temperature. This gives the casserole a rich, buttery taste and silkier texture.
- Whole milk- this thick liquid is perfect for making indulgent casseroles such as this one! You can also use half-and-half if that is what you prefer or have.
- Brown sugar- gives the mashed sweet potatoes a caramel-like sweetness because of the presence of molasses.
- Eggs- bind the ingredients together and give the casserole a custard-like consistency without making it dense or heavy.
- Ground nutmeg- is one of the most festive-tasting spices out there! It has a warm and nutty flavor that pairs well with sweet dishes like this. Other than nutmeg, you can also try using cinnamon, allspice, or pumpkin pie spice.
- Pure vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- For the topping:
- All-purpose flour- this is perfect for making a crumbly streusel topping.
- Unsalted butter- mix it melted to form clumps of flour and sugar for crisp crumbs.
- Chopped pecans- you can also use other types of nuts like walnuts, macadamia, almond, or cashew.
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
How to Make Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole
This recipe is pretty straightforward and simple. You do not need to do a practice run because I made sure that it will come out awesome even if you are making this the first time! Here’s what you need to do.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 9X13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into cubes.
- Boil the sweet potatoes. Fill a large stock pot with cold water and add sweet potatoes. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until they are tender for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, let cool slightly, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Make the sweet potato mixture. Add the butter into the bowl with the sweet potatoes, then use a potato masher to mash them. Stir in the milk, brown sugar, eggs, nutmeg, kosher salt, and vanilla extract, and continue to mash everything until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.
- Make the pecan streusel topping. Mix all the topping ingredients into a medium mixing bowl until you have a crumbly flour mixture.
- Assemble and bake! Sprinkle the topping mixture over the sweet potatoes and bake until warm and golden for about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- To check if the sweet potatoes are tender enough, pierce them with a fork. If it goes through easily, remove them from the pot. Do not overcook them, or they will turn out mushy.
- Do not add the egg while the mashed potatoes are still hot because they might cook and create streaks.
- If you want your casserole on the chunkier side, you can use a fork to mash them into bits instead.
- Some sweet potatoes are naturally sweeter than others. I recommend tasting them before adding the sugar so you can make the necessary adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use marshmallows as topping instead? Absolutely! You can skip making the streusel topping and just place marshmallows on top of the mashed sweet potatoes and bake until the mallows puff and brown. You can also use both the streusel and marshmallow toppings to make it even more special.
- Is sweet potatoes and yams the same? No, they are not. Though some use the words synonymously, these two tubers come from different plant types. Sweet potatoes have a softer, creamier, and sweeter flesh than yams.
- Should I peel the sweet potatoes? Though their skin is edible, I prefer peeling my sweet potatoes when making this casserole to have a smoother, luxurious potato casserole.
- Can I make it vegan? For sure! Use dairy-free milk and butter and omit the eggs.
Is this recipe gluten-free? It is not because of the all-purpose flour. You can swap it with any gluten-free flour brand, though.
- Can I make it nut-free? Sure, just replace the pecans with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
Make Ahead and Storing
You can make this yummy side dish 3 days ahead of time. Make the sweet potato mixture and seal the casserole dish with foil or plastic wrap. You can also make the topping early and just place them in a sealed container or ziplock. All you need to do is assemble and bake on Thanksgiving day.
If you want to free up your oven on the said day, you can also bake it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers can be frozen for as long as three months.
Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole
- For the sweet potatoes:
- 2.5 lbs Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 4 tbsp Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Whole milk
- 1/2 cup Brown sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- 1/2 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- For the topping:
- 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup Chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.Spray a 9X13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Next, fill a large stock pot with cold water and add sweet potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until tender for about 15 minutes. You want the potatoes to at least be fork tender. Drain the potatoes and let cool slightly and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the room temperature butter to the sweet potatoes and using a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Next, add in the milk, brown sugar, eggs, nutmeg, kosher salt, and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until smooth. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add all of the topping ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Sprinkle the topping mixture over the sweet potatoes and bake until warmed through and golden for about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.