This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans is a family favorite that has been tested and tweaked into pure Thanksgiving side dish perfection! It’s so easy to make by simply combining puréed sweet potatoes with butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon and then topping with a crunchy and sweet pecan crumble.

Sweet and crunchy sweet potato casserole is delicious and simple.

Favorite Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

The time has finally come. My family’s sweet potato casserole with pecans has been tested and tweaked and revamped to absolute perfection. And I cannot wait to share the recipe with you!

While I’ve always loved the flavors, as I’ve gotten older the overly sweet dish using canned yams was not quite all it was cracked up to be.

So over the past few years I have slowly evolved the recipe by:

  • Using fresh, boiled sweet potatoes instead of canned yams
  • Subbing pure maple syrup to replace some of the sweetener
  • Pureeing the potatoes so they’re silky smooth and creamy
  • Reducing the amount of butter and sugar used to make it slightly “healthier”

Oh ya, and that pecan topping?! The ratio of butter to sugar to flour is just right so you get that crunchy crumble with hints of cinnamon all throughout.

If you want the rest of our family’s Thanksigving spread, make sure you check out this Cajun Cornbread Dressing and Green Bean Casserole from Scratch!

Sweet potatoes, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and pecans are the ingredients.

Ingredients

To make this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe you need:

  • Sweet potatoes. Garnet or jewel are the best options, avoid purple or Japanese, though. You can use canned yams if needed, but the end result will be a bit sweeter. Avoid fresh yams; they’ll be too starchy. (Here’s more info on Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes.)
  • Sugar. Plain white sugar will work, but you can also sub in coconut sugar if you prefer.
  • Brown sugar. Perfect for the topping, brown sugar adds extra flavor. You can also substitute with coconut sugar if you’d like to make it refined sugar-free.
  • Maple syrup. Look for the pure maple syrup for the most flavor and try to avoid the processed, maple-flavored syrup.
  • Butter. Unsalted is best, but be sure to adjust the amount of added salt if you sub in salted butter. This is used both in the sweet potato mixture and the topping.
  • Eggs. Whisked eggs help bind the base. You can use flax eggs if needed.
  • Cinnamon. This earthy spice adds a warm, fall flavor.
  • Flour. You can use regular, all-purpose flour or opt for a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend.
  • Pecans. Smaller pieces are best, so buy chopped or do it yourself.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

The basic steps for making this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe are simple to follow:

1. Prepare the Potatoes

You’ll need to wash and scrub about three pounds of sweet potatoes. Be sure to dry each one with a towel.

Once clean, remove the skin from each potato using a vegetable peeler. Use a sharp knife to cut each one into chunks. Aim for about 1-inch pieces so they cook evenly and quickly.

2. Boil the Potatoes

After the potatoes are rinsed, peeled, and diced, fill a Dutch oven with about 10 cups of water. Add the potatoes to the pot, ensuring they are completely covered with water by about one inch. Give a liberal sprinkle of salt, this adds so much flavor to the potatoes.

Bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low to ensure a rapid simmer for around 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir the potatoes a few times while cooking. When they are fork-tender, drain them into a colander in the sink.

3. Purée the Potatoes

You can do this step in a couple of different ways.

For the absolute fluffiest, smoothest texture, dump all of the potatoes into a food processor. Be sure it can hold at least 11 cups or you won’t be able to fit all of the ingredients.

However, if you don’t have a food processor, you can simply mash them in the pot with a potato masher. Use some elbow grease to really work the lumps out.

Whether you are using the processor or masher, add the sugar, maple syrup, melted butter, whisked eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt before you purée the mixture.

Process for around 20 to 30 seconds until there are no lumps left. Or, mash well until the sweet potato filling is thoroughly mixed and smooth.

4. Make the Pecan Topping

In a medium or large mixing bowl, add the softened butter, packed brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Use a fork to mix the ingredients until everything is combined. It will still be crumbly, though.

Add in the chopped pecans. Be sure the pecans are raw and NOT toasted, though. Stir a little more until the topping is mixed well.

5. Top and Bake

Preheat the oven to 350℉.

Spray a 7X10-inch baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray, or rub with a thin layer of oil or butter. Use a spatula to spread the potato mixture across the bottom, smoothing the top. Then, sprinkle the pecan topping over the sweet potatoes.

Bake the casserole in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The topping will be firm and a golden-brown color. Once you let it sit for about 10 minutes, you are ready to enjoy this delicious side!

Prep-Ahead Directions

You can make this casserole in its entirety up to 2 days in advance. Then, you simply need to pull it out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before baking so it can come to room temperature.

Then, follow the directions above to bake it.

Or, you can cook and purée the potatoes beforehand if needed then prepare the casserole the day of.

How to Store Sweet Potato Casserole?

  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and leave them in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: You can either tightly wrap unbaked OR baked and completely cooled sweet potato casserole and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze the toppings separate from the base.
  • To Reheat: To warm up the entire casserole, let it sit at room temperature for an hour, then bake it in a 300℉ oven for 30 minutes or so. For single servings, you can use the microwave.
Sweet and savory sweet potato casserole.

FAQs

Do you put eggs in sweet potato casserole?

Yes! Eggs are super important as they bind the base. Without them, the sweet potato filling will be very loose.

Can you substitute canned sweet potatoes for fresh?

You can absolutely use canned sweet potatoes or yams instead of fresh. However, the taste will be slightly different.

Which sweet potato is healthiest?

Sweet potatoes are generally healthy and delicious. Orange ones have high amounts of beta-carotene while purple varieties have more anthocyanins. Most types offer similar amounts of vitamins and other nutrients, though.

What is the best way to eat sweet potatoes?

You can enjoy this root vegetable in so many ways. Whether you simply opt for air fryer baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, boil and mash them, hasselback sweet potatoes, or prepare this casserole, you can’t go wrong!

Sweet Potato Casserole Tips

  • Same size. Be sure to chop the sweet potatoes into 1-inch chunks so they cook consistently.
  • Go natural. Opt for pure maple syrup, not the artificial kinds.
  • Go raw. Do not use toasted pecans.
  • Make it ahead. This recipe is perfect to prepare a day or two beforehand.
  • Enjoy it. You can make this dish anytime, it’s not just for Thanksgiving!
Healthy and easy sweet potato casserole is the perfect fall side.

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Casserole

This Sweet Potato Casserole is delicious with Thanksgiving dinner or any of these recipes whenever you make them:

More Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

When you’re ready to plan Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget about these delicious sides:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans is a Thanksgiving favorite that has been tested and tweaked into pure potato perfection! It's so easy to make by simply combining puréed sweet potatoes with butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon and then topping with a crunchy and sweet pecan crumble.
Sweet and crunchy sweet potato casserole is delicious and simple.
Yield 12 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Sweet Potato Base:

  • 3-4 lbs. sweet potatoes rinsed and scrubbed
  • cup sugar
  • cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 Tbsp. butter melted
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt

Pecan Topping:

  • 6 Tbsp. butter softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Prepare the Potatoes: Peel the potatoes using a vegetable peeler and then cut into 1-inch chunks. Add them to a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with about 10 cups of water, or until they are completely immersed. Bring the pot of water to a boil.
    3-4 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • Boil and Drain: Once boiling, reduce the heat to Medium-low and keep a rapid simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander in the sink.
  • Puree Until Smooth: Add the cooked potatoes to a large 11-14 cup food processor along with the other sweet potato base ingredients. Process for 20-30 seconds, or until the potatoes are smooth and there are no lumps remaining.
    ⅓ cup sugar, ⅓ cup pure maple syrup, 6 Tbsp. butter, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, ¾ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. salt
  • Make Pecan Topping: In a medium-sized bowl, add all of the pecan topping ingredients except for the pecans. Mash it together with a fork until everything is well combined and a coarse crumb forms. Add the pecans and continue mixing until combined.
    6 Tbsp. butter, ¾ cup brown sugar, ¾ cup flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, ¾ cup chopped pecans, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt
  • Add to Baking Dish: Spray a 7×10-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add in the potatoes and spread them out with a spatula until flat. Sprinkle the pecan topping all over the sweet potatoes.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping becomes firm and begins to brown slightly. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions: Prepare the entire casserole up to 2 days before serving. Before baking, let it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes until it comes to room temperature.
Storage Instructions:
  • To Store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and leave them in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: You can either tightly wrap unbaked OR completely cooled sweet potato casserole and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze the toppings separate from the base.
  • To Reheat: To warm up the entire casserole, let it sit at room temperature for an hour, then bake in a 300℉ oven for 30 minutes or so. For single servings, you can use the microwave.
Dietary Modifications:
  • Gluten-free. Be sure to use a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend.
  • Dairy-free. Use a dairy-free butter alternative, like coconut oil.
  • Vegetarian: Opt for flax eggs.

Nutrition

Calories: 387kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 405mg, Potassium: 507mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 16502IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

You May Also Like

Thanks for
Stopping By!

I’m London! Join me as we cook up nourishing meals for you and your loved ones and learn a few healthy cooking tips and tricks!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating