This easy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is topped with pecans and marshmallows is a traditional side at our family Thanksgiving table.

This comforting dish combines mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and butter with a hint of cinnamon. It is all crowned with pillowy soft marshmallows and toasty pecans.

A sweet potato casserole is the perfect combination of sweet and savory.

Sweet potato casserole in a dish with a serving scooped out

A Dessert-Like Holiday Side Dish

I love turkey dinner… not for the turkey per se, but more for the stuffing and the sides that go along with it, like this amazing casserole.

  • This Sweet Potato Casserole is fairly simple and traditional; the flavors of sweet potatoes and pecans really shine.
  • It’s easy to make and can be made ahead of time.
  • Not only are they delicious; this sweet potato casserole is inexpensive to make.
  • This almost dessert-like side dish is perfect for Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas but simple enough to serve for Sunday supper too!
ingredients for sweet potato casserole on a grey counter

Ingredients For Sweet Potato Casserole

The ingredients in this sweet potato casserole recipe are simple but delicious. There is no need for extra additions like eggs or flour.

  • Sweet Potatoes—This recipe uses 3lbs of sweet potatoes, which is about 6 medium to large sweet potatoes. This can vary a bit. You can use canned sweet potatoes if you’d like. You’ll need 3 cans (29oz each) (well drained). We tested a few different brands and found Bruce’s to be superior as it contains way more potatoes in the can for the same weight!
  • Brown Sugar—Light or dark brown sugar can be used in this recipe. I prefer dark brown sugar if I have it, as it has more flavor. You can also add a dash of maple syrup if you’d like.
  • Butter—I use salted butter in this recipe. If you use unsalted butter, add extra salt if needed.
  • Pecans—We love pecans paired with sweet potatoes. Feel free to swap them for walnuts.
  • Flavoring—A little vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon are added for flavor. You can add extra cinnamon or more warm spices (like pumpkin pie spice) if you’d like. You can also add a splash of bourbon or other flavors.

Topping Options

Our favorite way to top this recipe is with pecans and mini marshmallows. If you’d prefer, you can add a streusel topping or pecan crumble.

Preparing the Sweet Potatoes

I prefer to peel and cube my sweet potatoes before boiling to reduce cooking time. You can certainly boil them whole (they’ll need about 20-25 minutes) and peel them once they’re cooked.

Using a potato masher to mash sweet potatoes by hand allows you to leave a little bit of texture.  If you prefer them completely silky smooth, you can use a hand mixer to make them fluffy.

How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole

  1. Prep the sweet potatoes: Peel and boil the potatoes in a large pot according to the recipe below.
  2. Mash: Mash with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a baking dish.
  3. Bake: Top with marshmallows & pecans and bake until golden. So easy.

Variations

We always make a simple sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans, but you can also add a delicious crumble topping or a splash of bourbon if you’d like.

serving sweet potato casserole with a spoon

Easy to Make Ahead

This easy sweet potato casserole recipe can be prepared well ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours for meal prep (store the topping separately).

If you do refrigerate it before baking, remove it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. If chilled, heat it for about 20 minutes and then stir the sweet potatoes. Add the topping and cook for 15-20 minutes, cold sweet potatoes take much longer to heat through.

This Sweet Potato Casserole is a perfect Thanksgiving or Easter side dish, yet it is so easy that you will want to serve it for any Sunday supper.

a serving of sweet potato casserole on a plate with marshmallows and pecans

The addition of pecans and marshmallows really adds a crunchy, crisp topping that pairs so nicely with those soft, buttery mashed sweet potatoes. Once you try it, you’ll see why this sweet potato casserole appears on every special occasion.

More Sweet Potato Love

Sweet potato casserole in a dish with a serving scooped out
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Sweet Potato Casserole

This easy Sweet Potato Casserole topped with pecans and marshmallows is a traditional side at our family Thanksgiving table. This comforting dish unites tenderly mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar and butter with a hint of cinnamon.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 servings
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Ingredients  

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • cup butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pecans chopped, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
  • Place sweet potatoes in a pot of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain.
  • In a large bowl (or in the pot the potatoes were cooked in), mash the sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt & pepper.
  • Fold in half of the pecans and spread into prepared pan.
  • Sprinkle with the marshmallows and the remaining pecans.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown and potatoes are heated through.

Video

Notes

  • Light or dark brown sugar can be used.
  • If using unsalted butter, add extra salt if needed.
Make Ahead: This sweet potato casserole recipe can be made up to 48 hours ahead of time.
  • Prepare and refrigerate before baking, keeping the topping in a separate container.
  • Remove the sweet potato casserole from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. Bake for 20 minutes and then stir.
  • Add the topping and cook for 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through and the marshmallows are toasty.
 
5 from 2319 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 188 | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 12185IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Can you make sweet potato casserole ahead of time?

This easy sweet potato casserole can be prepared well ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours for meal prep.

If you do refrigerate it before baking, remove it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. If chilled, heat it for about 20 minutes and then stir. Add the topping and cook an additional 15-20 minutes as cold sweet potatoes take much longer to heat through.

How to store sweet potato casserole.

Leftovers can be placed in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

How to reheat sweet potato casseerole.

You can bake to reheat but I find it quicker to reheat sweet potato casserole in the microwave. Once reheated, you can add new marshmallows and put it in the oven (or air fryer) for a few minutes to toast.

Can you freeze sweet potato casserole?

You can freeze sweet potato casserole before or after baking. If freezing before baking, don’t add the topping until it has thawed and baked. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake according to the “make ahead” directions in the notes of the recipe.

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Sweet Potato Casserole with text and pecan
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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Comments

  1. thanks for the recipe! i had to scale down the ingredients by 1/6, but the sweet potato base was really good. only problem was that after baking for around 25 mins the marshmallows didn’t brown

    1. You can try broiling the top for a minute or two at the end to help brown up the marshmallows if you prefer.

  2. It was a perfect dish. I followed it to a “T” – maybe a tad bit more cinnamon. Made sure it had texture. Baked in a smaller casserole dish. Did not have the pecans but had the marshmallows- delicious. Many compliments. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

    1. Thank you for sharing your good recipes, this casserole made my husband’s Father’s Day celebration extra special.5 stars

  3. This is the first time I have ever made a sweet potato casserole before. I chose this recipe after looking long and hard because of all the positive comments and I personally thought that the ingredients sounded lovely. Boy, it did not dissapoint! It was the perfect delicate sweet flavor with a subtle hint of cinnamon and candied topping. I did not have any issues with the marshmallows burning, mine came out perfectly golden and candied. THANK YOU so much, it tastes so good with little effort. I will be making this every year it is that good!5 stars

    1. Hi Candice, this recipe doesn’t need milk but if you’re looking for a creamier consistency you can definitely add some!

  4. I’d like to make this in a 8×8 glass dish. Any measurement recommendations? I’m not the most seasoned chef so any insight would be wonderful <3

    1. Hi Alaina, you can make this in an 8×8 dish and bake at the same temperature, but since an 8×8 is a smaller dish you would likely need to halve the recipe and bake for a shorter amount of time. Hope that helps!

      1. The first time I made this, I followed the recipe exactly, and it was very good! 5 stars

        The next time I made it, I tweaked a couple things, based on personal preferences. I used quite a bit more cinnamon and vanilla extra. Instead of softened butter, I used browned butter, and THAT was perfection for me. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.5 stars

  5. This was a really good dish. In my Opinion, though, it needs a little more cinnamon. But, this recipe got me a good job from grandma in-law so, it can’t be too bad!4 stars

  6. Delicious and a huge hit. But, this was definitely not for 16 servings. Perhaps we are animals but it was only enough for small servings and it was too good for that. Yum

    1. I love that you enjoyed it so much, Cindy! It makes 16 side dish servings, which is about 1/2 cup each.

  7. Thanks for the recipe! Bringing this to a friend’s thanksgiving dinner tonight. Just one question. How can I replace brown sugar with maple syrup or honey? What quantity and I’d appreciate it if you could share which would have a better result, maple/honey?

    1. Hi Marie, we have only tried this recipe as written but you should be able to replace the brown sugar for maple syrup or honey. Keep in mind your dish might not be the same consistency since those are both liquids. Try adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of maple or honey and adjust as necessary.

  8. I made this today!! it was so delicious!! not too sweet, just perfect!!! there were no leftovers!!
    thank you for sharing the recipe!5 stars

  9. First time making this and it came out delicious. My only modification is adding 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of milk. After researching many recipes it seems like most of them call for eggs and milk and I was afraid to forego these ingredients. everything else I followed as written. I found it was just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon. Not overly sweet and cinnamon is barely detectable (I like that). Thank you for the detailed recipe. I prepped potatoes the night before which made next day a breeze.5 stars

  10. Cooking time was way to long… or cooking temp was way to high. My marshmallows burnt in the first 10 minutes. Watch your dish closely and remove

    1. Sorry to hear this dish didn’t work out for you, Demi. Usually it’s one of our reader’s favorites!

    2. Had the same issue on my end as well. I made it again but I took it out 15 minutes into the 25 minute cook and dumped the marshmallows on top and they were beautifully golden brown when it was done, but any longer and it does end up burning a bit.

      1. Hi Nick, you could also cover the pan with a bit of foil so the marshmallows don’t brown too much.

  11. Would you please explain what you mean by a “prepared pan.” I’m sorry but I’m a beginner and still need step-by-step instructions. Thank you.