This easy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is 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. It is all crowned with pillowy soft marshmallows and toasty pecans.

A sweet potato casserole is the perfect combination of sweet and savory that everyone will fall in love with!

Sweet potato casserole in a dish with a serving scooped out

A Dessert-Like Thanksgiving 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 leaving the flavors of the sweet potatoes and pecans to really shine through.
  • 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!

The sweet potato is a nutritional powerhouse; a source of beta-carotene, as well as Vitamin C and potassium. Cooked sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber.

ingredients for sweet potato casserole on a grey counter

Ingredients in Sweet Potato Casserole

The ingredients in this recipe are simple but delicious. There really is no need for lots of extra additions like eggs or flour, we let the flavor of the potatoes shine through.

  • 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). We tried a few different brands and found Bruce’s to be superior and have way more potatoes in the can for the same weight!
  • Brown Sugar – Light or dark brown sugar works 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. You can use unsalted butter and add extra salt if you’d like.
  • Pecans – We love pecans paired with sweet potatoes. Feel free to swap them for walnuts.
  • Flavoring – A little hint of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon is 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 cut down on 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: Prepare the potatoes by peeling and boiling them in a large pot per 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 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.

This Sweet Potato Casserole is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish yet it is so easy – you will want to serve it all the time!

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 makes an appearance 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

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

Make Ahead: This sweet potato casserole recipe can be made up to 48 hours ahead of time.
  • Prepare and refrigerate it before baking without the toppings.
  • Remove it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking and bake for about 20 minutes and then stir.
  • Add the topping and cook an additional 15-20 minutes or until heated through and the marshmallows are toasty.
 
5 from 1471 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

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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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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. This dish was by far the star at our Thanksgiving this year. Everyone in our family loved it! It will for sure be part of our menu from now until forever. Best part it was easy to make, and I was able to make ahead and just pop it in the oven on Thanksgiving day. I used fresh sweet potatoes and followed the recipe as written except I omitted salt and pepper. I felt like the sweet potatoes tasted good without it. Highly recommend it! Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  2. I made this yesterday for Thanksgiving. It is so delicious. Only put the pecans on the top with the marshmallows. I’ll be making this again and again.5 stars

  3. I made this for Thanksgiving. I prepared the sweet potatoes the night ahead to save time. The preparation is rather quick and easy. I was quite pleased with the result.5 stars

  4. Made this for the first time to have at thanksgiving, everyone (even those who claimed not to like sweet potato) raved about how it came out. I omitted the vanilla and added cinnamon and nutmeg. Awesome recipe, it’s going in my recipe vault!5 stars

    1. Hi Taty, that is correct. We do not add eggs to this recipe and find it turns out delicious! Hope you enjoy it.

  5. I made this and it tasted decent, but my marshmallows all melted into a puddle. The directions say to place the marshmallows on top then bake. Shouldn’t the marshmallows go on after its baked and then placed under the broiler for a quick minute?4 stars

    1. Sorry to hear that! We did not have issues with the marshmallows melting, we bake this casserole until marshmallows are golden brown and potatoes are heated through. You can definitely try adding the marshmallows towards the end and broiling it until golden brown.

  6. About how many potatoes are 3 pounds? I already bought my sweet potatoes but didn’t weigh them and I don’t have a scale. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rhonda, that can vary a lot based on the size of the sweet potatoes. But it is usually about 5 or 6 large sweet potatoes.

    2. I used this recipe just today.. (i put in the fridge unbaked til tomorrow).. but anyway I used like 6 big potatoes.. then made the recipe as written. Then i added a little xtra butter, a little xtra br. Sugar, and salt n pepper to taste

  7. Looking forward to making this for Thanksgiving! If I wanted to make this for about 20 people, how can I adjust the recipe? We’ll have other side dishes as well. Thank you!

    1. You can change the serving amount by hitting the “Print Recipe” button and increasing the serving size on the screen to your desired amount!

  8. Only thing different was I baked the potatoes to keep full flavor also, I lined the casserole dish with Graham Crackers. This is the best dish I have ever put in my mouth. Unreal!5 stars

  9. Good morning, could you please tell me what size pan; is it 9×13? And do I grease with butter?

    Thank you very much and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. You can use either in this recipe. If you use salted butter you may not need to add much salt to taste at the end. Once the sweet potatoes are mixed, you can taste a little it and see if you need to add salt.

  10. Hi there, excited to try your recipe for thanksgiving but trying to pre prep as much as possible. I see your note about making the day before, however, would I be able to make two days before & then follow topping/heating instructions you shared for making ahead of time or is two days prior too much? Thanks

      1. Hi Sarah, I would combine them all together when premaking this recipe. You can wait and add the pecan and marshmallow topping when reheating for thanksgiving if you prefer.

  11. It was a really easy recipe! My great grandson loved it! It was my first!
    I’ve always done Sweet Potato Pies!
    Thanks5 stars

  12. I needed a sweet potato dish that was quick to make. Since this recipe didn’t call for milk or eggs, after adding the butter and seasonings, I put the pecans and marshmallows right on top and baked in til marshmallows were browning. How easy is that ? Plus it was delicious!5 stars