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 1428 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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. Hi there, if I am using an aluminum tray like the ones for turkeys, will the cooking time differ since the size is different?

  2. Hello Holly,
    I tried your recipe last year for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. I’m going to make it again this year to go with my Thanksgiving dinner. Thank you for sharing your delicious Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!5 stars

  3. I have been making sweet potato casseroles in various forms for years & this one is the best. Not too sweet but not lacking in flavor. I hate peeling & chopping the sweet potatoes so I bake them whole & scoop out the insides. So much easier. Thanks for the great recipe

  4. I prepped everything the day before. I’m going to reheat cold potatoes before I put marshmallows on top. should I cover with foil when I reheat them?

    1. The casserole can be prepared ahead of time and does not need to be covered. We reheat it for about 20 minutes and then add the marshmallow topping and cook an additional 15-20 minutes as cold sweet potatoes take much longer to heat through.

    1. Light or dark brown sugar can be used interchangeably in this recipe, I use dark if I have it as it has more flavor. Enjoy Amanda!

  5. What material do you suggest for the dish? Glass?
    Also, I know it’s 9×13 but how many quarts? Wondering how deep of a dish i should buy.
    Also, do you use light or brown sugar?

    Thanks!!

    1. My dish is ceramic but glass or metal will work just fine for this recipe. A 9×13 pan is 3 quarts. Light or dark brown sugar can be used interchangeably in this recipe, I use dark if I have it as it has more flavor.

  6. Hello!
    I am excited to try this recipe for Thanksgiving this year. I would like to add cornbread also to the recipe. How would you suggest doing that? Would I do half cornbread and half sourdough? Thanks so much!

  7. Love this recipe,I’ve been making it like this for many years.Now my granddaughters had me write the recipe for them to make this year.I guess we have a tradition! We like the smooth texture and the marshmallows are a must.I didn’t have a written recipe so thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Best sweet potato casserole ever! Simple and easy too! It was a hit at the pot luck, and my husband who won’t eat sweet potatoes even said it was pretty good.
    This one is a keeper. Thanks Holly5 stars

    1. It definitely could be, Carol. The portion that you are freezing though I would leave the topping off and add when ready to bake to keep it crisp.

      1. Could I use regular sized marshmallows if so how much would you recommend compared to the 2 cups mini?

      2. Hi Daniella, I would still use about 2 cups of marshmallows but you will want to chop your regular marshmallows into roughly the size of a mini marshmallow so you can evenly spread them over the top of the casserole. We would love to hear how that turns out for you!

      3. I’m planning on making this ahead for a dinner and I like the idea of freezing it. Any recommendations on thawing or baking from frozen?5 stars

      4. If planning on freezing it, I would leave the topping off and add when ready to bake to keep it crisp. If possible I would take it out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy!

  9. Your recipe looks amazing! I’m planning on making this with canned sweet potatoes. Do you think I should use one or two cans? They are 40 oz cans. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Haley, that should work well. Be sure to place the pan on a baking sheet so that it cooks properly.