Sweet potato casserole – velvety smooth sweet potatoes topped with the most amazing sweet, crunchy, pecan and brown sugar streusel. A must have on the Thanksgiving or holiday table.
A Thanksgiving and holiday favorite
Sweet Potato Casserole is a favorite on the Thanksgiving or holiday table. Even when everyone is stuffed – we always reach for just one more serving of this sweet, creamy, and crunchy casserole.
Side dish or dessert?
Sweet Potato Casserole is a must have on the holiday table. We always serve it as a side with dinner. Its sweet potato flavor comingles perfectly with everything on the holiday plate.
The streusel topping makes it sweet enough and delicious enough to be served as a dessert as well.
This streusel is everything!
The streusel topping on this Sweet Potato Casserole is crispy, crunchy perfection! It’s sweet, it’s crunchy. It’s the perfect texture with buttery brown sugar nubs and chunks of pecans.
As it bakes it forms a syrupy glaze underneath the crunchy top that keeps everything moist and delicious.
What ingredients are in Sweet Potato Casserole
- Sweet potatoes
- Granulated sugar – I use white sugar so the delicate taste of the sweet potatoes shines through
- Melted butter – makes it rich and creamy
- Salt – salt brings out the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes
And in the streusel:
- Light brown sugar – for that caramely, praline flavor that’s so wonderful with pecans
- Pecans – for that Southern flavor that complements the sweet potatoes perfectly
- Melted butter – for a streusel with the most amazing texture
How to prepare the sweet potatoes
You can cook the sweet potatoes any way you choose. My favorite way of cooking the sweet potatoes is wrapping them each in foil, then roasting for about an hour. I find it to be the most foolproof method for sweet potatoes that turn out perfect every time. Here’s why:
- the flavor intensifies with roasting
- they don’t become watered down from boiling
- they don’t get overcooked and dried out in the microwave
- the foil catches any sugary drips that come out of the sweet potatoes and seals in moisture
- the peels can be pulled off easily after baking
Alternatively you can:
- prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil lined baking sheet until soft, about 1 hour
- prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until soft, about 10 minutes
- peel and cube the sweet potatoes, then boil in water until tender
How to make the sweet potato filling
Process cooked and peeled sweet potatoes in a food processor along with the other filling ingredients (eggs, sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla) until velvety smooth. This takes about a minute or so in a food processor.
Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer. Or mash the potatoes with a potato masher or press through a potato ricer until well mashed.
Spread the sweet potato filling evenly in a baking dish. I used an oval 2 quart dish that measures 11 by 8 inches. The potatoes in the photo below are not spread evenly 🙂
How to make the streusel topping
The streusel topping couldn’t be easier. Just combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir in melted butter with a spoon. Use a gentle hand and mix until everything is moistened and in clumps. Don’t overmix or it will become pasty.
Evenly spread the streusel topping on top of the sweet potatoes.
How to bake the Sweet Potato Casserole
Bake the Sweet Potato Casserole in the lower third of a 350° F oven for about 30 minutes. The topping should get golden brown. If it starts to get too brown, cover with a piece of foil. The inside temperature of the casserole should reach about 170° F.
Can Sweet Potato Casserole be made ahead?
Preparing the Sweet Potato Casserole ahead of time comes in handy, particularly for a busy holiday dinner.
Both the sweet potatoes and the streusel topping can be made up to three days in advance then chilled separately in the fridge. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes before baking, then add the topping and bake.
My signature holiday dish
This Sweet Potato Casserole is perfect as is. However, I make an orange scented variation that’s so special and unique – It knocks everybody’s socks off. It’s the first thing to go on the holiday table.
Adding orange zest and a little orange juice gives the sweet potatoes a lovely brightness. It doesn’t taste orangey. It just elevates the sweet potato flavor to a whole new level.
To make the orange scented variation, to the sweet potato filling add 1-2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest and substitute ¼ cup orange juice and ¼ cup heavy cream for the milk.
Sweet Potato Casserole
For the sweet potato filling:
- 3 cups peeled cooked sweet potatoes, from about 3 pounds (about 1.36kg) sweet potatoes (See Note 1)
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup (113g) milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the streusel topping:
- 1 cup (213g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup (71g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (113g) chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat (or reduce temperature after baking potatoes) oven to 350° F.
For the sweet potato filling:
- In a food processor, combine peeled, cooked sweet potatoes, sugar, melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Puree until very smooth, about 1 minute.
- Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer to combine well.
- Pour into a greased casserole dish (mine was about 12 by 8-inches) and spread into an even layer.
For the streusel topping:
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, and pecans (breaking up brown sugar clumps as needed).
- Pour in melted butter and stir until mixture is evenly moistened. Use a gentle hand and mix until everything is moistened and in clumps. Don’t overmix or it will become pasty.
- Sprinkle mixture evenly over sweet potato mixture in baking dish.
- Bake in the lower third of a 350° F oven for about 30 minutes. The topping should get golden brown. If it starts to get too brown, cover with a piece of foil. The inside temperature of the casserole should reach about 170° F.
- Serve warm.
Wash sweet potatoes, then prick in several places with a fork.
Wrap each in foil and bake until cooked through and soft, about 60 – 75 minutes. Peel potatoes. The peel should pull right off. Let cool slightly before mixing with eggs. Alternatively you can: • prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil lined baking sheet until soft, about 1 hour • prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until soft, about 10 minutes • peel and cube the sweet potatoes, then boil in water until tender To make an orange scented variation: Add 1-2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest to the sweet potato filling.
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