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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping is always popular on the holiday table. Kids and adults alike simply can’t get enough of this sweet potato recipe with amazing streusel topping. Bonus: you can prepared this dish ahead of time.

Sweet Potato Casserole In clear dish square.
This sweet potato casserole is an all-time favorite holiday side dish, and it’s guaranteed to garner recipe requests.

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

Why This Recipe Stands Out

THE sweet potato casserole: this is one of those time-tested recipes that receives heaps of compliments and requests every year.  Even people who don’t typically like sweet potato anything – even they will fall head over heels for this mouthwatering dish.

  • The Topping: The crispy-crunchy pecan streusel is simply irresistible; it’s sugar-cinnamon bliss on top of a velvety smooth sweet potato filling underneath.
  • The Filling: The sweet potato filling is tantalizing, with vanilla and maple syrup within.
  • Make-Ahead: You can prepare this sweet potato casserole in its entirety the night before and bake it the day of.
  • Friends and Family: They will absolutely gobble this, as it’s the most popular Thanksgiving side dish year after year. You’ll get recipe requests (or please-make-again requests), guaranteed.
sweet potato casserole in white baking dish.
If you love crunchy pecan-brown sugar streusel, double the topping on your sweet potato casserole.

Key Recipe Ingredients

For Pecan Streusel Topping:

  • Brown Sugar: be sure to pack it down when measuring.
  • Pecans: use toasted chopped pecans – the toasting makes a difference.
  • Butter: cold, sliced butter helps bind the topping together.
  • Cinnamon: gives this topping a fragrant fall aroma.

    * Tip: this streusel is so good, you may want to double it for a thicker layer of crunchy sweetness on top. You can also use it on this baked French toast casserole.

For the Filling:

  • Sweet Potatoes: be sure to buy the vibrant orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
  • Eggs: these provide binding power and fluffy texture.
  • Maple Syrup: gives this dish a wonderful sweetness.
  • Vanilla Extract: provides aromatic flavor in this dish.
  • Lemon Juice: lends a bit of acidity to balance out the sweetness.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Brown Sugar: You can use either light brown or dark brown sugar; note that dark brown sugar results in a darker brown coloring but will not affect flavor.
  • Nuts: If you prefer, use toasted walnuts instead of pecans.
  • Sweet Potatoes: We highly recommend using orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, but have also made this recipe with white-fleshed sweet potatoes with success. White-fleshed sweet potatoes tend to be naturally sweeter.
  • Marshmallows: We created this recipe to be crispy and crunchy with pecans and brown sugar, but if you like, you can scatter mini marshmallows over the top instead or combine the two toppings together.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cold butter in a small bowl until mixture is grainy and comes together. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  2. Wrap each sweet potato in foil and roast at 400F for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are very soft. Remove sweet potato skins, and mash potatoes well in a large bowl.
  1. In a bowl, beat eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Mix in the mashed sweet potatoes until smooth. Transfer mixture to a buttered 9×13 dish.
  2. Sprinkle pecan topping evenly over casserole. Bake at 350F until casserole is set and topping bubbles.

Full list of ingredients and instructions are in recipe card below.

Sweet Potato Casserole in dish
Sweet potato casserole can be completely prepared in advance and baked later.

How to Prepare Ahead

  • Roast: Roast your sweet potatoes ahead of time, as that gives potatoes time to cool enough to handle. Having them roasted early also frees up your oven for that brined turkey or honey ham. It’s easy to roast a big batch of sweet potatoes and use the extras for a lovely sweet potato hummus.
  • Streusel: Rhe nutty-crunchy pecan brown sugar streusel can be fully mixed together up to several days ahead of time – cover and chill until ready to sprinkle onto casserole.
  • The Night Before: The best low-stress tip is to totally be prepare this awesome sweet potato casserole the night before. On the day of the Big Meal, you can even bake it an hour or two ahead of dinner time and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Leftovers: Leftovers are delicious the next day; we recommend heating it up in the oven uncovered so the topping can crisp up again. Or, if you’ve still got baking gusto left in you, try this sweet potato bread that specifically makes use of leftover sweet potato casserole so nothing goes to waste.

What to Serve with Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasts

Other Sides

sweet potato casserole on spoon closeup.
Even the kids will devour this sweet potato casserole, with its crunchy streusel topping.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Commonly Asked Questions

Are yams the same thing as sweet potatoes?

Yams and sweet potatoes are not the same. Most of the time, when you see produce labeled as yams, they are actually sweet potatoes. True yams originate from regions of Asia and Africa.

What kind of sweet potatoes should I use?

You may notice a few types of sweet potatoes, in varying shapes and colors, at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Choose the bright-orange fleshed variety. You can read more about sweet potato varieties here.

Are eggs used in sweet potato casserole?

Yes, eggs are an important binding agent in most sweet potato casseroles. It also gives lift to the casserole.

Should you boil or bake sweet potatoes for use in sweet potato casseroles?

You can boil or bake your sweet potatoes prior to adding in a casserole, as long as the sweet potatoes are cooked until very soft and stringy skin has been removed. That said, we are partial to roasting/baking sweet potatoes, as this imparts such depth of flavor.

Can I make sweet potato casserole ahead of time?

You can assemble the entire casserole, minus the topping, a day ahead. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and chill until you’re ready to sprinkle on the topping and bake.

What can I do with sweet potato casserole leftovers?

Aside from reheating and enjoying them again, we adore this sweet potato bread, which we created precisely for making the best use of leftovers!

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Sweet Potato Casserole In clear dish square.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

4.99 from 111 ratings
This Sweet Potato Casserole boasts a buttery, crunchy pecan topping that's jaw-dropping delicious.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 20
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

For Pecan Streusel Topping:

Instructions

  • Do Ahead: Mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cold butter in a small bowl until mixture is grainy and comes together. Cover and chill until ready to use. This can be done up to 3 days in advance.
  • Wrap each sweet potato in foil and roastat 400F for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are easily pierced by fork and very soft. Actual bake time depends on size of potatoes. Let cool enough to handle. Remove sweet potato skins, and mash potatoes well in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, beat eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Mix in the mashed sweet potatoes until smooth and incorporated. Transfer sweet potato mixture to a buttered 9×13 dish. At this point, you can wrap tightly with cling wrap and put in fridge until ready to use.
  • Sprinkle pecan topping evenly over casserole. Bake at 350F until casserole is set and topping bubbles. About 1 hour. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Notes

  • I always choose to roast sweet potatoes in the oven because I really like the deep flavor it creates. You can also cook peeled, cubed potatoes in boiling water until very tender.
  • Roasted sweet potatoes are typically quite sweet. If your roasted sweet potatoes don’t taste very sweet, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of sugar to the sweet potato mixture.
  • If you want, you can make extra crumble topping, for a thicker layer of crunch on top. Crumble topping can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in fridge until ready to use.
  • For substitutions, variation, and serving suggestions, see original article. 
  • Here’s our favorite way to use leftovers: sweet potato bread
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. It helps keep your favorite recipes alive on the site. And, we ❤️ hearing from you!

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1g | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.004g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 431mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 16144IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Method: Bake

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83 comments

    • Emily Flint
    • 5 stars

    One of my favorite side dishes!

    • Tammara

    I am curious if this is super sweet, and how it would taste if I cut down the vanilla and maple syrup? I want to make this for Thanksgiving but our family isn’t crazy on super sweet. Thanks!

      • chewoutloud

      I would say it’s definitely sweet (vs. salty)… you can decrease maple syrup if you’d like it less sweet, but I’d keep the vanilla extract, as it doesn’t impart any sweetness. You can also reduce the brown sugar crumble on top, though that is the very best part 😉

    • courtneyscookingcorner
    • 5 stars

    I made this for Thanksgiving this year and it was a huge hit. I realized that i didn’t buy enough fresh sweet potatoes so I ended up buying a can of yams too. But everyone loved it and the crush was amazing. I also loved that I could prep it the night ahead and bake it in the oven. Just found your blog and your food looks amazing.

    • Drew Danielle
    • 5 stars

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m responsible for bringing sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving this year. I have never made sweet potatoes nor eaten them before. I like the bake ahead idea to keep the stress level down on Thanksgiving.

      • chewoutloud

      Yes, the make-ahead part is my favorite… besides eating this yummy dish 🙂 Enjoy, Drew!

        • Amber

        I’m a huge sweet potato fan – have you ever added marshmallows to this recipe? Thinking of trying it….

        • chewoutloud

        Amber, I typically don’t put marshmallows into this one b/c it’s so decadent already 🙂 But it’s the holidays, and time to indulge… go for it 😉

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