Easy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

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Sweet potato casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish. But why wait for the holidays? This sweet potato casserole recipe is so easy, you can make it any time of the year! This easy side dish is flavorful, versatile, and kid-approved. Perfect for serving at the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter or for Sunday suppers.

Suitable for Gluten Free and Vegetarian diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

top down view of the finished sweet potato casserole recipe

This delightfully easy sweet potato casserole recipe is a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and crunchy textures that make it the perfect addition to your holiday table or an everyday side dish that elevates any meal.

With its creamy sweet potato base and a decadent topping of gooey marshmallows and toasted pecans, this easy sweet potato casserole is a beloved tradition in Southern kitchens, and today, we’re going to share a simple yet incredibly delicious recipe for sweet potato casserole with marshmallows that will have you craving it year-round.

Just like my Easy Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes, this sweet potato side dish is equal parts decadent and delicious. Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium and are an excellent source of fiber. And kid-friendly sweet potato casserole with marshmallows makes it seem more like a dessert. And any time you can get the kids to eat their veggies is a win in my book!

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Easy yam casserole comes together quickly, plus you can make sweet potato casserole ahead of time and bake just before serving. This frees you up to focus on other parts of the main meal and makes it simple enough to enjoy as a Sunday supper side dish. 

Friends, we know sweet potato casserole is a holiday tradition for many, but I say why wait to serve this as a Thanksgiving side dish when you can easily whip up this delicious dish any time of the year?!

top down view of the finished sweet potato casserole with a serving removed

Making casseroles is a great way to save time and money. Check out these casseroles for more flavorful ideas your family will love. 

Why Make This Recipe

  • Easy – You can make this casserole from scratch in about 30 minutes and work on something else while it bakes. 
  • Traditional – Similar sweet potato casserole recipes have been passed down from generation to generation. Let this recipe become a new family tradition.  
  • Nutritious – Sweet potatoes are packed with healthy, nutritious vitamins and minerals. 
  • Inexpensive – Sweet potatoes are fairly inexpensive, and you probably have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Sweet Potatoes – I peeled and chopped fresh sweet potatoes for this recipe. 
  • Brown Sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar, but dark will give a slightly sweeter final taste. 
  • Butter – I always tend to use salted butter. If you use unsalted, be sure to taste for seasoning. 
  • Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg – These warm spices give this dish that Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday taste. 
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla is used in recipes to enhance the flavor. 
  • Salt – It may seem strange to add salt to a sweet dish, but it brings out all of the flavor and sweetness. 
  • Pecans – If you are not a fan of nuts, you can skip the pecans. Walnuts are a great substitute. 
  • Miniature Marshmallows – Can you have sweet potato casserole without mini marshmallows?
the ingredients needed for making sweet potato casserole

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Peel and cube sweet potatoes and boil them in water until tender, about 15 minutes. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the sweet potatoes with butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt until well combined, then stir in ¼ cup of pecans.
  3. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a baking dish and top with the remaining nuts and add the marshmallows. 
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the marshmallows are golden and the potatoes are heated all the way through. 
image collage showing the steps for making sweet potato casserole

Pro Tips 

  • Choose fresh, firm sweet potatoes. Look for ones without bruises or blemishes. While orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are most commonly used, you can also experiment with other varieties like garnet or white sweet potatoes for slightly different flavor profiles.
  • Boil, steam, or roast your sweet potatoes until they’re fork-tender. This ensures a creamy texture and develops their natural sweetness. Don’t overcook them, as they can become too mushy.
  • Use a potato masher and your potatoes will have some texture to them. If you prefer a smoother mash, you can use a mixer to combine the ingredients. 
  • Make in advance (up to 2 days) and bake just before serving.
  • Distribute marshmallows evenly across the top for a gooey, golden-brown finish. Scatter chopped pecans over the marshmallows for added crunch and flavor.
  • Divide the casserole into two dishes and freeze one for later. 
  • Keep a close eye on your casserole while it’s baking. Once the marshmallows are golden brown, remove the dish from the oven to prevent over-browning or burning.
  • Sweet potato casserole is best served warm. Allow it to cool slightly before serving, but don’t wait too long, as it’s at its most delightful when fresh out of the oven.

Delicious Variations

  • Swap the Nuts – We like pecans, but you can also use walnuts. 
  • Toast the Nuts – Bake the nuts or saute in a dry skillet until they are brown and toasty and add them to the casserole. 
  • Add White Chocolate – Sweet potato casserole is a bit like eating dessert with your meal, but you can make it even more like dessert by topping it with a handful of white chocolate chips. 
the completed sweet potato casserole ready to be served

Prep And Storage

  • Prep ahead – You can make sweet potato casserole up to 3 days in advance and bake it before serving. Allow the casserole to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes, then top with pecans and marshmallows and bake as directed. 
  • Store – Store sweet potato casserole in the fridge and enjoy for up to 4 days. 
  • Freeze – Follow these handy tips for how to freeze;
    • Make the sweet potato mash and allow it to cool.
    • Spread into a casserole dish and cover with foil and plastic wrap. 
    • Label and freeze for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheat from frozen – Place the yam casserole in the fridge to thaw overnight. Then allow it to come to room temperature, top with pecans and marshmallows, and bake as directed. 
close up view of the sweet potato casserole marshmallow topping

FAQs

What is sweet potato casserole?

Sweet potato casserole is a popular dish made with mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with ingredients like brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This version is topped with marshmallows and pecans before baking.

When Did Sweet Potato Casserole Become Traditional?

Sweet potatoes were brought to the New World when colonists came over from Europe. Recipes for mashed sweet potato or “sweet potato pudding” have been around since the 1700s.

Marshmallows became popular in the early 1900s, and a recipe book published by a marshmallow company in 1917 included a recipe for a sweet potato pudding topped with marshmallows. The recipe became an instant hit, and as it was passed down from generation to generation, it became an American Thanksgiving holiday tradition.

Can I Use Canned Sweet Potatoes?

I think that fresh sweet potatoes are much more flavorful, but yes you can use canned sweet potatoes if you are short on time.

Is yam casserole a dessert or side dish?

Yam casserole is typically served as a side dish, especially during holiday meals like Thanksgiving or Christmas. However, the sweet and decadent nature of the dish makes it feel almost dessert-like.

Can I make this sweet potato side dish in advance?

Yes, you can prepare sweet potato side dish in advance. You can assemble the casserole, cover it tightly, and refrigerate it for up to a day before baking. This can be a time-saving strategy for busy holiday cooking.

Can I make this vegan or dairy-free?

Yes, you can make a vegan or dairy-free sweet potato casserole by substituting plant-based butter and non-dairy milk (like almond milk or coconut milk) for the dairy ingredients. You can also use vegan marshmallows or skip them altogether if you prefer.

one portion of sweet potato casserole in a ceramic bowl with spoon removing a bite

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top down view of the finished sweet potato casserole recipe
Print Recipe
4.75 from 4 votes

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

A traditional Thanksgiving side dish that's easy to make any time of year!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 372kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds (450g) sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar
  • cup (76g) butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • ¾ cup (100g) finely chopped pecans divided
  • 2 cups (100g) miniature marshmallows

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C / gas 5. Lightly spray a casserole dish, and set aside.
  • Add cubed sweet potatoes to a pot of boiling water and simmer for about 15 -20 minutes or until tender. Drain the water and allow to cool slightly.
  • Transfer the sweet potatoes into a large bowl, add brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and salt, then mash together.
  • Fold in ¼ cup of pecans before transferring the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread the mixture out and top with remaining pecans and the marshmallows.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until marshmallows are toasted and golden and potatoes are heated all the way through.
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Notes

    • Choose fresh, firm sweet potatoes. Look for ones without bruises or blemishes. While orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are most commonly used, you can also experiment with other varieties like garnet or white sweet potatoes for slightly different flavor profiles.
    • Boil, steam, or roast your sweet potatoes until they’re fork-tender. This ensures a creamy texture and develops their natural sweetness. Don’t overcook them, as they can become too mushy.
    • Use a potato masher and your potatoes will have some texture to them. If you prefer a smoother mash, you can use a mixer to combine the ingredients. 
    • Make in advance (up to 2 days) and bake just before serving.
    • Distribute marshmallows evenly across the top for a gooey, golden-brown finish. Scatter chopped pecans over the marshmallows for added crunch and flavor.
    • Divide the casserole into two dishes and freeze one for later. 
    • Keep a close eye on your casserole while it’s baking. Once the marshmallows are golden brown, remove the dish from the oven to prevent over-browning or burning.
    • Sweet potato casserole is best served warm. Allow it to cool slightly before serving, but don’t wait too long, as it’s at its most delightful when fresh out of the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 24374IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1mg

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11 Comments

  1. 4 stars
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  2. 5 stars
    I wrap big hole sweet potatoes in saran wrap. Stick them in micro wave for 10.mins or more. Split them, fork the flesh until soft. Add butter and Brown sugar to taste. I am a family of 1 so I get my sweet potatoes once a.week.or.so. Delish recipe even if I did half everything. Keep.those good recipes coming

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  4. Sweet potato is a very healthy root vegetable. It is good to include sweet potatoes in our diet. Thanks for sharing this delicious way of including sweet potato in our diet. I will definitely share this recipe with my friends and family. Thanks once again!