Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans – Grace your table with this holiday delight filled with creamy sweet potatoes and warm spices – ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Topped with irresistible sweet and buttery pecan streusel for a fantastic finish. A family-friendly side dish that doubles as a dessert, too!
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes
I’ve been holding out sweets and carbs these past few days to make room for the coming holidays. But I can’t stop thinking about this sweet potato casserole with pecans all day!
I’ve been craving like crazy. Err! So for the good of my mental health, I gave in to my craving and taadaaaa! Do what makes you happy right? 😉
The ginger-cinnamon-nutmeg combo perfectly complements the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes; adding irresistible holiday flavors to our casserole. How can you say no to that?!
Plus, the buttery pecan streusel on top is simply enchanting, too! Believe me, every bite of this glorious casserole is worth every carb. Definitely no regrets!
And with that said, I now declare that diet is suspended until further notice. 😅
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes
The best thing about this Southern sweet potato casserole is it’s actually easy to make using basic pantry staples. And it’s very affordable, too.
It’s a perfect side that will surely bring pure holiday bliss to the whole family. So, what are you waiting for? Gather up these ingredients below and start baking. 😉
- Sweet Potatoes– Boiled sweet potatoes are already delicious to eat on their own and they are highly nutritious, too. You can also use canned yams to make this sweet potato casserole recipe easy. However, be mindful when adding sugar to this casserole. Because canned yams are already sweetened with syrup as preservatives.
- Unsalted Butter – The added buttery flavor gives a flavorful sensation to this sweet potato Thanksgiving superstar. Just omit the salt if you’re going to use salted butter.
- Heavy Cream and Milk – The creaminess of this sweet potato casserole defines what comfort food really is. Half-and-half is a great substitute for this sweet potato casserole recipe because it’s actually a mix of heavy cream and milk. Or you can just add more heavy cream in place of milk and vice versa.
- Eggs – Make sure to always use room temperature eggs in baking; to ensure even baking of your sweet potato casserole. Or just skip the eggs to get rid of the allergens. I also have a few Egg Substitutes here that you can choose from.
- Brown Sugar – Thanks to the molasses, the brown sugar gives out that caramel-y flavor to this sweet potatoes casserole with pecans and keeps it moist. You can easily replace it with white sugar anytime. And if you want your casserole on the savory side, just use less sugar or skip it.
- Salt – A pinch of salt is enough to add more flavor to this sweet potato casserole so it won’t taste a little flat.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger – Complete this indulgent comfort food with these three amazing holiday flavors. Or just use Pumpkin Spice instead. 😉
- Vanilla Extract – Don’t skip on this flavor booster to amp up the flavor of your Southern sweet potato casserole. Did you know that you can actually make it from scratch with just 2 ingredients? Yes! Here’s How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract.
Pecan Streusel Toppings
- Butter – This will give our sweet potato casserole with pecan topping a nice, rich, and buttery streusel.
- Brown Sugar – Tickle your taste buds with more sweetness added to our amazing sweet potato casserole recipe.
- Flour – The flour will give our crunchy pecan streusel a nice thick consistency. A perfect addition to our Southern sweet potato casserole with pecan toppings.
- Pecans – Load up on the pecans and I promise you won’t regret it. Nut lover? You can replace or add more of your favorite nuts to the mix, like chopped almonds, cashew, walnuts, or pistachios. Candied Pecans are a nice addition, too!
- Sweet Potato Pie – Make it more filling and satisfying with the addition of flaky and buttery crust. Yum! Check out my Homemade Pie Crust here.
- Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole – With a few ingredients substitutions like vegan-approved butter and maple syrup, you can now enjoy this holiday comfort food completely vegan. Yaaay!
- Sweet Potato Souffle – Go for a souffle if you want your sweet potatoes on the smoother side. You just need a little help from the food processor or blender and you’re good to go.
- Savory Sweet Potato Pie Casserole – A great way to enjoy this holiday casserole without the sugar. Ooh! Let the magic begin with a dash and sprinkles of pepper, paprika, chives, and garlic. Oh yeah!
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows – Add some pillowy goodness with toasted gooey marshmallows on top to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Truly a remarkable comfort food delight.
Serving and Storage Instructions
Can you make this Southern sweet Potato Casserole ahead? Absolutely! You can make this casserole a couple of days ahead to make preparing Thanksgiving dinner a breeze.
- Prepare the casserole – transfer the sweet potato mixture to the baking dish but don’t add the pecan toppings yet.
- Cover and refrigerate – cover the baking dish tightly with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
- When ready to bake – let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes and let it come to room temperature before baking.
- Add the Toppings and Bake – proceed to bake as instructed.
Storing and Reheating
- Store – It is best to store any leftovers in an airtight or sealed container.
- Refrigerate – Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Reheat in the oven – bake the leftover, covered with foil, at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through.
- Microwave – heat on high power for about 2-3 minutes or until warm.
Pro Tip: I don’t recommend freezing this easy sweet potato casserole as it may change the texture and consistency. But if you insist, you can store the leftovers in a resealable bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw them in the fridge overnight and reheat.
Both works. It really depends on which of the two is more convenient for you. Although, I suggest baking the sweet potatoes to prevent your sweet potato mixture from being watery and runny.
Yes, the added eggs act as a binder and thicken the sweet potato casserole as it bakes. You can also fix a runny sweet potato mixture by gently cooking them on low heat until the excess liquid evaporates. Another way is adding a tablespoon of cornstarch mixture (equal part of cornstarch and water) for every cup of sweet potato mixture.
You’ll know it is done when the center has set and the top is nice and golden. Let it cool for about 20-30 minutes before serving. The residual heat will let it set completely.
Anytime is the best time for me! I can eat it any time of the day. Really! Kidding aside, this sweet potato casserole is best eaten warm along with biscuits or roasted veggies on the side. Though, some people like eating them cold, too.
What to Eat with Pecan Topped Sweet Potato Casserole?
Make every day feels like a holiday with these sensational and drool-worthy recipes below to pair with our Southern Sweet Potato Casserole.
- Perfect Filet Mignon with Herb Butter
- Roast Potatoes and Carrots
- Roast Turkey Breast
- Easy Meatloaf
- Parmesan Crusted Baked Asparagus
More Southern Desserts
How to Make Sweet Potatoes Casserole with Pecans?
Prepare and Bake the Sweet Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork– Wash sweet potatoes and remove any blemishes or dark spots. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork. Then wrap them individually with aluminum foil. (Photos 1-3)
- Bake – at 400°F for about 50 – 60 minutes or more or until a fork easily presses into the center. Let it cool slightly. (Photo 4)
Make the Sweet Potato Mixture
- Scoop out sweet potatoes – Once sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle – remove skin or scoop out sweet potatoes. Place in a large bowl. (Photo 5)
- Mash sweet potatoes – with a potato masher or fork until smooth. (Photo 6)
- Whisk the mixture – Then add milk and eggs, heavy cream, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and salt to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth. (Photos 7-8)
Making the Pecan Streusel
- Chop the pecans – or pulse in a food processor. Be careful and do not grind them finely when using a food processor. (Photos 9-10)
- Combine and Mix – In a medium bowl mix together pecan, flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt until moisten and the mixture clumps together. (Photos 11-12)
Assemble and Bake
- Spread sweet potato mixture – into the prepared baking dish. (Photo 13)
- Add the toppings – Finally, add the pecan mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer. (Photo 14)
- Bake – until the top is slightly brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
- 3 lbs (1.3kg) sweet potatoes, cleaned
- ¼ cup (60 ml) milk
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons (25 g) brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon (1.3 g) ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon (0.5 g )dried ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 g) nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- salt, to taste
Sweet Potato Casserole Topping
- 4 oz (112 g) pecans, chopped
- ½ cup ( 68 g) flour
- ½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) butter, melted
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash sweet potatoes and remove any blemishes or dark spots. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork. Then wrap them individually with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 400°F for about 50 – 60 minutes or more or until a fork easily presses into the center. Let it cool slightly.
- Once sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle – remove skin or scoop out sweet potatoes. Place in a large bowl.
- Mash sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork until smooth.
- Then add milk, eggs, heavy cream, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and salt to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
- Chop the pecans or pulse in a food processor.
- In a medium bowl mix together pecans, flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt until moisten and the mixture clumps together.
- Spread sweet potato mixture into prepared baking dish.
- Finally, add the pecan mixture over the top of the sweet potatoes in an even layer.
- Bake until the top is slightly brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Tips & Notes:
- Aside from baking, you can also boil the sweet potatoes in a dutch oven with enough water to cover the surface of the potatoes and bring them to a boil. Do a fork testing to check if it’s tender.
- Use a metal potato masher to do the mashing. This yields a smoother result without any lumps. You can also use a fork if you don’t have a potato masher available.
- If you find your sweet potato mixture a little runny, you can cook it on low heat on a stovetop until the excess liquid evaporates. Then transfer and spread the mixture into the baking dish.
- To make ahead, prepare the sweet potato mixture and tightly cover it with plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can also prepare the topping mixture ahead in a separate bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve, take out the sweet potato mixture about 30 minutes before baking, then add the toppings and bake as directed.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.