This Easy Sweet Potato Casserole has a smooth, creamy filling with a simple, sweet pecan crumble topping. It comes together in minutes and can easily be prepared in advance to save time and stress on Thanksgiving day!
Want a double dose of sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving? Make Sweet Potato Pie, too!
Easy Sweet Potato Casserole
Thanksgiving day is always a very busy day in the kitchen, which can end up being a little stressful, so I always try to do as much preparation the night before as I can and keep my side dishes as easy as possible. For this quick and easy sweet potato casserole recipe, you can prepare the filling and the wonderful pecan crumble topping ahead of time, so all that needs to be done on Thanksgiving day is sprinkle the topping on and pop it in the oven.
Using canned sweet potatoes or yams in this recipe keeps it ultra-easy. Plus, you can’t taste the difference once the casserole is baked, in my opinion, so why not take a shortcut when you can? (Of course, if you want to cook your own sweet potatoes, you can do that too! Directions for both ways are included below.)
What You’ll Need
You’ll just need a handful of ingredients for this quick and easy casserole.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Sweet potatoes: Using canned sweet potatoes or canned yams for this recipe makes it quick and easy. (Variations to make them from scratch are included below, if preferred.)
- Eggs: Eggs help bind the filling, so it’s not soupy.
- Granulated sugar: This casserole is meant to be sweet.
- Heavy cream: Helps create a slightly creamy texture to the filling. You can also use half-and-half or evaporated milk.
- Butter: If using salted butter, you may want a bit less additional salt.
- Pumpkin pie spice: We love this spice mixture in so many fall recipes and this sweet potato casserole with pecans is no exception. Use my pumpkin pie spice recipe or buy it.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Salt: To heighten the other flavors.
- Pecan Topping: For the topping, you’ll need butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, and honey graham cracker crumbs.
There are a handful of variations you can make to this Thanksgiving casserole, from ingredient swaps to different toppings and adjusting the sweetness level.
- Use a different size baking dish. This recipe is written for a 3-quart dish. If you don’t have one, a 9×13 inch baking dish will work. If you have a smaller 2-quart dish, this recipe will fill it to the top and you’ll need to bake it a bit longer.
- Use flour in place of graham cracker crumbs. If desired you can use flour in the topping instead of the crumbs. The end result will be a little less sweet but the texture will be similar.
- Make this dish less sweet. If you prefer your sweet potato casserole to be less sweet, you can decrease the amount of sugar listed in the recipe to 1/3 cup. I do not recommend using less than this amount, however.
- Switch up the spices. In a pinch, you can use plain cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice (but be aware it won’t have as much flavor.)
- Use a marshmallow topping. If you prefer a marshmallow topping instead of the pecan topping, simply omit the pecan topping ingredients and add a layer of miniature marshmallows when there’s 15 minutes or so of baking time left, until they’re puffy and browned.
- Cook your own sweet potatoes instead of using canned. To keep things quick and easy on Thanksgiving, I make this recipe with canned sweet potatoes. However, you can also microwave, boil, or make baked sweet potatoes. Roasting them will give you the best flavor. You’ll need about 5 to 6 medium-sized sweet potatoes for this recipe and be sure to purchase sweet potatoes that are uniform in size so they cook evenly.
How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole
This is one of my favorite holiday side dishes because it’s quick and easy to make, whether you prep it the night before or not.
(Don’t miss the complete printable recipe card below with all the details.)
- Prepare the filling. Mash the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add in the other filling ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until really smooth. Transfer to a baking dish in an even layer.
- Prepare the topping. Combine the topping ingredients with your fingers, until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture in an even layer.
- Bake. Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is hot and the topping is crisp. (If the top starts to brown too much, you can add foil for the last 10 minutes.)
- Let rest and serve. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before serving to solidify.
Tips for Success
Here are a few ways to ensure you serve up the best sweet potato casserole possible.
- Where to find graham cracker crumbs.The graham cracker crumbs are located with all the other crackers. If you can’t find them, you’ll need to smash a few graham cracker sheets until you reach 1/3 cup crumbs. The crumbs should be fine, like bread crumbs.
- Let rest before serving. When your casserole first comes out of the oven it will be very soft. Allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving, to give it time to solidify and cool just a bit.
- Avoid burning the topping. Keep an eye on the topping for the last 10 minutes or so of the bake time. If it starts to get too brown, tent with foil to prevent it from burning.
This easy sweet potato casserole recipe is the perfect addition to a holiday feast, whether that’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. In my house, that means this sweet casserole is usually served up next to turkey or spiral glazed ham and other sides like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
Make Ahead, Storing Leftovers, and Reheating
- Can you make Sweet Potato Casserole ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare your sweet potato casserole 1 to 2 days in advance. First, make the filling and smooth it into the baking dish, cover tightly. Make the topping but instead of putting it on the casserole, place it in a ziploc bag. When you’re ready to bake your sweet potato casserole, take it out of the fridge, uncover and sprinkle the topping on top. Bake as directed.
- How to store leftovers. Leftover sweet potato pie can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Either tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil or transfer to an airtight container.
- How to reheat leftovers. The easiest way to reheat sweet potato casserole is to pop it back in the oven for 30 minutes or so. If the topping starts to brown, you can cover it with foil. Smaller portions of sweet potato pie can also be reheated in the microwave.
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes:
Sweet Potato Casserole
For the Filling
- 2 cans (29 ounces each) sweet potatoes or yams , fully drained
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup butter , melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the topping
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 1/3 cup honey Graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 3 quart (or 9×13) baking dish.
- Dump the drained sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add in all the other filling ingredients. Then beat with a hand held electric mixer for about 45 seconds until the mixture is really smooth.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer.
- In a medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients with your fingers (or a wooden spoon), until the consistency is like coarse crumbs; sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture in a smooth, even layer so it covers the entire casserole.
- Transfer to the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, until filling is hot and topping is crisp and lightly browned. (Keep an eye on it and tent with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning, if necessary.)
- Remove from the oven and let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving, so it can solidify and set as it cools.NOTE: See notes below to cook your own sweet potatoes instead of using canned, or to use a marshmallow topping instead of the pecan crumble. For other variations, tips, and storage, please refer to the full article.