The best ever Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows AND buttery, brown sugar Pecan Topping! hello deeeeelicious!
This Sweet Potato Casserole has been our favorite recipe ever since we tasted it almost a decade ago and you will love that you can assemble it the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas! No Thanksgiving table is complete without this comforting classic!
Sweet Potato Casserole Video
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
Thanksgiving is going to be here in snap but you are going to be SO ready this year armed with my rave worthy Potatoes Au Gratin with Bacon, Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes and now this Sweet Potato Casserole as well as all your other favorite Carlsbad Cravings Thanksgiving recipes! (Be sure to check my Thanksgiving recipes often as I will add more as I post them.)
Now let’s talk Sweet Potato Casserole. Sweet Potato Casserole is arguably more of dessert than a side dish, but I love that we get to eat “dessert” alongside our main meal once/twice a year. If you are looking for a savory Sweet Potato Casserole, this my friends, is not it, (instead try my Herb Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Gruyere,) but if you are looking for a best ever traditional Sweet Potato Casserole, then this IS it!
Now I’ve had my share of Sweet Potato Casseroles over the years. Some Sweet Potato Casseroles with Marshmallows, some Sweet Potato Casseroles with Pecan Topping, some better than others. But the one that left my husband and I oohing and ahhing is this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe with BOTH Marshmallows AND Pecan Topping.
The mad crushing for this Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows started one Thanksgiving almost ten years ago at a dear friend’s house. I politely scooped a small serving of her Sweet Potato Casserole onto my plate, as I liked the traditional side dish, but never loved it enough for a big scoop – other sides always took priority. But not this Thanksgiving, not with this Sweet Potato Casserole.
It was rich and buttery, creamy and cinnamony complimented by crunchy, brown sugar pecans and ooey gooey marshmallows. It was love at first bite. Ever since that day, this Sweet Potato Casserole has been our one and only. I hope its yours too.
This Sweet Potato Casserole is a family recipe of my friend that goes way back in the day. So its safe to say its a tried and true favorite and a must have at every Thanksgiving and Christmas. And it’s not just one of those obligatory side dishes that you have to make because it is Thanksgiving – nay, its one off those eagerly anticipated side dishes that you get to make because it is Thanksgiving.
Sweet Potato vs Yam
Have you had yams lurking in the back of your head thru this whole Sweet Potato Casserole conversation? It would be hard not to. Manufacturers often label sweet potatoes as yams on frozen and canned packaging. They cannot even tell them apart, and grocery stores sell most orange sweet potatoes as yams. It seems they are interchangeable or the same thing.
However, yams and sweet potatoes are very different and come from opposite parts of the world. Sweet potatoes come from South America and are a member of the morning glory family. Originating from Africa and a part of the lily family are our Yams. They are both tuber vegetables and have similar shapes.
Over 600 varieties of yams are known, and 95% of these are still grown in Africa. Yams are darker, almost black, and have a rough texture. Yams are also mushier (due to their higher water content) and have higher sugar contents. However, yams do not taste sweeter even with more sugar. Yams, true yams, can be hard to find, unless you frequent international or ethnic food stores. They are long like sweet potatoes, but do not taper at the ends.
Sweet potatoes come in 4 colors: purple, orange, yellow and white. They are often called “yams” at your grocery store but are in fact, are sweet potatoes. Most people, in fact, have probably never tasted a true “yam.”
North Carolina is currently the largest producer for sweet potatoes! These look a-likes can substitute for each other between most recipes. Unknowing you have probably done this. Just be aware of the increase in moisture and sugar.
Sweet potatoes are lower in calories and higher in beta-carotene and vitamin C than yams. Yams have slightly more potassium and manganese. They both contain decent amounts of B vitamins. Both have great health benefits.
How to Choose Sweet Potatoes
When selecting your sweet potatoes for this Sweet Potato Casserole, look for garnet yams – these are red sweet potatoes masquerading as yams! You may also use Jewel or Beauregard, which are also sweet potatoes.
These three varieties are the orange fleshed, reddish-brownish skinned sweet potatoes that are often confused as yams. When picking out your sweet potatoes find ones that are firm and have unwrinkled flesh, free of blemishes.
How to Boil Sweet Potatoes
To make our Sweet Potato Casserole, we start by cooking our sweet potatoes.
- Peel and wash your sweet potatoes
- Cut sweet potatoes into 2″ chunks.
- Add potatoes to a Dutch oven and add just enough water to cover potatoes.
- Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until very tender when pierced with a fork; drain VERY WELL.
how to make Sweet Potato Casserole
Once our sweet potatoes are tender, this Sweet Potato Casserole is a simple whipping of cooked sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, a generous amount of butter, eggs, splashes of pure maple syrup and vanilla and enlivened by cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves and a pinch of pepper. Because even a Sweet Potato Casserole should be loaded with multidimensional flavor. You whip your potatoes until they are fluffy and dreamy but not completely smooth and then pour into your casserole dish.
Pour your sweet potato mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. And now it’s time for the delectable Pecan Topping.
How to Make Pecan Topping
Now for our buttery, Brown Sugar Pecan Topping that takes MINUTES because we make it all in our food processor! Simply add pecans, maple syrup and vanilla extract to your food processor and pulse 3 times to slightly chop up pecans. Then add your flour, brown sugar, cubed butter and dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and pulse until it resembles coarse pebbles. Evenly spread this Brown Sugar Pecan Topping over your sweet potatoes.
How long to bake Sweet Potatoes?
Now that our Sweet Potato Casserole is assembled (marshmallows to be added later), we bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden. As the topping bakes the brown sugar caramelizes with the maple cinnamon butter and coats the toasted pecans for a truly magical texture flavor explosion in every bite. But wait, we’re not even done with the delicoiusness…
Next, we add our layer of mini marshmallows and either bake for 5 minutes for golden marshmallows or I prefer to bake closer to 10 minutes for more toasted ooey, goey marshmallows as pictured.
Now we’re done.
With one bite of this Sweet Potato Casserole, even a sweet potato hater will become a lover. The creamy sweet potato layer + the crunchy brown sugar butter Pecan Topping + the toasted, gooey marshmallow layer = texture flavor heaven!
How to prep Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead of Time
With all the chaos that can be Thanksgiving, its a life saver to prep as many recipes or parts of recipes ahead of time. To prep in advance:
- Make casserole as directed through spreading sweet potatoes in the dish. Let sweet potatoes cool completely, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Prepare Brown Sugar Pecan Topping as directed and store in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- When ready to bake, remove potatoes and Topping from the refrigerator at the same time. Uncover potatoes and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Add topping and continue to bake an additional 30 minutes OR until potatoes are completely warmed through. Add marshmallows and bake as directed.
Looking for more Potato Recipes?
- Company Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Parmesan
- Gruyere and Ham Potato Stacks
- Roasted Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
Want to try this Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows Recipe?
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©Carlsbad Cravings Original adapted from Jill Peterson Reese
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