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This is the best sweet potato casserole with pecans you’ll ever taste, with a delicious, crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping that’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

casserole in white baking dish with serving spoon.

When I was little, I was pretty sure Heaven was something like Thanksgiving. There were two Thanksgiving sides that I couldn’t do without: Nana’s cranberry chutney and this sweet potato casserole. {Now that I’m a bit older, I would add white cheddar mac and cheese to that list!}

With its velvety sweet potatoes, buttery pecans, and just the right amount of sugar, this recipe for sweet potato casserole will be the hit of your traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu or just a fun side dish for Friday dinner! Serve it with roasted chicken or this herb roasted turkey, roasted rosemary cauliflower, and easy potato rolls!

Why You’ll Love This Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans:

  • It’s easy to make. Despite its impressive appearance and delicious taste, it is actually quite simple to make.
  • It’s the perfect texture. I find that some sweet potato casserole recipes are a little one-note. They are all sweet and all soft. This recipe has a crunchy pecan streusel topping that everyone around your holiday table will love.
  • It’s simple to double. This is a great recipe for the holidays when you’re entertaining a crowd. You can double the ingredients in the recipe card below. Just click on the “2x” option and be sure to evenly distribute your ingredients between two baking dishes.
baked sweet potato casserole in white serving dish.
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Professional Tips For Making the Best Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Be sure your sweet potatoes are fully cooked. Check to be sure your sweet potatoes are fully cooked by piercing them with a paring knife. If there is any resistance, let them cook a bit longer. You want the sweet potato filling to be smooth and creamy with no lumps.
  • Add the topping right before cooking. I prefer to prepare this recipe right before baking, but if you’re short on time, you can make the filling, put it in the dish, and keep it covered in the refrigerator until the day of. Then add the topping to the top of the casserole and bake. This will keep the topping crisp.
  • Taste as you go. Be sure to taste the sweet potato filling (before adding the egg) and the topping to make sure they are properly seasoned.

Ingredients

ingredients on marble.
  • Sweet Potatoes: When selecting sweet potatoes, try to find ones that are relatively straight and evenly sized, or they can be hard to peel. Buy extra and make some of your own sweet potato pie!
  • Maple Syrup: I recommend using real maple syrup in this recipe for the best taste. There are several different varieties of pure maple syrup, ranging from dark to light. All are good choices for this dish.
  • Eggs: You will want to buy whole eggs. I recommend the standard large size for this recipe.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract adds a warm, sweet flavor to this dish. I recommend using pure vanilla extract, but you can use imitation vanilla extract as well.
  • Milk: For this recipe, I recommend using whole milk. This is a decadent and creamy sweet potato casserole, so whole milk is ideal.
  • Butter: I prefer to use unsalted butter for this recipe. It allows you to taste as you go. This will allow you to determine the amount of salt you would like in the dish rather than it being decided for you.
  • Salt: I recommend using kosher salt for this recipe. It’s less salty by volume than table salt or sea salt, so if you are using those, be sure to reduce the amount of salt you use by at least half and taste for seasoning.
  • Brown Sugar: You will want to use dark brown sugar for this recipe, rather than light brown, as dark brown sugar has more molasses and an overall stronger flavor. I also find that to be true for my Hasselback Sweet Potato Casserole.
  • Flour: Regular all-purpose flour works best for this recipe. There is no need to purchase any special type of flour.
  • Pecans: You can either buy pre-toasted pecans or toast them at home. To do so, add the whole pecans to a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake them for 10 minutes in a preheated 350° oven or until you can smell them and the light parts of the pecans have turned a light golden brown.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Baked Sweet Potatoes: Rather than boiling the sweet potatoes, you can cook the sweet potatoes in the oven. Just bake them at 425° F for 40 to 50 minutes or until completely tender. While they’re on your mind, sweet potatoes are also delightful as vegetarian stuffed sweet potatoes.
  • Add Marshmallows: Some people enjoy a casserole with marshmallows. Try adding mini marshmallows before baking to make the sweet potato casserole a little sweeter and gooier. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even make homemade marshmallows!
  • Canned Sweet Potatoes: I prefer to use fresh sweet potatoes, but you can use canned sweet potatoes as a substitute in this recipe.

How to Make This Easy Sweet Potato Casserole

Use these instructions to make the perfect casserole every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below!

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Step 2: Peel and then boil the sweet potatoes in cold water, just covering, until fork tender. Drain well. 

Step 3: Mash the sweet potatoes into a puree using a food processor, immersion blender, potato masher, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. While the potatoes are still warm, add the butter, stirring until it melts.

If you are not using kosher salt, reduce the amount of salt in this recipe by half. Likewise, if you are using salted butter, taste the topping before adding any extra salt.

Step 4: Add the maple syrup, milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Mix well to combine. Pour the mashed sweet potato mixture into a 1 ½ – 2 quart casserole dish. 

sweet potatoes in water in pot.
mashing sweet potatoes in bowl.
mixing ingredients for sweet potato casserole base.

Step 5: Mix all of the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Step 6: Sprinkle the pecan crumble topping over the top of the casserole. Bake the sweet potato casserole for 30-40 minutes until bubbling. 

If storing in the original baking dish, be sure it has cooled completely and cover it with foil or plastic wrap.

topping ingredients in bowl unmixed.
unbaked sweet potato casserole in white baking dish.
casserole baked with pecan crumble topping.

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

When shopping for sweet potatoes, avoid ones with soft spots, cracks, or blemishes as they will spoil faster. The best sweet potatoes are medium in size and have firm skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store leftover sweet potato casserole?

Store leftover sweet potato casserole with pecans in an airtight container or the original baking dish in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. You can freeze sweet potato casserole as well. Transfer the casserole to individually portioned bags and defrost as needed. Keep in mind that the pecan crumble topping will not remain crisp after you refrigerate or freeze the casserole.

Can I use yams instead of sweet potatoes?

I don’t recommend using yams instead of sweet potatoes in the recipe because of their starch content. Yams are starchier and have drier flesh than sweet potatoes, creating a different texture in the finished dish.

What can I use instead of pecans?

If you can’t find pecans for this recipe, a good substitute would be walnuts. They have the most similar taste, texture, and appearance to pecans. You can also omit the nuts!

How do you reheat sweet potato casserole?

To reheat the casserole, cover the dish with tin foil and bake in a 350° F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until heated through.

sweet potato casserole with pecan topping on white plate.

If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!

sweet potato casserole being served with spoon.
4.99 from 50 ratings

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans

This is the best sweet potato casserole with pecans you’ll ever taste, with a delicious, crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping that's the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients 
 

For the Filling:

For the Topping:

Makes: 9 x 9inch rectangle

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Peel and then boil the sweet potatoes in cold water, just covering, until fork tender. Drain well.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes into a puree using a food processor, immersion blender, potato masher, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. While the potatoes are still warm, add the butter, stirring until it melts. Then add the maple syrup, milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. If using a stand mixer, you can mix everything using the mixer.
  • Pour the mashed sweet potato mixture into a 1 ½ – 2 quart casserole dish.
  • Mix all of the topping ingredients together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the pecan crumble topping over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake the sweet potato casserole for 30-40 minutes until bubbling.

Video

Notes

Technique Be sure your potatoes are fully cooked by piercing them with a paring knife. If there is any resistance, place them back in the boiling water until they are completely tender.
Variations Some people enjoy a casserole with marshmallows. Try adding mini marshmallows before baking to make the sweet potato casserole a little sweeter and gooier.
Storage Store leftover sweet potato casserole in an airtight container or the original baking dish in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. You can freeze sweet potato casserole as well.
Note: I halved this recipe for the dish that you see in the photos and in the video.

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 420mg | Potassium: 496mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 16522IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 381
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Before You Go!

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef-tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed Thanksgiving recipes, or keep your casserole dish out and whip up a weeknight Taco Bake!

Maple sweet potato casserole being served on white countertop with crunchy pecan topping.

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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8 Comments

  1. You never added the milk to the recipe and I don’t see it updated. Also, you should tell people to grease the pan. Thank you! Can’t wait to eat this today

    1. Oh no! You know what Autumn, I actually made this yesterday and I didn’t even notice. I’ll add that to the recipe now. You are 100% right about greasing the pan, it was work to clean! Harder than the scalloped potato pan. Great note, I’ll add that tip too! Thank you for coming back and commenting! ~Lindsey

        1. My apologies, Denise. It isn’t there and I didn’t check my comments yesterday. I actually made this exact recipe yesterday and didn’t even notice the milk addition was missing. It goes in after the maple syrup. I also realized too late that I didn’t have whole milk, so I mixed half and half with skim milk. Still delightful 🙂 I hope it came out well and you just dumped it in and it didn’t cause too much stress. I am updating the recipe now. ~Lindsey