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An old fashioned Sweet Potato Pie flavored with brandy, lemon, vanilla and the faintest hint of nutmeg. A creamy, smooth filling baked inside a cream cheese pie crust for the perfect bite.

Sweet Potato Pie sliced on blue plates.
Foolproof Pumpkin Pie bite on fork
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This creamy sweet potato pie is simply flavored with brandy, vanilla and lemon. The recipe is from Mary Randolph, the author of The Virginia Housewife (1824), via The Southern Heritage Pies and Pastry Cookbook (1984 Edition).

True sweet potato pies don’t use any spices or strong flavorings like pumpkin pie, rather the vanilla, brandy and lemon accentuate the nuanced flavors of the sweet potatoes. You could add a teaspoon or two of my pumpkin spice recipe, but I love letting the sweet potatoes shine.

Why You Will Love this Sweet Potato Pie

  • The sweet potato flavor is dominant. You will taste the sweetness and flavor of roasted sweet potato. The lemon and brandy pull out an almost floral note.
  • Light & creamy texture. The filling is made using the creaming method like a cake, which produces a rich, light and creamy pie filling.
  • Unique cream cheese crust. I make this pie with a cream cheese pie crust that is flaky, buttery and slightly tangy. It is a slight variation on the dough from this kolacky recipe.

Professional Tips for Making Sweet Potato Pie

  • Use room temperature mashed sweet potatoes. Many recipes call for melting the butter into the sweet potatoes, however, for the best texture in this pie, you’ll want them to be room temperature or just slightly warm so they don’t melt the butter.
  • Roast sweet potatoes for the best flavor. Roasting the sweet potatoes steams them in their skins, which concentrates the sugars. This pie will still be delicious with microwaved or boiled potatoes.
  • Use a ricer for smooth puree. Press warm, baked sweet potatoes through a ricer for the smoothest puree. You can also puree it in a food processor and then press it through a sieve. Maybe double it and make this sweet potato casserole too!
  • Par-bake the pie crust for the best of both worlds. Get a flaky, never-soggy bottomed pie crust with a smooth, creamy filling by partially blind baking the crust.

Ingredients Needed

sweet potato pie ingredients on white surface.
  • Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar is here for sweetness and to trap air when creamed with butter. This makes for a light sweet potato pie.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Choose sweet potatoes with smooth skins that are blemish free. Sweet potatoes dry out as they age or if they are stored improperly, which can result in chunky and dry pie. You can also use canned sweet potato puree to make this a super easy recipe!
  • Whole Eggs: It is important that the eggs are at room temperature to properly incorporate into the filling. This will ensure everything stays emulsified and smooth. Cold eggs will chill the butter and cause it to separate.
  • Brandy: Choose a brandy that you like because you will taste it in the final, baked pie. If you don’t love the taste of brandy, smell it and find one with an aroma you find pleasing.
  • Lemon: This recipe uses but zest and juice. Just remember to zest the lemon before juicing and just take off the bright yellow parts.
  • Vanilla Extract: The vanilla extract compliments and rounds out the flavors in this pie.
  • Fresh Nutmeg: The recipe calls for freshly grated nutmeg. If you only have ground nutmeg, I would recommend omitting it. Ground nutmeg has a different flavor that will overwhelm the sweet potato.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter

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

Variations & Substitutions

  • Use a different alcohol or omit it: Try bourbon, dark rum, or Grand Marnier for a different flavor profile. You can also just omit the alcohol without substitution.
  • Use a different winter squash: This pie would be delightful with butternut, honeynut or sugar pumpkin squash puree instead.
  • Use brown sugar for a more wintery flavor. The lemon, brandy and vanilla gives this pie a light, bright flavor, but it would also be delicious with brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon.  
  • Use a different pie crust: Rather than using the cream cheese crust below, try this all butter pie crust recipe, this foolproof vodka pie crust or even a sweet tart crust.
sweet potato pie slice with fork marks and fork.

Why is my sweet potato pie dry?

Sweet potato pie can be dry if over-baked or made with older sweet potatoes. It is best to choose sweet potatoes that have firm, smooth skin without blemishes, and store them in a cool, dry place. The refrigerator will also dry them out! Old, dry sweet potatoes will not soften completely when baked and will make a lumpy, dry puree.

How to Make Sweet Potato Pie

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

Prepare the cream cheese pie crust:

Step 1: Beat the cream cheese and butter together with a stand mixer or a hand mixer until completely incorporated and creamy (3-5 minutes).

creaming butter and cream cheese for crust.

Step 2: Reduce the speed of the mixer and add in the flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together. If the dough is not cohesive and will not stay in a ball, sprinkle ice water a tablespoon at a time over the dough and mix with a fork until it comes together in a ball.

Step 3: Flatten into a circle, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until hard, at least 4 hours. Overnight refrigeration is recommended.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out your pastry to 1/8th inch thick, chill for about 30 minutes, line a pie dish, trim the edges, roll them under and crimp decoratively.

Step 5: Place parchment paper in the pastry shell and fill with baking beans or weights. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the bottom has begun to brown and the center looks matte (not shiny).

You can use the par-baked crust warm straight from the oven or let it cool while you prepare your filling. It can also be made the day ahead. Store at room temperature.

Prepare the pie filling:

Step 6: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash sweet potatoes and prick them a few times on each side with a fork. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the hot oven until soft. They are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork or cake tester. Peal when just cool enough to handle.

Step 7: Mash the sweet potatoes with a hand masher or the back of a large wooden spoon.

For perfectly smooth puree, puree in a blender or press through a ricer. You can also use canned sweet potato puree and skip all these steps.

Step 8: Warm the brandy in a small saucepan and reserve warm. This isn’t necessary but it will help keep the filling from breaking when it is added.

Step 9: Cream butter in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer: gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Add potatoes; beat on medium speed until well blended.

creamed butter and sugar for pie filling.
beating eggs into sweet potato pie filling.

Step 10: Add eggs, one at a time; beating after each addition.

Step 11: Add the brandy, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and nutmeg to the sweet potato mixture; stir until well blended. Pour mixture into pastry shell and smooth.

finished sweet potato pie filling ready to fill pastry.

Step 12: Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and continue baking until the center has puffed and jiggles like jello, about 25 more minutes.

How do you know when sweet potato pie is done?

You can test the doneness by piercing the center with the tip of a knife but this will cause the pie to crack. The pie is done when the center no longer looks liquid and moves in one mass when shaken gently.

sweet potato pie unsliced on wooden board.

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

For a perfectly smooth puree, and the creamiest pie, choose fresh, firm sweet potatoes, bake them until soft, mash them and pass them through a ricer or puree in a blender while still warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store sweet potato pie?

Store baked, cooled, and wrapped sweet potato pie at room temperature for up to 5 days, in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

How do you get the strings out of sweet potato pie?

The easiest way to get the strings out of sweet potatoes for pie is to puree them while still hot from cooking. Pass them through a ricer or puree them in a blender.  

How do you keep sweet potato pie crust from getting soggy?

To keep sweet potato pie crust from getting soggy try partially baking the crust prior to adding the filling, and be sure to bake the pie fully!

Is it better to boil or bake sweet potatoes for pie?

Both boiled and baked sweet potatoes can be used for pie; however, I find that baked sweet potatoes have a more complex flavor from the sugars steaming and concentrating in the skins while baking.

How do you serve sweet potato pie?

Sweet potato pie can be served cold, room temperature or warmed. I prefer it served room temperature with a spoonful of vanilla anglaise, a dollop of lemon whipped cream or lemon curd whipped cream, or served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Mary Randolph's Sweet Potato Pie one slice with fork close up
4.95 from 50 ratings

Sweet Potato Pie

An old fashioned Sweet Potato Pie flavored with brandy, lemon, vanilla and the faintest hint of nutmeg. The creamy, smooth filling baked inside a cream cheese pie crust for the perfect bite.
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients 
 

For the Cream Cheese Crust:

For the Sweet Potato Filling:

  • ¼ cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes cooked & mashed, room temperature
  • 3 whole eggs room temperature
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest be careful not to get the bitter, white pith!
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Makes: 9inch round

Instructions 

To Prepare the Cream Cheese Pastry:

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together with a stand mixer or a hand mixer until completely incorporated and creamy (3-5 minutes).
  • Reduce the speed of the mixer and add in the flour. Mix until the dough comes together. If the dough is not cohesive and will not stay in a ball, sprinkle ice water a tablespoon at a time over the dough and mix with a fork until it comes together in a ball.
  • Flatten into a circle, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until hard, at least 4 hours. Overnight refrigeration is recommended.
  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Roll out your pastry to 1/8th inch thick, chill for about 30 minutes, line a pie dish, trim the edges, roll them under and crimp decoratively.
  • Place parchment paper in the pastry shell and fill with baking beans or weights. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the bottom has begun to brown and the center looks matte (not shiny).
    You can use the par-baked crust warm straight from the oven or let it cool while you prepare your filling. It can also be made the day ahead. Store at room temperature.

To Prepare the Filling:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash sweet potatoes and prick them a few times on each side with a fork. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the hot oven until soft. They are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork or cake tester. Peal when just cool enough to handle.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes with a hand masher or the back of a large wooden spoon. For perfectly smooth puree, puree in a blender or press through a ricer.
  • Warm the brandy in a small saucepan and reserve warm. This isn’t necessary but it will help keep the filling from breaking when it is added.
  • Cream butter in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer: gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. Add potatoes; beat on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time; beating after each addition.
  • Add the brandy, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and nutmeg to the sweet potato mixture; stir until well blended. Pour mixture into pastry shell and smooth.
  • Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and continue baking until the center has puffed and jiggles like jello, about 25 more minutes.

Notes

Technique – I prefer the flavor and texture of roasted sweet potatoes for pie. They can also be prepared in the microwave or boiled. You can also use canned.
Variations – Omit or substitute another alcohol you enjoy for the brandy; try a different winter squash like butternut; or use brown sugar and cinnamon to change the flavor profile.
Storage – Store baked, cooled, and wrapped sweet potato pie at room temperature for up to 5 days, in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 4049IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 433
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Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed pie recipes! You might also like the 25 Best Pumpkin Recipes for Fall!

Mary Randolfs Sweet Potato Pie

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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28 Comments

  1. This is definitely not a true blue Southern Sweet Potato Pie recipe it is missing very important things like Evaporated Milk.and Cinnamon and you don’t have close to enough Butter at all.No Brandy should be added at all that lemon zest and lemon juice is not necessary,you should always add Evaporated Milk that and a good amount of Butter is the key to an Authentic Southern Sweet Potato Pie

    1. Hi Rosalind, Mary Randolph first published her influential cookbook The Virginia Housewife in 1824, which is generally considered to be the first Southern cookbook. This pie is hers!