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Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic Thanksgiving dish that is sometimes served at the end of the meal and sometimes served alongside savory turkey. Sweet Potato Casserole is a versatile dish that everyone is sure to love. The best part is the crumbly pecan streusel topping!
For many, it’s not only a Thanksgiving dish – many families make it over Christmas, the 4th of July, or just about any large family and friends gathering imaginable. The creamy, buttery, and sugary texture pairs well with crunchy toppings – even though everyone has their own recipe, these things always remain unchanged.
What is the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?
Some recipes use yams and sweet potatoes interchangeably, but they are, in fact, two different things. Yams are starchy root vegetables that taste similar to sweet potatoes but are usually slightly less sweet. The two are so similar that they’re often mislabeled at the grocery store.
Are canned yams actually sweet potatoes?
Yes! Some of the biggest brands label their canned sweet potatoes as “canned yams” – a mistake that goes too far back to remember.
So if you’re going to use canned instead of fresh sweet potatoes, just make sure to check the label. Some might say canned yams but specify underneath that they are actually canned sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes have a complicated history, and perhaps that explains all the canning confusion. They are believed to have originated in Central or South America about 5,000 years ago. Through trade, they spread to the Pacific Islands and Africa. Today, China is the largest producer of sweet potatoes. They are grown and eaten around the world in many cultures.
How to Make Sweet Potato Casserole
This Sweet Potato Casserole takes about 20 minutes to throw together and 60 minutes to bake! If you don’t like streusel topping, feel free to replace it with mini marshmallows. Some people do prefer jumbo marshmallows or a flour, butter, and sugar crumble topping.
If you’re trying to think of your signature topping for a sweet potato casserole, try to make it crunchy in texture but not too tough on the teeth! A slight crunch always compliments the tender sweetness of the casserole filling.
For full recipe details, including ingredients used and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is what you can expect when making this recipe:
How Do I Cook My Sweet Potatoes?
The directions for this recipe assume that you have already cooked your sweet potatoes. There are a few ways to cook them.
- Bake – You can bake them in the oven (my preferred method), at 400 degrees for an hour.
- Stove Top – Or you can peel and boil potatoes in a large pot of water for about half an hour.
Once you have the sweet potatoes ready, you are ready to make the best Sweet Potato Casserole you’ve ever had!
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Peel Sweet Potatoes + Add in Remaining Casserole Ingredients
Peel baked sweet potatoes and place into a large bowl. Add in brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, butter, and salt. Using a masher or hand mixer, stir together until completely smooth. (A few lumps are ok if you don’t mind it lumpy!) Pour into a greased casserole dish and set aside.
Make the Streusel Topping
In a medium-sized bowl, stir flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and salt together until a crumbly texture is formed. Add in pecans and stir. Sprinkle topping over sweet potato base.
Bake + Serve Warm
Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. (If you notice the streusel top becoming a little dark, cover with foil). Serve warm.
Make Sweet Potato Casserole Ahead of the Big Day
Holiday meal preparation time! If you want to make this sweet potato casserole recipe a couple of days ahead of time, it’s super easy. If you choose to freeze it, it may actually last for months.
The easy freezing and thawing process makes this a perfect dish for meal prep as well.
Prepare the sweet potato mixture and the streusel topping. Spread the sweet potato mixture into your casserole dish. Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store the streusel in a Ziploc bag or covered bowl. You can keep both items in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To bake, remove both of the mixtures from the refrigerator. Spread the streusel on top of the casserole and bake.
Freezing Sweet Potato Casserole
To really make this recipe ahead of time you can freeze it. Spend less time worrying the day of Thanksgiving or Christmas and spend more time with family and friends.
Freezing. Prepare the sweet potato mixture and place in an airtight container. After cooling completely, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the freezer up to 3 months.
Baking. Thawing a sweet potato casserole is a relatively simple process, and there are a few ways you can go about it. Here are some options:
- Thawing in the Refrigerator: The safest and most recommended method for thawing a sweet potato casserole is to place it in the refrigerator. This method is also the slowest, so you’ll need to plan ahead. Simply remove the casserole from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours. Make sure the casserole is covered with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent any contamination.
- Thawing in the Microwave: If you need to thaw the sweet potato casserole quickly, you can use the microwave. First, remove the casserole from the freezer and place it in a microwave-safe dish. Then, use the defrost setting on your microwave and set the timer for 5-7 minutes per pound. Make sure to check the casserole every few minutes to prevent it from cooking. This method might save you some refrigerator space if you’re really cooking big for Thanksgiving.
- Thawing in Cold Water: Another quick way to thaw a sweet potato casserole is to place it in a large bowl of cold water. Make sure the casserole is in a leak-proof bag to prevent any water from seeping in. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold, and allow the casserole to thaw evenly. It should take around 1-2 hours for the casserole to thaw completely using this method.
No matter which method you choose, once the sweet potato casserole is thawed, you can reheat it in the oven at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until it’s heated through.
A word to the wise: If you can, freeze the casserole without the toppings, especially if you’re set on using marshmallows. They aren’t made for freezing and refreezing, and popping them on the casserole at the last minute in the oven will make a perfect, fluffy, and slightly crunchy marshmallow.
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Sweet Potato Casserole isn’t the only dish on a Thanksgiving table. Here are some other ideas to get you started on your holiday dinner preparations.
- Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
- Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Green Bean Casserole
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Cranberry Sauce
- Dinner Rolls
- and don’t forget the Turkey Gravy!
Or if you are looking for more sweet potato recipes, I’ve got you covered! 🙂
More Sweet Potato Recipes You’ll Love!
- Twice Baked Sweet Potato Recipe with Walnut Streusel
- Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting
- Sweet Potato Cookies with Homemade Streusel
- Perfect Sweet Potato Pie
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Printable recipe card is below! Print it, pin it, or bookmark it for your holiday needs!
Sweet Potato Casserole
For the Sweet Potato Casserole:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel baked sweet potatoes and place into a large bowl. Add in brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, butter, and salt. Using a masher or hand mixer, stir together until completely smooth. (A few lumps are ok if you don't mind it lumpy!) Pour into a greased casserole dish and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and salt together until a crumbly texture is formed. Add in pecans and stir. Sprinkle topping over sweet potato base.
- Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. (If you notice the streusel top becoming a little dark, cover with foil). Serve warm.