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This creamy sweet potato casserole with a brown sugar topping is one of the most popular Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Everyone loves it! It is so easy and can be made ahead of time. It is the perfect holiday side dish recipe.
This is always one of the first foods to be devoured on our Thanksgiving table. It is a classic Thanksgiving side dish! This sweet potato casserole is a staple that simply cannot be missed. This mouthwatering side dish combines the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with a sweet and buttery crunchy topping.
Why you will love this recipe:
Is this a side dish or a dessert? It is so decadent that you will forget you are eating a vegetable! This may be the biggest hit at your Thanksgiving table. This is definitely a dessert-like side dish…and I am not complaining one bit.
Both kids and adults alike love this easy sweet potato casserole with brown sugar topping. It is creamy mashed sweet potatoes topped with a brown sugar streusel. You don’t get better than this!
It is easy to make and can be made ahead of time. This is a great make-ahead dish that you can make several days before the big day.
Ingredients in Sweet Potato Casserole:
You just need simple ingredients to make the very best sweet potato casserole this Thanksgiving.
- Sweet Potatoes — You will need about 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes for this recipe which is about 5-6 medium sweet potatoes.
- Butter — I suggest melting or softening the butter to make it easier to whip.
- Sugar — use granulated sugar or for a deeper, richer flavor you may substitute brown sugar.
- Eggs — help to create fluffy mashed sweet potatoes and binds all of the ingredients together.
- Vanilla Extract — I suggest using pure vanilla extract which makes these taste even better!
- Cinnamon — a touch of cinnamon adds so much warmth to this side dish.
- Salt — the salt helps to balance out the sweetness from the brown sugar topping.
- Half-n-Half — you can use half-n-half, heavy cream, or whole milk.
Brown Sugar Topping for Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients:
This simple brown sugar streusel topping pairs so well with the mashed sweet potatoes.
- Butter — use salted butter for a salty-sweet combination.
- Brown Sugar — use light golden brown sugar or if you want a deeper molasses flavor, use dark brown sugar.
- Flour — acts as a binder to make the brown sugar streusel.
How to cook sweet potatoes:
Here’s how I prepare the sweet potatoes for the sweet potato casserole recipe…
For the most flavor, I suggest roasting/baking the sweet potatoes.
Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce holes all around the sweet potato with a fork.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. Once the sweet potatoes are completely soft and you can easily pierce a fork or knife through them, then they are done baking.
Cut in half and scoop out the sweet potatoes to mash them.
How to make the Best Sweet Potato Casserole:
- Start by baking the sweet potatoes. More detailed instructions are below. I suggest roasting/baking the sweet potatoes for caramelized flavor.
- Scoop out the very soft sweet potatoes and place in a bowl with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and half-n-half or heavy cream. Whip until creamy.
- Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 dish. Make the brown sugar streusel by mixing together softened butter, brown sugar, and flour until you have coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on the top of the mashed sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are heated through. You may sprinkle with marshmallows or add pecans to the streusel as well.
Easy to make ahead of time!
This easy sweet potato casserole can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. You can prepare the mashed sweet potato filling up to 2 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve the day of, remove it from the oven as you preheat the oven. Place in a baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar topping and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Bake the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them for the most caramelized flavor.
Frequently asked questions:
Yes! You can use either yams or sweet potatoes in this recipe.
This recipe uses 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes which is about 5 to 6 medium to large sweet potatoes. If you don’t want to use fresh sweet potatoes and bake them, you can use canned sweet potatoes. You will need three 29-ounce cans of sweet potatoes. If you do use canned sweet potatoes, I suggest reducing the sugar amount to 1/4 to 1/3 cup since the sweet potatoes are canned in syrup.
For a crunchy pecan topping, you can add 1 cup of pecans like my Sweet Potato Pecan Bake.
If you love marshmallows on sweet potato casserole, you can add 1 cup of mini marshmallows to the topping. If you are adding marshmallows, you can reduce the sugar in the mashed sweet potatoes to 1/3 cup.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days. Can you reheat sweet potato casserole? Yes! When ready to reheat, you can place it in the microwave or heat it in the oven until warmed.
What to serve with Sweet Potato Casserole:
Since it is a sweet, dessert-like side dish, I like to pair it with savory side dishes as well. I like to serve it with a Smoked Turkey Breast, made on a smoker, which frees the oven on Thanksgiving Day.
More Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes:
Here are some classic Thanksgiving side dish recipes that are so popular…
- Green Bean Casserole
- Creamed Corn
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Honey Glazed Carrots
- Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Sausage Cranberry Stuffing
You can find almost 60 Thanksgiving Recipes HERE.
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Best Sweet Potato Casserole
- 3 lbs. Sweet Potatoes (about 5-6 medium)
- 6 Tablespoons Butter (melted)
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Salt (reduce to 1/2 teaspoon if using salted butter)
- 1/4 cup Half-n-Half
Brown Sugar Streusel Topping:
- 3 Tablespoons Salted Butter (softened)
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup Flour
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. Once the sweet potatoes are completely soft and you can easily pierce a fork or knife through them, then they are done baking.
- Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the sweet potatoes to mash them. Place in a large mixing bowl and add melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and half-n-half. Whip the sweet potatoes until creamy.
- Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish (or you may go a little smaller) and spread evenly.
Brown Sugar Topping:
- In small bowl, mix together softened butter, brown sugar, and flour until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle all over the sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are warm and the streusel has cooked through. You may cover with foil halfway through baking time if the streusel becomes too brown.
- Serve warm or cover and place in the refrigerator for several days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.