There’s just something comforting about the smell of brown sugar and cinnamon, the sweetness of the warm mashed sweet potatoes, candied pecans, and toasted marshmallows that just make me happy. I mean… all types of food make me happy but you know what I mean. ;)
Would you consider sweet potato casserole a dessert or a side dish? Hard to decide, right?
Whether it’s a potluck, Thanksgiving, ‘Sidesgiving’, Christmas, Easter, or just dinner with the fam, this classic casserole is by far the BEST side dish!
Let’s talk about how incredibly easy it is to bring all this together.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Sweet potatoes – The star of the show! I usually buy medium sweet potatoes and peel them. If you can only find small or large ones, make sure to get 2 1/2 lbs worth. That should give you the 8 cups you need for the recipe.
- Cold water – You don’t need much! Just enough to create steam to soften the sweet potatoes in the pot.
- Brown sugar – The molasses in brown sugar complements the sweet potatoes so well. It sweetens the deal!
- Unsalted butter – This adds richness and flavor to the sweet potatoes. I like using unsalted butter so I can adjust the salt myself.
- Vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt – The vanilla and spices also enhance the flavor of the mashed sweet potatoes. It all comes together to make this the perfect Fall casserole!
- Candied Pecans – My easy candied pecans recipe made with maple syrup, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon gives the sweet potato casserole the perfect amount of crunch in every bite. If you have a nut allergy, I’d omit any nuts from the recipe.
- Mini marshmallows – The mini marshmallows are toasted and sprinkled on top of the soft, buttery mashed sweet potatoes. This marshmallow topping is the cherry on top of this delicious dish.
When you’re done making this casserole, make my easy & delicious Candied Sweet Potatoes!
How To Make The Best Sweet Potato Casserole
- Boil the potatoes. Place the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes in a pot with cold water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat. You do not need to fill the whole pot with water. You want to STEAM the sweet potatoes. The potatoes will become fork-tender with boiling water and steam. Simmer for 15-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender enough to mash. Drain. Let cool slightly.
- Mash the potatoes. Transfer tender sweet potatoes to a medium bowl. Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher or use two forks.
- Mix in the ingredients! Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and 1/4 cup of pecans (save the rest for later). Stir until all is well combined.
- Assemble the casserole. Add the sweet potato mixture evenly into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining candied pecans (if using) and mini marshmallows (if using) in an even layer on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes or until marshmallows is toasted. Remove from oven. Serve and enjoy!
5 Star Review
“This recipe turned out AMAZING!! I was nervous because I’ve never made them before, but I have to say…they were the best I’ve ever tasted, and I’m a huge sweet potato fan. It makes me so happy that now, not only do I know how to make them, but I make them REALLY good. Thanks for that!!! :)”—Fallon
Recommended For This Recipe
This Staub casserole dish is absolutely incredible! It has a porcelain-enamel finish and is microwave/dishwasher safe!
Ideal for caramelizing sugar on creme brulee, toasting marshmallows, glazing a baked ham, searing a steak, roasting bell peppers, melting cheese, and toasting bread crumbs.
Make Ahead Instructions
Yes, you absolutely can! You can make the sweet potato mixture up to the step right before adding the pecans and marshmallows (step 4).
Once the sweet potato mixture has cooled and all the spices are well combined, add the mixture to the casserole dish and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.
If you’re making it a day in advance
If you are making the sweet potato casserole 1 day in advance, you can place it in the fridge until the next day.
The next day, bring the casserole dish to room temperature, top it with candied pecans and mini marshmallows, and bake.
If you’re making it more than a day in advance
If you are making the sweet potato casserole more than 1 day in advance, you can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure it is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
When you’re ready to bake, transfer it from the freezer to the fridge to thaw overnight. Top with candied pecans and mini marshmallows and bake.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use Fresh Sweet Potatoes: Opt for fresh sweet potatoes rather than canned ones for a richer flavor. Look for sweet potatoes that are firm, smooth, and free from blemishes.
- Browning the Marshmallows: To get the perfect golden-brown marshmallow topping, broil the casserole for a few minutes just before serving. Keep a close eye to prevent burning.
- Use a kitchen torch for marshmallows. If you don’t have access to an oven at dinnertime, you can use a kitchen torch to brown the marshmallows before serving.
- Serve Hot: Sweet potato casserole is best served piping hot. Reheat it briefly in the oven or microwave if needed before serving.
Sweet potato casserole is best stored in the fridge or freezer due to the dairy and marshmallow toppings. It’s not recommended for room-temperature storage.
- Refrigerator: Store leftover sweet potato casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure it cools completely before storing.
- Freezer: If you want to store it for a longer period, wrap the casserole tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or use an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. When reheating, it’s best to thaw it in the fridge overnight and then reheat it in the oven or microwave.
Ta-daaaa. See how easy that is?! That’s why I make this every year! You just can’t go wrong.
The final outcome will always be ooey gooey, cinnamon-y, and toasty. I promise there won’t be any leftovers.
I hope you make this and absolutely love it!
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows & Candied Pecans
- 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (6-8 medium sweet potatoes or ~8 cups chopped)
- 1/2 cup cold water (just enough to create steam; no need to fill the entire pot)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (sub for vegan butter to make dairy-free)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup candied pecans divided, optional or add more to taste (omit if you have a nut allergy or only using marshmallows)
- 2 cups mini marshmallows optional (or sub for vegan marshmallows)
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a casserole dish or deep baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a pot with the cold water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat. The sweet potatoes will become fork-tender with the steam. Simmer for 15-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender enough to mash. Drain. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer tender sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher or using two forks.
- Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and 1/4 cup of pecans (save the rest for later). Mix until all is well combined.
- Add the sweet potato mixture evenly into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining pecans (or more!) and mini marshmallows, if using, in an even layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Remove from the oven. Serve and enjoy!