A simple yet classic sweet potato casserole made with cinnamon, nutmeg, chopped pecans and then topped with toasted mini marshmallows!
There’s just something comforting about the smell of cinnamon, the sweetness of the warm mashed sweet potatoes, 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?
I’ve always considered and enjoyed this as a side dish. Kinda like a pregame to the real dessert. OH YEAH. I know a lot of people that rather enjoy this dish as dessert. Either way, it’s a win win! Whether it’s a potluck, Thanksgiving or just dinner with the fam, this classic casserole is by far the BEST side dish!
For Thanksgiving, I make this every year. Every time, there’s a potluck, I bring sweet potato casserole. If it’s Friendsgiving, guess what I’m bringing? You guessed it – sweet potato casserole.
Let’s talk about how incredibly easy it is to bring all this together. You literally throw the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot, cook them until tender and then mash them UP. You mix in all the spices and pecans then top with marshmallows.
Can I make sweet potato casserole ahead of time?
Yes, you absolutely can!
Once the sweet potato mixture has cooled and all the spices are well combined, add the mixture to the casserole dish or baking pan that you will be making it in and place it in the fridge until the next day. The next day, you bring the casserole dish to room temperature then top with pecans and mini marshmallows. Bake for about 15-20 minutes in the oven and that’s it!
Ta-daaaa. See how easy that is?! That’s why I make this every year!
You just can’t go wrong. Alternatively, you can, of course, make it all in one shot and serve warm. The final outcome will always be ooey gooey, cinnamon-y, and toasty. I promise there won’t be any leftovers.
Video for Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
I hope you make this and absolutely love it!
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- 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (6-8 medium sized sweet potatoes or ~8 cups chopped)
- 1/2 cup cold water*
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half of one stick or 1/4 cup), 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 pecans (or walnuts), chopped, divided (optional, omit if you have a nut allergy or only using marshmallows)
- 2 cups mini marshmallows, optional (or sub for vegan marshmallows)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish or deep baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a pot with the cold water. (I PROMISE 1/2 cup of cold water is enough water to steam sweet potatoes. There is no need to cover all of the sweet potatoes in water. TRUST ME.)
- Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat. The sweet potatoes will become 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. 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. Top with remaining pecans and mini marshmallows.** Bake for 15 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted. Remove from oven. Serve and enjoy!
You can make the sweet potato mixture 1 day in advance, place it in a baking dish, cover the top with foil then refrigerate until the next day. Before serving, bring sweet potato mixture to room temperature, top with pecans/marshmallows then place in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Originally posted in November 2016; Updated recipe and photos in September 2018.